Have you ever wondered why wicked people prosper? A psalmist named Asaph asked that very question in Psalm 73.
“Does God realize what is going on? Look at these arrogant people — enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply. They scoff and speak only evil; in their pride they seek to crush others” (vs. 11a, 12, 8)
It’s not wrong to ask these difficult questions; the problem arises when we allow them to hinder our faith.
“Was it for nothing that I kept my heart pure and kept myself from doing wrong? For I envied the proud when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness. They seem to live such a painless life; their bodies are so healthy and strong. They aren’t … plagued with problems like everyone else” (vs. 13, 3-5)
But he realizes the peril of his path just in time.
“I came so close to the edge of the cliff! My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone” (vs. 2b)
Suddenly, his perspective pivots from fleshly envy to divine understanding. Why?
“I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny” (vs. 17, NIV)
In the light of heaven’s infinite glory, he clearly sees the folly of people living for earth’s fleeting pleasures.
“Their present life is only a dream that is gone when they awake” (vs. 20a)
Asaph repents for his bitterness and envy, trusting the Lord to establish His sovereign order and priorities.
In God’s presence, he enters a miraculous dimension and comprehends the matchless inheritance of the righteous.
Then, in a magnificent affirmation of trust, he declares:
“Whom have I in heaven but You? I desire You more than anything on earth. My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; He is mine forever” (vs. 25-26)
It’s easy to be tainted by envy in a modern world plagued with materialism and corruption. But as we spend time in the Lord’s cleansing presence, we see the lost through His eyes — with compassion.
Transformed by grace, the psalmist concludes,
“I will tell everyone about the wonderful things You do” (vs. 28b)
And so God is urgently compelling us to reach out with His love to a tragically deceived world, revealing the reality of eternal life.