Do you ever look around at injustice in the world and wonder why God doesn’t step in and do something? Some days it seems like evil has free reign in our world. In fact, it often feels like evil is beating the snot out of all things good.
Here’s just a small sampling of the things I read about in the news today:
– A Chicago man has been accused of planning to kill his wife with a puffer fish. Incredible as it sounds, the man was arrested by federal agents when he attempted to accept delivery of vials of tetrodotoxin. This toxin, made from poison found in puffer fish, is 1,200 times more deadly than cyanide. When agents searched the man’s home they also found syringes, needles, and a book on how to poison people. And it just so happens that the man recently took out a $20 million life insurance policy on his wife. You can read more about his story here.
– Two California teens have been arrested in the brutal murder of a 47-year-old woman. The woman was the mother of one of the teens, a 14-year-old girl. The other teen was the girl’s 19-year-old boyfriend. A possible motive was the woman’s attempt to file statutory rape charges against the teenage boy. Read more here.
– Despite sanctions and warnings by the United Nations to stop its development and testing of nuclear weapons, North Korea remains defiant. Kim Jong II threatened to retaliate a thousand-fold if the US or its allies attempt to infringe on their “republic’s sovereignty.” For more on this story read here.
If you’re like me, you read these kinds of stories and wonder how God can allow this kind of evil, greed, and arrogance to go unchecked. While two of these stories include arrests, there are so many more in which evil seems to remain unpunished. The psalmist asked these same questions in Psalm 73. Here are some of his observations:
– I saw the prosperity of the wicked (vs. 3)
– They are free from the burdens common to man (vs. 5)
– They clothe themselves with violence (vs. 6)
– The evil conceits of their hearts know no limits (vs. 7)
– In their arrogance they threaten oppression.
– They say, “How can God know?” (vs. 11)
– This is what the wicked are like – always carefree, they increase in wealth (vs.12)
After noticing all these things, the psalmist begins to feel like he has wasted his time following God. He wonders if his life would be better if he were like those who did evil. “Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence (Psalm 73:13).”
Have you ever felt like that? Have you wondered “what’s the use of obediently following God and trying to live a holy life when those who scorn God seem to be prospering?” That’s what went through the psalmist’s mind, until…
“When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny (Ps 73:16-17).” The psalmist was discouraged about the state of the world until he entered the presence of God. Spending time with God corrected his perspective. He remembered that this world is temporary at best. God is sovereign. God is just. God will judge those who do evil. He will “cast them down to ruin (vs. 18).”
God, in His perfect timing, will judge all evil. Until then, He is always with us. The psalmist remembered this truth when he took time to enter into God’s presence. This should encourage us not to forsake a daily time with our heavenly Father.
“Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.” Ps 73:23-26