Why Do The Wicked Prosper?

Job asked an interesting question, one worth pondering over. First, let’s agree that not all wicked people prosper and not all prosperous people are wicked. Now, Job’s question;

Why do the wicked prosper, growing old and powerful? Job21:7

For the most part, God isn’t against those who prosper. The first chapter of the book of Job reports that Job enjoyed great wealth. And after his terrible ordeal, he became even wealthier.

  • He owned 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 teams of oxen, and 500 female donkeys. He also had many servants. He was, in fact, the richest person in that entire area. Job 1:3
  • So the Lord blessed Job in the second half of his life even more than in the beginning. For now he had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 teams of oxen, and 1,000 female donkeys. Job 42:12
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Let’s get back to the question at hand, why do wicked people prosper? We must first understand the definition behind the word wicked. It comes from the Hebrew word “rasha.”

The meaning of this word goes well beyond a person’s behavior. The word “rasha” is the opposite of the word for righteous.

Therefore a righteous person conforms to God’s character and depends on His mercy. But the wicked person lives in defiance to God’s character and in independence of His mercy.

Wicked Prosper

Description of the Wicked

As chapter 21 continues, Job described the lives of the people he called wicked.

  • They live to see their children grow up and settle down, and they enjoy their grandchildren.
  • Their homes are safe from every fear, and God does not punish them.
  • Their bulls never fail to breed. And their cows bear calves and never miscarry.
  • They let their children frisk about like lambs. Their little ones skip and dance.
  • They sing with tambourine and harp. They celebrate to the sound of the flute. Job 21:8-12

It almost sounds like Job was jealous or envious but he was neither. He didn’t understand why God would allow wicked people to prosper. They didn’t care anything about the Lord.

He on the other hand tried to please God in all he did. But it seemed to him that God, for whatever reason, had punished him. He even told his friends that he wasn’t upset with people.

My complaint is with God, not with people. I have good reason to be so impatient. Job 21:4

People today, especially the ungodly or as Job put it, wicked people, live to enjoy life and prosper. And why not, they have nothing else to live for or look forward to.

They spend their days in prosperity, then go down to the grave in peace. Job 21:13

Sadly they do not consider what lies ahead of them once they close their eyes for the last time. During their lives they wanted nothing to do with God, He served only as a swear word.

And yet they say to God, ‘Go away. We want no part of you and your ways. Who is the Almighty, and why should we obey him? What good will it do us to pray?’ Job 21:14-15

Who is Likely to Prosper, the Wicked or the Righteous?

The wicked don’t see a need for God at all because they can easily prosper without Him. According to Job, the Lord doesn’t do anything to hinder their prosperity.

  • Yet the light of the wicked never seems to be extinguished.
  • Do they ever have trouble?
  • Does God distribute sorrows to them in anger?
  • Are they driven before the wind like straw?
  • Are they carried away by the storm like chaff?
  • Not at all! Job 21:17-18

When God created us He gave us the ability to choose. He doesn’t stand in our way when it comes to us making a choice, no matter the consequences.

I know that some people don’t like to bring up the subject of Satan or the devil. But he is a reality and a major component in this story concerning Job.

According to Jesus’ own words, the devil’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. So what I am about to say may come somewhat as a surprise.

The devil wants ungodly people to do well while here on the earth. He wants them to party, enjoy life and be successful. He also wants things to go well for their children.

Why does this being who comes to kill, steal, and destroy want the wicked or the ungodly to prosper? He wants their attention focused on anything and everything except God.

Do People Need God Today?

Think about our culture today. People have an abundance of food. They satisfy their needs for entertainment. And if they can’t buy what they want, they charge it.

They have no need for God or the church. In their thinking, they can make out fine without God. Satan doesn’t need their allegiance or worship, he just wants God to lose them for all eternity.

Therefore when they enter eternity they will see that the devil did kill, steal and destroy their lives. The wicked will no longer prosper while the righteous will enjoy prosperity in the Lord.

Jesus has called us to share His message of salvation to reach those the devil is trying hard to keep lost. By the power of the Holy Spirit, these wicked folks can begin to prosper in the Lord.

Please understand, God isn’t against you or anyone else prospering. But He is against it when seeking prosperity comes at the expense of one losing their soul.

His Word says that He will supply all of our needs according to His riches in glory. Therefore we don’t need to question why the wicked prosper, just trust Him to take care of our own needs.

Lord, forgive us in those times when we take the position that we can make it without you.  Help us to always depend on you for guidance and your provision.

Check out these other posts related to the wicked.

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