Why do the wicked prosper? The conundrum is older than the first coin. It puzzles us because we feel that there should be some correlation between prosperity and goodness. There is, but not always in the way we look for it.

We are simple people. We think all rewards should be simple, obvious, tangible. Good men ought to be prosperous and healthy. Evil men ought to be poor and sick.

That is a childish doctrine, but many of us have never grown away from childish notions. Columnist John R. Gunn writes, "Make no mistake, the advantage is on the side of the good in spite of all appearances to the contrary."

Stating the case for goodness, someone has said, Goodness brings its reward in its own coin. It doesn't borrow from stockbroker or doctor to pay its clients - a joy, a deepening of life, an exhilirated sense of glory hereafter. Most real, though most intangible prophets of goodness, with a meaning not to be carried by words that were forged for commerce.

On the other side, you may be sure that evil is always punished, for God is judge and God is not mocked. Not always with festered bodies and empty stomachs does judgement come, but always with the more awful festering of the mind, the narrowing of the spirit, the emptying of the heart, the withdrawal of spiritual perception and the coming of a great bitterness.

There is a cup of mercy in salvation for every man, if he will take it, but there is also another cup. In the hand of the Lord there is a cup and the wine is red, but the dreggs thereof, all the wicked of the Earth shall wring them out and drink them. Judgement comes. Judgement wine - every man prepares his own cup. Look well to your cup. The wine of wickedness may taste sweet now, but it will turn to bitterness.