When I pondered to understand this,
it was troublesome in my sight
until I came into the sanctuary of God;
Then I perceived their end.
The psalmist is in turmoil, trying to understand why things were going so well for the wicked. He admits he almost stumbled because he became envious of them. He saw their prosperity, even though they mocked God. He felt as though it was useless for him to try and keep his heart and actions pure because in spite of his efforts he was "stricken all day long and chastened every morning." (vs.14). He couldn't figure it out. When he tried to understand why the wicked seemed to be so blessed and yet he was going through all that he was, it troubled him. He couldn't make any sense out of why God allowed things to go the way they were going. In the same way, how many times have we said, "God it's not fair! I don't get it!"
To try and explain this, people often say that God has His own reasons and we just need to trust Him. Although this is true that God's ways are higher than ours and we do need to trust Him. We need to fear Him and not question His right to do whatever He pleases. It's also true that the Lord chastens those He loves. He refines us, and thank God He does. However, in this psalm we get a little more insight. The psalmist says he was troubled in trying to understand all this UNTIL... "until I came into the sanctuary of God, Then I perceived their end."
When this psalmist came into the sanctuary, into the presence of the Lord, then He understood. He perceived what would happen to the wicked in the end. He saw it all from God's perspective. As long as we are trying to figure things out and make sense of God outside of His presence, in our own mind and reasoning, we will remain troubled, frustrated, and may even stumble. But when we enter His presence then it all makes sense. We see things how He does, we gain His understanding and perception.
When we are outside of the presence of God and look at the wicked, questions will arise. We say, Why? This will become a weight of doubt upon us that slows us down and causes our zeal for the Lord to waver. Yet in His presence, we see clearly. The doubt falls off. The questions are resolved and our faith is strengthened. Not only do we see the end of the wicked, but we see the reward of the righteous. This reveals the goodness of God as well as His justice, which is necessary to maintain the atmosphere of His presence. You can enter into His presence wherever you are. If Jesus is your Lord, He is always with you. Close your eyes, pray, seek Him, until you become aware of His presence within.
If you are troubled and confused trying to figure out why the wicked seem to be doing well and things are going in your life the way they are, then don't turn your back on God thinking that His actions or inaction make no sense. Don't envy the wicked and begin to think that your righteousness is worthless. Instead, get closer to the Lord and you will understand His ways. You will see things from His perspective and be assured that He is good and right and just and worthy of all of your trust and praise! The psalmist goes on to say:
I am continually with You;
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With Your counsel You will guide me,
and afterward receive me to glory.
Whom have I in heaven but You?
And besides You, I desire nothing on earth.
My flesh and my heart may fail,
But God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
May we say the same. In the end it is worth it all.
Isaiah 55:8-9; Hebrews 12:4-8; Jeremiah 17:10; Malachi 3:3; Hebrews 13:5; Psalm 92:7