Let’s begin our answer by reading Psalm 73:1-5, “Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart. But as for me, MY FEET HAD ALMOST STUMBLED; MY STEPS HAD NEARLY SLIPPED, for I WAS ENVIOUS OF THE BOASTFUL, when I was the prosperity of the wicked, for there are no pangs in their death, but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men, nor are they plagued like other men.” This Psalm was written by a godly Israelite named Asaph. He knew the “One true God” that had blessed the “pure in heart in Israel.” But there came a time when Asaph started to look around him and as he observed the ungodly, wicked sinners around him he began to doubt God’s goodness and righteousness, for he saw that they were healthy and wealthy without a care in the world. We read that he “was ENVIOUS of the boastful.” In other words, Asaph was in a very similar dilemma that you are in, for he too was about to “give up and start living like everyone else.”

In verses 6-12 he continues to describe how blessed they were in spite of their blasphemy against God and then he says, “Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence. For all day long I have been plagued, and chastened every morning” (verses 13-14). In short, Asaph is saying, “Why should I continue living a pious life of devotion to God when in return I am suffering and being punished by God?” He sees God as unfair in that He is “punishing the righteous and blessing the wicked.” If this were “the end of the story” we would sympathize with Asaph and conclude that he (and we!) might as well join the wicked and live only for the pleasures that this world has to offer. But one day something happened that changed Asaph’s mind completely and I trust it will change your mind too. Let’s read verses 16-20: “When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me—UNTIL I WENT INTO THE SANCTUARY OF GOD; THAT I UNDERSTOOD THEIR END. Surely You set them in slippery places; You cast them down to destruction. Oh, how they are brought to desolation, as in a moment! They are utterly consumed with terrors. As a dream when one awakes, So, Lord, when You awake, You shall despise their image.” Asaph went (by faith) into God’s presence, no doubt to tell God about his doubts and how he could not understand His dealings with men. In was then that God revealed to him that the day is coming when the “tables will be turned,” for in the “life to come” (in eternity) the wicked will enter into eternal destruction and they will be “consumed with terrors” forever and ever!

In the rest of the Psalm (verses 21-28) he confesses how foolish and ignorant he had been to doubt God’s ways with men. He now knew that the wicked will one day PERISH (verse 27) but that God will one day “receive me to glory” (verse 24). He ends by saying, “But it is good for me to draw near to God; I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all Your works” (verse 28).

We have seen that Asaph’s doubts vanished when he got into God’s presence. This, dear friend, is what you need to do. I would counsel you to go to God’s Word and let him reveal to you what He did to Asaph. You can read about the “terrible end of the wicked” in Matthew 25:41-46; 2nd Thessalonians 1:3-10 and Revelation 20:11-15. Their “end” is indeed “eternal damnation” in the lake of fire. They may have been “healthy and wealthy” here on earth, but they will be suffering forever throughout the endless ages of eternity. You can then read about the glorious future for the believer in 1st John 4:1-3; John 14:1-3; 1st Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1st Peter 1:3-5; and Revelation 4:1-5:14; 19:1-10; 20:4-6; 21:1-22:4.

I would like to close by reminding you that the Lord Jesus (and His apostles) forewarned believers that they would suffer here on earth for “righteousness’ sake” and for “His Name’s sake” (see Philippians 1:29-30; John 15:18-25 and 1st Peter 2:11-12, 18-25).

But we are also blessed (here and now!) in many ways in spite of suffering persecution and other hardships (see Ephesians 1:3-14 and Romans 8:18-39).  (DO) (535.3)