- Job 22:1-24:25
In these chapters, Job asks a question that every GOD-fearing person has asked themselves at some point in their life: Why do the wicked often seem to prosper? Job said:
1 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? 2 There are those who move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen. 3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey and take the widow’s ox in pledge. 4 They thrust the needy from the path and force all the poor of the land into hiding. 5 Like wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go about their labor of foraging food; the wasteland provides food for their children.
6 They gather fodder in the fields and glean in the vineyards of the wicked. 7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked; they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold. 8 They are drenched by mountain rains and hug the rocks for lack of shelter. 9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a debt. 10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked; they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry. 11 They crush olives among the terraces; they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst. 12 The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
(Job 24:1-12 NIV)
I believe Job knew the answer to his own question and was really just venting some frustration that the wicked are allowed to prosper temporarily. Job went on to say:
22 “But God draws the mighty away with His power; He rises up, but no man is sure of life. 23 He gives them security, and they rely on it; Yet His eyes are on their ways. 24 They are exalted for a little while, Then they are gone. They are brought low; They are taken out of the way like all others; They dry out like the heads of grain.
(Job 24:22-24 NKJV)
So why does GOD enable or allow the wicked to prosper, at least for a season? Because He is giving them time and opportunity to repent. GOD is full of mercy and He takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked, so He refrains from immediate judgment or punishment of the wicked person. GOD loves us so much that He will go to great lengths in order to wake us up from our sleepwalking through life. Often this involves progressive discipline. GOD uses tragedy and suffering in life to call us to Himself because, in these moments, we recognize that we are not in control and that we need Him.
When we see a wicked person who seems to be so content and happy in their sinful state, let's remember that GOD is just being longsuffering with them and they need Jesus to forgive their sins. Share the gospel—the full gospel—with these people anytime you have an opportunity. Who knows, perhaps GOD will even use you to help turn their hearts toward Him. That would be a great blessing indeed.