Why do the bad guys seem to get ahead?

Good Morning to everyone listening today to our series on the hard questions of life.

Grace and Peace in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

God Loves you, and I love you, but it God that counts.

Today's hard question is: "Why do the bad guys seem to get ahead?"

As a pastor I hear this question asked by people from time to time, especially after some personal struggle or crises in their persons life. I hear it too when something particularly disturbing happens on the news. The memory that sticks in my mind the most was at a meeting of other United Methodist preachers. It was the day the O.J. Simson trial verdict was announced. I was in this preacher's meeting, with about 25 other Methodist preachers and we were all listening to the radio. Now you think we would have better things to do than listen to a radio at one of our monthly meetings. Right before the trial verdict was announce I asked, "how many guess the jury verdict will be guilty." Now mind you, I did not ask them to judge O.J. but to guess the jury's verdict! Everyone knows that preachers are not judgmental! [I better stop here before I get myself in trouble.] Back to the trial. Like I said, I asked how many guess the jury will return a "guilty" verdict. All raised their hands except one. I asked how many guess the jury verdict to be "not guilty." The one raised his hand. The normal talkative group of preachers were all in silent anticipation as the radio news reporter described the jury returning, the foreman being asked the verdict by the judge, and the almost eternity of silent waiting to hear the verdict of the "Trial of the Century." "Your honor the jury finds the defendant . . . "not guilty". There was a gasp among the preachers that revealed the emotional distress the news caused. After the initial shock was over we slowly but distractedly returned to the business at hand.

I could tell by the reaction that they were all shocked, except one. I'm sure all the families of the victims that were convinced O.J. did it were shocked by the verdict. Now, I'm not going to comment either way about the verdict, but I am very sure that many people in the United States that watched TV in the months leading to that verdict, asked the question, "Why do the bad guys seem to get ahead?"

Now this is not a new question. Brothers and sisters, back in Bible times, they asked the same questions. In (Job 21:7-27 NIV), Job, a good man in his own eyes, is in great suffering, trying to figure out God's justice on earth and he asks the same questions! "Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? {8} They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. {9} Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not upon them. {10} Their bulls never fail to breed; their cows calve and do not miscarry. {11} They send forth their children as a flock; their little ones dance about. {12} They sing to the music of tambourine and harp; they make merry to the sound of the flute. {13} They spend their years in prosperity and go down to the grave in peace. {14} Yet they say to God, 'Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. {15} Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?' {16} But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the counsel of the wicked.

{17} "Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked snuffed out? How often does calamity come upon them, the fate God allots in his anger? {18} How often are they like straw before the wind, like chaff swept away by a gale? {19} It is said, 'God stores up a man's punishment for his sons.' Let him repay the man himself, so that he will know it! {20} Let his own eyes see his destruction; let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty. {21} For what does he care about the family he leaves behind when his allotted months come to an end? {22} "Can anyone teach knowledge to God, since he judges even the highest? {23} One man dies in full vigor, completely secure and at ease, {24} his body well nourished, his bones rich with marrow. {25} Another man dies in bitterness of soul, never having enjoyed anything good. {26} Side by side they lie in the dust, and worms cover them both."

Now our friend Job is not a happy camper, folks! He is asking the same question, "Why do the bad guys seem to get ahead?"

I would like to offer a three part answer the question, "Why do the bad guys seem to get ahead?"

1. Asking the question may indicate a personal spiritual problem of our own.

2. The bad guys do not get ahead where it counts.

3. Our own soul is the only thing we need to worry about, because Jesus words will take care of the bad guys and deliver us.

1. Asking the question may indicate a personal spiritual problem of our own.

Many times these words are spoken in the bitterness of a persons soul. We have had hurtful experiences in our life that we do not know how to deal with adequately. Along with the bitterness comes the anger and resentment even toward's God. Church folks will either draw closer to God if they know him or turn away in the bitterness and anger. Those who do not know the Lord will turn farther away or turn to immoral things like abusing alcohol, drugs, their bodies, even others, some in their own families. Now brothers and sisters this is a sad and pathetic place to be. We will turn to the very evil and bad things that caused our heart ache in the first place. We're lost and we ask the question, "Why do the bad guys seem to get ahead?" What the use, I'll become a bad guy, and get ahead like them!" You know, we never seem to ever make it. We just get more bitter and deeper in sin.

Some of the greatest people in the Bible have been there! King David, God's beloved and anointed king as been there. We read in Psalm 73,

{1} Surely God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.

{2} But as for me, my feet had almost slipped; I had nearly lost my foothold. {3} For I envied the arrogant when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

{4} They have no struggles; their bodies are healthy and strong.

{5} They are free from the burdens common to man; they are not plagued by human ills.

{6} Therefore pride is their necklace; they clothe themselves with violence.

{7} From their callous hearts comes iniquity ; the evil conceits of their minds know no limits.

{8} They scoff, and speak with malice; in their arrogance they threaten oppression. . . This is what the wicked are like-- always carefree, they increase in wealth.

{13} Surely in vain have I kept my heart pure; in vain have I washed my hands in innocence.

{14} All day long I have been plagued; I have been punished every morning.

But, you see, David came to his senses! He continues in his psalm.

{15} If I had said, "I will speak thus," I would have betrayed your children.

{16} When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me

{17} till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.

{18} Surely you place them on slippery ground; you cast them down to ruin.

{19} How suddenly are they destroyed, completely swept away by terrors!

{20} As a dream when one awakes, so when you arise, O Lord, you will despise them as fantasies.

{21} When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,

{22} I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.

2. The bad guys do not get ahead where it counts. We know from David's psalm in the Bible that when he entered into the sanctuary of God, he realized the fate of the "bad guys." Their "ruin" comes quickly and completely on this earth and after they die they face a terrible judgement! Brothers and sisters, it is not a pretty picture for the bad guys! The voice of God, speaking from his heavenly thrones says in (Revelation 21:6-9 NIV) ,. . . "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. {7} He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. {8} But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." Just a note here too, the original word for magic arts, is the same word for drugs in Bible times!

The bad guys always get it where it counts -- in the end.

Jesus said, (John 12:47-48 NIV) "As for the person who hears my words but does not keep them, I do not judge him. For I did not come to judge the world, but to save it. {48} There is a judge for the one who rejects me and does not accept my words; that very word which I spoke will condemn him at the last day.

Brothers and sisters if you can hear my voice or read this, you have time to receive the solution and answer to the question, "Why do the bad guys seem to get ahead?" That is the third and final solution:

3. Our own soul is the only thing we need to worry about, because Jesus Word will take care of the bad guys and deliver us. If we can overcome, we will inherit what counts. . . that is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. Ole King David in the Bible, helps us here too. At the end of Psalm 73, He confesses the bitterness of his soul, turns away from it, and to the Lord.

{21} When my heart was grieved and my spirit embittered,

{22} I was senseless and ignorant; I was a brute beast before you.

{23} Yet I am always with you; you hold me by my right hand.

{24} You guide me with your counsel, and afterward you will take me into glory.

{25} Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides you.

{26} My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.

{27} Those who are far from you will perish; you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.

{28} But as for me, it is good to be near God. I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.

Do you ask the question, "Why do the bad guys seem to get ahead?" Is your soul bitter and unhappy? Have you moved away from your personal relationship with Jesus Christ as your Savior? Do you even know Jesus as your Savior? Brothers and sisters, the answer is the same.

a) Confess your bitterness and sin and turn away from it.

b) Reach out to Jesus and ask him to come into your life and heal your broken spirit. He will make you one of his "Good Guys;" that's the Good News.

c) Tell others about Jesus.

Remember, God loves you and I love, but it's God that counts!

Glory to God. Amen.

Would you like to know Jesus Christ as your savior and receive eternal life?

I want to know Jesus Christ as my Savior!

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