Bible Study: When the Wicked Flourish

Sometimes the bad guys seem to be winning, don’t they? Within a 24-hour period, I read about how political correctness trumps biblical correctness in public prayers, how terrorists are abducting and killing hostages, how families are being incarcerated because they are Christians, and how chemicals are being used as weapons during civil war.

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As though the world at large isn’t enough, the good guys often are overruled in the classroom, the marketplace, the homeplace and the sports field. The cheaters, the liars, the abusers and the haters seem to come out on top.

Any one of these issues is enough to cause great concern. Yet, every day we read of more and more issues, events, decisions, actions, trends and attitudes that give the impression that the enemy has a new, arrogant boldness as he rebels against God’s person, His principles and His people.

When the wicked flourish, King David urges you and me to do four things.

READ PSALM 37:1-40

Underline the words wicked or evil in Psalm 37 and underline what God says about them.
List the phrases in Psalm 37 that contrast wicked and evil behavior with the righteous person’s relationship with God.

Psalm 37:1-6

  • In which verses do you find the word trust? What do you think it means?
  • Give one reason from Psalm 37:1-2 for not worrying when the wicked flourish.
  • How is this reasoning confirmed in Proverbs 21:6-7, Proverbs 24:19-20, Ecclesiastes 2:11, Psalm 73:27, Psalm 92:6-8, Isaiah 40:6-8 and James 1:9-12?
  • As we choose to trust the Lord when the wicked flourish, what four things are we to do, according to Psalm 37:3-4? What promise is given to those who do these things?
  • What is God’s attitude toward the wicked who defy Him? See Psalm 37:12-13, Psalm 2:1-6 and Revelation 19:11-21.
  • In the following verses, what three wicked world powers did God overthrow on behalf of those who trusted in Him? Exodus 14:29-31, Jeremiah 39:11-18, Nahum 3:18.
  • What encouragement do you receive from Psalm 91:1-8?
  • What are some practical things you can do to maintain and strengthen your trust in the Lord?

Psalm 37:7-22

  • How can you “be still before the Lord” according to Psalm 37:7?
  • What does 2 Peter 3:7-9 say is one reason we are to wait for God to settle accounts?
  • Will the wicked be held accountable according to the following verses? Micah 5:15, Nahum 1:2-3, Hebrews 9:27, 2 Peter 2:4-9, Revelation 14:7, Revelation 20:11-15.
  • What encouragement do you receive from Psalm 27:1-3, 13-14? Psalm 40:1-3? Lamentations 3:19-26?
  • For what are we ultimately waiting? See Philippians 2:9-11 and James 5:7-9.

Psalm 37:23-34

  • Give phrases in Genesis 6:1-7, 12 that describe the flourishing of the wicked.
  • From Genesis 6:8, 22; 7:5, 7, 17-23; 8:1, 15; 9:1, give phrases that contrast Noah with the world in which he lived.
  • How does Noah’s life illustrate Psalm 1?
  • List the promises in Psalm 37:23-24 that are given to those who are right with God.
  • What are some practical things you can do to claim the promise of Proverbs 3:5-6? And Psalm 119:105?
  • In 1 John 1:5-7, how does John describe walking with God, and what is the exclusive promise given to those who do?

Psalm 37:35-40

  • What do you think it means to hide in the Lord? See Psalm 32:7, 4:8; John 14:23, 15:5; Ephesians 3:16-17; Colossians 3:15-17.
  • What two other words are used for hide in Psalm 37:35-40?
  • What encouragement do you receive from Deuteronomy 33:26-29; 2 Samuel 22:2-4; Psalm 9:9-10, 46:1-3, 91:9-12, 118:6-9; Isaiah 25:4?

If we are living at the end of human history as we have known it, and I believe we are, then the wicked may actually increase in prosperity. Temporarily, lies may win over truth, hate may win over love, and wrong may win over right. Things may get worse before they get dramatically, ultimately, permanently better. Now is the time to prepare, not by stockpiling guns or food, but by trusting, waiting, walking and hiding in the Lord. We need to be strong enough in our faith that God can use us to strengthen and encourage others.

In the end, we will be on the winning side. Because Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords, one day every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that He is Lord! To the glory of God!