The Prosperity of The Wicked

In his book, Balancing the Tightrope, Barry Powell relates that in a survey of over 200,000 college freshman, 76% listed financial prosperity as the most important of their life goals. Is it any wonder that one of the top issues in almost every Presidential election is the econom … More

Prosperity

This psalm returns to the problem David had in Psalm 37 and was emphasized again in Psalm 49. It deals with the age old problem of what seems to be the prosperity of the wicked and the suffering of the godly.

  1. The problem is stated  (vv. 1-3) - Even though the Psalmist has confidence that God  is good (v.1) he confesses that he had almost lost his faith and decided that wickedness paid (v. 2). The reason for his doubt was that he was envious of the prosperity of the wicked (v.3) as he saw wealth being enjoyed by proud and boastful men.
  2. The problem is studied - (vv. 4-16) - From outward appearance the ungodly seem to be free from the terror of death (v.4) but this does not mean that they actually are. It only seems that they are. They also seem to be free from the troubles of life (v. 5).as their money, their influence and their power shields them from many of the plagues of the poor. Even though their sinful behavior troubled the Psalmist (v. 6) their good health, money in the bank and everything the heart could wish brought a touch of envy to his soul (v. 7). They spoke against God (vv. 8-9) and were very boastful (vv. 10-16).
  3. The problem is solved - (vv. 17-28) - The Psalmist records:

(a) his own foolishness (vv. 17-22)

(b) his own future (vv. 23-26)

(c) his own faith (vv. 27-28

as he contrasts that which awaits the godless rich man in comparison to what the godly life has to offer.

Application

What are the things that the world has to offer that tempts me?  Even though I know better, have the thoughts ever crossed my mind that the wicked seem to have a better life than the righteous? I don’t want material prosperity to possess me. I want to be committed to serving the Lord no matter what?

Psalms 73:1-09 (English Standard Version)


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