A thousand may fall at your side,
ten thousand at your right hand,
but it will not come near you.
You will only look with your eyes
and see the recompense of the wicked. Psalm 91:7-8
Our text for today refers to the ultimate deliverance of the righteous and the ultimate downfall of the wicked. I have seen devout sisters and brothers survive and thrive during hard times because of their faith. I remember one of my merciless bosses in the banking sector politely asking a coworker (who was openly evangelical) if he was OK coming in on a Sunday during a particular crisis. He didn’t ask me that. He just told me to be there.
I have known young college grads who got plum job opportunities in a tough market because an unbelieving employer valued their Christian faith commitments. I have seen small bands of believers huddle together for a Bible study in a very antagonistic environment, only to have their solid performance rewarded with their own facility.
And if you have seen the righteous delivered, you have seen the wicked fall. Some of my first encounters were with young lawyers who did as little work as possible, and schemed as much as possible, to secure their place in the firm. They didn’t last. I have known a few, but far too many, students who wanted to use other people’s work to obtain good grades for themselves. There is no quicker way to get invited out of academic life.
The point I want to make is not that God’s promises are true. They are. But the question for today is how are we to feel about those who fall around us. It would be easy to celebrate, exult, or even gloat over other’s losses, particularly when they caused us harm.
But that is not the way of Christ. Jesus didn’t celebrate when he defeated the pharisees in debate. And I mourned every time I lost one of those students who refused to do their own work. Never celebrate the fall of those around you, even the most wicked. Let’s proceed instead with the compassion of Christ, loving even our enemies as He commanded.