Several years ago I was standing in the TCC parking lot when a motorcyclist was killed. I was the first person to the body. His family had no faith, but now they had to prepare for a funeral, so they asked if I would officiate. One of the dead man’s friends asked me, “Pastor, where was God when my friend was hit?” I paused, knowing that this question was difficult to answer in a way that he could hear it. When I said, “God was right there.” he blurted out, “Well then, God can go to hell!” His response highlights the sense of injustice we feel when God doesn’t run the Universe the way we think He should.
A godly man named Asaph struggled with this—and he nearly walked away from his faith (Psalm 73). Why was Asaph so honest, so vulnerable, in telling us his story? God preserved Asaph’s story for us so that we could learn from his experience and not make his mistake. There are many causes of spiritual defection: One of the most lethal is a preoccupation with how God deals with others. From Asaph’s experience we learn that comparison is deadly to your spiritual life. We become envious, we doubt God’s goodness. What’s really troublesome is when God seems to be blessing those who, from our perspective, don’t deserve it. That was Asaph’s problem. They were breaking all the rules and getting away with it! Not only were they getting away with it, they were prospering because of it (v. 5, 12).
Of whom are you envious? Specifically of people who break all the rules and seen to profit from it? Be careful. We are on a slippery slope when we begin to question God’s dealings with those around us. Comparison leads to envy, and envy to spiritual defection (v. 15). How we handle our doubt is critical. That is why Asaph’s experience is so valuable (v. 16-20). It was in church that Asaph gained the perspective he needed to personally embrace God’s justice and God’s goodness. Asaph learned that there is a payday someday. God will judge the wicked. Justice will be served. They are not getting away with something. Our problem is that we think in terms of this life only. Asaph experienced a personal spiritual revival which helped him put things into their proper perspective (v. 25- 26). When our eyes are fixed on God and are experiencing the joy of fellowship with him, we are not as easily tempted to compare ourselves with our neighbor (v. 28).