Long ago, a man named Asaph had a problem that many Christians have. He noticed how often arrogant, wicked people get away with being that way.

They are often healthy and prosperous, always having so much of everything. They can lie their way out of trouble. Bragging, proud and sometimes violent, they mock those who work hard and don’t have the things they have. They threaten and speak harshly to those under them.

They act as if they are accountable to no one. Their cohorts who are like them agree that nothing is wrong with what they do. They are foolish enough to think or say, “There is no god,” or “If there is a god, he doesn’t care what I do or say. I am free to act anyway I want and to say whatever I feel like saying, any time I want.”

They curse God and defy him to do anything about it. They are so free and easy in all this, and they seem to suffer no consequences. All the while God remains silent and doesn’t seem to do anything about their wickedness.

Then Asaph looked at his own existence.

“Maybe I have sought the Lord in vain? It seems the more I try to keep from sin and walk in the ways of the Lord, the more trouble comes into my life. Have I put my faith and hope in Christ in vain? Is it worth it to be a believer in Christ? It is just one thing after another.”

But then Asaph came to his senses. He realized to envy the wicked and complain about his circumstances would undermine the faith of other believers. It all seemed so wearisome to him until he got alone and serious with God and his Word. He confessed his doubts and bitterness toward God, and suddenly he remembered that what he saw was not all there is and things were not as they seemed.

God reminded Asaph of the final end of the wicked at the Day of Judgment and he realized the wicked were surely in slippery places, and in the end God will deal with them in justice.

Then Asaph looked beyond all his own troubles and realized God was always right there with him, upholding him, guiding him, and one day would receive him into glory forever.

Only then was Asaph able to look at life and realize if he had Christ as his Lord and Savior he had everything and all he would ever need. God was his rock and portion forever.

You can read Asaph’s account of all this in Psalm 73, but he had learned the lesson before he wrote it. Thus, he could begin with, “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” Remember Jesus preached, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.”

Solomon put it this way:

“Fret not yourself because of evildoers,

And be not envious of the wicked,

For the evil man has no future;

The lamp of the wicked will be put out.” (Proverbs 24:19, 20)

One of the sad consequences of the popular “prosperity gospel,” which is a different gospel from the Bible’s gospel, is the false view of reality and the Christian life it portrays. When folks are taught that God means for Christians to be healthy and wealthy, and the reason any are not is we don’t have enough faith (or give enough money to the preacher), it tempts us to envy those who seem better off than us, even the wicked.

Charles Fitzpatrick is the pastor of Reibers Reformed Baptist Church near Shermans Dale.

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