Summary: An Expository Sermon From Psalm 73 On How Perspective Can Make It Seem That God Is Not Good, and Life Is Not Fair.
Psalm 73 "If God Is Good, Why Is Life So Unfair?" Part 1
Introduction: Read Psalm 73.
Illustration: On April 20th of this year Missionary Veronica ``Roni’’ Bowers, 35, and her 7-month-old daughter, Charity, seated in her lap, were killed by a single bullet when the jet fired on the Cessna plane they were riding in. The Peruvian Air-force had shot at the plane because it mistakenly thought that it was carrying drugs and drug dealers. Bowers’ husband, Jim, 38, and their 6-year-old son, Cory, survived the attack without serious injury. The pilot, missionary Kevin Donaldson, 42, was seriously injured by gunfire to his legs, but was able to crash-land the plane on the Amazon. The Bower’s family had been faithful missionaries to the area for over a dozen years.
It is hard to understand why things like this happen especially when you consider that in all likelihood many drug dealers and criminals flew that night without a problem. It makes you wonder: "If God Is Good, Why Is Life So Unfair?"
Illustration: Another situation which is difficult to understand is the one our good friend David Fee experienced recently. David is a faithful Christian and a kind-hearted man despite being born blind and then later losing a significant amount of his hearing. David had apparently become involved in a romantic relationship with a young Christian friend named Denise of who was also blind. Such relationships are certainly more difficult to start or pursue when one is blind so we were all happy to hear of David’s blessing. If anybody deserved such a blessing it was David. David moved north recently to continue to pursue this relationship and only a few weeks later Denise was discovered dead in her home from unknown causes. It seems to make no sense, especially when we consider that so many unbelievers and wicked people live to old age.
These two situations and many others like them in our lives can lead to confusion, anger and doubt about God’s Goodness. We can begin to doubt the value of living faithfully for God. We start to ask "Is Life Fair?" When we ask that question were not really asking a philosophical question about the nature of life, but a theological one concerning the nature of God. We are in essence questioning God’s goodness and fairness. We realize that the Bible teaches that God exist, that He is in control, and that He is good. If God is in control and He is good why then is it our experience that life is not fair. It seems that often good things happen to bad people, while bad things happen to good people. "If God Is Good, Why Is Life So Unfair?"
Tonight in our continuing study of the Psalms we are going to look at Psalm 73 which was written by a Levite named Asaph. Asaph was a spiritual leader in his day, but he was a spiritual leader with doubts and concerns. In this Psalm Asaph tells us that he had the same dilemma and the same questions about the goodness of God, the fairness of life, and the value of serving God that we often face. My hope is that we can gain some valuable insight from his experience so that our faith in God’s goodness and fairness remain strong. In this Psalm we will see some of the typical reasons that people question God’s goodness/fairness in verses 2-16, but we will also see the understanding that Asaph gained in verses 17-28 that led him to declare with confidence that "Surely God is good…"
In verse 1 Asaph states that "Surely God is good to Israel (His people), to those who are pure in heart (righteous, godly)." This hardly sounds like a man who had questions and doubts, but we must keep in mind that verse one is a final conclusion that Asaph reached after a period of intense wavering in his faith in God’s goodness. The Psalmist often used this literary device of putting their final conclusions at the beginning of a Psalm. In fact in verse 2 Asaph makes it very clear that he had not always had such a confidence. He like us had his moments of doubt about God’s fairness. In some ways this is reassuring to us when we consider that even the people that God used to write the Bible, who led the worship and who wrote many worship Psalms had times of questioning and confusion.
In verse 2 Asaph notes that he had "almost slipped", and that he had "nearly lost his foothold." Speaking figuratively he is saying that had come very, very close to losing His faith in God. He had nearly lost his confidence in God’s goodness and therefore he had come close to completely falling away from God and into rebellion. Questions concerning God’s goodness are not merely academic because they affect our entire relationship with God. When we start to doubt we are walking on a slippery slope. We are but one misstep from slipping away from a right relationship with God.