Why Do the Wicked Prosper & the Righteous Suffer?
Why do the wicked prosper while the righteous suffer? You spend time every day reading your Bible and praying. You are active in your church family. You obey God’s commandments and live to serve Him. Still, you notice that those who choose not to serve God prosper while those who do … suffer.
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God told Jonah to preach to the people of Nineveh to tell them that if they didn’t repent He was going to destroy their land. Jonah went in the opposite direction. He wanted nothing to do with those people. It was almost as if he wanted them to die. Or at least, he wanted God to call some other person. Have you ever felt like that? Have you been called to do something you wish God had asked someone else to do?
That’s probably how Jonah felt. Maybe he wondered why God wanted him to bring the message of repentance or judgment. Maybe he was fearful for his life. (Assyria was a major city in the Syrian empire and the Assyrians had been rising up as a major power.) Whatever the reason Jonah learned that you can’t run from God.
While he was on the ship, God sent a huge storm. The storm was so bad the ship was about to be destroyed. Meanwhile, Jonah is sleeping quite contentedly below deck (Jonah 1:4-5). That scene reminds me of Jesus in Mark 4:35-41 NIV. Jesus slept because He had nothing to fear.
But why did Jonah sleep? Was it because he also had nothing to fear? Or, was it because he had convinced himself that he had successfully run away from God?
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Why Do the Wicked Prosper?
In Psalm 73, Asaph lamented on this very topic. “I was envious at the foolish when I saw the prosperity of the wicked,” he said in Psalm 73:3. The wicked of Asaph’s time did well too. Just as well as they did in Jonah’s time, and as they do today. But instead of lamenting and complaining, let us remember that they flourish only for a time (Psalm 73:17-19). But the righteous will inherit the kingdom of God (Psalm 37:29).
Take comfort in the promises of the Lord. He always keeps His promises.
Do you find yourself envying the wicked? How has it affected your gratitude attitude?
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