35 I have seen wicked and ruthless people flourishing like a tree in its native soil.
36 But when I looked again, they were gone! Though I searched for them, I could not find them!
Psalm 37:35-36 (NLT)
Welcome to the 22nd installment on my study of Psalm 37. This time, we are looking at the negative implications of being wicked and ruthless. Why does God bother to give us such negative results? I believe there are 2 reasons for him to do so:
1. He does not want us to be envious of their apparent prosperity.
2. He does not want us to stray and follow their paths.
Psalm 37:35 tells us that being wicked and ruthless can look rich and successful. God compares their success to a tree in its native soil. Trees that grow in their native soil will flourish because the native soil has all the nutrients with the right content and proportion they need to grow at optimum state. Wicked and ruthless people can look that way too. They can look like they have achieved the success and prosperity that we have been trusting God for.
Many people of the world including religious people believe that the only way to be prosperous is to be crooked. I grew up with such beliefs. The adults around me gave me the impression that being honest and truthful will only result in poverty. You have to be cunning, wicked and ruthless if you want to attain success. I felt so despised and unloved because for some reasons I was unable to behave the way I was expected to. Now that I know the truth, I feel sorry for them instead. It seems that they were fooled by the devil. They could identify with Psalm 37:35 but they knew nothing about Psalm 37:36.
This could also be one of the reasons why the religious people are willing to sink to the level of spreading slanders and lies on Christians who choose to trust God for their prosperity. In their mind, to be rich is to be worldly and being worldly means being wicked. To them, Christians should focus on glorifying God and the only way to glorify God is to be poor. In their religious mind, wanting to be rich and generous are heresies while wanting to be poor and selfish are the attributes that glorify God. However the Bible said the opposite. The religious people can read Psalm 37:35 but not Psalm 37:36.
Psalm 37:35 only tells us half the truth. The other half is in Psalm 37:36. According to Psalm 37:36, the wicked and ruthless people that looked rich and successful will not last for long. Soon they will disappear. All their success and prosperity will be gone.
I believe God put up these 2 verses to encourage us to trust in him for our success and prosperity. We should not be distracted from the path of God just because there are wicked and ruthless people look outwardly rich and successful. Their riches and success are only an outward façade. They may be rich on the outside but they are poor in their souls. As such their outward façade will not last and soon it will crumble.
In contrast, if we continue to build up our faith we are getting richer in our souls. You may not be rich and successful on the outside but as long as you are rich in your soul, the outward manifestation of riches and success will manifest one day. As Christians, success and prosperity belong to us. All we need to do is to keep believing and not stray away from God’s path.