“Why do bad things happen to good people; while good things happen to bad people?” Put it another way. Are you on the right side of life today? You fear God. You trust God. You obey God. But you seem to carry a heavier load in life, than people who don’t fear, trust, or obey God. People who disobey God seem to be prospering, while godly people seem to be suffering.
Asaph saw first of all, the Prosperity of the Wicked (Ps. 73:3-7, 12). Then he saw the Pride of the Wicked. “Therefore pride is their necklace” (Ps. 73:6, ESV). The adverb, “therefore,” is from the Heb. ken, “on account of” (Warren Baker, TCWSOT) “Therefore” looks back to the prosperity of the wicked. The wicked were prosperous, therefore, they became proud.
What kind of prosperity? They had painless prosperity (v. 4); physical prosperity (v. 4); medical prosperity (v. 5); and personal prosperity (v. 12). On account of these kinds of prosperity, therefore, they became proud.
Notice Four things about the Pride of the Wicked.
1. The Necklace of the Wicked. “Pride” here is from ga’awa (or ga’avah), “rising up, swelling of the sea” (BDB); “arrogance, highness, pride, proudness, swelling” (Strong); “raging” (Alan Groves, Hebrew Old Testament, Bible Windows). The picture is of the rising, raging waves of the sea swelling up from below.
I remember when I rode the boat from Cebu to Tagbilaran and Tagbilaran to Dumaguete. Not a few times, I’ve been in rough seas. Really big waves. The captain would slow down the boat to a minimum. Then, the big waves would pound the boat. Inside, we’d feel like a truck just bumped the boat. But it’s actually the waves. Children would cry. People would vomit.
Isn’t that how pride swells in our hearts and heads? We are prosperous. Then pride swells up in our heads, liking the raging waves of the sea. The wicked are not just prosperous. They are also proud about it. They brag about their prosperity. When you talk to them, they tell you how they have a hard time choosing whether to buy a diamond or a gold necklace. They love to tell you how they’ve built everything with their own two hands. Sometimes they don’t say it, but they think it. Let live it up, and they brag about it.
“Necklace” is from the Heb. verb, ‘anaq, “To serve as a necklace, adorn with a neck ornament” in the Qal stem (BDB); from the root word, which means, “to choke; to collar” (Strong). This is a word picture. Young’s Literal Translation reads, “encircled them.” The verb is Qal Perfect, indicating completed action. This means that it’s a done deal. Their pride already encircled their hearts. Their pride already swelled up from their hearts and choked their heads. Instead of praising God, they praise themselves and their achievements. When somebody would tell them that it’s all by the grace of God, they would laugh at him. They would sing their favorite song, “I did it my way.”