Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Why do the wicked prosper and the godly suffer?

Read Psalm 73

 This Psalm was written by Asaph. The theme is still a question that many Christians find hard to answer – why do the wicked prosper and the godly suffer?  The writer admits that he is envious of the prosperity of the wicked (verse 3).  Do you ever wonder if living an obedient and holy life is worth the discipline and effort when you see those who reject and mock God succeeding?  It is hard to watch people who lie, cheat and steal live in luxury when your personal uprightness causes you to suffer financial loss.  After concluding that the wicked seem free of troubles (verses 4-12), Asaph starts to feel some inner turmoil (verses 13-15).  He questions why he has kept his heart clean and why he is rebuked every morning despite his upright life.  He almost concludes that it is futile to live a godly life.  His conclusions change when he refocuses on God and sees that the wicked are headed for judgment (vs. 17-20).  He confesses his own ignorance (vs. 22) and recognizes that even the most successful people, no matter what they accomplished, forfeit all of it if they die without Christ as their Savior.  It was then that he sees and values the relationship that he has with God.  How God guides him (vs. 24) and the other rewards of faithfulness.  The godly are not neglected, they are continually with God, being led by the tender Shepherd and directed by the Spirit of God.  His conclusion (vs. 27-28) is that those who are far from God perish and those who trust in Him are saved therefore he calls us to trust in the Lord. 

Overview of Psalm 73:
Verses 1-3: Envying the wicked
Verses 4-12: The wicked seem free of troubles
Verses 13-15: Inner turmoil over this dilemma
Verses 16-17: The answer to the dilemma
Verses 18-20: The wicked will ultimately be destroyed
Verses 21-28: Renewing his allegiance to God

  1. In what ways do you struggle with the same question that Asaph struggled with in this Psalm?
  2. What does this Psalm teach us about the importance of focusing on God and the eternal consequences of sin?
  3. Ask the Lord to grow in you a deeper fear of the Lord so that you would desire to flee from sin and walk in holiness.  

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