THE END OF THE WICKED
Copyright © 2012 Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
I suspect that every generation of Christians has been under the impression that the whole world is in sin and getting worse by the day. That is the way it seems in our time. Every day there is some new abomination being presented by the governments of the world. The attention being given to protecting the rights of homosexual people is amazing, considering the small percentage of the population they represent.
If I am not mistaken, numerous American people do not have faith in their government. It is no wonder, given the amount of corruption that appears to be present. The moral standards presented by our President, particularly concerning abortion-on-demand and homosexual behavior, are not in harmony with the thinking of many—perhaps the majority—of the American people.
To fervent Christians, these standards are outrageous. And it is to this point that I wish to speak. We can become violent. Or we can become active politically. Or we can pray.
Violence is not an acceptable alternative, although if the situation becomes more polarized, civil war possibly could occur. Americans always are encouraged to be politically active. The one problem here is that we are encouraged by the Apostle Paul to set our minds on things above, not on things of the earth. This may sound almost unpatriotic, but it is the commandment of God’s Word. I believe that a sincere Christian will know whether or not he or she is to be involved in politics, and to what extent, and still be able to keep his or her mind in the heavenlies.
There used to be a saying that some Christians were so heavenly minded they were no earthly good. It has been my experience that most Christians are so earthly minded they are not as heavenly good as they might be.
I am writing in May of 2012. A presidential election will be taking place. Feelings are running high between people who are happy with the present “progressive” agendas, and what I might term “old-fashioned American values.”
Psalm 73 concerns the reaction of the godly person to what he or she perceives to be wickedness. To what extent we who are more, shall we say, “old fashioned” in our thinking, perceive the present drift of the world, including America, as being toward wickedness, may depend on the individual. Nevertheless, the one reaction we must avoid is fretting.
Regardless of who is elected, we are to focus the eyes of our faith on the Lord Jesus Christ. We are living on the earth He created. If He wants the world condition changed, He can do it effortlessly and immediately. We are to pray continually for changes we would like to see, but we must also think, speak, and act in agreement with His will for us, not out of our personal irritation and frustration.
Becoming angry will do little other than to give Satan an advantage. God wants us to live in righteousness, love, peace, and joy, no matter who is elected. Can you say “Amen”?
Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart. (Psalm 73:1)
No matter what the future holds, no matter how the wicked parade around arrogantly, God is good to those who maintain a pure heart, free from anger and fear.
But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. (Psalm 37:2)
Have you ever felt like that? Have the dark pressures increased until you wondered whether you were going to stay true to God? Have you felt like God has forsaken you? I myself have been brought low a time or two, but God helped me back on my feet. How about you?
For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalm 37:3)
Notice how arrogance, prosperity, and wickedness go together. We ought to know better, yet we look up from our low place and are tempted to envy those who ignore God and yet are successful in their projects.
They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong. (Psalm 37:4)
Here I am, barely able to get around, and the sinners are prancing around like they were eighteen years old.
They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills. (Psalm 37:5)
How is it that they can leave God out of their lives and still prosper? Even Christ had to suffer. But these doers of evil suffer no tribulations that we can see!
Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence. (Psalm 37:6)
The wicked in their pride do not understand and have little sympathy with those who are poor and afflicted. They push other people out of their way. Perhaps they imagine that God created them to be lords over everyone else, and so they are not concerned with sick, poor, and helpless people.
From their callous hearts comes iniquity; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits. (Psalm 37:7)
Sometimes the news shows pictures of fashionable people, dressed in their finery, attending a symphony or ball. Yet, in the same news may be pictures of starving people in some areas of Africa. I understand there are rich people who share their wealth with the less fortunate. Even with that, there should be no one who has more money than he or she can spend, nor others who are worried about their children starving. God has given to some people the ability to make much money. Others are not so blessed. I believe God is pleased when we assist those who are in need.
But the wealthy often are callous of heart. They are narcissistic, believing in their minds that they somehow are better than others. They may forget that the Scripture states that God has prepared His Kingdom for the poor.
They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. (Psalm 37:8)
Instead of helping the needy they scoff at them. Their words are malicious and threatening. The poor man has no way of defending himself. He is at their mercy.
Their mouths lay claim to heaven, and their tongues take possession of the earth. (Psalm 37:9)
The rich and powerful often are boastful. They do not realize that it is God who has enabled them to be elevated over less fortunate people. And so they ignore God and do not give glory to Him.
I, being an American, am deeply troubled that our President does not appear to give glory to God. I believe this is a great failing, and does not bode well for our country. It is as though people by themselves can solve the prevailing social problems and war and finance. But they cannot. Only God can bring peace and prosperity. But the leaders of the larger nations proceed as though mankind is its own god and by its own courage and wisdom will gain peace and prosperity.
That is the greatest delusion possible to man!
Therefore their people turn to them and drink up waters in abundance. (Psalm 37:10)
The demagogues make great claims for themselves. The “sea” of mankind admire the rich and powerful and believe what they are told by the politicians. These evil rulers cause the people to forget about God.
There is no “sea” of people in the new world of righteousness who are led about by the wicked. Every individual is known of God and kept by Him from the proud boasts of the political leaders.
They say, “How can God know? Does the Most High have knowledge?” (Psalm 37:11)
Our President, it seems, seldom or never points people toward God. He speaks often of world affairs, as though the various political leaders are going to lead us toward peace and prosperity by their efforts. But I never have heard him teach us to depend on God to bring us peace and prosperity. If this is “new” and “progressive,” I do not care for it. I have learned in 65 years as a Christian that it is better to put our trust in the Lord Jesus Christ than in political leaders.
This is what the wicked are like—always carefree, they increase in wealth. (Psalm 37:12)
It does seem that way, doesn’t it? From the pictures in the news and on television, it appears that the wicked are having a wonderful time. The average person often is bowed with care. There is sickness in his or her family, or barely enough money to make ends meet.
It is these kinds of people who attend church, looking to God to help them in their daily life. God sees each such person and provides housing, clothes, food, and oftentimes physical and mental healing.
Meanwhile the governments of the world, who it seems often include wicked people, go on their way promising the peace and prosperity that is not in their power to provide. Their attitude is somewhat disgusting, at least to me. My confidence is in the Lord, not in any human being.
Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence. (Psalm 37:13)
There comes a time in the life of the faithful saint when he begins to wonder whether all his efforts to keep a pure heart and live a holy life have been in vain. It seems like the wicked are under no such discipline, and yet they have good health and fine families. They appear to lack nothing.
All day long I have been plagued; have been punished every morning. (Psalm 37:14)
I can think of two Christian families right now who have really been trying to serve the Lord. In both cases the father has proved to be unreliable. The wife has been left with the task of raising the children. Both wives have lost their homes due to loss of income. But this has not been the end of their problems. One thing after another has fallen upon them. Both have stated that they would not trade their experiences because their hardships have driven them deeper into Christ. But it has been rough for them; and after many years they still are faced with problems.
The Bible teaches clearly, in several passages, that whom the Lord loves, He chastens. I think it is in the Book of Hosea that the prophet speaks of being “torn to pieces.” But then the Lord “binds us up,” just as in the case of Job. Such tribulation actually is the only manner in which we can go deeper with the Lord.
If I had said, “I will speak thus,” I would have betrayed your children. (Psalm 37:15)
I believe Asaph, a prominent Israelite leader of worship, is saying that if he spoke about his troubles he would have caused God’s children to lose faith. It is so true that no matter what our personal problems may be, we need to keep speaking faith to those around us.
We overcome the accuser of the brothers by the word of our testimony that God is faithful and true—always, in every situation. To keep proclaiming the truth and faithfulness of God, no matter what we may be experiencing, is an important part of the life of victory in Christ; of entering the rest of God.
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me (Psalm 37:16)
If we try to understand why the wicked are prosperous and the faithful believers endure hardships, we end up confused and oppressed. It just doesn’t make sense to us. Sometimes people say, “I can’t believe in God and receive Christ because there are little children in the world who are starving to death.” They do not stop to realize that it is the wicked selfishness of people that results in the starvation of children. It is not the fault of the God of Heaven.
Till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. (Psalm 37:17)
May I suggest to people who are troubled about our government, or about the presidential election, who are not able to do much about it except fret, that they go into their prayer closets with God. There the Lord will give them peace, explaining to them that He is in control and to pray that His will be done.
When you think about it, most of us really do not know that is good for our country. We may think we do, but do we actually? That being the case, wouldn’t it be wise to tell Jesus what we would like, and then finish our prayer with, “Your will be done”?
Then you will have perfect peace no matter who wins the election.
Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin. (Psalm 37:18)
We do not see it immediately, but the wicked are on slippery ground on their way down to ruin. We probably will not be there when they stand before the Lord. But it will not be a pretty sight as they scream in their terror when the gates of Hell open to let them in.
How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors! (Psalm 37:19)
There is such a contrast! The wicked had been exalted, surrounded with luxuries and servants. Now they enter among the evil people who went before them. The demons can abuse and mock them as they will. “You thought you were so great. How do you feel now?” the demons ask as they cackle in their glee. And it probably takes a while to become accustomed to the heat.
As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies. (Psalm 37:20)
Now here is something. God regards the evildoers as fantasies. While they were in their prime while living on the earth, they seemed solid and indestructible. But to God they are as an imagination. There is no reality here. How did James refer to human beings? “A vapor”? A “mist”? All flesh is as grass that is burned in the fire.
When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered, (Psalm 37:21)
It appears that Asaph was angry with himself that he had fretted about the prosperity of wicked, arrogant people.
I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you. (Psalm 37:22)
Let this be a warning to us. If we fret about the wicked, boastful political leaders who are in various offices of government, when we see how it all works out, we are going to ashamed of ourselves that we did not have more confidence in the faithfulness and righteousness of God and Christ.
Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand. (Psalm 37:23)
When I pray about the situation in America at this time, the Lord has never said to me that He is going to restore our nation to its present world leadership. Rather, He is telling me to keep pressing closer to Christ and to tell others to do the same.
It may be that the abortion-on-demand and the homosexual behavior, which is denounced in both the Old and New Testaments, have driven America past the place of restoration to God. But no matter what happens in our country, if we will keep pressing into Christ each day, Christ always shall be with us and will hold us by our right hand. Don’t forget that! It is extremely important to your survival and those of your loved ones.
You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory. (Psalm 37:24)
Christ will give us wisdom throughout the darkest of nights, if we keep our eyes on Him rather than on the works of Satan in the earth.
The expression “take me into glory” is interesting. We assume Asaph is saying that when he dies he will go to Heaven to be in a glorious place with God. Although people may not be aware of this, neither the Old Testament nor the New has much to say about going to Heaven. The New Testament stresses eternal life and the Kingdom of God. But Asaph at this point seems to be expressing his faith that God will receive Him into Paradise. Therefore, to fret about evildoers in the earth is not appropriate.
Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you. (Psalm 37:25)
If every Christian believer had the attitude expressed in the preceding verse, our churches would be filled with the Glory of God. Mansions in Heaven mean less than nothing to the true disciple of Jesus. Jesus and His Father are all that matters. The rest of Heaven is only environment.
And the things of earth have nothing of significance for us, except our relationships with people. If those relationships are worthy, they will be restored when we pass at death into the spirit world.
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. (Psalm 37:26)
Difficult, spiritually dark, oppressive days are coming to the United States in the not too distant future. Men’s hearts will be failing them for fear. But the Christian who walks with God, as did Enoch of old, will be stronger than all the pressures that come against him or her.
God is our portion in the present world, and God will be our portion in the next world when we die. God shall give us the desires of our heart—especially if it is God Himself who is the desire of our heart.
Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you. (Psalm 37:27)
Let me speak a moment to Christian people. There is an erroneous teaching prevalent in the United States. It is that once we “accept Christ”, we never can lose our salvation. This is to misunderstand God’s grace. It is not true that “we are in a ‘new dispensation’ and the words of the Old Testament no longer apply.” While it is true that the Law of Moses has been superseded by the Law of the Spirit of Life, the moral teachings of the Prophets still express God’s will.
When the Apostles of Christ exhort us to take heed to the Scripture, they are speaking of the Old Testament. When the Psalm says God will destroy all who are unfaithful to Him, as in the passage above, that is true. The present-day teaching of “once saved always saved” is not found in the New Testament. It still is absolutely true that those who are far from God shall perish. It still is absolutely true that God will destroy those who are unfaithful to Him.
In instances too numerous to count, our ministers today, without intending to do so, are lying to us. I do not know how many Christian church-attenders will, when they die, discover that they have been placed with people like themselves, and by that I do not mean in a mansion!
But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds. (Psalm 37:28)
I enjoy being near Jesus, do you? I like to talk to Him throughout the day and night, asking His opinion about things; praying for the solution of problems; giving thanks for the day. I always ask God to remove Satan from my family, from myself, and from my property. Do you do that each day?
As I keep up this continual dialogue with Jesus, I can sense His presence. The spirit world increasingly is real to me. There are so many problems each of us faces, but Christ is our refuge, a very present Help in the hour of trouble. I honestly do not know how people can get through this present life without talking to Jesus all the time.
I hope the words I have written above will help you throughout the period of divine judgment that is ahead for our nation. No matter what the future holds, no matter how the wicked parade around arrogantly, God will still be good to those who maintain a pure heart, free from anger and fear.
Let’s you and I keep our heart pure.
(“The End of the Wicked”, 3890-1, proofed 20210917)