Why do the wicked prosper? It’s a question that goes back at least as far as the time of Job, a man who seems to have lived during the patriarchal age of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. In Job 9:24, Job says, “The earth is given into the hand of the wicked…” He follows that up in Job 12:6 by saying, “The tents of robbers prosper, and those who provoke God are secure…”
Asaph, who was a prominent singer and musician in the Israelite worship of King David’s time, also struggled with the question. In Psalm 73:3, he says, “For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.” Later on, in verse 12, he says, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches.”
I’m sure that an entire book, or even a whole set of them, could be written in answer to the question, “Why do the wicked prosper?” So I won’t attempt to list every last reason in a simple blog post. Instead, I just want to offer one reason, and that one reason is this: Much of the prosperity of the wicked can be attributed to Satan, not God.
Now please don’t get all technical on me here. Yes, I know that Satan can’t do anything that God doesn’t allow. But, with that understood, I want to take you back to the story of Satan tempting Jesus in the wilderness. You can find it in Matthew 4:1-11, Mark 1:12-13, and Luke 4:1-13. Do you recall what Satan’s third and final temptation was? Matthew 4:8-9 describes it this way:
Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”
You see, right there it is, proof positive that Satan has plenty of “stuff” to give those who do his work. By the way, if you doubt that he holds that much stroke in this world you should also read John 14:30, 2 Corinthians 4:3-4, and Ephesians 2:1-2. Those passages teach that Satan is nothing less than the ruler of this world, and as such he has an abundant supply of money, power, possessions, and fame to dispense to suit his purposes.
So the next time you see someone who is obviously wicked and yet just as obviously prosperous, take a moment to consider that the person’s prosperity most likely comes from the hand of the devil. I’ve often used the line, “God won’t bless a mess.” But the fact is that Satan will and many times does.