Have you ever wondered why it seems bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people? It’s an age-old question that has plagued many believers and caused them to waver in their faith in the Lord. In Psalm 73, we see Asaph struggle with the same issue. Asaph was a worship leader in the temple while David was king and wrote Psalm 73-83 (also 50). Even those who lead others sometimes struggle in their faith. Asaph found the answers he was looking for only when he got his eyes back on the Lord and off of worrying about the prosperity of the wicked.
Asaph knew God was good to His people (v. 1a). He knew there was a connection to those who had a pure heart and God’s blessing (v. 1b). However, he admitted he “stumbled” and “slipped” (v. 2) when he prosperity of the wicked (v. 3). Whenever we start comparing ourselves to others, we fall into the enemy’s trap that says God is better to others than He is to me. We begin to question God’s motive and character and start lifting up our good nature and actions as an entitlement for God’s blessings. If we see one wicked person prosper, we begin to wonder why and blame God. We start to pick them apart, just like Asaph did in verses 4-9. While Asaph was right about the evil actions of others, his approach assumed God was unaware, unconcerned, and unfair. He started to get a hard heart towards God by distancing himself from Him instead of keeping the pure heart that came from being close to Him and trusting the Lord. Oh, how we foolishly blame God for things He didn’t do and character He does not have!
When our focus is rooted in the jealousy of others who seem better off than us, we will always be dissatisfied. Like Asaph, we will feel like God’s people are discouraged (v. 10) and God Himself is disengaged (v. 11). We get stuck in “Where is God when bad things happen to good people” and “Why does He allow bad people to prosper?” instead of trusting Him. We over-exaggerate and think “the ungodly are always at ease and increase in riches” (v. 12) as if those are the actual marks of a blessed life. We start to feel abandoned and need to make our case to the Lord of why we deserve the blessings they are receiving (v. 13). It will eventually drive us to the point of being consumed with bitterness toward the Lord and the wicked (v. 14). It will move us away from what He has indeed called us to (v. 15), and the painful point of giving up (v. 16). What do you do if you are at that point?
Asaph finally came to his senses. He had reached the point of distrusting and dismantling his faith “until he went into the sanctuary of God” (v. 17). When he began to worship the Lord again, he regained proper perspective that the wicked seemingly prospered for a fleeting moment in this temporary earth. Still, their destruction was sure, and eternal rewards far outweighed any pleasure this earth had to offer (vv. 17-20). He had to admit, “my heart grieved, my mind was vexed, and I was so foolish and ignorant” (vv. 21-22). Repentance is the beginning of worship and the proper perspective of life. That was the point Asaph realized God was always present, always provided, always guided, always gave wisdom, and always blessed (vv. 23-24). He repented over desiring and idolizing the pleasures of this world over the greatest treasure of all, a relationship with the Lord (v. 25). Worship and repentance will get our eyes off of others and back onto the Lord. Our heart and flesh will be renewed (v. 26) as we “draw near to God,” “put our trust in the Lord,” and “declare all His works” once again instead of distancing, doubting, and complaining (v. 28).
- Have you been doubting the Lord?
- Have you been focused on others more than drawing near to God?
- Have you developed a bitter, distant, doubtful, and grumbling heart towards the Lord?
Lord, help me focus on You and not others. Comparing purity and blessings with others is futile and always leads to bitterness and murmuring. Help my words, thoughts, and actions be pure towards You. Help me trust You and seek eternal riches and blessings. Please help me not become jealous when others prosper temporarily on this earth. May I find my true worth and satisfaction in You. You are good and do good things. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.
Stephen and his wife Haley have called Arkansas home all of their lives. Stephen has served in several ministry roles over the last 25 years and as a lead pastor for the last 8 years. Stephen attended Williams Baptist College and earned a BA in Biblical Studies from Ouachita Baptist University, an MA, MDiv, and DMin in Christian Leadership and Pastoral Ministries from Liberty University. When not pastoring, Stephen enjoys running, cycling, reading, writing, camping, fishing, and spending time with his family.