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Do Good Things Happen to Bad People?

The Psalms

This last Sunday we looked at Psalm 73. This psalm displays Asaph’s struggle as he observes the wicked prospering while the righteous suffer. Asaph looks horizontally and sees the prosperity of the wicked and how they mock God. He then shifts his focus heavenward and finds correction for his heart. It is then that he can say, “Whom have I in heaven but you?”

As you consider the justice of God through life’s circumstances, we invite you to listen to the sermon here.

Discussion Questions

  1. In what ways does your “Statement of Faith” not seem to correspond with your experience? In other words, where does your Christian doctrine seem to be contradicted by the “real” world?
  2. What are the ways that Psalm 73 reflects Psalm 1, and in what ways does Psalm 74 reflect Psalm 2?
  3. Psalm 74 describes the destruction of the Temple. Why was it a good thing for the Temple to be destroyed? As we think about how Psalm 74 reflects Psalm 2, how is it that Solomon’s Temple could never be the fulfillment of Psalm 2? (see especially Psalm 2:7-9) What is the fulfillment of Psalm 2? (see Acts 13:32-33; Romans 1:4; John 1:14, 2:19; 1 Corinthians 3:16)
  4. Psalm 73:11 expresses the conclusion of the wicked who are prospering. How could they come to this conclusion? What does this say about their view of God?
  5. What danger is Asaph alluding to in Psalm 73:15?
  6. What instruction or life-wisdom can we draw from Psalm 73:17a?
  7. How can we, as Christians, obey this instruction?
  8. In Psalm 73:20, the word “phantom” is the Hebrew word often translated “image” and can be used to describe man, made in God’s image or an image crafted to be an idol. Why and how do you think the Psalmist uses the word here? Contrast God’s response to the wicked in verse 20 to His relationship to the righteous in verses 23-24.
  9. In Psalm 74, the situation is bleak with the tabernacle destroyed and prophecy gone (v. 9). In light of this, how are verses 1-3, 10-11 a great expression of faith? How might we, in times of suffering, show this same kind of faith?
  10. What two great historic events does the Psalmist allude to in Psalm 74:12-17? How does this correspond with the songs of the church in Revelation 4:11; 5:9-10?
  11. How does the doctrine of creation help us in times of suffering? (For further consideration, see Jeremiah 10:11-16; Job 38:1ff; Isaiah 40:12-31 – be sure to read all the way to the application in vv. 29-31).