The Premise of Perfection: My Journey Through Psalms (73-75)

Logic is a funny thing.

I remember the first time I discovered how logic really worked. I was pretty young, but for the first time in my academic career I received an “F” on something. I don’t remember what the assignment was, and it doesn’t really matter now, but my logic ran something like this:

  • When I bring home an “A” my parents are proud.
  • When I bring home a “B” my parents ask what I did wrong and how I can improve.
  • Therefore, if I bring home an “F”, then my parents will be angry and disappointed.

Trembling at the thought (for my love language is most definitely words of affirmation), I crumpled up the grade and threw it in the first trash can I found–opting not to tell my parents.

It stands to reason, as the psalmist laments in Psalm 73-75, that

  • If people are bad, and do evil things THEN they should be punished and will fail.
  • Ergo, if people are good and keep their hearts pure, THEN they will be rewarded.

So when the poet cries ‘Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure’ (73:13) and pleads for God to ‘Remember how the enemy has mocked you, O Lord, how foolish people have reviled your name’ (74:18), we can relate. Logic should dictate.

But the thing about logic is…well, logic cannot be flawless because we live in a very flawed world. We can’t separate logic form emotion, and emotion will not always be reasonable. After all, we humans have the ability to bother reason and feel, which is what ultimately makes us homosapien.

The emotion factor is what drives us, motivates us, but also is often what derails our logic.

Evil people prosper because they manipulate others’ emotions and suppress their own.

Good people don’t so, well, the evil people take advantage–unapologetically.

Our logic finds foundation on the premise of perfection, which was shattered in the garden when mankind chose ‘knowledge and power’ OVER relationship and trust–rather than embracing the interconnectedness of the two concepts.

But the cool thing is God’s logic is still based on the pre-shattered premise of HIS perfection. Prosperity in this world does NOT equate Prosperity in God’s world. As the psalmist concludes: ‘You [God] say, “I choose the appointed time; it is I who judge uprightly”‘ (75:2).

I may have crumpled up the paper on that day long ago, but I didn’t erase the bad grade. For a while it may have even appeared as though I prospered…still the straight “A” (with an occasional “B” tossed in for flavor) student my parents loved and respected. I may have even skipped happily out the door. Played with my friends, and enjoyed the freedom of deception.

Until God stepped in.

The trash can I hastily threw that blemished grade in happened to be empty–except for that one balled up piece of paper. Before any one else could toss in any refuse, my mom spied it..for some reason she pulled it out.

I’ll never know what my parents reaction to that first “F” would have been if I had just been honest and up front–pure of heart–but because I tried to hide it, my punishment was pretty severe.

Because in the end, logic wins.

Evil is punished; good rewarded. It is God’s plan, based on his premise of perfection established long ago. And no amount of hiding or manipulating will change it. God wins. Every. Time.

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