Is There A Difference?
Read Psalm Chapter 73
Ps 73:3 For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. 4 They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. 5 They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. 6 Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. 7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. 8 They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. 9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. 10 Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. 11 They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?”
They say there is nothing new under the sun. Actually that statement is written in the bible.
Ecc 1:9 What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun. 10 Is there anything of which one can say, “Look! This is something new”? It was here already, long ago; it was here before our time.
The writer of this Psalm was aware of the wickedness which was all about him. As we read his description of what he saw, it dawns on us that it is exactly what we are seeing in our world today, especially in the modern Western world. Over the past few decades, we have seen the same things occurring which the Psalmist saw. I suppose that mankind has always been in rebellion against its Maker.
1. The wicked are arrogant. The atheists of the world sit tall on the top of the list of arrogant. They claim that there is no God, yet they proudly and loudly oppose Someone they claim does not exist. They show obvious disdain for anyone who believes in God. After the atheists, come those who show complete disregard for anything that God has to say. Try to tell the man and woman living together without the benefit of marriage that they are in violation of God’s command. You will see arrogance at its finest.
2. Verses 4 and 5 are expressions of what appears to be. It seems to us that the wicked have no struggles, they are healthy and strong, are not plagued by human ills, and are free from the common burdens of man. Of course, that is only our perception of the wicked. Our idea of what their lives are like is tainted by our own vision of disparity between how we see our own lives in comparison to theirs. They do actually suffer many of the same things we do.
3. They wear their pride like a necklace. A good example of that is found in Planned Parenthood, when asked about the issue of abortion. They pride themselves over their belief that what they are doing the “right” thing when relieving women of the “problems” that come with parenthood.
4. We can see that some of the wicked do in fact clothe themselves with violence. In Oakland last year, people from the Occupy Wall Street movement burned buildings and broke windows in city government buildings. In their minds, their cause justified the violence.
5. From their callous hearts comes iniquity. Here is where we can use the openly gay community as an example. They have closed their minds to any possibility that God is against same-sex actions. For that reason, iniquity has become their pride and joy. Their hearts cherish iniquity as a type of ‘god’ that is worshiped. We can also say the “evil conceits of their minds know no limits.”
6. The wicked scoff and speak with malice, and in their arrogance they threaten oppression. There are so many examples of this truth that we need not think of specific ones. The wicked obviously do not hold Christians in high esteem, and they oppose them with malice and threaten oppression at every turn.
7. Their mouths lay claim to Heaven and their tongues take possession of the earth. Here is a scary thought. Among those who have rejected the righteousness of God are many who believe that they are just as bound for Heaven as are any of those who have accepted Christ and His word. Their thinking leads them to believe that if there is a God, He would never condemn anyone to an eternity in Hell. That should grieve each of us, for we know their fate will be horrible. As far as taking possession of the earth, we see examples every day where the wicked wish to control the Christians and do away with any morality standard which remotely resemble what the bible teaches.
8. Their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. The world makes haste to accept any doctrine which allows them to continue in sin, unhindered by any moral authority. The message of the wicked “frees” man to do whatever he wishes to do.
We cannot escape the wickedness which appears to be taking over all facets of life today. The message for us is this: we have no choice but to live among the wickedness of this world, until such time as Christ returns. But we are required to always be the example of Christlikeness, so that some will see and turn away from their wickedness. May it be so.
Prayer: Father, continue to give us the strength to live in this world which has turned far away from You.