by Pastor Tim Burt
One of the questions I've been asked most over the years is, Why do people who don't believe in God or live for God seem to prosper? That is really the classic question Why do the wicked prosper? There are many difficult things to bear in life, but it seems that one of the hardest for Christians 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) "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 in instructed by Jesus in Matthew 5:44-45 NIV to: "Love your enemies and 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."
We are taught 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 life 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 just haven't thought much about Him, or for those who 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 so that they will be drawn toward repentance and consider God's kindness, mercy and love. 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 the 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 the 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 blessing. But because we live in a defiled and material world, God's help us to meet our needs and beyond, as we ask. God does not bless us to 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 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 intimately and confidently with Him, bathed in His grace! We are the 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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