Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Is Prosperity Always Prosperity?

Psalm 10

I. Does Evil Actually Prosper

A. Even the faithful cannot always see the hand of God in the course of the world’s affairs; small children and parents place life in different timeframes. “Why standest thou afar off, O LORD? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?” (Psalm 10:1) “For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night. Thou carriest them away as with a flood; they are as a sleep: in the morning they are like grass which groweth up.” (Psalm 90:4-5)

B. Wicked people target their evil attentions at the very helpless people whom God has chosen for His own. “The wicked in his pride doth persecute the poor: let them be taken in the devices that they have imagined.” (Psalm 10:2) “His own iniquities shall take the wicked himself, and he shall be holden with the cords of his sins.” (Proverbs 5:22)

C. Instead of shame and repentance, the wicked boast of their evil. “For the wicked boasteth of his heart’s desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.” (Psalm 10:3) “They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily. They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.” (Psalm 73:8-9)

D. The prosperity of the wicked can make believers desperate. “To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. How long wilt thou forget me, O LORD? for ever? how long wilt thou hide thy face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, having sorrow in my heart daily? how long shall mine enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O LORD my God: lighten mine eyes, lest I sleep the sleep of death;” (Psalm 13:1-3)

II. The Wicked Actually Are Wicked

A. People who never take God into their analysis of life are wicked; truth comes to such people the hard way. “The wicked, through the pride of his countenance, will not seek after God: God is not in all his thoughts.” (Psalm 10:4) “And Pharaoh said, Who is the LORD, that I should obey his voice to let Israel go? I know not the LORD, neither will I let Israel go.” (Exodus 5:2)

B. People who cannot understand how God thinks are wicked, not just uninformed or confused. “His ways are always grievous; thy judgments are far above out of his sight: as for all his enemies, he puffeth at them.” (Psalm 10:5) “The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath.” (Proverbs 15:24) “Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:12-14)

C. People who think they are beyond the reach of God are wicked. “He hath said in his heart, I shall not be moved: for I shall never be in adversity.” (Psalm 10:6) “Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.” (Ecclesiastes 8:11)

D. People who wring the truth out of what they say are wicked. “His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity.” (Psalm 10:7) “Who whet their tongue like a sword, and bend their bows to shoot their arrows, even bitter words:” (Psalm 64:3) “None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.” (Isaiah 59:4)

E. People who take advantage of the poor and innocent, displaying no respect for life, are wicked. “He sitteth in the lurking places of the villages: in the secret places doth he murder the innocent: his eyes are privily set against the poor.” (Psalm 10:8)

F. People who treat the helpless as game to be hunted are wicked, from business giants to juvenile delinquents. “He lieth in wait secretly as a lion in his den: he lieth in wait to catch the poor: he doth catch the poor, when he draweth him into his net. He croucheth, and humbleth himself, that the poor may fall by his strong ones.” (Psalm 10:9-10) “My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not. If they say, Come with us, let us lay wait for blood, let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause: Let us swallow them up alive as the grave; and whole, as those that go down into the pit: We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil: Cast in thy lot among us; let us all have one purse: My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path: For their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. And they lay wait for their own blood; they lurk privily for their own lives.” (Proverbs 1:10-18)

III. The Answer Is To Turn to God

A. Trials cause believers to turn to God; people who feel pain get help for the problems causing the pain. “Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up thine hand: forget not the humble.” (Psalm 10:12) “And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.” (Exodus 17:11)

B. Rather than taking direct action, pass the problems on to God; shift burden.
“Wherefore doth the wicked contemn God? he hath said in his heart, Thou wilt not require it. Thou hast seen it; for thou beholdest mischief and spite, to requite it with thy hand: the poor committeth himself unto thee; thou art the helper of the fatherless.” (Psalm 10:13-14)

C. Keep referring problems to God until God solves all of them. “Break thou the arm of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till thou find none.” (Psalm 10:15)

D. Never lose confidence; God never abdicates. “The LORD is King for ever and ever: the heathen are perished out of his land.” (Psalm 10:16) “Saying, There was in a city a judge, which feared not God, neither regarded man: And there was a widow in that city; and she came unto him, saying, Avenge me of mine adversary. And he would not for a while: but afterward he said within himself, Though I fear not God, nor regard man; Yet because this widow troubleth me, I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me. And the Lord said, Hear what the unjust judge saith. And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them?” (Luke 18:2-7)

E. God always listens to His people. “LORD, thou hast heard the desire of the humble: thou wilt prepare their heart, thou wilt cause thine ear to hear:” (Psalm 10:17) “The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him: but the desire of the righteous shall be granted.” (Proverbs 10:24)

F. When God takes care of the helpless, He will take care of all the other problems in life. “To judge the fatherless and the oppressed, that the man of the earth may no more oppress.” (Psalm 10:18)

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