19: When unscrupulous people succeed (Psalm 49:16–19)

Scripture ReadingPsalm 49:16-19

Sometimes we think that the righteous should obviously do well in life while the wicked just as obviously fall into ruin. But things don’t always follow this script. When the wicked thrive, Christians feel that the world has turned upside down and that their faith has proven vain.

In hard times we are apt to look to those who have prospered by corrupt practices or by cronyism and believe that we must do the same if we are to escape poverty. But we in fact only guarantee that we will share in their disgrace before people and their condemnation before God.

If we do decide to make God our trust, we must do so fully and not superficially. It is a bad thing for someone to use fraud in order to gain wealth. It is a terrible thing to do this while feigning allegiance to God.

We would do well to ask what others see when they observe our work and the way we do it. Do we justify taking ethical shortcuts, or discrimination, or treating people badly by babbling about “blessing” or “God’s will” or “favor?” Perhaps we should be more reluctant to ascribe our apparent successes to God’s will and be more ready to say simply, “I don’t deserve it.”

Prayer: Jesus, sometimes wicked ways seem to lead to success. Help me fully trust in you and your ways, rather than in corruption, to succeed in the ways that matter. May my heart be set on you. Amen.

For Further Exploration: Read Anxiety When Unscrupulous People Succeed (Psalms 49, 50, 52, 62) from the Theology of Work Bible Commentary.

Author: Theology of Work Project

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