When Wicked People Prosper
Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their offspring are established in their presence,
and their descendants before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.
Their bull breeds without fail;
their cow calves and does not miscarry.
They send out their little boys like a flock,
and their children dance.
They sing to the tambourine and the lyre
and rejoice to the sound of the pipe.
They spend their days in prosperity,
and in peace they go down to Sheol.
They say to God, ‘Depart from us!
We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.
What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?
And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’
Behold, is not their prosperity in their hand?
The counsel of the wicked is far from me. — Job 21:7-16
One of the major arguments of Job's friends is that righteous people don't suffer. So they conclude that Job's suffering is a result of sin in his life that requires repentance. And somehow, through this immense suffering and the belligerent counsel of these friends, Job is still lucid enough to bark back at this futile reasoning. He argues that if righteous people never suffer, as they suggest, then why are wicked people prospering. Which is a great point. And you think this would completely dismantle their argument. But it doesn't.
In this life, the wicked and the righteous both suffer and prosper. Some righteous men are prosperous, and others live in poverty. Some wicked men are prosperous, and others live in poverty. And one of Satan's great methods of deception is to get a righteous person to compare themselves with someone they know who is more prosperous. To compare our poverty to their prosperity and thus make a judgment about God's injustice to us. And when we fall for this deception, we will make this comparison only to draw a conclusion that could be a tragic mistake.
I, too, at times, have done this. But I have learned to take this thought captive. With urgency, I must reject this deception. It is a Satanic illusion. And I must immediately preach to myself when this thought comes to mind. And here's the truth that I preach — "Vince, your riches are not of this world." This preaching is straight from the preaching of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 6:19-20. And I need to preach this to myself to take every thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5). Because I know this small thought will result in reasoning that elevates my ways and desires above God's ways and his desires.
So today, when the illusion presents itself and you feel this compulsion to compare yourself with someone else, preach to yourself. Preach to yourself. Don't accept the illusion. It's only a deception. The good news is this — you are rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9 reads, "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich."
ASK THIS: What wrong comparison have you made? (Confess this in the comments below.)
DO THIS: Preach to yourself.
PRAY THIS: God, may I move my eyes from my temporal poverty and from comparison to others to the eternal riches you have generously given me.
PLAY THIS: Jesus, My Treasure.
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