Why do Good Things Happen to Bad People? – church notes + commentary

This is the question that people have been asking for a longgggg time, but have you found the answer yet?  Perhaps we are asking the wrong question.  Maybe it’s time to accept that good things happening to bad people is just a part of life.  A better question is, what do we do now?

In the Bible, Asaph wondered the same thing…

Psalm 73:1-16 (NLT)

1 Truly God is good to Israel,
to those whose hearts are pure.
2 But as for me, I almost lost my footing.
My feet were slipping, and I was almost gone.
3 For I envied the proud
when I saw them prosper despite their wickedness.
4 They seem to live such painless lives;
their bodies are so healthy and strong.
5 They don’t have troubles like other people;
they’re not plagued with problems like everyone else.
6 They wear pride like a jeweled necklace
and clothe themselves with cruelty.
7 These fat cats have everything
their hearts could ever wish for!
8 They scoff and speak only evil;
in their pride they seek to crush others.
9 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! 

1. It’s okay to have questions, but be careful

  • Positive side to having questions- In searching for answers, if you go to God in prayer, by reading the Bible, etc… you will end up being closer to God than before, regardless of whether or not you find the answer you were looking for.
    • Be careful about going from questions to blaming God; going over the line to pointing finger at God
  • The Bible says,
    • Job wondered, “Why does God let evil people live,
          let them grow old and prosper? “- Job 21:7 (GNT)
    • The author of Ecclesiastes stated “My life has been useless, but in it I have seen everything. Some good people may die while others live on, even though they are evil.” – Ecclesiastes 7:15 (GNT)
      • Then went on to say, “And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless! ” – Ecclesiastes 8:14 (NLT)
    • Jeremiah questioned the Lord, “Why are the wicked so prosperous?  Why do dishonest people succeed?”- Jeremiah 12:1 (GNT)
    • Habakkuk asked God, “But how can you stand these treacherous, evil men? Your eyes are too holy to look at evil, and you cannot stand the sight of people doing wrong. So why are you silent while they destroy people who are more righteous than they are?” – Habakkuk 1:13 (GNT)

The answer to why good things happen to bad people?  It’s called Life.  Even Jesus basically said that when he said during the Sermon on the Mount, “For he (God) makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil”- Matthew 5:45b (GNT)

But are you so focused on this question that you’re missing the big picture?

  • 2. Things look different through a telescope than a microscope
    • The difference is perspective
    • Sometimes we get so caught up and close up to the issue that we miss the big picture

Getting back to Asaph…

Psalm 73:17-20 (NLT)

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.

See what Asaph did?  He went to the Lord to search for answers and came to gain an understanding of what God was up to.

Instead of getting caught up in why good things happen to bad people, we should  remind ourselves that God is in control.  He’s got the whole world in his hands.  God is the author of history and it’s his story, so let him write!

In the Bible, David put it this way,

Be still in the presence of the Lordand wait patiently for him to act.  Don’t worry about evil people who prosper or fret about their wicked schemes.” – Psalm 37:7

  • In other words, let God be God.
  • 3. I must guard my heart & focus on God’s faithfulness

Lets see what happened to Asaph,

Psalm 73:21-28 (NLT)

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.

Asaph’s heart got bitter because he got so caught up with why good things were happening  to bad people.  Back in verse 2, his feet were slipping, but instead of blaming God he realized God is in control and focused on God’s faithfulness.

Back to my original question, what should we do now considering the fact that good things happening to bad people is just a part of life?

  • We should NOT blame God
  • We should grow closer to God while searching for answers
  • We should keep in mind that God is in control of all things
  • We should guard our heart focus on God’s faithfulness

The end.

This blog post was made possible by attending Foothills Community Church in Seneca, SC on 3/05/17 – To watch the sermon online go to foothillscc.org watch/listen page, look up “Why Do Good Things Happen to Bad People” in the “WHY” Series.

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