Have you ever wondered why God allows good things to happen to bad or perhaps I should say ungodly people? Why does evil seem to prosper?
This question is similar to its opposite: why does God allow bad things to happen to good people??
Both questions refer to what seems to be the perplexing injustice we witness every day ….
The (73rd Psalm) is our answer to the very same questions that also tormented the psalmist. Finding himself in terrible distress and agony of soul he writes, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” (Psalm 73:2-3).
The writer of this Psalm was a man named Asaph, a leader of one of the temple choirs. Obviously, he was not a wealthy man, but rather one who had dedicated his life to serving God (1 Chronicles 25).
But, like us, he had experienced some difficulties and questioned the injustice of it all. He watched the evil people around him living by their own rules, enjoying all the wealth and pleasures of the world and collecting riches. He complains, “For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.” (Psalm 73:4-5).
Asaph was looking at these people who didn’t have problems. They could pay their bills. They had plenty to eat and plenty of luxuries. But poor Asaph was stuck with directing the choir and trying to live godly. And to make things worse, his choice to serve God didn’t seem to be helping him. He began to envy these people and even to question God as to why He would allow such a thing to happen! Sound familiar??
How often do we find ourselves relating to Asaph? We dedicate our lives to serving God. Then we witness the wicked, ungodly people around us get new possessions, luxurious homes, promotions, and beautiful clothes, while we struggle financially, often just to make ends meet. The answer lies in the rest of the psalm ….
Asaph envied these evil people until he realized one very important thing. When he entered the sanctuary of God, he fully understood their final destiny: “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” (Psalm 73:16-20).
You see, those who have temporary riches on earth are in reality spiritual beggars because they do not have the true riches ~ eternal life ….
There are many times when we do not understand what is happening to us, nor do we understand how providence works. When Asaph entered the sanctuary of God, he began to see that there was no need for him to be envious of the prosperity of the wicked because their prosperity is an illusion. He began to comprehend that the ancient deceiver, Satan, had used lies to distract him from the reality of God.
Upon entering the sanctuary, Asaph realized that prosperity is a fleeting fulfillment, like a pleasant dream that pleases us only for a little while but, when we awaken, we realize it was not real. Asaph rebukes himself for his own stupidity. He admits to being “foolish and ignorant” (v. 22) to envy the wicked or to be jealous of the perishing. His thoughts then returned to his own happiness in God when he realized how much more joy, fulfillment, and true spiritual prosperity he had in the Creator ….
We may not have everything we want here on earth, but we will one day prosper for all eternity through Jesus Christ our Lord. Whenever we are tempted to try the other road, we should remember that the other road is a dead end (Matthew 7:13).
But the narrow road before us through Jesus is the only road that leads to eternal life. That should be our joy and our comfort, as the remaining beautiful verses point out …..
“Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever. For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee. But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord God, that I may declare all thy works.”
We need not concern ourselves when good things seem to happen to bad (ungodly) people. We only need to keep our focus on our Creator and enter into His presence every day through the portal of His holy Word. There we will find truth, contentment, wisdom, spiritual riches, and eternal joy. There will we find the peace needed to endure any struggles we may go through in this life and reach our final destination: home in glory forever …..
“Let the brother of low degree rejoice in that he is exalted: but the rich, in that he is made low: because as the flower of the grass he shall pass away. For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways. Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.”
Let us pray ~
Loving Lord, I come to You specially today to lift up to Your throne of grace all those that are downcast and distressed, and those that are lonely, needy and weary. Lord I pray that Your loving care, comfort and help will surround each one and I ask that You would become very real to them, in their time of difficulty or loneliness. Bring into the life of each one someone who would share the love and joy of the Lord Jesus ~ someone who would lift up the spirits and hearts of each man and woman today; someone who would show the love and kindness of Christ to any who has become lost in the difficulties of this world and find themselves alone or friendless. Refresh their hearts and souls I pray with the truth that You love them so much that You died for them and that You have promised to comfort and strengthen each one of us in times of need. Let them see that they are not alone, but that You are an ever present help in time of troubles and that the difficulties of this life are but for a short time. Help them to know that You are ever at their side, and are working in them a wonderful glory that will last forever!
Use me this week Lord I pray, to be a light to those in need, a refreshment to the weary and an encouragement to those that are downcast. I thank You for the wonderful example of Your life, which was lived in spirit and truth; a life that demonstrated love as well as justice; a life that cared for all humanity, especially those that are weak or hurting or those that are sinking into a pit of despair or poverty.
Please be close to all who are feeling the bitter winds of depression and scarcity in their lives and uphold them with the warming breath of Your love and grace. Keep all of us I pray from making wrong judgements about those that are suffering affliction or who have been overtaken by the challenges of poverty. Give us a wider perspective on life and a heart of compassion and kindness, especially on those that feel alone, unloved or uncared for. May we all become Your eyes and ears and may Your heart of love and grace flow through us to those that are in need. Look down in pity on all who are suffering loss, financial strain, or unjust discrimination, and I pray that in Your best timing that Your justice will prevail in each of their lives, and in mine. In Jesus’ mighty name I pray, Amen.
God loves You …. He is with us always …..