The Embittered Soul

“When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you” (Psalm 73:21-22).

Psalm 73 represents the struggle of hundreds of devout people as they seek to understand the perplexing problem of the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the righteous. How can the thoughtful mind reconcile faith in God as a just and loving God with the apparent inequities found in society?

The Psalmist was vexed by this question. After struggling with his own doubts, he understood the end of the wicked, and he repented of his own unbelieving thoughts.

The answer to his doubts came when he perceived that true and lasting blessedness comes when the believer has true fellowship with God, a fellowship that demonstrates the goodness of God in spite of all apparent contradictions of life. Nearness to God is happiness; separation from him is death.

Today as you approach God in prayer, maybe your soul is as embittered as the soul of the Psalmist. The problems of everyday life may be heavier than you can bear; the prosperity of others may cause your feet to stumble. For these reasons you may feel lonely and dejected. Take heart, dear friend! God is near to you; his love and compassion are realities that do not fail. Remain in fellowship with God, for we find answers to our questions and strength for our souls in sweet fellowship with God. When even this fellowship seems to produce no answer, remember the voice of Christ: “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand” (John 13:7).

Claude Mariottini
Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary

Studies on Psalm 73:

The Embittered Soul

Is God Good?

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