Is God Out to Lunch? A Perspective on “Fairness”


Of course the answer to this silly question is absolutely not!

But it’s interesting that so many people misunderstand how God deals with things in life, the temporal and the eternal. We may walk away sometimes wondering out loud just why we’re so burdened with trouble compared to somebody who’s “not living right” who lives comfortably with seemingly little cares in this life.

The inequities of life

To say it another way, why do some righteous people suffer in this life while wicked people or the unredeemed seem to have it together? This was the question the Psalmist Asaph (who is credited with 12 Psalms) posed to the Lord in Psa. 73.

Asaph, not unlike people today, took a look around him and became furious with God that the good people were not keeping up with the Joneses, who apparently thought God was nothing more than a heavenly ATM.

“Is God out to lunch?” he thundered. (Psa. 73:11 The Message).

There are several reasons people ask this question. Here are a few:

First, a lot of people think life should be fair, as if God were like them, doling out fairness to some in this life while ignoring others. They forget God is sovereign and not a human being (Numbers 23:19). He does what He pleases and is pleased with it.

The grapes of wrath

I’m reminded of a parable Jesus told about workers who were hired to work in a vineyard (Matt. 20:1-16). They were told they would work all day, and at the end of the day they’d be paid so much. Okay, they said, fair and square. However, during the day, the owner of the vineyard hired other workers, who worked much less but were paid the same wage as those who had worked all day. Some even got the same wage for working only one hour.

“No fair!” shouted those who had worked all day. But Jesus said concerning the owner of the vineyard: “Isn’t this my vineyard, and didn’t I promise to pay you thus and so wage for your work? And can I not pay those who came late the same wage I paid you?”

This is interesting look at how our God views things. He owns it all, paid it all and gives salvation to all those who receive Him early or late in life. This is the generosity of God and his mercy being carried out. You see you can’t work for your salvation (Eph. 2:8-9).

Of course the entitlement crowd would be screaming, “No fair,” and demand the government and the ACLU step in to ensure their perspective on fairness was carried out, but this isn’t the way our Father in Heaven does things.

Looking past our noses

I think most people overlook how this whole thing works. For one thing, we live in a fallen world. That means the inhabitants of earth and earth itself were horrendously affected by Adam’s sin. In fact, Scripture says the earth is groaning to be clothed with change into a glorious state:

That nature (creation) itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and corruption [and gain an entrance] into the glorious freedom of God’s children.

We know that the whole creation [of irrational creatures] has been moaning together in the pains of labor until now” (Rom. 8:21-22 Amp).

This simply means this life isn’t the best it can be. Hate reigns in some people, sickness and poverty are a fact of life, and animals and people kill each other. There will come a time, called the Millennium, when Christ will reign with a rod of iron for 1,000 years. These things will be held in check during that time (see Isa. 65:17- 25 and following) until a new heaven and a new earth are realized:

“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2nd Peter 3:10 KJV).

Second, people violate the principles of God and expect nothing to happen. The Bible is clear: We reap what we sow (Gal. 6:7). People cannot violate physical laws without an effect. Jump off a three-story, and you will likely break your legs or worse! You have not only violated the law of gravity, you have illustrated it! But people believe they can violate spiritual laws with no consequence. God made both! When we violate His truth, we can suffer mentally, emotionally and physically.

Third, we have an unseen adversary – Satan. Of course in some circles this is a fairytale. But in reality, those of us who engage in spiritual warfare and deliverance see his indelible mark on people on a consistent basis. To my chagrin, God is often blamed for what Satan does. In the insurance business, any kind of natural disaster is referred to as “acts of God.” The point here is Satan is behind much suffering in this life, yet it goes unnoticed by most people, who think God is angry at them, and that’s why they suffer.

Asaph’s new perspective

Asaph’s experience was similar to ours, and he says in Psa. 73 that he “almost missed it.” He admits he was sidetracked or even blinded by his own perception of life until he “entered the sanctuary.”

It usually takes divine intervention or revelation to illuminate our limited brains, and God apparently spoke to this Psalmist that the things that are now will not always be. The wicked will get their just desserts (hell), but for now they may experience material life and other ways to a fuller extent than most of us believers in Jesus.

Righteous and unrighteous – in the final analysis

Asaph understood that though his understanding was limited in many ways, the end of all things is heaven for the righteous. The righteous, according to the New Testament, are not always necessarily good but are those who have been made righteous by believing in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord:

“For our sake He made Christ [virtually] to be sin Who knew no sin, so that in and through Him we might become [endued with, viewed as being in, and examples of] the righteousness of God [what we ought to be, approved and acceptable and in right relationship with Him, by His goodness]” (2 Cor. 5:21 Amp).

Like Asaph, we know very little, see very little and are often quick to judge our situations in life as unfair. But one day we will know as we are known (1 Cor. 13:12-13), and death will be swallowed up in victory. After that, the glories of heaven await! Hallelujah!

Joseph Beckham is the author of Deeper Water for Thirsty Souls

5 comments on “Is God Out to Lunch? A Perspective on “Fairness””

  1. Thank you, Joe. Full humor. Indeed, Matt. 20, Yahshua’s teaching on fairness is certainly contrary to our limited understanding of His. If only we can set our minds to rise up to His regardless how long it’ll take.
    Unfortunately, most believers have this entitlement mentally. Until we come to that understanding that God/Yahweh owes us nothing we want, because He has already provided All that we Need, we will see Him as unfair in view of our lacks and sufferings.

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