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August 7, 2023

Why Good Things Happen To Bad People

A day in Your courts is better than a thousand outside.

–Psalm 84:10

In 1991, Michael Halt was second in command of a battalion that was making its way toward the Kuwaiti border during the Gulf War. Though they had started out under clear skies, they were soon slowed by a torrential downpour. The soldiers could barely see where they were going. As they endured day after day soaked to the bone, Halt prayed for the rain to subside. Finally, the rain dissipated, and to their surprise, the soldiers discovered that the rain had uncovered a minefield in their path. The storm that slowed them became the storm that saved them.

The truth is that adversity in our lives can actually be a blessing in disguise, and the good things in our lives may not be all they’re cracked up to be–it is all a matter of perspective. And Solomon tried to help us gain that perspective in the book of Ecclesiastes. In chapter 4, Solomon was perplexed that God allowed bad things to happen to good people. And in chapter 6, Solomon answered another question: Why does God allow good things to happen to bad people?

Solomon concluded that the good things that happen to bad people are not nearly as good as we think they are. Consider money–how many people think money is the answer to every problem? Solomon dispelled that myth in chapter 5, and he continued the theme in chapter 6: “There is an evil which I have seen under the sun and it is prevalent among men–a man to whom God has given riches and wealth and honor so that his soul lacks nothing of all that he desires; yet God has not empowered him to eat from them, for a foreigner enjoys them” (vv. 1-2). Ultimately, a stranger will enjoy what you have worked to accumulate. That stranger may be another person, it may be an illness, it may be a conflict in your family, or it may be death itself. One day you will be parted from everything you accumulate. Wealth is not the answer to your problems.

Or think about longevity. We wonder, “Why does God give long life to the ungodly, but a godly person gets struck down in the prime of life?” Look at Solomon’s answer: “If a man fathers a hundred children and lives many years, however many they be, but his soul is not satisfied with good things and he does not even have a proper burial, then I say, ‘Better the miscarriage than he.’” (v. 3). Longevity is not a blessing if you are dissatisfied with your life. Solomon said the person who is stillborn is better off than the person who lives a long life of dissatisfaction apart from God. Remember Ecclesiastes 2:25: “For who can eat and who can have enjoyment without Him?” Solomon was saying, “Quit getting bent out of shape over the good things that happen to bad people–those things are not necessarily that good.”


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Why Good Things Happen To Bad People” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2009.

Michael Halt, “His Mysterious Ways,” Guideposts, November 2002, 17.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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