Summary: An Expository Sermon From Psalm 73 On How Perspective Can Make It Seem That God Is Not Good, and Life Is Not Fair. Part 2 of 2
"If God is Good, Why is Life so unfair"
Illustration: At the San Diego Padres baseball games, between innings once in a while, they put a little puzzle on the score board. They have the outline of a baseball player and a trivia question; you try to guess who the player is. They start off by filling in one piece of the puzzle, and it’s usually the bill of a ball cap. Nobody can figure out who it is; everybody’s trying to figure out who it is. As the pieces come together people start to talk. An excitement begins to mount. Why? They begin to see a face, and they’re beginning to hone in on who that baseball player is.
I’m here to tell you that we usually get one piece of the puzzle. In God’s sovereignty and God’s timing, many of the things that happen to you and many of the things that happen to me make us just shake our heads and say, "I don’t understand. I don’t understand this in my life."
Citation: John Maxwell, "God’s ’Troublesome’ Timing," Preaching Today, Tape No. 147
Life is a lot like that. We can’t really understand it until we see the whole picture. Last week we began to look at Psalm 73 which was written by Asaph. In the first half of this Psalm he looked at life and came to the conclusion that life was not fair, and that maybe God wasn’t so good. It began to think that it might not be worth it to serve God faithfully. Asaph thought these things for the same reasons that people do so today. He looked at life and things just seems backwards. It seemed to him that bad people received good things and they good people receive bad things. For example: He saw the prosperity of the wicked and the poverty of the righteous in verse 3 and is disturbed him. He saw the peaceful lives of the wicked and the often troubled lives of the righteous as he noted in verse 5. He saw the unjudged pride of the wicked while the righteous were punished every morning. He saw all these things: The prosperity, peace, pride of the wicked, and the punishment of the righteous and that led him into doubt about God’s goodness and Life’s fairness.
He began to wonder "If God is Good, why is Life so unfair?" When Asaph doubted and when we doubt God’s goodness and fairness it is often because we are making a judgment before we have the complete picture. The result is that we, like those at the Padres game, are often wrong in our assessment. Asaph had only he viewed life from a human perspective in verses 2-16 but in verses 17-28 he views life from a heavenly perspective. Then he then sees the whole picture and is able to say with sincerity and confidence "Surely God is Good!" (verse 1)
Tonight we will look at verses 17-28 and discover four things that Asaph saw from a heavenly perspective that restored his faith in the ultimate fairness of life and goodness of God.
Read Psalm 73: 17-28
I. A heavenly perspective leads to faith in God’s goodness and fairness because we will see the ruin of the wicked.
Asaph had started this Psalm envying the wicked because they seemed to have it all, but now when he entered the sanctuary of God, when he had a heavenly perspective his envy disappeared. Why? He says it was then that he understood their final destiny. This is a clear reference to the final and eternal judgment. There are many roads to hell for the wicked. Some of the wicked experience hell on earth and hell in eternity, while others may live prosperous peaceful lives here on Earth but still arrive at the same destination. It is the final destination that makes the difference no matter how one may have gotten there. Their final destination shows us that life is fair when all is said and done. As Jesus said "what good will it be for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul" Matthew 16:26. Eternity is what matters!
Illustration: If you ever get the opportunity to visit Egypt and the tombs and pyramids, study what was required to construct some of those monuments. Some studies revealed that it required the efforts of one hundred thousand workers for forty years to build one of the great pyramids. As you tour the area there, you can’t help but ask why. Why so much effort? Why would somebody put that amount of emphasis on a tomb, on the afterlife?
The answer is that the Egyptians understood full well they would spend a lot more time in the afterlife than they would spend in this life. Granted, some of their conceptions of what would happen in the afterlife were a little skewed. But the point is, they understood to the core of their being that the afterlife was a whole lot more important than this life, and so they prepared for the afterlife during this life. God had placed eternity in their hearts.