How do you feel when you see the wicked prosper? Does it anger you to see oppression go unpunished, or the evil get away with murder? In Fyodor Dostoevsky's book The Brothers Karamazov there are three brothers. The eldest of the three is Ivan, an intellectual socialist who views God as a monster (if he exists at all). The lines that caught my attention last night were from a dinner conversation he had alone with his younger brother Alyosha. In a passionate monologue he says,
I must have justice, or I will destroy myself. And not justice in some remote infinite time and space, but here on earth and that I could see myself. I have believed in it. I want to see it, and if I am dead by then, let me rise again, for if it all happens without me, it will be too unfair.In Psalm 73 Asaph contemplated the same thing. In verse two he indicates that it was this very consideration--the idea of unmet justice--that almost ended his faith. He laments his own purity (vs 13) as a waste of time since prosperity seems to have nothing to do with righteousness. But then there is a shift in his understanding.
When I tried to understand all this, it was oppressive to me till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny. (vs 16-17)It takes faith and patience to be satisfied with final justice. There are many people who will pass through this life without receiving the retribution they so rightfully deserve. But we must be cautious. It is easy for us to seek justice with great self-righteousness.When we ask God to dish out justice in this life we sometimes forget that if we want justice for others we must have it for ourselves too.
Ultimately, the perfect justice of a perfect God will be satisfied. Let us remember the final destiny of the wicked and persevere in faith. All wrongs will be made right in the end!