“When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me — until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.” Psalm 73:16-17
While in great anguish of mind contemplating the prosperity of the wicked and the difficult trials that beset the righteous, the Psalmist went into the sanctuary of God and gained a whole new perspective: his focus turned from self to God, and to God’s people. He began to realize that his whole problem up to that point was that he was relying on his own understanding in being envious of the wicked; he was thinking rationally, at best fractionally, and not spiritually.
While rational thinking subsists on the ground level, spiritual thinking is not irrational, but equally rational, however taking on a higher level, a thinking that considers all facts and possibilities beyond what rational thinking would deem reasonable. All things are possible.
The late Earl of Oxford and Asquith once said that the greatest gift a man could ever have is the capacity for “cubical” thinking, the ability to see all sides of a subject. “Truth is like a cube. You must see all its facets”. 1 Prejudice is a power that predetermines outcomes, by shutting out all other aspects of the truth except one side. This self-elected blindness accounts for much of the tragedy in this world, and oftentimes for most of our own errors in life.
The Psalmist remarks, then understood I their end. The end that awaits the ungodly. Spiritual thinking not only considers all possible angles, but also facilitates thinking things through to their final results.
Jesus Christ foretells the outcomes of two disparate paths: the broad, effortless way of living, versus the “strait and narrow way”: one eventually leads to destruction, while the other leads to life. How paradoxical that the word “strait” is defined as “a position of difficulty, perplexity, distress, or need” 2, and yet it leads to life, but the broad and easy way leads to destruction
The Psalmist began to understand the end that awaits the ungodly. There is a certain hopelessness and dearth of happiness in the godless view of life.
Charles Darwin, the author of “The Origin of the Species”, confessed at the end of his life that, as a result of focusing on only one aspect of life, he had somehow lost the power to enjoy poetry and music, even the capacity to appreciate nature itself. The final days of H.G. Wells were similar, he who had advocated so much for the mind and understanding, and had ridiculed Christianity, at the end of his life confessed that he was utterly baffled and bewildered. His last book, “Mind at the End of its Tether”, is an eloquent testimony to the Bible’s teaching about the tragic end of the ungodly.
In contrast, the godly life might seem to be so narrow and miserable, but even a hireling prophet such as Balaam, evil as he was, proclaimed, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!” (Numbers 23:10)
Throughout the hallmarks of life on earth, time and time again, these words have been proven true … But the path of the just is as the shining light that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. (Proverbs 4:18)
1 D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Faith on Trial”, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1965, p. 46
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Faith on Trial”, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1965, p. 32-53
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