The Prosperity of the Wicked
What makes the acceptance of trouble, pain and death even more difficult to understand is when one considers the apparent well-being and prosperity of the wicked. Millions of blatantly wicked people live in the lap of luxury, seemingly oblivious to the troubles around them and without a care in the world. Listen to the Psalmist's thoughts on this dilemma. He raises several important issues which sooner or later you will begin to think about.
Psalm 73: 1:“Truly God is good to Israel, even to such as are of a clean heart.”
|Psalm 73:||2: “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.|
3: For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.
4: For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.
5: They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.
6: Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.
7: Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.
8: They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.
9: They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.”
|Psalm 73:||10: “Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.|
11: And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?
12: Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world; they increase in riches.”
|Psalm 73:||13: “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.|
14: For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.
15: If I say, I will speak thus; behold, I should offend against the generation of thy children.
16: When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me.”
In a flash the psalmist's eyes were opened to a truth which comparatively few people on earth appreciate; that the Day of Judgment is coming! And only then will we know the benefits of righteousness and the terrors awaiting the blatant sinner. The Psalmist awakes to this truth as though from a dream; for now he knows why God allows the sinner their short time of enjoyment, vanity and luxury. For soon it will all end. It will end in their total destruction. They will be utterly consumed with terrors!
|Psalm 73:||17: “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.|
18: Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.
19: How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terrors.
20: As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when thou awakest, thou shalt despise their image.”
See A Voice In The Wilderness - Canada Lesson on The Judgment.
|Psalm 73:||21: “Thus my heart was grieved, and I was pricked in my reins.|
22: So foolish was I, and ignorant: I was as a beast before thee.”
In other words, ‘I feel guilty and ashamed of myself. I feel like an ignorant fool, having totally misjudged the issue; having secretly thought that the LORD God was turning a blind eye to blasphemy, disobedience and blatant sin; that He was ignoring the efforts of His true followers to walk in the pathway of righteousness. How wrong was I, how wrong, how wrong!’ The message of Psalm 37 (by king David) is exactly the same.
|Psalm 37:||1: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity.|
2: For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb...
9: For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
10: For yet a little while, and the wicked shall not be: yea, thou shalt diligently consider his place, and it shall not be.
11: But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace...
28:For the LORD loveth judgment, and forsaketh not his saints; they are preserved for ever: but the seed of the wicked shall be cut off.
29: The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein for ever.”
|Psalm 37:||17: “For the arms of the wicked shall be broken: but the LORD upholdeth the righteous.|
18: The LORD knoweth the days of the upright: and their inheritance shall be for ever.
19: They shall not be ashamed in the evil time: and in the days of famine they shall be satisfied.
20: But the wicked shall perish, and the enemies of the LORD shall be as the fat of lambs: they shall consume; into smoke shall they consume away.”
|Psalm 37:||23: “The steps of a good man are ordered by the LORD: and he delighteth in his way.|
24: Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the LORD upholdeth him with his hand.
25: I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
|Psalm 73:||23: “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand.|
24: Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.
25: Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.
26: My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.
27: For, lo, they that are far from thee shall perish: thou hast destroyed all them that go a whoring from thee.
28: But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.”
Next time you hear of the untimely death of a righteous person, a true believer, a pillar of society, do not wonder, do not secretly question God. He knows what He is doing. Next time when you witness, or read about the flourishing wealth and apparent well-being of the sinner, do not behave like an ignorant beast and doubt the existence or the wisdom of God. He knows what He is doing. Make the Psalmist's words your very own.