IS GOD FAIR WHEN HE LETS THE WICKED PROSPER?
Eric V. Snow, sermonette, July 29, 2006, UCG-Ann Arbor
Is God fair?† Why does He let many worldly and uncalled people prosper?† Why does He allow the righteous and called suffer?† Is obeying God worthless because the wicked seem to be getting away with it?† Does God bless worldly people while afflicting faithful Christians?
Often weíll know co-workers, neighbors, classmates, uncalled family members and friends have better health or financial conditions than our own.† But that doesnít mean we should question Godís justice or love for us.
S.P.S.† We shouldnít doubt Godís fairness when worldly people prosper materially and we donít.
Letís see what David and Asaph said about how the righteous should react to the prosperity of the wicked in the Psalms.
First of all, material prosperity, even good health, only matter for a short time since this physical life is only temporary.† What really matters is our status in the next life and how what we do today affects that.† Therefore, the prosperity and health of the wicked, or just average uncalled people, is temporary also.† So why get angry?
What matters is our status in Godís sight to us most of all, not what the other guy, good or evil, is doing.† Have faith, and be happy with what we do receive from God.†
We should obey God regardless of whether the unrepentant prosper or not.† Itís comparing ourselves with others that causes this kind of mental suffering.† Instead, we should focus on solving our own problems or enjoying our own successes.
We will be proven right in the end.
The wicked will be defeated in the end.† But thatís a matter for Godís timing, not ours.
For example, consider what happened to the people who ran Enron into bankruptcy.† They deceived their companyís investors and workers.† The ex-CEO Jeffrey Skilling is likely headed for a long stay in the big house, and the chairman and founder Ken Lay avoided that only by suddenly dying first.† Andrew Fastow, the former CFO, and his wife, both were given jail time after agreeing to turn testify for the prosecution.† On the other hand, some do seem to get away with murder literally:† O.J. Simpson.† But whether in this life or the next, the unrighteous will suffer and have to repent also.† Nobody ultimately ďgets away with itĒ if he wishes to be saved and live forever.
Promise of eternal life alluded to, apparent dual meaning.
Verses 16, 23+
We should be content with what we receive in this life.† Rarely are the righteous left in total misery.† Itís normally a matter of relative deprivation or poverty, not absolute deprivation or poverty.† If we didnít know about their prosperous condition, we wouldnít be ďsufferingĒ then!† Also, God may require self-sacrifice from us to test our motives:† Tithing, Sabbath and Holy Day observance, not taking certain immoral jobs.
Asaph felt the need to repent when he realized his complaints against God about the prosperity of the evildoers were wrong.† He chose to focus on Godís greatness and glory instead.
Conclusion:† We should strive to faithfully obey God regardless of what other people might be† seemingly getting away with.† Worldly people will have to repent also after being resurrected if they wish to be saved and gain eternal life.† Material prosperity, even good health, matter only for a short time compared to eternal life. Because God is both fair and loving to all, nobody ultimately gets away with it.