"Why Didn't This Happen To Them-Psalm 73
Intro:Bible scholars tell us that the oldest book in the Bible is the book of Job. Over 4,000 years ago this godly man was perplexed by the same problem. (Job 21:7-15):
Solomon, the wisest man who ever lived, who came along 2,000 years later, also raised the same question. In Eccl. 7:15, "I have seen all things in my days of vanity: there is a just man who perishes in his righteousness, and there is a wicked man who prolongs his life in his wickedness."
One of the greatest preachers of the Old Testament, the prophet Jeremiah, had the same problem. He brought it up before God in Jere. 12:1, "Righteous are you, O Lord, when I plead with you, yet let me talk with you about your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?"
********************* 4,000 years from Solomon we are still asking the same question, still perplexed by the same difficulty. The world does seem topsy-turvy. Drug dealers are swimming in oceans of opulence, while the Sister Teresa's of this world are sweating in the pits of poverty. It just does not seem right. It seems as the poet put it, "Truth is forever on the scaffold, and wrong is forever on the throne."
It makes you wonder. Is honesty the best policy? Do nice guys finish last? Does crime really pay? If honesty is the best policy; if nice guys don't finish last; if crime doesn't pay; then why do good things happen to bad people? This was the question Asaph raised and we're going to follow him as he works through the answer to this difficulty:
I-DELIGHTED IN GOD'S WORD(V.1)
A-the conclusion he reaches(v.1a) 1-regardless of circumstances, troubles, trials, tribulations, problems or perplexities, God is good.
B-character he repsects (v.1b)"-the pure in heart"
1-The reason why the psalmist begins with God is because he knows that only God is the answer to life's greatest problems. God is on the throne. God is in control. God is good!
II-DISTURBED BY GOD'S WAYS (V.2)
A-his doubt disturbed him (v.2)
1- Asaph was stumbling on the slippery steps of doubt 2-does it really pay to serve God?
3-when trouble comes into your life, or a problem occurs to you that you cannot answer, it will either drive you toward God, or it will drive you away from God. It will either make you better or it will make you bitter
B-his disillusonment disturbed him (v.3)
1-by the prosperity of The wicked (.v7,12)
2-by the peace of the wicked (v.5)
3-by the pride of the wicked (v.6) 4-by the pleasure of the wicked (v.4)
a- they not only had wealth, they had health b-they not only enjoyed fiscal prosperity, they enjoyed physical prosperity. "They smoke, but they don't get cancer. They drink, but they don't get cirrhosis of the liver. They never get sick. They live to be a ripe old age. All the time they are as happy as happy could be, having the time of their lives. Life is just one big party with all expenses paid.
They don't seem to have a worry in the world. They never worry about medical bills, college tuition, high taxes. They never have to change dirty diapers or wash dirty dishes. They are surrounded by maids and nannies and servants.
5-by the power of the wicked v.8-9)
6-by the popularity of the wicked(v.10)
7-by the passing of the wicked (.4)
a-Asaph thought to himself that at least the wicked man would die a terrible, fearful, painful death. But to his amazement even this did not happen. He watched the wicked man die and he died with a smile on his face. He died just like a righteous man. He pulled up the sheet, kissed all the children, turned up his toes, laid back his head, closed his eyes and died
b-Asaph had forgotten something . It is not how you die, it is where you go after you die that really matters. A wicked man may live like a wolf, and die like a lamb, but he will spend eternity with the goats!
III-DELIVERED BY GOD'S WORK
A. he envied the sinner
1-If you will count up the words "them, their, and they" you will discover these words are used no less than fifteen times in the first twelve verses of this Psalm. Asaph's problem was he had taken his eyes off the Savior and had focused them on the sinner. Instead of keeping his eyes on God, he had put them on gold. Instead of putting his eyes on righteousness, he put them on riches. When he did he became envious of the wicked. He became envious of the sinner. He began to wonder, "Maybe it's better to live like a sinner than it is to die like a saint. If it pays to be bad why not be bad? If it doesn't pay to be good then why be good?"
B-he entered the sanctuary(v.17)"untill"
C-he envisioned the solution
1-saw the teribble state of the sinner (v.18-20)
2-saw the future triumphant of the saint
a-the presence of God(v.23a)
b-the promise of God(v.24) ***guidance and glory!
c-the protection of God(v.23b)
D-he expressed his satisfaction(v.25-26)
E- He Encouraged The Saints(v.28)