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Friday, August 30, 2019

Does the Lord Let the Wicked Prosper?

Fresh Manna
by Pastor Tim Burt

There's this guy named George. He lives in a mansion—about 4.5 million worth of real estate in a swank California neighborhood. His community of homes is surrounded with a combination brick gate and wrought iron fence. He has three luxury cars, an in-ground swimming pool, and more adult toys that you can imagine. George likes to mock Christians. He says they are weak and use God as a crutch. He boasts about how he's worked hard for everything he's got and doesn't need God for anything! He's on his third gorgeous looking wife and treats her like he did the others—as a controlling jerk. He's of the opinion that they're lucky to be married to him because of his good looks, talents, and provision he's made available to them. Things do seem to go George's way. He seems to get richer and richer. Some guys think that for him to keep trading up on wives for another that's prettier and younger than the last, is not a bad deal.

There are many difficult things to bear in life but it seems that one of the hardest for Christians is when they see arrogant and prideful people like George seem to prosper and be blessed while they themselves struggle—financially or otherwise. Jeremiah spoke about it in 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 sorrow. 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."

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 why does it bother Christians so much?

We are in instructed by Jesus in Matthew 5:44-45 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 who don't know Him and even those who 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 of thanks somewhere else. 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 love. He did the same with you and me. 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 is 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 end no one wants to face.

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 will take care of them. Let's not be jealous because without Him they are naked and poor while, we are rich in blessing!

Psalm 73:18-19 (NLT2) "Truly, you put them on a slippery path and send them sliding over the cliff to destruction. In an instant they are destroyed, completely swept away by terrors."

In His love,
Pastor Tim Burt

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