How Come the Wicked Prosper? by Jim McGuiggan


How Come the Wicked Prosper?

Asaph was king David's famous composer. Poor man, he was bent out of shape every time he noted how the wicked and arrogant prospered (see Psalm 73:1-3). It's hardly surprising for we still find it hard to stomach the obvious fact that gangsters and villains live in luxury and get away with "murder". How can the cunning and heartless (not to say godless) manage to drive the finest vehicles, live in the grandest houses, educate their children in the finest schools and enjoy health and acclaim in a world run by a God of infinite holiness? There's something radically wrong with that picture! Blessing should be connected with goodness-we feel that in our bones.
Our bones speak the truth! But it's the ultimate truth and that ultimate truth must wait for its full development and revelation. (And there are complexities in God's purposes that need to be worked with and reflected on patiently.)
Where do the wicked get their blessings? It's true that some things look like blessings when they're really curses but it's true just the same that hosts of unrighteous people are richly blessed. Where do the blessings come from and why do the wicked get them? Christ had no doubt about it-the blessings came to the thankless, the wicked and the ungrateful from his generous and holy Father (Matthew 5:45 and Luke 6:35).
There's no suggestion that the Father rewards the wicked for their wickedness. Those passages and others stress God's generosity despite wickedness. And part (only part) of the blues we feel is because God is more generous than we're able to be (see Matthew 20:15, along with the whole story). Still, God's goodness is to lead sinners to repentance (Romans 2:4) and God's intention is finally to obliterate sin so that fullness of life can be experienced with and in him. Goodness and blessing are meant to go together and in a better world they will be perfect matches but in the meantime we have God's judgement on wickedness when its necessary and his generosity to the wicked even when it disturbs us.
You might find my Celebrating the Wrath of God book useful.