I have this constant thorn in my side. If you’re a Christian, no doubt you have experienced this in some form or another. The definition of a “thorn in the side” is someone or something that continually causes problems for us. It can be a lack of money, an addiction, a boss, a chronic health problem, etc. In my case, it’s my neighbors. No doubt satan is to blame. He knows our weaknesses and that’s the area he attacks.
The apostle Paul had a thorn in his flesh which he asked three times for God to remove. The Bible doesn’t say what it was; only that it came from a “messenger of satan.” In church I had always heard it was an eye disease. But I believe Paul, who was attacked often in his body through imprisonment, stripes, shipwrecks, and stoning, was physically weakened. A demonic angel or messenger sent by Satan continually stirred up harassment and persecution against him. In the Old Testament we see references (Num. 33:55; Joshua. 23:13 and Judges. 2:3), where people are spoken of as being “thorns in your sides” or “thorns in your eyes.”
In Joshua 23:13 we read of thorns, traps and snares: “Know for a certainty that the Lord your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the Lord your God hath given you.”
This passage is about Israel and the temptations they faced to worship other gods. If Israel stops loving God, He will stop driving their enemies out of their land. In light of these temptations, we, like the Israelites, need God to strengthen us to continue obeying Him.
My neighbors do not know Jesus as their Savior. They are not even sure if God exists. Like David in the Bible, I ask God why do such people continue to prosper.
Jeremiah asked, “Why does the way of the wicked succeed?” (Jeremiah 12:1). Habakkuk asked God, “Why do You remain silent when the wicked devours one more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13). King David lamented, “Behold, such are the wicked; they are always at ease and they increase their riches. Surely in vain have I cleansed my heart and washed my hands in innocence because all day long I have been plagued and I am chastised every morning” (Psalms 73:12-14).
Psalm 37: 1-2 says: “Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity. For they shall soon be cut down like the grass, and wither as the green herb.”
I don’t like to call my neighbors, wicked, but this is what the Bible says about the unsaved. They are at enmity with God and children of wrath.
On another blog, called: “Ancient Paths,” Gary Denton wrote a comment on why the wicked prosper:
“The wicked prosper because they belong to Satan and he gives them all they have. When Jesus Himself was tempted in the wilderness, Satan told Him that he would give Him all the Kingdoms of this world as it was his to give. Jesus’ answer should be the same who all are HIS CHILDREN, the TRUE children of God . He told Satan that we are to worship and serve our Father in Heaven only! People on this earth will and have greatly prospered in every imaginable way because Satan gives them all they have in return by worshipping and bowing down to him. I really have an understanding of this now like I have never had before. We should never envy the rich, famous, those that the world puts up on the highest pedestal. They are where they are for a reason. So they get maybe 80 years of this on earth, for those of us in Jesus Christ, we have Eternal life in Him and Eternity in HEAVEN! GLORY TO GOD! Can you compare that to the crumbs Satan gives? Its not even crumbs!”
As I ponder on these things, it has caused me to feel sad for my neighbors. All envy disappears. I don’t want to judge them. I ask God to save their souls.