“Behold, the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth: much more the wicked and the sinner.”
I can always hear the complaint about this verse: “How are the righteous repaid on Earth? The wicked seem to do so much better!”
I think this complaint comes from a lack of biblical understanding.
Troubles or Wealth
One of the things that baffles me is the so-called “Prosperity Gospel”. This is a teaching that God wants us to be happy, healthy, and prosperous, especially financially prosperous.
Here is the thing about this teaching, and something that helps us understand better today’s verse:
These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. – John 16:33
Other translations translate tribulation as trouble, trials, and sorrow. One of the things promised to those who follow God, the righteous, is trouble.
If the righteous receive trouble, what do the wicked receive?
The Bible reveals the understanding that wicked and sinful people prosper.
But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped. For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men. – Psalm 73:2-5
However, Jesus, in the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus, explained the truth of matters:
But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. – Luke 16:25
Life may seem unfair in this world. Those who follow God receive all sorts of trouble, while those who deny God or chase other gods have good lives and are prosperous.
As Jesus implied in the verse above, one day we all die. Those who received trials and troubles will be comforted and given good things, but those who denied Him will receive torment and sorrow.
As you can see, today’s verse is true. We often receive in this world what has been promised. We may not understand those promises at times, but they are true.
Gracious Lord, give us understanding and wisdom in this life. Guide our lives that we may be pleasing to You and a witness to others. Give us grace to show others when life seems unfair or unjust, and courage to confront injustice.