I almost lost my footing … for I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. Then I went into your sanctuary, Oh God, and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked. – Psalm 73:2-3 & 17 (NLT)
I understand the emphasis upon living in the present. Obsessions with the future can rob us of the gift of the present; and the present is often diminished by edited recollections of the past.
But there is also a danger associated with living so much in the immediate that we become oblivious to the ultimate. Our present can never really be extricated from our past because our present is often a consequence of decisions made in the past. And the decisions we make today will certainly reverberate into our tomorrows.
An exclusive focus on one moment in time can have us beaming or burdened, depending on the particular moment.
Looking upon the prosperity of the wicked in the immediate context, the psalmist became spiritually disorientated and psychologically frustrated. Faith is always under fire when wickedness is exalted and righteousness is crucified.
The exclusive focus on immediate things gave the psalmist no broader view of life. But at the House of God, the psalmist gained a perspective that placed current circumstances in the more complete context of eventual consequences. At the House of God, the psalmist was moved to weigh the currency of the human dilemma against the ultimacy of divine destiny.
With so much energy and anxiety expended upon immediate things, we could all use a place to ponder ultimate things. A fuller understanding of what’s happening requires a fuller understanding of historical precedent and eventual consequence.
Lord, don’t allow my focus on what’s current make me miss what’s coming. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.