Reading through the Bible together

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

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As a journalist in Russia, I have had the opportunity to cross paths with some of the country’s wealthiest and most powerful business leaders. These millionaires are intelligent, astute and insightful. Some are even self-professed Christians. But many of these wealthy people have built their fortunes through ruthless tactics including theft and murder. Their public lives might be the object of envy, but their personal lives are being destroyed by their immoral tactics.

Sometimes I wonder why these leaders of industry have received such prosperity. Why does God allow them to possess and squander money that someone else would use, to say, construct a church building and feed the hungry?

Jeremiah asked a similar question in Chapter 12: “Righteous are You, O Lord, when I plead with You; yet let me talk with You about Your judgments. Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously? You have planted them, yes, they have taken root; they grow, yes, they bear fruit. You are near in their mouth but far from their mind (vs. 1, 2).

There’s nothing wrong with questioning God’s judgments. Remember how Abraham questioned God’s decision to destroy wicked Sodom? Abraham pointedly asked, “Suppose there were 50 righteous within the city, would you also destroy the place?” (Gen. 18:24). When the Lord said He would save the city for the sake of 50 righteous residents, Abraham dropped the number of people to 45, and then 40, 30, 20 and finally to 10. The Lord said He would withhold His judgment for the sake of just 10 people.

God welcomes questions and the chance that they provide to show His love and mercy. “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matt. 7:7).

Prayer: “Dear God, I don’t understand why the wicked prosper while the righteous fall on hard times. I don’t understand why a wicked person may live to the age of 90 while a righteous person may die young. But I am glad that You are willing to listen to me and discuss my questions. Open my eyes as I seek to understand Your judgments, and keep my faith in You strong. Amen.”

Andrew McChesney
Journalist in Russia.