I know someone who has patiently built up a thriving business with his artistic skills. The only problem is that he is employing those talents in the new legalized marijuana trade. I know another person who has finally landed a lucrative job in New York City, her dream location. The only problem is that her career is an adjunct to the abortion industry. For now, things are going well for them.
The Bible only has to say something once for it to be important and true. But when Scripture makes the same point over and over again, it gets my attention. Here is what God says, in various ways and places, about prosperity gained in a manner displeasing to the Lord:
“You shall eat, but not be satisfied, and there shall be hunger within you; you shall put away, but not preserve, and what you preserve I will give to the sword. You shall sow, but not reap; you shall tread olives, but not anoint yourselves with oil; you shall tread grapes, but not drink wine” (Micah 6:14–15, ESV).
“… Though they build houses, they shall not inhabit them; though they plant vineyards, they shall not drink wine from them” (Zephaniah 1:13, ESV).
“Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing? ... You will have your fill of shame instead of glory. … The cup in the LORD’s right hand will come around to you …” (Habakkuk 2:13,16, ESV).
“Therefore … you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine” (Amos 5:11, ESV).
“You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes. … You looked for much, and behold, it came to little …” (Haggai 1:6,9, ESV).
“Like the partridge that gathers a brood that she did not hatch, so is he who gets riches but no by justice; in the midst of his days they will leave him, and at his end he will be a fool” (Jeremiah 17:11, ESV).
“If you will not listen, if you will not take it to heart to give honor to my name, says the LORD of hosts, then I will send the curse upon you and I will curse your blessings …” (Malachi 2:2, ESV).
Had enough? The Lord wants us to “get” it. Here is the message: It is not how things look in the middle of the game that’s important. Some righteous people who trust the Lord and live uprightly and refuse to do immoral things seem to be doing terribly at the moment. Some people who ignore God and are leaning to their own understanding seem to be doing very well right now. But do not pity the former or be jealous of the latter. For the Lord has a way of turning things on their head. He is the God of great reversals. He lifts up the humble and puts down the proud. Let us trust in the Lord and do good. And other than that, as a wise man said:
“Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!” (Psalm 27:14, ESV)