When the Wicked Prosper

O Lord, Thou hast heard the desire of the humble; Thou wilt strengthen their heart, Thou wilt incline Thine ear. (Psalm 10:17)

The psalmist confronts the ageless rhetorical question, “Why do the wicked prosper?” We want to presume that God judges evil and unrighteousness. We think He should immediately bring down self-serving people with evil motives who take advantage of the afflicted and oppressed. We want to assume the wicked will always suffer the consequences of their evil deeds. The arrogant who thumb their noses at God and His commands will be judged and punished. But our skepticism grows when we do not see it happening. It is natural to begin to doubt the reality of God’s concern and His ability to vindicate those who suffer injustices in the world. Worldly values and sinful attitudes are blatant in the sexuality and violence that dominate entertainment on television and that prevail in our postmodern society.

It’s reasonable to question, “Why [does God] stand afar off? Why does He seem to hide Himself in times of trouble?” (v. 1). However, God does not counter the physical laws of gravity when someone jumps off a building to keep them from being killed. Neither does He intervene to counter the moral laws among those who choose the ways of evil to keep them from impacting others. Those who spurn the Lord and do not acknowledge and respect His lordship and authority act as if He does not exist. In their greediness and pride, they have no inclination to seek the Lord. God’s judgments are “out of … sight” (v. 5) and may not be manifested immediately in a cause-and-effect response, but they are certain.

Published by Intentional Faith

Devoted to a Faith that Thinks

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