What Actually is the Fate of the Wicked?
Updated: Aug 8, 2022
Jeremiah 12:1 leaves many a thinking person scratching their heads. In this verse the prophet understandably struggles with the fact that so many unrighteous people enjoy prosperous lives, seemingly never touched by concern or hurt. He asked the question in the aforementioned verse, “Why does the way of the wicked prosper? Why are those happy who deal so treacherously?” Job, who experienced the sting of suffering as have few men, groped with this same apparent behavioral discrepancy. He asked the question in Job 21:7, “Why do the wicked live and become old, yes, become mighty in power?” Asaph was the director of music for temple worship during the period of King David. One of his most provocative songs is discovered in Psalm 73, where he freely admits his envy of the wicked. He sincerely wondered if living for God was worth the sacrifice it required. He struggled to reconcile how it was God allowed wicked people to flourish while righteous individuals suffered. These are passages that clearly show the prosperity of ungodly people.
An inquisition of Scripture comes from passages about the unrighteous struggling introduces a supposed contradictory. Proverbs 13:21 makes a statement that does in fact seem to challenge the former passages. It says, “Adversity pursues sinners, but the righteous will be rewarded with prosperity.” Psalm 34:21 communicates a similar theme by saying, “Evil shall slay the wicked, and those who hate the righteous shall be condemned.” So, what gives here? Can an argument be made here for inconsistent teachings?
The answer to this question can be summarized in two words – momentarily and ultimately. Sinners frequently seem exempt from suffering the natural consequences of their immoral behavior. Some seem immune from external hardships, physical wounds, financial losses, and smeared reputations. Furthermore, these people seem to have no struggles with their conscience or show any expression of remorse.
It is vital to remember that while the wicked may momentarily prosper in this world, their fortune will only last a brief time. The length of their prosperity is really imperceptibly small in relation to the limitlessness of eternity. The Bible teaches in Psalm 7:11 that “God is angry with the wicked every day.” Christians must remain focused on the eternal rewards ultimately granted for faithfulness, and the inevitable fate of the unrighteous. There should be a perpetual celebration for believers in both an individual and corporate setting – their lives having been changed and their eternal destinies reclaimed.
In conclusion, we look to the Bible as it gives a great piece of advice in Psalm 37:1,2 “Do not worry because of evildoers, nor be envious of the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and fade as the green herb.”