May 30, 2024

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PROSPERITY OF THE WICKED: A FLEETING ILLUSION, ENVY THEM NOT

IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.

TOPIC: PROSPERITY OF THE WICKED: A FLEETING ILLUSION, ENVY THEM NOT

SERMON BY-:
Rev Innocent Chukwudi Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM

“I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
Psalm 73:2

Even though the “wicked” may seem to prosper in the short term, ultimately, those who do right will triumph as they will be rewarded.

“Beloved, in these challenging times, it can be easy to feel disheartened by the prosperity of those who do not follow God’s way.

We may wonder why those who do evil seem to prosper, while those who follow God’s path may struggle. But let us remember that God sees all and rewards those who do right.

Though it may not be evident now, ultimately, those who do good will triumph. So let us not be discouraged by the wicked, but instead let us continue to strive for what is right and just.

God sees all, and though we may not always see the results of doing good immediately, we can be assured that God will ultimately reward those who do what is right.

The psalmist says,
“The LORD upholds the righteous and protects them, and their reward will be with the LORD their God.”

Though the wicked seem to prosper in the present, we must remember that their prosperity is fleeting.

The wicked may enjoy their wealth for a time, but it will not last. In contrast, the righteous may not have much in the present, but they will be rewarded in the end.

“I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.
They are free from common human burdens; they are not plagued by human ills.
Therefore pride is their necklace, they clothe themselves with violence.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity
their evil imaginations have no limits.
They scoff, and speak with malice; with arrogance they threaten oppression.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth.
Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance.
They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
This is what the wicked are like—always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.”
Psalm 73:2-12

The psalmist says “I had nearly lost my foothold, for I envied the arrogant, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked” which means that we should not be consumed with worry, envy or jealousy because of the prosperity and actions of the wicked.

It’s important to remember that their actions are not a reflection of us, and their prosperity not what should be envied, we should not let them affect our state of mind.

Secondly “neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity,” goes further to tell us that we should not envy or begrudge the prosperity of the wicked. Rather, we should trust in God and focus on doing what is right.

These verses from Psalm 73 paint a vivid picture of the arrogance and pride of the wicked, and the corresponding frustration and envy of the righteous.

The psalmist is struggling to understand why the wicked seem to prosper, while the righteous suffer.

But in the end, the psalmist realizes that God is in control, and that those who trust in Him will be vindicated in the end.

These verses show the importance of trusting in God and not getting caught up in worldly pursuits.

It’s important to understand that the psalmist is not condoning the attitudes and actions of the wicked, but rather describing them as an illustration of what not to do.

The wicked are described as “always free of care” and “amassing wealth.” This implies that they are focused solely on worldly pursuits and do not consider the consequences of their actions.

They mock God and those who follow Him, believing that they are above the laws of God and that of man.

For the psalmist, seeing the prosperity of the wicked caused him to question their own faith and understanding of God’s plan.

In verses 2-3, the psalmist says, “I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.”

The psalmist is struggling to reconcile the idea of a just and loving God with the apparent success of those who reject Him.

The psalmist is tempted to envy the apparent ease of the wicked, but in the end they realize that it is only a facade.

“When I tried to understand all this,
it troubled me deeply
till I entered the sanctuary of God;
then I understood their final destiny.
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!
They are like a dream when one awakes; when you arise, Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.
Psalm 73:16-20

These verses show that the psalmist’s understanding of God and His plan is renewed when he entered the sanctuary of God.

It is only there that they are able to see beyond the surface level prosperity of the wicked and understand that God is ultimately in control.

The final destiny of the wicked is “ruin,” and their prosperity is only an illusion that will be swept away. God is compared to a person who awakens from a dream and dismisses the illusory nature of the dream.

The psalmist is reassured that God will ultimately deal with the wicked in His time.

It’s so important to focus on the right path rather than falling into the trap of envying the wicked or trying to emulate them.

The temptation to emulate the wicked may be strong, but we must remember that their prosperity is a fleeting illusion.

Rather than envy or emulate them, we should focus on following God’s will and helping those in need.

We may not see the fruit of our labor immediately, but in the end we will be glad that we remained righteous in the eyes of God.

The saying “if you can’t beat them, join them” is often used to justify unethical or immoral behavior. It can be tempting to use it as an excuse, but we must remember that it is never okay to compromise our values just to get ahead.

Instead of trying to join the wicked, we should focus on creating a better future by standing up for what is right.

We can make a difference even if we don’t see the results right away. Let’s not succumb to the pressure of thinking we need to be like the wicked in order to succeed.

In Nigeria, it can be especially difficult to resist the urge to compromise one’s values when so many “respected” individuals seem to be doing so.

However, even if it feels like the “holy men of God” are supporting evil, forgery and daylight corruption we must remember that God is the ultimate judge, and no one is above His justice.

We should stand by what we know is right, even if it is unpopular. It’s important to not lose sight of the principles we stand for, even when those around us may seem to be going against them.

The importance of integrity cannot be over emphasized. In times of difficulty, it can be especially important to stay true to our values.

Having integrity means being honest, having strong moral principles, and doing the right thing even when it is hard.

When we compromise our integrity, we are essentially betraying ourselves.

We must remember that the choices we make and the values we uphold are what truly define us, not the opinions of others.
Let’s stand up for what we believe in, even if it means standing alone.

When we act with integrity, we build trust with others and gain a sense of satisfaction and fulfillment from knowing we are living according to our values.

Even if the world around us seems to be bending the rules or cutting corners, we can maintain our own standards and feel proud of the way we conduct ourselves.

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.”
Psalm 1:1-3

That’s a beautiful choice of scripture, from Psalm 1. It sums up the message we’ve been discussing so far, about the importance of staying true to our values, even when it’s difficult.

The “blessed” man is one who avoids the temptation of the “ungodly” and instead finds joy in the “law of the Lord”. Like a tree planted by water, he will be fruitful and successful in his endeavors.

This is a powerful message that reminds us to keep our eyes on the prize and stay the course, no matter what.

The Psalmist goes on to warn against the dangers of straying from the path of righteousness:
“The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.”
These verses are a stark reminder that those who do not follow God’s ways will not be rewarded but must be destroyed in the end.

  • Psalm 1 also describes the fate of those who live by God’s ways (the “blessed” man) vs. those who do not (the “ungodly”).
  • Living by God’s ways requires integrity and a commitment to doing what is right, even when it is difficult.
  • Though it may seem like the ungodly are thriving, they will not succeed in the end.
  • By living in integrity, we can find satisfaction and fulfillment, knowing that we are doing the right thing.

Let’s take a closer look at some of the key elements in Psalm 1. The “blessed” man is described as one who “delights in the law of the Lord”. This speaks to a deep sense of commitment and devotion to God’s ways.

The man who follows God’s ways is like a tree that has access to a steady source of nourishment, which allows him to bear fruit and flourish.

In contrast, the “ungodly” man is described as “like chaff that the wind blows away”. This emphasizes the temporary and fleeting nature of a life lived without integrity.

In the context of Nigeria, we can see a clear parallel between the “blessed” man in Psalm 1 and those who live lives of integrity, seeking to do what is right for their country.

They may face challenges and persecution, but their faith and determination will ultimately be rewarded.

On the other hand, those who engage in corruption and dishonesty may reap the rewards of their actions in the short term, but their actions will ultimately lead to their downfall.

It is therefore important for all Nigerians to reflect on the message of Psalm 1 and strive to live by its principles.

Psalm 37 expands on the consequences of a life lived without integrity. Verse 9 warns that the “wicked” will eventually be cut down, while verse 11 assures that the righteous will see God’s justice prevail.

In light of these messages, it is clear that the only path to true success is through living a life of integrity, as outlined in Psalm 1.

The “wicked” may seem to be doing well in the present, but their end will not be a happy one. Only those who trust in God and follow His ways can truly be considered blessed.

SHALOM!

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