Psalm 73: If God is Good, Why Do Evil, Arrogant People Prosper?

Psalm 73: If God is Good, Why Do Evil, Arrogant People Prosper?

At this time of war in Israel, you may wonder why and how the evil leaders of Hamas are sitting pretty in their luxurious abodes in Qatar without a care in the world watching it all from afar. Well, back in Israel’s early days, a guy named Asaph wondered the same thing. At first, he wondered why, but then cried to God. Let’s dig in…

Psalm 73

A psalm of Asaph.

Truly God is good to Israel,
    to those whose hearts are pure.
But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
    My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
For I envied the proud
    when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
They seem to live such painless lives;
    their bodies are so healthy and strong.
They don’t have troubles like other people;
    they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
    and clothe themselves with cruelty.
These fat cats have everything
    their hearts could ever wish for!
They scoff and speak only evil;
    in their pride they seek to crush others.
They boast against the very heavens,
    and their words strut throughout the earth.
10 And so the people are dismayed and confused,
    drinking in all their words.
11 “What does God know?” they ask.
    “Does the Most High even know what’s happening?”
12 Look at these wicked people—
    enjoying a life of ease while their riches multiply.

13 Did I keep my heart pure for nothing?
    Did I keep myself innocent for no reason?
14 I get nothing but trouble all day long;
    every morning brings me pain.

15 If I had really spoken this way to others,
    I would have been a traitor to your people.
16 So I tried to understand why the wicked prosper.
    But what a difficult task it is!
17 Then I went into your sanctuary, O God,
    and I finally understood the destiny of the wicked.
18 Truly, you put them on a slippery path
    and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction.
19 In an instant they are destroyed,
    completely swept away by terrors.
20 When you arise, O Lord,
    you will laugh at their silly ideas
    as a person laughs at dreams in the morning.

21 Then I realized that my heart was bitter,
    and I was all torn up inside.
22 I was so foolish and ignorant—
    I must have seemed like a senseless animal to you.
23 Yet I still belong to you;
    you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
    leading me to a glorious destiny.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    I desire you more than anything on earth.
26 My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak,
    but God remains the strength of my heart;
    he is mine forever.

27 Those who desert him will perish,
    for you destroy those who abandon you.
28 But as for me, how good it is to be near God!
    I have made the Sovereign Lord my shelter,
    and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.

Psalm 73 NLT

Psalm 73 starts Book 3 of Psalms. The next 11 psalms were written by Asaph. Who was Asaph? Pastor Sandy Adams explains…

The original Asaph, along with Heman, and Jeduthun, was one King David’s three chief musicians. Psalm 73-83, along with Psalm 50, are credited to Asaph. Asaph was not only a godly man and a skilled musician – but he was able to leave behind a legacy of praise, and passion, and faithfulness.

The sons of Asaph became a Temple guild that supervised worship for generations. For the next 600 years every time a spiritual awakening occurs in Israel it seems the sons of Asaph have a crucial role.

Pastor Sandy Adams

Obviously, even though these next psalms say “Asaph”, it was not all the same person as they cover several decades of Israel’s history.

Why do Evil People Prosper?

That’s the conundrum of the ages! Here’s more from Pastor Sandy…

When he saw the drug dealer’s mansion – the tax evader’s new sports car – the crime boss’ beachfront condo… He became envious and almost stumbled. He almost bought into the idea, “Good guys finish last” – that sin does pay. The psalmist was almost blinded by life’s injustices and apparent contradictions.

Asaph almost forgot that God always gets the last laugh. The psalmist was walking by sight not by faith. He came close to denying what he knew, because of situations he couldn’t explain.

Pastor Sandy Adams

Taking the Question to God

Naturally, whether it’s the Islamist terrorist or the members of the drug cartels, or even corrupt politicians — no matter — take the question to God! The folks at Spoken Gospel explain…

But then, Asaph takes his question into the temple of God and he sees the answer (Psalm 73:17). On the altar an animal has been slaughtered and its blood has pooled on the floor. It’s a symbol that no one gets off the hook. No one fools God (Psalm 73:18-19). What looks like success and affluence now, will be nothing more than a dream that is quickly forgotten upon waking (Psalm 73:20). Evil humans have not fooled God. God has kept a meticulous record of their pride and violence. Their bill will become due. 

Asaph realizes his questions are short-sighted (Psalm 73:21-22). Asaph neglected to acknowledge that God was with him in his suffering (Psalm 73:23). God was even guiding him to a life of wealth, power, and glory (Psalm 73:24). Asaph’s question betrayed that he had forgotten God was with him (Psalm 73:26, 28). But since God is with him, he now knows there is nothing the proud, evil, and corrupt can ultimately do to harm him.

Where is the Gospel?

When Asaph entered the temple he learned his questions about God’s goodness did not account for the facts that God will punish evil soon and God is with his people. We learn these same facts in the life of Jesus. 

Like the dead animal Asaph saw in the temple, Jesus’ bloodied body on the cross is a symbol that no one gets off the hook and no one fools God. But Jesus wasn’t overpowered by evil and pride. Jesus wanted to become a sacrifice (John 10:18). Jesus willingly embodied the consequences of human evil and pride, so that we can know that human evil and pride are always and inevitably judged. God is good because Jesus willingly died to prove that the bill for evil always comes due. 

And in Jesus, God is present with his people in a way Asaph never imagined. God suffers like us and with us. But Jesus’ resurrection also demonstrates that he has the power to guide his suffering people into a life of eternal wealth, power, and glory beyond our imagining. God is not indifferent to the suffering of good people. Instead, he enters into it so that he can raise us out of the hands of the proud, evil, and violent. There’s always more to be said about the problem of evil. But for now, remember that we have been given something better than satisfied curiosity. We have been given God himself.

See For Yourself

I pray that the Holy Spirit will open your eyes to see the God who is with his people. And may you see Jesus as the one who enters our suffering and announces the end of evil.

Spoken Gospel


Likewise, just as Asaph did, we need to take our questions to Jesus. As you know, He is our mediator. He is our problem-solver. Besides that, He gave us the Counselor, the Comforter, and the Advocate –aka, the Holy Spirit. Asaph and his sons didn’t have the gift that all true, born-again Christian believers have.

11 For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. 12 And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, 13 while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. 14 He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

Titus 2:11-14 NLT

Are YOU Free from Sin?

If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…

Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.

  • Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
  • Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
  • Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
  • Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.

Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…

Whom Shall I Fear?

The Goodness of God

Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be The Glory!

Leave a Comment

Skip to content