Many people struggle with this question. Some look at the world and see many people who blaspheme God or covet riches or teach false doctrine or exploit others, accrue wealth, live lives of relative ease, and think, ‘Why are those people so well off?’ For others the thought becomes almost paralyzing. They can’t understand why God would allow such a thing and they, in turn, have a skewed view of who God is in light of what they see. Some, in their misdirected struggle to answer this question, paint with an incredibly broad brush, change the question into a statement and essentially make just about all the prosperous wicked. They say, ‘anyone who is rich is greedy and should [fill in the blank] … give more away or pay more taxes or, once again, [fill in the blank]’. It’s not hard to see how that kind of reasoning not only fails to take into account the godly wealthy of Scripture (i.e. Joseph of Arimethea, Abraham, Lydia, etc.) but it dodges the real issue. The real question is, “Why does God allow the wicked to prosper if He is in sovereign control of all the happenings in this universe?”
Upon reading through the Book of Judges one of the themes that would unfold before your eyes is the “Canaanization of Israel.” You may not initially define what you read as that, but nonetheless, it’s there, definitive, and progressive. The phrase itself deals with the land the children of Israel were commanded to conquer and what happened because they didn’t conquer it the way the LORD had commanded them to. When the children of Israel went into the land of Canaan under the leadership of Joshua, they didn’t have to ‘wing it’, they were given specific instructions to possess the land and expel the inhabitants. Deuteronomy 7 lays this out very clearly:
Instructor. As the Bible will show again and again, God is an instructor. In the opening verses of this chapter we see God instruct Noah to “come into the ark” (vs.1a), take seven of every clean animal (vs.2a) and two of every unclean animal, both male and female into the boat (vs.2b). He who is infinitely wise condescends to explain things to men in such patient detail when, by Himself, He could accomplish such feats with incredible ease. So, whether it was God telling Noah how to build the ark (Gen. 6:15-16), or God instructing Moses how to build the Tabernacle and the things in it (Ex 25-27), or Jesus sending out the twelve with specific instructions (Lk 9:1-6), the God we love and serve is a God who loves to instruct the people He chooses to redeem and work through.