The Contemporary English Version (CEV) of the Bible translates this passage as: “Whenever I complain to you, Lord, you are always fair. But now I have questions about your justice. Why is life easy for sinners? Why are they successful? You plant them like trees; you let them prosper and produce fruit. Yet even when they praise you, they don’t mean it.” (Jeremiah 12:1-2, CEV)
Does it ever seem to you that “cheaters” do seem to prosper? That life isn’t fair? You follow the rules, obey God, go to church, love your family, go out of your way to be friendly, work hard, take time to rest, care for and serve others… you know, do all the right things. You are a good Christian person. But when you look around you see “the treacherous” and “the sinners” seem to have everything going for them. They have a nicer car, bigger house, more friends, expensive clothing and jewelry, dine at only the best restaurants, and have more money and toys than anybody else. You just want to scream “IT’S NOT FAIR!”
Well, Jeremiah understood that same sentiment. Jeremiah found himself in a world fraught with war. The leaders and prominent citizens had been sent into exile by the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar. This king had systematically destroyed many of the Israelite’s traditions. Jeremiah’s words convey his belief that the trouble the people were in was the direct result of God’s divine retribution because of their unfaithfulness to God. The words he prophesied caused some to consider him a heretic, others to declare him insane, his own family to stay away from him, and the religious authorities to call for his death. Jeremiah found himself a veritable outcast, but he remained steadfast in his mission to call the people to repentance. He firmly believed that only God’s judgment could reveal his promise to save them. For Christians, this word of promise for our salvation provides us an understanding of why it sometimes seems that cheaters, in fact, do not prosper.
Our core values center on the saving action of Christ on the Cross. His suffering and death provide the path to eternal life. We are not promised an easy life in this world, but one day our trials and tribulations will end and we will find ourselves in the loving arms of God for all eternity. We also understand God to be both just and merciful. God’s blessings do fall on the good and the not so good: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.” (Matthew 5:44-45, NRSV) The blessings poured out on the evil are not a sign of God’s favor nor are they an endorsement of their actions, rather they represent God’s mercy. The Holy Spirit will stir up faith in the wicked as it chooses and perhaps evildoers will come to know the truth of God’s grace, renounce their wrong minded actions, and return to the Lord.
“It all turns on the difference in time and eternity. When the two are compared, an entire earthly life is less than a fraction of a second compared to a billion years. To win the great prize of Eternal Glory with Christ is more than worth bearing the burdens of whatever disasters our earth-life is capable of bringing upon us. No recipient of such a blessing should be troubled by whatever pleasures and prosperities may be enjoyed by the wicked for the brief season of earthly life.” 
So you see, in the end and for all eternity, cheaters never prosper!
Father, grant us peace in your promise of the eternal blessings obtained by those who profess Christ as Lord and Savior. Amen
Basking in the Sonshine!