The Ease of the Wicked Rich
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart (Ps 73:1). It is a common deception for the aspiring rich and those who have obtained wealth, to imagine they are blessed by God. The Bible warns its readers that it is riches that cause men to forget God (Prv 30:8).
Wealth has a decidedly negative effect on people. The prosperity of the wicked causes them to become arrogant, as they forget it was God who empowered them to accumulate wealth (Eccl 5:19; 6:2). Thus, pride is their necklace (Ps 73:6).
The inclination of the heart in the natural man is only evil, all the time (Gen 6:5), therefore, when wealth pays a visit, the imaginations of their hearts run riot (Ps 73:7). They perceive they are above the law and above other people because they do not suffer as other men. Money is their answer to every problem. It becomes a powerful idol that invites worship. This causes them to question God, “How does God know (Ps 73:11)?”
The rich young ruler judged the prospect of losing his wealth, in order to obtain eternal life, a cost too high (Mt 19:16–22). When men are confronted with the dilemma of serving God or serving mammon, they walk through the valley of the shadow of death, which is the valley of decision. The rich fool of Luke 12 chose wrong, on the very day his soul was required of him, at the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11).
As King Solomon’s days came to an end, his grievous lament of life became some of the most important wisdom literature of the Bible (Ecclesiastes). Young men, contemplating life, are wise to consider the economic and financial advice of Psalms, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes. In this, they come into the sanctuary of God (Ps 73:17).
With a view to Jesus Christ, the God-fearing, Spirit-filled Christian will discern God’s true blessings (Eph 1:3). He will look at the meliorism of the rich, and he will no longer envy their position. Rather, he will discern that God has set the rich on slippery places (Ps 73:18). God’s just judgment of evil men is a swift destruction, “How they are destroyed in a moment (Ps 73:19)!”
With God disciplining the saints for their sins (Heb 12:4–11), and the wicked rich persecuting them for their godliness (Mt 5:10–12), life can be bitter for the beleaguered believer. The hypocrite will falter in the way of Christ because he did not count the cost of denying himself, in following the chief Cross-bearer (Mt 16:24; Heb 6:4–6).
Saving grace makes the born again talk different than those who set their mouth against heaven (Ps 73:9). The Christian reasons, “I am continually with Thee; Thou hast taken hold of my right hand (Ps 73:23).” If God is for us, who can be against us, even in our weakness and poverty? He is mighty to save us from sin, Satan, and the world system that denies us.
As the world proves itself to be just as the Bible informs us it is, the oppressed no longer has any love for the world (Ps 73:25). His allegiance is to God, whose counsel guides the pilgrim to glory (Ps 73:24).
Salvation is far from the wicked, (Ps 119:155), and “those who are far from Thee will perish (Ps 73:27).” What is further from God than the rich man in Hades (Lk 16:19–31)? He suffers separation from every good, thirsting with no hope of satisfaction. His desire to be far from the Judge of all the earth, during this life, has led him to an eternity in outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (Mt 8:12).
Christian, turn your eyes from the rich and their riches in this world. Keep your eyes on Jesus (Heb 12:2) and the infinite riches of His glorious grace (Eph 1:7; 2:7; 3:8). He alone can strengthen your heart and your portion, forever (Ps 73:26b).
The ease of the wicked rich is like a vapor; their flower fades in due season, appointed by God. There is knowledge with the Most High. It is the knowledge of the truth that will set you free from the greed, envy, and covetousness for the things of this world that can only provide the illusion of satisfaction. Got good stuff? Remember the psalmist’s conclusion, “But as for me, the nearness of God is my good (Ps 73:28a).”
Spokane Valley, Washington
August 20, 2022