One of the most difficult realities we deal with as followers of Messiah is the fact that often, the wicked prosper. Not only do the wicked prosper in their evil, but they continuously get away with it. Rather than dying young, as one might expect, they typically grow into an old age and have wicked children, who again prosper and continue the cycle of wickedness. How can a holy, good and just God tolerate this and allow them to continue in their wickedness?
Consider the words of Job, a righteous and upright man, who went through extreme suffering at the hands of Satan.
“Why do the wicked still live,
Grow old, and also become very powerful?
8 Their descendants endure with them in their sight,
And their offspring before their eyes,
9 Their houses are safe from fear,
And the rod of God is not on them.
10 His ox mates without fail;
His cow calves and does not miscarry.
11 They send out their boys like the flock,
And their children dance.
12 They sing with the tambourine and harp,
And rejoice at the sound of the flute.
13 They spend their days in prosperity,
And suddenly they go down to Sheol.” Job 21:7-13 NASB
Job acknowledges that the wicked do indeed prosper, they grow old doing it; they have offspring, and worse of all, the rod of God is not upon them. How can these be? Why do the wicked prosper, and furthermore, why do the Godly suffer?
Three Reasons The Wicked Prosper
1. This world is all they have.
Yes, the wicked prosper, but this world is all they have. Like the above scripture from Job, “They spend their days in prosperity and suddenly they go down to sheol.” Job 21:13. Consider the words of Jesus, from the story he tells about the rich man and Lazarus. Notice when the rich man cries from his eternal hell for a drop of water, father Abraham responds to him with the following:
“And he cried out and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me and send Lazarus, so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.’ “But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.” Luke 16:24-25.
2. They are not the children of God
Job points out that the wicked do not seem to be hindered or corrected by God for their behavior. “Their houses are safe from fear, And the rod of God is not on them.” Job 21:9. This is not only true but there is a reason for it. As stated by the writer of Hebrews, if you’re not receiving correction from God, it is a sign that you simply do not belong to Him. “But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.” Hebrews 12:8.
3. God withholds His wrath for the sake of his people.
In the “parable of the wheat and tares,” Jesus points out that the wicked and the seed of God must grow up together until the time of the harvest. When the appointed time arrives, then the angles will gather the wicked which is represented by weeds, or tares, and then toss them into the fire. Then they will gather up the wheat which is God’s children, and place them in His barn. If you have ever had a garden, you know that trying to pull up a weed which is rooted near your good plant is a hard task. More often than not, you will uproot your good plant by trying to remove the weed. This is the picture Jesus is painting for us. There will be a great separation, but not until the end.
Parable of the Wheat and Tares
“Jesus presented another parable to them, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and left. 26 And when the wheat sprouted and produced grain, then the weeds also became evident. 27 And the slaves of the landowner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have weeds?’ 28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ The slaves *said to him, ‘Do you want us, then, to go and gather them up?’ 29 But he *said, ‘No; while you are gathering up the weeds, you may uproot the wheat with them. 30 Allow both to grow together until the harvest; and at the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather up the weeds and bind them in bundles to burn them; but gather the wheat into my barn.” Matthew 13:24-30.
Make no mistake, the day is coming when the wicked who have deceived this world, targeted our children with perversion and committed unimaginable evils will have to stand before a righteous and Holy God. The Lord knows, He sees, and vengeance is His. As God’s children, we must remain diligent in our mission to share the Gospel of the Kingdom of God. We must continue in love, truth, and faith. Our Lord will not forsake us and in the end, it will be us who inherit the earth.