why do the wicked prosper and the righteous suffer
We hardly ever do a Sunday evening post, but in response to a couple of very good questions by readers of the post on Psalm 11 that we did this morning, I wanted to perhaps help by pointing everyone to Psalm 73. ВPsalm 11 says that the Lord loves the righteous and rains fire down on the wicked. ВBut it doesn t often look that way in this life, does it? ВSome of you are suffering right now, and YOU are the Christian, while your unrepentant abuser is partying on. Well, rest assured that you are not the first to ask this question of the Lord, and it is quite right to ask it of Him. ВThe Psalms are filled with honest heart cries of the righteous Lord, why? When are you going to act here? Do you see the plight I am in? Here is the Psalmist s own record of this very kind of struggle in his own life. ВNotice that he almost caved in and turned away from the Lord until and there is the key word. ВUntil. ВUntil he considered their end. ВListen to him and take heart. ВIt only LOOKS like the wicked are prospering:
Psa 73:1-28 A Psalm of Asaph. Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled, my steps had nearly slipped. For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For they have no pangs until death; their bodies are fat and sleek. They are not in trouble as others are; they are not stricken like the rest of mankind.
Therefore pride is their necklace; violence covers them as a garment. Their eyes swell out through fatness; their hearts overflow with follies. They scoff and speak with malice; loftily they threaten oppression. They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue struts through the earth. Therefore his people turn back to them, and find no fault in them. And they say, How can God know? Is there knowledge in the Most High? Behold, these are the wicked; always at ease, they increase in riches. All in vain have I kept my heart clean and washed my hands in innocence. For all the day long I have been stricken and rebuked every morning. If I had said, I will speak thus, I would have betrayed the generation of your children. But when I thought how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task, until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end. Truly you set them in slippery places; you make them fall to ruin. How they are destroyed in a moment, swept away utterly by terrors! Like a dream when one awakes, O Lord, when you rouse yourself, you despise them as phantoms. When my soul was embittered, when I was pricked in heart, I was brutish and ignorant; I was like a beast toward you. Nevertheless, I am continually with you; you hold my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. For behold, those who are far from you shall perish; you put an end to everyone who is unfaithful to you. But for me it is good to be near God; I have made the Lord GOD my refuge, that I may tell of all your works. righteous suffer? PPPP I am not going to cover the entire text in this lesson, but for now, in brief, the Psalmist ponders and God in his infinite wisdom answers for all to know. P P P But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps has well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked (Psalms 73:2-3). PPPP They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men (Psalms 73:5). PPPP Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish (Psalms 73:7). PPPP They set their mouths against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth (Psalms 73:9). PPPP 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 (Psalms 73:11-12). PPPP 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 (Psalms 73:16-17). P P PThe Psalmist does not understand - the righteous suffer while the wicked prosper.
He was envious of them all he could see was the here and now. The wicked were not plagued like other men, how could that be fair? P P PAnd thenGod allowed him to see beyond the here and now. He saw their end! Now, I understand, the wicked are in slippery places, they are cast down into destruction (Psalms 73:18). In their arrogance they said: How doth God know? And is there knowledge in the most High? The wicked pose the question in this life, they will get the answer in the next!!! The wicked may, in this life, live high on the hog, but it is only temporary. When the Psalmist saw their end, what would be forever, he was envious no more. P P PFolks, in this life it is the end that matters. Where are you standing? On slippery places? Or upon the promises? If you are on the slippery place, you need to get to firmer ground where you can stand fast in the faith (I Corinthians 16:13). In order to do that, you must become a Christian by: Hearing the word (Romans 10:17). Believing the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark 16:15-16). Repenting of you past sins (Acts 2:38). Confessing Christ before men (Matthew 10:32-33). Being baptized to wash away your sins (Acts 22:16). P P PThen as a Christian, faithfully serve your Lord, looking beyond this present world to the new heaven and new earth that is to come - that heavenly home where all will be well forever (Revelation 21:1-4).
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