You have heard of the saying, “Only the good die young.” Or someone will ask, “why does it seem like so many good people are oppressed but you see all these evil people flourishing in life?” Have you ever asked that question? Why does God allow evil people to prosper? In Ecclesiastes 4:1-3 Solomon states, “Then I looked again at all the acts of oppression which were being done under the sun. And behold I saw the tears of the oppressed and that they had no one to comfort them; and on the side of their oppressors was power, but they had no one to comfort them. So, I congratulated the dead who are already dead more than the living who are still living. But better off than both of them is the one who has never existed, who has never seen the evil activity that is done under the sun.”
Solomon’s thoughts here are similar to those in Proverbs. The thought of the oppressed being powerless was troubling to Solomon. The abuse of power, the suffering of those afflicted, the power evil men have, was hard to comprehend. Why does God allow cruel and evil people the strength to oppress others? Although Solomon was a very wise man, he did not see the justice from God coming as often as he it seemed he should have. In the Old Testament, God is stated as the avenger of the oppressed. In the Law of Moses, the Word of God states, “You shall not wrong a stranger or oppress him, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. You shall not afflict any widow or orphan. If you afflict him at all, and if he does cry out to Me, I will surely hear his cry; and My anger will be kindled, and I will kill you with the sword, and your wives shall become widows and your children fatherless”
There is a promise here that God will punish the oppressors and set the ones being oppressed free. Solomon did not understand that they do have a Comforter. We too must remember when we are being oppressed by someone or something, God is there. Solomon then in Vs. 2 makes a comment that possibly means he saw death as a means of one escaping the deeds of evil men and will receive their reward. In 2 Timothy 4:17, it appears that Paul believed so, “But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed, and will bring me safely to His heavenly kingdom; to Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Solomon goes on to make a point that is it an advantage for men not to know about all the oppression people do to others in the world. Death is the only escape. The answer to the question, “Why does God allow evil to prosper” is answered by Asaph in Psalm 73. It seems to us that these types of evil people have their way, that they are blessed in this world. But they too will face judgment. They may get away with evil here on earth. They may have many blessings as they do their dirty deeds. But their prosperity is clouded and short-lived. They will have to face the vengeance of God when death finds them (Hebrews 12:19).