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Keeping From Slipping

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After opening his psalm with testimony as to God’s goodness (Ps. 73:1), Asaph tells of his personal problems:

But as for me, my feet had almost slipped,
I had nearly lost my foothold.
For I envied the arrogant
when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Ps. 73:2,3)1

As Perowne observes, “The Psalmist tells the story of the doubts which had assailed him, the temptation to which he had nearly succumbed.”2  Then after speaking of his personal struggles, he expressed his past lament concerning the lives of the wicked (vv. 4-12) and his own overcoming of his misgivings (vv. 13-22), he expresses his realization of his own misunderstandings of life’s realities (vv. 23-26) and concludes his psalm by testifying as to the key to a better life:

Those who are far from you will perish,
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge:
I will tell of all your deeds. (vv.  27-28)

Thus, rather than slipping away from the good life, he came to realize the key to a better life (cf. vv. 2, 28).

So, it is as we also struggle with thoughts of the seeming successes of the wicked, may we follow the psalmist’s conclusion and keep ourselves near to and submissive to the Lord, his standards, and his will.

There is a place of comfort sweet, Near to the heart of God,
A place where we our Savior meet, Near to the heart of God.
O Jesus, blest Redeemer, sent from the heart of God,
Hold us, who wait before Thee, Near to the heart of God.3

Elsewhere the psalmist testifies as to the need for believers to praise the Lord, for even in the midst of struggles, “He has preserved our lives and kept our feet from slipping” (Ps. 66:9; cf. Ps. 94:16-19). 

In Psalm 38 David tells of his personal problems, both in body and mind, as well his spiritual difficulties and problems with his adversaries (vv. 1-14, 18-20).  He says,

I wait for you, O LORD;
You will answer, O LORD my God.
For I said, “Do not let them gloat
Or exalt themselves over me when my foot slips.  (Ps. 38:15-16).

Slipping here has a seemingly double force, both as a source of difficulty and yet of the psalmist’s confidence in God’s support.  So it is that he closes his psalm by pleading with the Lord:

O LORD, do not forsake me;
Be not far from me, O my God.
Come quickly to help me,
O LORD my Savior.  (vv. 21-22)

In an earlier psalm David assures the Lord that,

My steps have held to your paths;
my feet have not slipped. (Ps. 17:5)

Therefore, he can ask the Lord to demonstrate his concern for him and his support in the midst of his difficulties (vv. 6-8).  He closes his psalm by assuring the Lord,

And I – in righteousness I will see your face;
When I awake, I will be satisfied with seeing your likeness.  (v. 15)

One can appreciate David’s point of view by comparing his earlier note of confidence in prayer for the Lord’s support in times of danger (Ps. 35:1-9):

My whole being will exclaim,
Who is like you, O Lord?
You rescue the poor from those too strong for them,
the poor and needy from those who rob them. (v. 10)

Surely the believer should remember that with God’s supervision, they will not be forsaken, “they will be protected forever … they will inherit the land and dwell in it forever” (Ps. 37:28-29). Thus, Perowne can say “The Creator of the Universe, the Keeper of the nation, is also the Keeper of the individual.”4

From a consideration of the above Psalms, believers may be assured that by remaining faithful to the Lord and trusting fully in Him they will have a successful and satisfying life, whatever the circumstances.  May we all learn from David’s experiences the high value of trusting the Lord in all of our experiences!  As the hymn writer declares:

Trusting as the moments fly, Trusting as the days go by;
Trusting Him whate’er be fall, Trusting Jesus, that is all.5

1 All scripture references are from the NIV

2 J. J. Stewart Perowne, The Book of Psalms, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1976), III:7.  Cf. Joseph A. Alexander, Commentary on Psalms, (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1991), 315.

3 Cleland B. McAfee, Near to the Heart of God.

4 Perowne, op. cit., p.373.

5 E. Page, Trusting Jesus.

Related Topics: Devotionals, Faith, Suffering, Trials, Persecution, Temptation

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