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Ask the Pastor 104

Why do the ungodly prosper?

We often associate prosperity with godliness, that the Lord has prospered my business etc. and rightly so. The Puritans saw prosperity as a sign that this person was one of the elect of God. But what about those who are ungodly and they prosper? This is a question asked in Psalm 73, “Behold, these are the ungodly, who are always at ease; they increase in riches….When I thought how to understand this, it was too painful for me” (Psalm 73:12,16). Our Lord stated, “for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45). We might see the farm of a godly person right next to the farm of an ungodly person and both of them receive the same sun shine and rain. The Lord God allows both the godly and the ungodly to enjoy His goodness and blessing and to take advantage of that goodness to prosper. That is one of the advantages of a free market in a capitalist system, everyone is free to prosper through their own hard work whether they acknowledge God or not. The opposite is also true, calamity falls on both the ungodly and godly, a flood does not suddenly go around the godly or a tornado miss their house. So why is this? Again, we read in the Scriptures, “Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4). The Lord uses both blessing and calamity to bring mankind to repentance and belief in His Son. Back to the Psalm where we started and the answer to the Psalmist, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then I understood their end” (vs 17). The end of those who refuse to acknowledge the goodness of God will be the wrath of God, “But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God.” (Romans 2:5).

Have questions about the Bible? Send them to Dr. Greg Koehn at and read the answer here in this article.

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