Psalm 73: Why does God allow the wicked to prosper?

In Psalm 73 Asaph divulges that he had struggled with a problem that is, most likely, common to us all. Asaph looked out at the world and saw that the wicked prosper!  Psalm 73:3 “For I was envious of the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Not only do the wicked prosper, “they increase in riches” (Psalm 73:12). God seems to blesses the wicked even though they are wicked. I labor for the Lord everyday and yet I do not have what this wicked man has. Modern vernacular would phrase Asaph’s quandary as: “Why does God allow bad things happen to good people?” or “Why does God allow bad people to prosper?”

Psalm 73:11-14 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. Verily I have cleansed my
heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency. For all the day long
have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.

Does it matter what someone else may posses?

One of the problems with this attitude is that it really matter what someone else may or may not have. Or, what they may have done to obtain it. In the end God will judge. Furthermore their actions have no impact on what is required of us! I remember telling my Mom when I was in trouble something like: But mom, so-in-so did this or that… When it didn’t really have any bearing on what I had done. That our neighbor is the richest man in the world has no bearing on what we are called to do. Everyone has been given a certain amount of worldly possessions but ALL are called to serve the Lord! In Matthew 7:1-5 Jesus enumerates that we must focus on ourselves before looking elsewhere. In John 8:1-11 the scribes and pharisees bring a woman before Christ accused of adultery. They tell him that this woman ought to be stoned. He responds by telling them to examine themselves first before casting any stones. We must do the same. What our neighbor has or doesn’t have, what he does or doesn’t do has no bearing on what we are called to do. Philippians 2:12 “Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Paul did not say; “Work out your brother’s salvation.” Let your neighbor worry about himself. We have enough to worry about.

Saying that the wicked prosper and I do not presupposes that the Lord actively shapes the lives of both the just and the unjust.

For every wicked man who prospers I can find a wicked man who does not prosper. There is no scriptural link between earthly success and following the Lord. Luke 12 tells us that we will have what we need. He does not say that we will receive earthy success above and beyond anyone else in the world.

Eccesiaties 9:11 Again I saw that under the sun the race is not to the
swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to
the intelligent, nor favor to those with knowledge, but time and chance
happen to them all.

Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven:
for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth
rain on the just and on the unjust.

The Lord does not guarantee earthly wealth. But, Lord has poured his blessings out upon the whole world. To some he has given much, to another little. He wants to know what you will do with what you have been given.

This attitude of: I suffer but the wicked prosper implies that the Lord is unjust.

The Lord is just, and he will repay everyone according to what they have done.  Job 30:21 “the evil man is reserved to the day of calamity”

“But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself
wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous
judgment of God; Who will render to every man according to his deeds:
To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and
honour and immortality, eternal life: But unto them that are
contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness,
indignation and wrath, Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man
that doeth evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile;” – Romans 2:5-9
KJV

God will judge everyone based on what they have done! We should focus on ensuring that we do not squander what God has given us. Job 34:11 “For according to the work of a man he will repay him, and according to his ways he will make it befall him.” God is just and on the day of judgement will repay all of the evil that is done in this world.

“Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down
into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment!
they are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awaketh;
so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.” –
Psalms 73:18-20 KJV

 

 

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20 thoughts on “Psalm 73: Why does God allow the wicked to prosper?”

  1. I really don’t care about what others have. But when you’re trying to lead someone to Christ they need more than a prayer. You can’t honestly praise God the way he wants you to when your current situation is poverty. You can try but your focus is on your basic needs. Its hard trying to pray for others when my needs are not met.

    1. Hi Lisa. Thanks for your comment.

      In my experience, poverty does not necessarily prevent one either from being thankful or from praying for the needs of others. I have visited homes in the Philippines where Christians were exceedingly poor, far poorer than some here in America. I heard thankfulness in their prayers, intercession on behalf of others, and joy in their voices. This is not some sort of romanticized or idealistic portrayal. I witnessed this firsthand. It was real.

      The apostle Paul wrote, “Not that I speak in regard to need, for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content: I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians‬ ‭4:11-13‬). Regardless of our circumstances, we can know joy and contentment in Jesus Christ. Notice that this was something Paul had to learn — it did not come naturally for him, it does not come naturally for us. But Christ can give us strength to acquire it, if we so desire. We can learn an attitude of gratitude.

      The question — and it’s the question that lies underneath this entire site — is what do we want? If we want joy, hope, peace, and contentment, we can have them in Jesus Christ regardless of our circumstances. If however we want to focus on victim-hood, injustice, narcissism, and selfishness, we will never know the Lord.

  2. The End Result of the Righteous and the Wicked,
    and Final END OF THE WICKED
    PSALM 92:10-15
    10 But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

    11 Mine eye also shall see my desire on mine enemies, and mine ears shall hear my desire of the wicked that rise up against me.

    12 The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree: he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

    13 Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God.

    14 They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing;

    15 To shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.

  3. A couple lost their child on 28th Jan 2016 due to greed of doctors. There was no need of general anesthesia and plastic surgery for a small n deep cut on hand. The doctors in Hyderabad, India, took the child for a surgery and gave over dose of anesthesia. He did not wake up. Only child of 8 years age gone. The parents are going through unbearable agony. Kindly pray for them, People wonder why I am thinking so much of them when I dont know them, but the world is a big family and we are all human. I have no answer why this happened, and I donno I lost all faith after this incident. In India people can buy justice with money. Please pray that the parents get peace and the criminals are punished. The docs I know said the cut just needed local anesthesia and stitches, but for money this was done..Where are we going? So much of crime around, and I feel terrible.Worse, the parents are not receiving much support from general public too. Kindly pray for us.

  4. God’s desire for all his children is reconciliation to Himself. I strongly believe this is one reason why we suffer, like the seed broken by the hard frost: until we get to a point where we say: “Lord I do not have the strength within me to ‘walk by the spirit’, my flesh is too weak to keep forgiving those whom keep persecuting me and I alone cannot do it”. At this point in total submission to Christ will we give the space in our heart needed for His wonderful spirit to step in and lift us up, for with God nothing is impossible. God bless.

  5. I agree with “Christs anger’s” questions.
    I’m weary of this world. I do believe.
    But in the end, I see life as futility.
    I’ve always found a kindred spirit in the author of Ecclesiastes. Simpatico. But it doesn’t give me a permanent hope. And though I understand, appreciate and accept what Christ did, I wish He didn’t have to do it. I really don’t understand God. Really … what was He thinking when He created this world?
    I find fleeting comfort being outdoors in nature, but worldly obligations drive me inside to the desk, to work and to chase a paycheck, to fulfill an earthly purpose of consuming and sustaining independence for another day. But I wish I could just spend most all my time outdoors, away from people, they are so cruel to each other. I find this culture perplexing. Full of braggarts and people who take on financial and spiritual debt to live a hedonistic lifestyle, to never grow up, into their 30s, 40s, 50s. And their parents supporting them and whitewashing their behaviors and celebrating even wicked behavior, meanwhile putting down good and true and noble behavior as stupid and foolish and lacking “star power” … wickedness. Up is down in this culture. Wrong is right. And what hurts the most is right is called wrong. It’s a terrible blindness in our culture. I want no part of it, and I want no part of wicked people who celebrate it and call what’s wrong “good.” Is it wrong to cut yourself off from these people? To fade out from the relationships, to seek out just a friend or two to fellowship with? I want to be far away from the people of this world. I have no desire to fulfill the Great Commission. I want to brush the dust off and keep moving and leave these people – who know the gospel and choose to reject it – to their own devices.

    1. Hi Crow. I appreciate your candor. Thanks for commenting.

      Ecclesiastes is an incredibly relevant book for our day and age. When one views the world without God in the equation (a.k.a. “under the sun”) it is impossible to find meaning or fulfillment. Death and despair are the natural end conclusion to such a worldview. This is why the writer (who I believe is Solomon) consistently returns to two themes: 1) Man is fulfilled by fearing God and keeping His commandments, and 2) God will judge all of our actions. We can find purpose in life by carrying out the will of God; this is man’s all. Coupled with that is the realization that though justice is difficult to find in this world, God will right all wrongs in the next. This serves as both an incentive to remain true to the Lord’s ways and a comfort when we see the harsh realities of a world overrun by sin and evil.

      I certainly can relate to the sentiment you expressed in the last few sentences. As I read your comments, I could not help but think of Lot:

      2 Peter 2:6-8 and turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah into ashes, condemned them to destruction, making them an example to those who afterward would live ungodly; 7 and delivered righteous Lot, who was oppressed by the filthy conduct of the wicked 8 (for that righteous man, dwelling among them, tormented his righteous soul from day to day by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds)–

      The atmosphere of Western civilization is spiritually toxic. At times, it suffocates the one who strives to do what is right. Like Lot, the one who believes in God is “tormented….by seeing and hearing their lawless deeds.” And yet, Lot did not leave Sodom and Gomorrah until destruction was nearly upon it. If we strive to follow Jesus, the only way we can escape the world is to remain faithful until either we die or Jesus returns.

      Isolation is not the answer. The NT teaches perseverance in the face of trials. Isolation preserves life but it does not teach perseverance. Isolation is selfish — it places the interests and desires of self before the good of others. Isolation is self righteous. It forgets that we are all sinners in need of the blood of Jesus. This realization sows compassion for the sinner in the heart of the righteous. No, isolation is not the answer. The disciple of Jesus is the salt of the earth that slows down the decay of the world. The disciple of Jesus is a light held up high, not placed under a basket. The disciple is island of light in a sea of darkness. And when we are tempted to feel sorry for ourselves, let’s remember the words of Hebrews 12:3-4:

      For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

      In closing, the reason why God created the universe is because He is, by nature, a creative being. The beauty, the design, the incredible attention to detail all testify to this. Human beings, created in the image of God, are by nature creative agents. God saw all that He created was good and we can relate to that sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

  6. How do you claim that “The Lord is just” when the crux of the faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam is a blatant act of infanticide? Abraham proved himself worthy to be the so-called father of the faith by obeying an impulse that would make sense only to a psychopath. The very idea that killing a loved one proves love is psychotic. Attributing that impulse to God was either wildly delusional or, if accurate, proves that the God of the Old Testament was a psychopath — making it just one of oodles of similar proofs that God had not the least compassion for women and children except for those he liked.

    Husband: I want to know that you truly love me.
    Wife: What should I do to prove it to you?
    Husband: Kill our son.

    Btw, I was a born-again, Spirit-filled, holiness-loving Christian for two decades, until I realized how incoherent the whole thing was and how much deeply in denial its defenders are.

    It always bothered me, even as an avid believer, that I served at the pleasure of a being who had his own “son, in whom I am well-pleased” murdered so that a bunch of sinning fools like us could be spared. How does that even make sense?

    “Hmm… I’ve got the solution! I’ll take my closest, most devoted and faithful partner, my own son, my very life, and have him brutally murdered for the sake of a bunch of people who more or less hate me.”

    Who wants to serve someone as twisted as that?

    My point here is NOT that God is twisted. My point is that our stories about God are demented.

    I’d love to hear intelligent responses. These are serious questions and observations. I’ve never seen a Christian come close to an adequate response. But I’ve seen many pull out their figurative crosses and clutch their Bibles and try to ward me off as if I were the devil. They just prove my points.

    I’d actually be relieved to see some real vindication of the “faith”. I’m taking you at your word that this is a place where we can reason together. 🙂

    1. Hi Millard. Thanks so much for the thought-provoking comment. I read it Monday morning and I felt it deserved some careful deliberation before I responded. As you say, these are serious questions that deserve answers. I pray that what I have to say will be truthful and will lead to some profitable exchanges.

      As I read the account in Genesis 22, I walk away with a slightly different understanding of what transpires. When Isaac observes, “The fire and wood are here, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?” Abraham responds, “God himself will provide the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (verses 7-8). It seems to me that Abraham fully trusted that God would provide a sacrifice in place of Isaac. But what if Abraham was wrong? The writer of Hebrews says:

      “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had received the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, even though God had said to him, ‘It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.’ Abraham reasoned that God could raise the dead, and figuratively speaking, he did receive Isaac back from death” (11:17-19).

      Even if Abraham found himself plunging the knife into the son of his old age, he trusted that God would raise this miraculous heir from the dead. Thankfully, God did provide a sacrifice so that Abraham would not be forced to carry this out. The question that comes to my mind is: did God ever intend for Abraham to offer his son as a sacrifice?

      But that’s not really addressing your objection, is it?

      Your objection is (in my words), “Why would God command Abraham to kill his son in the first place? What kind of god would demand such dramatic measures in order for a man to prove his love and fidelity? Therefore, the ‘god of Abraham’ depicted in the Bible cannot be just.”

      In my estimation, the answer to your question hinges on how one defines the term “god.” Since you acknowledge a belief in deity but doubt the veracity of the Old and New Testaments (once again, that’s my take), I would be interested to know how you define the word “god.”

      I believe that the natural realm points to an intelligent agent who is the first cause of the universe and exists outside the constraints of space and time. He has ordained both natural and moral laws that govern everything — and every one — within the material realm. As the designer of the universe, he is the giver of life. Although incomplete, this is how I would define God.

      I could go on to comment on how this definition would affect what transpires in Genesis 22 and elsewhere, but I don’t think our conversation will progress much further until I understand how you define “god” and how it differs from my own. If you are so inclined, I would be glad to continue reasoning with you.

      I look forward to your response.

  7. Riddle me this, if God wants us to hate the world and everything in it, why the **** did he create the world, and if God hates sin so much, why did he create the ****** devil? Better question, Why did God create the devil, sin, original temptation and get off scott free? Hes the beginning and the end, he knows all, yet ****** creates us and punishes us for doing what he knows were going to do. Seems like a ******* scam to me!

    1. Thanks for your honesty. I did edit out the profanity from your comments. I would appreciate it in the future if you would refrain from using that kind of language. Thanks for honoring my request.

      Like I said to both “Lou” and “Sarah” above, I’m sorry I did not approve and respond to your comment more quickly.

      The questions you ask are excellent and they are of great importance. It would help me to better answer your questions if I knew a little bit more about what you believe. I try not to be guilty of reading into what people say online, so I will ask you this: Do you believe in God?

      I really hope you will choose to continue the conversation.

  8. I know God is just, and I trust Him completely and I know I am not worthy of his salvation through Jesus’s death on the cross ..yet He loved me enough to die for me. Still, I am struggling with anger/frustration/depression over the fact that the wicked have prospered at my very great expense by taking from us (me and my family) what we have worked so hard for. It’s not that I want to amass worldly wealth. It’s that our work, our living arrangements, our finances, our kids needs, have all been severely compromised. I’ll spare you most of the details, but this has occurred at the hands of a manipulative ex spouse who has never worked a day in her life and has managed to garner judgements in her favor from the court years after she should not be able to do so and even against the laws of the state. Not only did this ex-spouse want the divorce, she is an unbeliever, and into witchcraft, so my husband let her go as per biblical wisdom.. “Let the unbeliever go if they want to leave”. He and I met and married four years after this happened. She is to this day living a lavish lifestyle of parties, vacations, recreational drugs… On our dime and we are living on the leftovers. She takes us to court everytime she wants more money. She doesn’t work (despite the court ordering her to get a job, they don’t enforce the order); has no kids to care for. Meanwhile my husband and I both put ourselves through higher education and medical school. we have both suffered health challenges that have diminished our ability to work extra like we used to. The court will not allow the ex-spouse have her standard of living diminished, even though our ability to earn is not what it was years ago. She dates men but won’t marry anyone because if she did we would be financially released. I’m becoming so weary of the stress and financial burden from this situation. Lit is not fair and it’s hard to swallow. It’s hard to deal with health and financial challenges while the wicked prosper at my expense. I want to overcome the stress and heavy burden and anger I feel over this but it is proving to be the hardest challenge of my life. I find myself asking God when will the relief come? and then feel convicted when I think of so many people in the world who have it really bad… Christians in the Middle East, children in the sex slave trade. Why can’t I just accept this chastisement and move on?

    1. Hi Sarah. Thank you for your very heartfelt comment. I’m so sorry my approval and reply have arrived late. We had a death in our family and I’m a little late in getting back to the website. I’m sorry.

      Words cannot express the sympathy I feel for your circumstances. I watched a close family member go through a similar situation for a little over 16 years, so your story strikes a deep chord with me.

      I would not necessarily conclude that the Lord is using the American justice system to chasten either you or your husband for some wrong doing. I do believe the Lord chastens His children, but whether that is the case here is beyond my comprehension. I always take great care to avoid thinking or saying things like, “God is doing this.” If it’s good, I praise His name. If it’s bad, I still praise His name and ask for the strength to endure and grow.

      From what you have described, I would say that you are — at least in part — a victim of a broken justice system. God has ordained human governments to punish evildoers and praise those who do good (1 Peter 2:14). Unfortunately, sometimes those who try to do good suffer and those who do evil face little or no consequences. It is unfair. There is no way to sugarcoat it or to put lipstick on this pig. It’s ugly, it’s unfair, it’s unjust. However, this should not surprise us. It’s just part of living in a broken world and trying to honor God-ordained institutions that are filled with broken people guided by broken ideologies.

      I know you feel spent, and weary, and discouraged. You are looking for relief. My recommendation is to look to Jesus:

      Hebrews 12:3-4 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.

      We just buried my wife’s grandfather who was a preacher of the gospel for over 64 years. He often would often paraphrase verse 4, “Don’t worry brethren; it’s going to get worse.” I appreciated those words coming from him. The love of his life died 13 years into their marriage. Another woman pursued him and he married her only to find out that she was mentally ill. He endured more than 40 years of abuse and a miserable marriage but was able to weep at the side of her casket. Why? Because he considered Jesus who endured such hostility from sinners against himself. I love 1 Peter 2:19-24:

      For this is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly. For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.

      From what you describe, you are suffering unjustly while doing good. But if you bear it patiently, God is glorified. If you are a child of God, this is your calling. We are to follow a Savior who was guiltless yet suffered. He bore and he endured and he did so silently trusting that God would not forget Him. He has blazed the trail and now we must take up our cross and follow Him.

      I’ll leave you with one other passage:

      Galatians 6:7-9 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

      Sarah, I will pray for you. Don’t be a stranger!

  9. My question is, if what you are saying is true then What is the point of God putting scripture in the bible that I, a Christian have to follow, and to have faith to attain any material needs from the world through him (God) or to follow in hopes to make ends meet if the rich man who doesn’t believe or acknowledge God gets it on his own, by the power of his own hand and that would go against (Deuteronomy 8:18) if the unbeliever doesn’t acknowledge God or the bible like (Deuteronomy 8:18 ) or any other scripture that pertains to money and still gets wealth then he is doing it by the power of his own hand, or the devil is blessing him and that would go against every scripture in the bible. So is God blessing those that do not acknowledge him, those that hate him. what is the point for it at all. Could you shed some light on this otherwise, Your argument is vague at best.

    1. Hi Lou. I am very sorry for the tardy reply to your questions. I’ll do my best to offer a biblical answer.

      You bring up Deuteronomy 8:18. For the sake of those who are reading this thread, I’ll quote it below:

      And you shall remember the LORD your God, for it is He who gives you power to get wealth, that He may establish His covenant which He swore to your fathers, as it is this day.

      The context of Deuteronomy 8:18 is extremely important. Israel was on the cusp of entering the land of Canaan after 40 years of wandering in the desert. When God talks of the wealth He will provide the nation, He does so in the context of the land they are about to conquer and the wealth it contains. Consider Deuteronomy 6:10-11:

      So it shall be, when the LORD your God brings you into the land of which He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give you large and beautiful cities which you did not build, 11 houses full of all good things, which you did not fill, hewn-out wells which you did not dig, vineyards and olive trees which you did not plant–when you have eaten and are full–

      God is admonishing His people to maintain the right perspective. All that they enjoyed in Canaan was based on a promise given to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and acquired by the power of God. Rather than be lifted up with pride at what they had “achieved,” God urges them to remember their history and remember what He did for them. Should they remain faithful to God, this blessing would continue in perpetuity. Disobedience would nullify the covenant and bring judgment upon the nation. All of this was within the “covenant He swore to their fathers.” This covenant was between the nation of Israel and God.

      In chapter 8, the writer of Hebrews tells us that God has enacted a new covenant through Jesus Christ. The first covenant is “obsolete…and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Within this New Covenant forged by Christ I find no reason to believe the promises of wealth and material security offered under the Old, inferior covenant were carried forward. For example, consider 1 Timothy 6:6-8:

      Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.

      Paul offers no promise of wealth. On the contrary, he urges us to find contentment with the necessities of life such as food and clothing (compare with Matthew 6:19-34) because the pursuit of material wealth is a trap:

      But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness (1 Timothy 6:9-11).

      Paul depicts material wealth as a burden. Consider the words of Jesus: “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:23-24). To me, this is not an enviable position! The road to eternal life is difficult enough. Only a few find their way to heaven and fewer still are able to do so with material wealth (compare Matthew 7:13-14 with 19:23-24). This is why Paul says in 1 Timothy 6:17-19:

      Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy. 18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

      As I look at those who are wealthy, I am tempted, like anyone else, to be envious and perhaps even covetous. Rather than coveting my neighbor’s “blessings,” I choose to work hard, be thankful for what God gives, to learn contentment with life’s necessities, to share when I have opportunity, and to be glad that I am not faced with a temptation that could overcome me to the loss of my soul.

  10. Psalm 73 has been on my heart for some time now. I am glad to find your commentary on this passage. Reading your words reminded me of something I have told my children over the years. I have taught them to choose carefully the measuring stick by which they want to be measured. This is important when we see others getting away with something, or when life seems unfair. In the case of my children it usually crops up when they ask me “how come my brother isn’t helping” or something of that sort. I want them to know that we need to measure ourselves against the love of Christ, not against the poor choices of those around us.

    Sylvia,
    I understand the pain you feel when others who claim the salvation of Christ do not reflect His love in their daily life. Remember that we are all being sanctified by the Holy Spirit, and some of us still have far to go. Be careful not to blame God for the bad things that people do supposedly in his name. They may be true Christians that are still struggling with overcoming sin in their lives, or they may be people who are falsely claiming Christ for their own gain.

    Through His mercy we receive His grace that we might enjoy His peace and experience His joy.

  11. @Sylvia
    Thank you for your comment. The Christian walk is difficult. (Matthew 7:14 “For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life”) The longer I live on this world the more I have come to realize that possibly the hardest aspect of the Christian walk is demonstrating love to our neighbors and our brethren. (Matthew 19:19, I John 4:21) From your remarks it seems as if you are demonstrating love. On this count I cannot offer much more than to try to encourage you to continue demonstrating love, even to those that may not appreciate it. (II Thessalonians 3:13 “As for you, brothers, do not grow weary in doing good.”) In this you are following the example of our Savior who, “first loved us.” (I John 4:19)

    Concerning the second portion of your comment. Romans 8:28 has always been a comfort to me when struggling through adversity. (“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”) Paul reminds us that no matter what our hardship, if we love the Lord, it will work out for the good. I hope this helps. I will keep you in my prayers.

  12. Thanks, Richard for this biblical exposition. I came upon your blog after struggling with someone who supposedly is saved but has acted selfishly and rude. What I don’t understand and am struggling with is why would God heal someone to whom I have been a selfless friend and then allow me to continue to go through awful physical adversity. They only come to when they struggle and I give my heart to them–but yet then they ignore me when I suffer. They are selfish and awful human beings in my book. That I cannot understand–especially if they are saved. I know I must accept the Lord’s sovereignty and should not compare–but this is really affecting my faith right now. Thanks in advance for your blog and listening.

  13. Another angle is considering what “prospering” really is. The wealthy man told of in Luke 16 had a great life it seems. He was rich and lived in luxury. People looked up to him and probably on earth wished they were him. In the short term he appeared to be prosperous. But in the long term he was not prosperous at all, in fact nobody wanted to be him.

    Who of you asked them would take the eternal plight of the wealthy man? Not many. Lazarus on the other hand was eternally prosperous.

    Expecting utopia on earth is not realistic, nor Biblical. I do wonder why so many Christians desire earthly comfort constantly or that expect sin around us to just go away. The home that awaits the saints is eternally perfect and will be free of sin.

    Thanks Richard for your wise thoughts.

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