DEVOTION: The Prosperity of the Godless

    July 19, 2020 | Books of the Bible | Proverbs by Daniel Brooker

    Proverbs 23:17-18

    Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all day. Surely there is a future, and your hope will not be cut off.

    As a believer, you will find yourself surrounded by the world and those who are of the world. Remember, Jesus prayed for His followers to be kept away from the evil one, not taken out of the world. These days, with the advent of the Internet and social media, you don't have to leave your pillow to be thrust into a world of comparison with others. People live "curated" lives online – that is, they only post the good accomplishments, happiest events, and highest accolades they've experienced. All this opportunity for comparison gives the human heart a garden rich with good soil to plant, water, and sow the seeds of envy.

    The author of Psalm 73 was in a similar situation. He looked around at the prosperity of the wicked and found that he was envious. Maybe you feel that way today. Maybe you see those around you who, despite their rebellion against God, seem to be benefiting and prospering more and more. Perhaps you agree with Psalm 73:16: "When I thought of how to understand this, it seemed to me a wearisome task." But don't stop there! Like the Psalmist in 73:17, go to the sanctuary of God and discern the wicked's end. 

    Come close to God and allow the truth of His word to speak to your eternal estate. Contemplate the fool's end and see the folly of envying anything that comforts those that are on their way to an eternity separated from God. Let these thoughts drive you toward prayer for them and a desire to share Christ's gospel with them (Ps 73:27-28). Thank God for your restored relationship with Him, which is of true value and more precious than anything this world offers. 

    For in that, surely there is a future and a hope that will not be cut off.


    • Which have you spent more time this week desiring: Worldly things that you know lost people have that you don't (things, relationships, positions, etc.)? Or the faithfulness and obedience of those you know who are sons and daughters of God?


    • Pray through Psalm 139:23-34 and ask the Lord to convict you of any sin you may be harboring in your heart.
    • Pray for those in your life without Christ. Pray for God to remove the barriers, blinders, and preoccupations from their lives and for opportunities to share the gospel with them.