Question of the Ages: Why Do the Wicked Prosper?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

One of the questions I’ve been asked most over all my years of ministry is: Why do people who don’t believe in God or live for God seem to prosper? That really is the classic question asked especially of Christians throughout the ages. Why do the wicked prosper? There are many difficult things to bear in life, but it seems that for Christians, one of the hardest is when they see arrogant, prideful, godless people prosper and appear to seem blessed while they themselves struggle—financially or otherwise. Jeremiah’s words have spoken to us about this through the ages. Jeremiah 12:1 (NIV) “You are always righteous, O LORD, when I bring a case before you. Yet I would speak with you about your justice: Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all the faithless live at ease?” 

The book of Job shares the same expression of angst. Job 21:7 and 13 (NIV) says, “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?… They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace.”

People ask me, Doesn’t the Word of God say that His children are the ones who should be blessed? Why does it seem like evil people prosper?  And we might ask ourselves, Why does this bother Christians so much? 

We are instructed by Jesus in Matthew 5:44-45 NIV to: “Love your enemies.” “Pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”

Jesus teaches us that the Lord lets His goodness touch the lives of those that don’t know Him or reject Him. Why? Because He wants them to know that there is a God that loves them. You might not have thought about this, but there is something that happens inside of a person when some wonderful goodness touches their life.

As Christians when great goodness happens, we yearn to thank God. When God allows blessing to touch the lives of the sinful or the wicked—especially when they deny the existence of God, they have a dilemma. They want to thank someone and they know deep down, that someone is God. If they say they don’t believe in Him, they try to redirect those feelings but I assure you that the thanks they feel wants to go upward toward Heaven.

For those that don’t deny the Lord but who haven’t thought much about Him, or have avoided Him, they do often lift thanks to God but then it makes them feel guilty. They feel this way because they know they aren’t right with Him. The goodness or blessing they feel is God’s strategy to help them reevaluate their relationship with Him, hopefully leading them to seek Him. Romans 2:4 TLB reveals this truth. “Don’t you realize how patient God is being with you? Or don’t you care? Can’t you see that He has been waiting all this time without punishing you, to give you time to turn from your sin? His kindness is meant to lead you to repentance.”

The goodness of God touches sinners and the wicked. Thanks wants to bubble up. Many if not most suppress it, but it’s there.  Those who allow their heart to be honest and thank God will also feel the tug of God’s love and want to continue to know more. They will be drawn toward repentance and consider God’s  kindness, mercy and love. And if they don’t shut God down, they will most likely be led to Him!

He has touched you and I in the same way. The Bible says in Romans 5:8 (TLB), “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” In other words, He poured out His love on us when we didn’t deserve it. (You might have forgotten that YOU were the wicked at that point in time.)

When God’s goodness touches a Christian’s life, it is called blessing. When God’s goodness touches the sinner’s life, it is called the ”goodness and mercy of God.” It will feel like a blessing to them but it’s not actually a blessing. Blessings are reserved for God’s people. It is simply God’s goodness and mercy. God is trying to get a hold of them, but He won’t keep trying forever.

God loves all men and is trying to reach them through things that impact their heart. And yet, it isn’t endless. It will come to an end and if they don’t turn to the Lord, they will reach the fate, no one wants to face.

If your first thought of blessing is something material, you have the shallowest view of blessing. The richness of knowing Christ, having His Holy Spirit, being able to receive revelation, truth, and insight, and the promise of eternal life, are the greatest of all blessings. But because we live in a defiled and material world, God helps us meet our needs as we ask. God does not bless us so that we may consume blessing upon our own lusts. Jesus said, “To whom much is given, much is required.” We are blessed to be a blessing! Even to have that revelation is a blessing because that leads someone to the richest life possible—living a purposed-filled life of serving and giving to others as Jesus did! Because we as Christians know the Lord, we are rich in blessing. God is good to us and wants to bless us. We just need to remember who we are and stay focused on His will for our lives. God  is just and will be the judge of others in His timing. We aren’t to be concerned with their justice because it would only distract us from what He has for us to do.

Others may look like they have it all, but the truth is, without Jesus Christ as Lord of their lives, they are naked and poor. We on the other hand, are rich in the blessing of being able to live moment by moment bathed in His intimate love and grace! We are those who are blessed!

Psalm 1:1-3 (TLB) Oh, the joys of those who do not follow evil men’s advice, who do not hang around with sinners, scoffing at the things of God. But they delight in doing everything God wants them to, and day and night are always meditating on his laws and thinking about ways to follow Him more closely.  They are like trees along a riverbank bearing luscious fruit each season without fail. Their leaves shall never wither, and all they do shall prosper.” 

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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Published by Pastor Tim Burt
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