Does it seem sometimes, as Jeremiah complained that evil men prosper? Jeremiah 12:1-2 says what so many of us think from time to time.
“Righteous are you, O Lord,
when I complain to you;
yet I would plead my case before you.
Why does the way of the wicked prosper?
Why do all who are treacherous thrive?
2 You plant them, and they take root;
they grow and produce fruit;
you are near in their mouth
and far from their heart.”
We look up from walking our difficult road in choosing right to see people who don’t care about God or beneficence or goodness, running past us toward money, power, and an easy life. It can be discouraging. But we are not alone in this grievance. And we are not seeing the whole picture either. When we take our eyes of The Lord and compare ourselves to the people around us, we can become blinded by faithlessness. David’s enemies sometimes seemed to be winning in their quest to destroy him. He like Jeremiah complained about it in Verses 1-6 of the Psalm.
“Hear my voice, O God, in my complaint;
preserve my life from dread of the enemy.
2 Hide me from the secret plots of the wicked,
from the throng of evildoers,
3 who whet their tongues like swords,
who aim bitter words like arrows,
4 shooting from ambush at the blameless,
shooting at him suddenly and without fear.
5 They hold fast to their evil purpose;
they talk of laying snares secretly,
thinking, “Who can see them?”
6 They search out injustice,
saying, “We have accomplished a diligent search.”
For the inward mind and heart of a man are deep.”
Our enemy the Liar and his followers bitterly hate us. Their hate comes out in vicious words accusing us of many wrongdoings. The enemy lies in wait for us and even though we are forgiven and righteous in Christ, he attacks us. He is determined to destroy our walk with Jesus, our testimony, and our effectiveness. Our enemy thinks we are stupid and won’t recognize his attacks. Sadly many Christians do fall for his lies, accusations, and schemes. They do not know who they are in Christ. They forget who The Lord really is. And they succumb to Satan’s attacks. They are not wearing the full armor of Christ because they don’t understand their identity in Him well enough to wear that noble armor. Paul encouraged us in Ephesians 6:10-13,
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”
Armor is protective. But it must be worn deliberately and properly to be effective. We have to put it on. We have to choose to know who we are and trust who God is to avail ourselves of God’s perfect protection. Paul described the armor in Ephesians 6:14-18,
“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 16 In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; 17 and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, 18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”
When we know that Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life, (John 14:6) we can understand who we are in Him and combat every lie with the Truth. When we know who we are in Christ and what He has done for us we know we nothing can take the eternal life Jesus’ righteousness gave to us. When we understand who God our Redeemer is we are able to boldly be a testimony to Him, always ready with the Gospel which makes peace between God and man. When we know who Almighty God is we can have faith in Him, and then the lies and attacks of the enemy bounce off of our Shield unable to hurt us. When we know who we are in Christ, Salvation which can’t be taken from us protects our minds and souls and gives us the ability to fight back. We don’t fight with just any weapon, we don’t sling useless retorts at the enemy, we cut him down with the Word of God, the Scriptures and Jesus Christ whose very name holds immense and holy power. When we know who God is and who we are, we don’t worry, we pray in The Spirit for all the saints battling the enemy.
Satan doesn’t care about justice. He lies to people and blinds them to the consequences of sin and the cost of rejecting Christ. But our Lord God Elohim is our Justice and our Righteous Judge. He is The Truth and the Way. He is our Righteousness, our Shield, our Salvation, and our Sword. He is The LORD. Verses 7-9 describe The Justice of The Lord for us.
“But God shoots his arrow at them;
they are wounded suddenly.
8 They are brought to ruin, with their own tongues turned against them;
all who see them will wag their heads.
9 Then all mankind fears;
they tell what God has brought about
and ponder what he has done.”
God avenges us. He wounds the followers of the prince of this world. He gives them a chance to turn to Him. But whatever their choice, God’s mighty power and perfect love are demonstrated for the whole world to see. He is glorified. And more people can come to Him as we, wearing the readiness of the Gospel tell of the awesomeness of our Lord.
Why do evil men seem to prosper? So that when they fall the impact will be felt, seen, and heard by the multitudes. God will be glorified. And we will rejoice and glorify Him further. Verse 10 tells us to stop complaining and whining and rejoice instead because we know who The Lord is and we know who we are in Him.
“Let the righteous one rejoice in the Lord
and take refuge in him!
Let all the upright in heart exult!”