Why the 'Bad' Prosper and 'Good' Suffer
by Edmond Ng
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Ever wondered why the 'bad' people seems to prosper, while people like us who are seemingly 'good' suffer and get victimized, or apparently fail to succeed in life on earth, despite being Christians?
Whether we face 'enemies' at the workplace or in the secular world, we always feel we should be doing better than the people who are unethical or who misbehave in proper conduct according to our perceived standard of God or of social construct.
In Judges 2, the Word of God shed some light on this subject. It tells of why believers in God or a chosen people suffer and do not prosper, even though God promises blessing.
Judges 2 (NAS)
1 Now the angel of the LORD came up from Gilgal to Bochim. And he said, "I brought you up out of Egypt and led you into the land which I have sworn to your fathers; and I said, 'I will never break My covenant with you,
2 and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.' But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done?
3 "Therefore I also said, 'I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.'"
4 When the angel of the LORD spoke these words to all the sons of Israel, the people lifted up their voices and wept.
13 So they forsook the LORD and served Baal and the Ashtaroth.
14 The anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He gave them into the hands of plunderers who plundered them; and He sold them into the hands of their enemies around them, so that they could no longer stand before their enemies.
15 Wherever they went, the hand of the LORD was against them for evil, as the LORD had spoken and as the LORD had sworn to them, so that they were severely distressed.
16 Then the LORD raised up judges who delivered them from the hands of those who plundered them.
17 Yet they did not listen to their judges, for they played the harlot after other gods and bowed themselves down to them. They turned aside quickly from the way in which their fathers had walked in obeying the commandments of the LORD; they did not do as their fathers.
20 So the anger of the LORD burned against Israel, and He said, "Because this nation has transgressed My covenant which I commanded their fathers and has not listened to My voice,
21 I also will no longer drive out before them any of the nations which Joshua left when he died,
22 in order to test Israel by them, whether they will keep the way of the LORD to walk in it as their fathers did, or not."
23 So the LORD allowed those nations to remain, not driving them out quickly; and He did not give them into the hand of Joshua.
From the verses quoted above, it can be understood that as Christians, we often fail because we have not been entirely obedient to God. We turn away from God, especially during difficult times. We also turn away from Him when we get too caught up with idolatry. In this case, idolatry can mean anything that we indulge in, anything that we give greater priority than God, and this can include putting career or family first before God, spending too much time on the Internet playing games or doing other things rather than spending time with God, or other priorities we are totally engrossed in.
Therefore, if we find ourselves not doing too well, while our enemies are prospering, do not fret or assume that God is not aware. Listen to what Jesus have said in the Gospel.
Matthew 10 (NAS)
31 "So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows.
32 "Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven.
33 "But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven.
34 "Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.
35 "For I came to SET A MAN AGAINST HIS FATHER, AND A DAUGHTER AGAINST HER MOTHER, AND A DAUGHTER-IN-LAW AGAINST HER MOTHER-IN-LAW;
36 and A MAN'S ENEMIES WILL BE THE MEMBERS OF HIS HOUSEHOLD.
37 "He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
38 "And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me.
39 "He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.
Luke 9:56a (NAS)
for the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them."
Take heart, therefore, brethren, for God is the all-knowing God. He shall keep account of the good and the bad, and shall pay each one according to what is deserved. Listen to what the apostle Paul says in his epistle to the Romans.
Romans 16 (NAS)
17 Now I urge you, brethren, keep your eye on those who cause dissensions and hindrances contrary to the teaching which you learned, and turn away from them.
18 For such men are slaves, not of our Lord Christ but of their own appetites; and by their smooth and flattering speech they deceive the hearts of the unsuspecting.
19 For the report of your obedience has reached to all; therefore I am rejoicing over you, but I want you to be wise in what is good and innocent in what is evil.
20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.
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