Why would God allow the sinner to be more successful than the righteous or
the one who is following him?


You ask an excellent question. David asked the same question in several of
his psalms. For example in Psalm 38:35, David said, “I have seen a wicked
and ruthless man flourishing like a green tree in its native soil, but he
soon passed away and was no more; though I looked for him, he could not be
found. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for
the man of peace. But all sinners will be destroyed; the future of the
wicked will be cut off. In Psalms 66:8-12 David notices that God will
allow us to have hard times so that we will learn to rely on him rather
than worldly “success.” My favorite on this is one of Asaph–Psalm 73.
Here Asaph complains to God that the wicked seem to always have everything
going well. Sometimes sinners seem to flourish throughout their live,
never experiencing the judgement of Godfor their wickedness. However,
finally, Asaph realizes that in the end, the wicked come to ruin and that
their seeming success really does them no good in the end. In fact it is
their reliance on their “success” rather than on God which is their ruin,
whether in this life of on judgement day.

I do not mean to blow off your question. It still is a good question.
However, I would challenge you to consider a godly definition of success.
To God, success is making it to heaven. To God, success is knowing him.
Success is helping others to get close to God. Success is taking care of
the needs of others. Ungodly people have none of these things, and our
lives will never be truly blessed unless we have these things. Money and a
successful career definitely do not make for happiness. The longer you
live, the more you will realize this fact. They bring pleasure for a time,
but leave an empty spot in our soul. I believe that if you really get into
the lives of those you consider successful by worldly standards you will
learn that they are actually lonely, unfulfilled, controlled by sin,
bottom line: lost. My experience tells me that God will only give us as
much “success” (good jobs, money, rewarding careers, etc.) as we can
spiritually handle. Money is not evil, but the love of money is the root
of every sort of sin (1 Timothy 6:10).

Again, I do not mean to ignore your question. Sometimes it does seem
unfair how much “success” God will allow to some very very ungodly people
when some of the most pure hearted and God-loving people seem to struggle
along, just barely making it in this world. Your feelings are a normal
reaction for a human being. However, if you keep in mind the source of
true happiness and the fate in store of the wicked in this world perhaps
but after death for sure, then that will help you to gain a godly
perspective on the true nature of success. I urge you to study out Psalms
73 carefully.

John Oakes, PhD

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