Why do the wicked prosper while at times, believers have it very hard? You ask. This is the question that lingered in my mind for a long time until I came across Psalm 73. Seeing the righteous suffer is hurting and seeing the wicked having fun is not fun either. Many times, you may see the wicked prospering and having everything going on well.
The Bible talks about how the wicked shall be punished.
Assuredly, the evil man will not go unpunished,
But the descendants of the righteous will be delivered.
Because the sentence against an evil deed is not executed quickly, therefore the hearts of the sons of men among them are given fully to do evil.
Woe to the wicked! It will go badly with him,
For what he deserves will be done to him.
The prosperity of The Wicked
But sometimes you look at the world and it seems that it is not the case. This is what Asaph the psalmist observed when he looked at the state of the wicked.
4 They have no struggles;
their bodies are healthy and strong.[a]
5 They are free from common human burdens;
they are not plagued by human ills.
6 Therefore pride is their necklace;
they clothe themselves with violence.
7 From their callous hearts comes iniquity[b];
their evil imaginations have no limits.
8 They scoff, and speak with malice;
with arrogance they threaten oppression.
9 Their mouths lay claim to heaven,
and their tongues take possession of the earth.
10 Therefore their people turn to them
and drink up waters in abundance.[c]
11 They say, “How would God know?
Does the Most High know anything?”
12 This is what the wicked are like—Psalm 73:4-12
always free of care, they go on amassing wealth.
The Psalmist says ‘my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.‘ Psalm 73:2-3. This should serve as a warning to us believers because it is very easy to think that God is unjust.
The psalmist says that his feet almost slipped when he envied the arrogant. There is a danger of comparing ourselves with non-believers.
He continues to say what his thoughts were when he compared the state of the wicked to his. The wicked continued scoffing and speaking malice. They seemed free from the common burdens of life and not even plagued by human diseases. In a word, their life seemed to be very okay.
Who would not love this kind of life? Nobody likes suffering. The psalmist being a righteous man, saw that the wicked were winning every day and happy and merry. It did not make sense to him that the very people who were doing all these bad things, were really prospering.
Continual Afflictions of The Righteous
Considering his state, he says he thought that he had kept his heart pure for nothing. He was afflicted all day long and every morning, just punishments seemed to occur.
Surely in vain I have kept my heart pure
and have washed my hands in innocence.
14 All day long I have been afflicted,
and every morning brings new punishments.
15 If I had spoken out like that,Psalm73:14-15
I would have betrayed your children.
Instead of relief, his life seemed like a continual chain of suffering. It was not making sense. He says that if he had spoken like that he would have betrayed God’s children. He would have slipped from faith.
The Sure Judgment of The Wicked
The psalmist says, it is not until he entered the sanctuary, that he understood their destiny. The scriptures say that God has put them on slippery ground. The psalmist says,
19 How suddenly are they destroyed,
completely swept away by terrors!
20 They are like a dream when one awakes;
when you arise, Lord,
you will despise them as fantasies.
The psalmist seeing the end of those who he envied, understood his folly. He writes;
21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
He praises God for His goodness to those who are pure in heart. He understands that he was greatly mistaken about God. His hope is entirely on God to guide him here below and take him to glory afterward. There is nothing he has in heaven but God and nothing he desires on earth besides God.
He dares not trust his heart and flesh, for he knows how weak they are and that they may fail. God is the strength of his heart and his portion forever.
Though the wicked may seem to be winning, their judgment is sure and will come in God’s appointed time. The Bible tells us not to be envious of the wicked. God will soon judge them when His time comes.
For another thing, do not compare your life with others. Many times we think because we are faithful, God must give us what we need. We fail to realize that God is Sovereign and what he gives is the best.
Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart.Psalm 37:1