Why Do The Wicked Prosper?
A while ago we took a look at the “Power and Sufficiency of God’s Word” and saw a number of benefits and rewards within the Bible, as well as a number of requirements and responsibilities for us as Christians to uphold in order to receive the rich blessings announced in the Holy Scriptures.
In Joshua 1:8, we saw that by meditating/studying God’s Word, obeying it, and not letting it depart from our mouths, that we could have a prosperous way and good success. This means that following God’s Law and being obedient will offer us prosperous lives filled with blessings. We also know that we have the greatest gift/blessing of salvation through Jesus.
So if the righteous receive success as a reward does it mean that the unrighteous will not have success; that the wicked will not prosper? Of course, not - not in regards to this life. In Joshua 1:8 it talks about good success. And as Christians we do have good/true success.
But the wicked do prosper. We see it all around us. There are people who do not believe in God or follow His commandments who have high paying jobs, large homes, fancy cars, fame and prestige. And sometimes we may ask ourselves “why do the wicked prosper?” And we are not alone in asking that question. Jeremiah asked God the very same thing. “[…]Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?” (Jeremiah 12:1).
God provides an answer in Jeremiah 12:14-17. God is waiting and providing time and opportunity that the wicked may come to God and be saved from condemnation. God wants as many people as possible to be able to receive eternal salvation. Ideally everyone would obey God and be saved. God sent His Son so “that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:17).
So the wicked are not punished immediately. Time is given for repentance and conversion. “For all have sinned” (Rom. 6:23), so aren’t we glad that we weren’t punished right away? Aren’t we thankful that we were given time to learn God’s will and become children of His?
Of course, those who remain wicked and separate from God will receive everlasting punishment (Matt. 25:46). Remember that “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9). The wicked are allowed to prosper because God is longsuffering and not willing that any should perish. But the day will come when the waiting ends.
-- John Thrower Jr.