In Psalm 73 Asaph divulges that he had struggled with a problem that is, most likely, common to us all. Asaph looked out at the world and saw that the wicked prosper! Psalm 73:3 “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Not only do the wicked prosper, “they increase in riches” (Psalm 73:12). God seems to blesses the wicked even though they are wicked. I labor for the Lord everyday and yet I do not have what this wicked man has. Modern vernacular would phrase Asaph’s quandary as: “Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?” or “Why does God allow bad people to prosper?”
Psalm 73:11-14 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High? Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
Does it matter what someone else may posses?
One of the problems with this attitude is that it really matter what someone else may or may not have. Or, what they may have done to obtain it. In the end God will judge. Furthermore their actions have no impact on what is required of us! I remember telling my Mom when I was in trouble something like: But mom, so-in-so did this or that… When it didn’t really have any bearing on what I had done. That our neighbor is the richest man in the world has no bearing on what we are called to do. Everyone has been given a certain amount of worldly possessions but ALL are called to serve the Lord! In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus enumerates that we must focus on ourselves before looking elsewhere. In John 8:1-11 the scribes and pharisees bring a woman before Christ accused of adultery. They tell him that this woman ought to be stoned. He responds by telling them to examine themselves first before casting any stones. We must do the same. What our neighbor has or doesn’t have, what he does or doesn’t do has no bearing on what we are called to do. Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Paul did not say; “Work out your brother’s salvation.” Let your neighbor worry about himself. We have enough to worry about.
Saying that the wicked prosper and I do not presupposes that the Lord actively shapes the lives of both the just and the unjust.
For every wicked man who prospers I can find a wicked man who does not prosper. There is no scriptural link between earthly success and following the Lord. Luke 12 tells us that we will have what we need. He does not say that we will receive earthy success above and beyond anyone else in the world.
Eccesiaties 9:11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance happen to them all.
Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
The Lord does not guarantee earthly wealth. But, Lord has poured his blessings out upon the whole world. To some he has given much, to another little. He wants to know what you will do with what you have been given.
This attitude of: I suffer but the wicked prosper implies that the Lord is unjust.
The Lord is just, and he will repay everyone according to what they have done. Job 30:21 “the evil man is reserved to the day of calamity”
“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds: To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;” – Romans 2:5-9 KJV
God will judge everyone based on what they have done! We should focus on ensuring that we do not squander what God has given us. Job 34:11 “For according to the work of a man he will repay him, and according to his ways he will make it befall him.” God is just and on the day of judgement will repay all of the evil that is done in this world.
“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.” – Psalms 73:18-20 KJV