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Summary: Just like many of us, Asaph wrestled with the conflict between the love of God and the many seeming injustices of life. But God eventually helped him to to get a grip on this conflict.

PONDERING WHY THE WICKED PROSPER

Text: Ps.73: 1-3, 12 & 13

Intro: As you may or may not know, not all of the psalms found in our Bible can be attributed to King David. Though David is credited with about seventy-three of the psalms, there were a number of other men who contributed to this book of the Bible.

Among those numerous authors was a man by the name of Asaph. As a matter of fact, about twelve of the psalms are attributed to this man. Asaph was one of the chief musicians under King David’s rule. That basically means that he was David’s choir leader. As such he no doubt played an important part in the worship of the temple, since music was one of the major concerns of King David, who himself was a musician.

Psalm 73 is one of the psalms written by Asaph. In it he deals with a topic that has more than likely crossed all of our minds at one time or another. He, like us, was having a hard time understanding why the wicked seemed to prosper, while many of the godly often suffered. Asaph couldn’t make any sense of it. As a matter of fact, he confessed that this seeming injustice almost got the best of him. He said, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped” (Ps.73: 2). In essence he was saying that he was about to give up. He was almost ready to chunk the whole idea of serving God. He was beginning to think, “What’s the use! It looks to me as though the wicked are the only ones prospering, not the godly. Why does God allow the godly to suffer so much?”

Speaking about the topic dealt with in this psalm, Bro. J. Vernon McGee tells the story of how he and his wife lost their first child in the hospital. He gives the following account:

I only heard the cry of that little one. All she ever did in her life was cry. I shall never forget the day she died. Across the hall from where my wife was, there was a very wealthy couple who had a baby boy, and their rich friends came to celebrate with them. As I drove into the parking lot in my old beat-up Chevrolet, they all drove up in Cadillacs. They went into the hospital with their champagne and celebrated the birth of the little boy.

He was a precious looking little baby—all they desired, I guess. I shall never forget that night. It was summertime, and I went out on a balcony that was there and cried out to God. To be honest with you, I don’t know to this good day why God took our baby and left the baby across the hall. They have money, and, boy, they live it up! I have seen write-ups about them, and they have been in trouble several times. Their little boy is now probably thirty years old—that is how old my daughter would be.

After all these years, I still don’t have the answer…Although I don’t have the answer, I know the One who does, and He has told me to walk with Him by faith. He tests me by putting me in the dark. Then I’ll reach out my hand and take His. In His Word He tells me that I can trust Him. Someday He will explain the whys of life to me (J. Vernon McGee, Psalms, Vol. II, published by Griffin Printing & Lithograph Co., Inc., pg. 134).

Stories like that told by Bro. McGee could be duplicated a thousand fold by many other fine Christians. Good people do suffer some bad things. Though we know that people from all walks of life are susceptible to suffering, sometimes it still seems like the ungodly are reaping the best from life. It’s enough to make you want to turn your head heavenward and scream, “Why God!”

Asaph asked this question. Today I want to show you the conclusion he came to, and why.

Theme: Psalm 73 reveals to us:

I. ASAPH’S ENVY

Ps.73: 1 “Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.

2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”

NOTE: [1] Notice that Asaph starts off on a positive note. Actually, he is stating his conclusion first. But beginning with verse two, he begins to explain to his readers what his feelings were before he arrived at that conclusion.

[2] Envy can kill one’s spiritual life, as this story points out.

Dwight L. Moody once told the fable of an eagle who was envious of another that could fly better than he could. One day the bird saw a sportsman with a bow and arrow and said to him, “I wish you would bring down that eagle up there.” The man said he would if he had some feathers for his arrow. So the jealous eagle pulled one out of his wing.

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Dick Marcear

commented on Oct 10, 2006

Very good presentation on a difficult subject.

Donnie Martin

commented on Jan 19, 2010

Thanks, Bro. Marcear. Your comment was very encouraging. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It is much appreciated. May God bless as you continue to serve Him faithfully.

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