Daily Devotional for Sunday September 2, 2007
Why Does the Way of the Wicked Prosper
(Jeremiah 12:1, Psalm 37 (entire), Psalm 73 (entire)
"Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why do all of the faithless live at ease?" If Jeremiah had a computer back in his day, he may have sent Liveprayer an email with these questions that we read him asking in Jeremiah 12:1. Not a day goes by that we don't get hundreds of emails from people asking these very questions. A woman who loves the Lord and honors Him with her life has a husband who cheats on her, leaves her and their children for another woman, and is now living a comfortable life while she and her children struggle just to live day to day.
A man who faithfully serves the Lord gives decades of his life working for a company that takes advantage of him, operates with little ethics or morals, and lets him go just before he is scheduled to retire to save money while those who run the company live extravagant lifestyles. A young man trying to follow the Lord and God's Word struggles to buy a new pair of shoes while teenage thug rappers glorifying and living lifestyles of sin wear hundreds of thousands of dollars of jewelry and drive new exotic cars.
There is an endless list of examples of those who love the Lord, live for Him, yet are currently struggling in their daily lives while those who deny Christ and live in complete rebellion to Him seem to prosper and live in great comfort and ease. So it becomes a legitimate question that the prophet Jeremiah asks. It is a legitimate question that men who love the Lord throughout the ages have asked. It is a proper question for those who serve and follow the Lord today to ask. WHY DO THE WICKED SEEM TO PROSPER?
The answer to this question, like the answers to ALL questions, is found in God's Word. You need to take time to read the 37th Psalm, all 40 verses. The answer to this age-old question of why do the wicked seem to prosper is found in never losing sight of the big picture of what this life is all about. First, it is God who gives us life and we all have the same general purpose of serving and glorifying Him with our lives. Second, we are all going to die one day. As the Bible clearly tells us, tomorrow is promised to none of us, so that day is not as far away as many think it is. Third, when we die, our soul lives on for eternity. The only issue to be determined is do we spend that eternity WITH God who created us or APART from God who created us. Each person makes that choice in either accepting or rejecting God's ONLY plan of salvation through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.
So what is important to understand is that we actually have a very limited number of days in this life here on earth. The most critical choice we have to make during our life is what we do with Jesus, since that choice will determine our eternal home. For those who have chosen to follow Christ, their days on this earth are to be focused on fulfilling our God-given purpose of serving and glorifying the Lord with our lives in whatever way God calls each of us to do that.
If you haven't noticed, I have not mentioned having money, possessions, or any of the things of this world. You see, those are simply the temporary things of THIS LIFE and are meaningless in light of eternity. What happens is the righteous, the followers of Christ get caught up in measuring prosperity and success the way the world does by the temporal things of this world. Real prosperity and success aren't found in the temporary things of this world but in the eternal things of God. Things like peace and joy and living an abundant life that don't come from this world, but from a personal relationship with Jesus Christ!
Let me ask you a very serious question. This is actually a question Jesus once asked. He said," What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, yet lose his soul?" When Jesus was in the desert being tempted by the devil for 40 days and 40 nights, at one point satan showed Him all of the kingdoms of the world and told him to worship him and they would all be His. Jesus answered, "It is written: 'Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only.' " You see, Christ understood that the things of this world are but temporary. The REAL Kingdom is not in this world, but in Heaven. The REAL riches are not in this world, but in Heaven.
I love you and care about you so much. It is natural in our flesh to look at those who have chosen to reject Christ and live their lives in complete rebellion to God and His Word and wonder why they seem to prosper while we may be currently struggling. While they may be enjoying the prosperity this world offers, without Jesus they are SPIRITUALLY BANKRUPT. Actually, rather than envy these people, they are to be pitied since when their brief journey through life is over they will be spending eternity in a place created for satan and his fallen angels unless they come to know Jesus. Bill Gates may be the richest man on the planet, but the moment he dies, all of his wealth is MEANINGLESS. The ONLY THING that will matter when he stands before God is does he know Jesus as his personal Savior.
This is also the problem with the "prosperity gospel" so many today preach in error. There is NOTHING in the Bible that says just because you know Jesus you are guaranteed to have great wealth in this life. What the Bible DOES PROMISE is that if you know Christ as your Savior, you are assured of everlasting life and that during this life you will enjoy the blessings and provision of God. You see, God has promised to meet your needs during this life, needs like food, shelter, and clothing. That is God's promise to His children. The true prosperity gospel is not about dollars, it is about BLESSINGS!
God NEVER promised you would have a million dollar home, a new Rolls Royce in the driveway, $5,000 suits, a Rolex watch, or any of the many treasures this life can offer. God may allow some to be blessed to have those things during their life, but the wealth of a follower of Jesus is not measured in the temporary things of this world, but in the eternal things of God! God measures the heart of His children not by their bank account, but by their obedience, their faithfulness, and their willingness to completely surrender all they have to follow Him.
I will be praying for you today. Praying that God will speak to you through these words about how you look on those who have chosen to live their lives in rebellion to God, yet seem to be prospering. The fact is, they may indeed be prosperous according to the standards of the world for a brief season. But whatever we have in this life will one day be gone, and at that point, the only thing that will matter is do we know Jesus. Pray for those who you may have been envious of for what they possess. Pray that they will come to know Christ as their Savior since salvation cannot be bought, it is only available through faith in Jesus.
I have dealt over the years with thousands of people who had great wealth but when the real trials of life came, they realized that all of their wealth and possessions meant nothing. When your spouse or child or loved one has a serious illness and is laying in a hospital bed, when you find out your spouse wants a divorce, when you learn your child is on drugs, when the doctor tells you that you have a serious disease, when you face many of the major battles in life we all face, at that moment your money and possessions mean nothing. Only a deep abiding faith in Christ can sustain you through those dark moments in life.
There is no amount of money that can buy God's peace. There is no amount of money that can buy God's strength. There is no amount of money that can buy God's joy. All of those things come from your relationship with Christ and your faith in Him. The wicked may prosper for a season, but it is the righteous who have true prosperity for all eternity.