Saturday, March 24: I’ve been stupid to play by the rules

Saturday in the PsalmsOn Saturdays we'll worship God through a selection from the Psalms. For a few weeks, we'll read from The Message.

Read Psalm 73:11-20

What's going on here? Is God out to lunch?

Nobody's tending the store.

The wicked get by with everything;

they have it made, piling up riches.

I've been stupid to play by the rules;

what has it gotten me?

A long run of bad luck, that's what—

a slap in the face every time I walk out the door.

If I'd have given in and talked like this,

I would have betrayed your dear children.

Still, when I tried to figure it out,

all I got was a splitting headache…

Until I entered the sanctuary of God.

Then I saw the whole picture:

The slippery road you've put them on,

with a final crash in a ditch of delusions.

In the blink of an eye, disaster!

A blind curve in the dark, and—nightmare!

We wake up and rub our eyes.… Nothing.

There's nothing to them. And there never was.


This passage opens with a string of cynical questions about God and whether following him has any purpose. Then, like the psalmist, we see the big picture, that the writer isn't saying these things himself but is effectively quoting a less prudent kind of person. Still, he says, after simply pondering these issues of whether God metes out justice according to one's righteousness "all I got was a splitting headache."


Just the act of turning on the TV or opening your favorite news site provides ample evidence of evil people heaping up newly-gained power and wealth. At the end of this passage, in the last half of the second stanza, what do you think of how the psalmist came to terms with this phenomenon?

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