I picked up yesterday morning’s newspaper and my attention was immediately drawn to an article on the front page. Standing there, riveted by the content I read all the way through to the end and I thought to myself, “how the mighty fall”. About two weeks ago I preached on Psalm 73. This Psalm speaks so clearly and empathetically to our context. According to the Psalmist; Asaph, he is doing everything “by the book” but the blessings of God are always escaping him and are finding their way to the wicked people around him. “How could this be!” exclaims Asaph. “Life is not fair!”, “God is robbing me!” These words exclaimed by Asaph thousands of years ago have their residence in our hearts and mouths as well.
Life just doesn’t seem fair to the pastor who expounds scripture with integrity of heart yet the man who is promoting a false gospel has a larger congregation, driving a smarter car, earning a fatter salary, has a bigger building and enjoys more fame. Life just doesn’t seem fair to the businessman who’s running his business God’s way but the other businessman down the road is cheating, defrauding, slandering and manipulating his customers yet he’s growing richer, his shop is expanding, more people are flocking to him and he’s the shop everyone’s talking about. Life doesn’t seem fair to the university student and the scholar who is diligently working hard and producing his or her assignments with fairness only to be frustrated by the success of the student who’s getting ahead in spite of plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Do these scenarios sound familiar to you? I think these scenarios are familiar to every one of us. And like Asaph we too exclaim, “Life is NOT fair!”
As the Psalm unfolds, Asaph discovers that the fate of the wicked lies ultimately in the hand of our great God. We may not see it now, neither can they see it, but the misplaced hope in their wealth puts them on slippery ground. A day is coming when God will remove their foundations of illegal earnings, coerced and manipulated fame and he will make them as nothing. Do not be tempted to leave your innocent ways so that you can achieve what the wicked are achieving. What they achieve will be short lived. Asaph himself knew how tempting it was when he said, “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure and washed my hands in innocence”. But praise the Lord that Asaph understood the instability of the wicked when he saw thing from God’s point of view.
Why did the newspaper article captivate my attention so much? Many years ago when my dad and I was in business we were robbed of hundreds of thousands of rands by businessmen who “went bankrupt”. Their bankruptcy resulted in our bankruptcy. Consequently we immediately went into debt, we lost all our vehicles, we barely had food, and finally the bank repossessed our house. For many years we struggled. Life was tough! The article that caught my attention yesterday told the story of one of the businessmen who closed his financial doors on us. This is how the article concluded with the words of this businessman, “I own nothing now. My reputation is in tatters and my career is ruined. I am a white male. I will be 70 on my next birthday and I am looking for a job.” He made this comment after discovering that he was robbed of all of his R12 000 000 (yes, twelve million!). The wicked are always on slippery ground.
God always catches his man!