Job Says God Will Deal With The Wicked

James Reston was a syndicated columnist for the New York Times for more than thirty years. In his final column for the newspaper, he wrote: “In America, we have learned something about how to deal with adversity since the great Depression, but not much about how to dea … More

Prosperity

This chapter centers around a debate between Job and Zophar concerning prosperity. After appealing for their understanding and sympathy Job refutes Zophar’s idea that evil people never experience wealth and happiness (vv. 1-6). But first, he says, “If you really want to console me, just keep quiet and listen” (vv. 1-2). Now he turns his full attention to Zophar (v. 3). Job’s condition was so pathetic that men were shocked (vv. 4-5). As he contemplated about what he was going to say it stirred him to the depths (v. 6). I really think it would have better if he had not tried to answer Zophar’s brutal accusation, but he tells them that he is growing weary of their false charges. Still troubled by what he believed to be injustice in his own case, Job raised the issue of the prosperity of the wicked (vv. 7-16). The wicked had rejected God and refused to practice His ways (v. 14) yet they have security on every side. Their children and homes are safe (vv. 8-9.11-12), their business prospers (v. 10), and they have long lives in which to enjoy their prosperity (v. 13). (v. 16). Job could not understand this.

Following his discussion of the prosperity of the wicked, Job raised a question that the godless rarely, if ever, seem to suffer (vv. 17-22). Bildad had stated that the wicked would be afflicted but Job asks how often any have seen this happen (vv. 17-18). It was believed that the fathers’ sins would affect the children for generations, but Job questions this also (v. 19). If the wicked were punished, the wrath of God would have to fall on them (vv. 20-21). The wicked die just like other people (vv. 22-34). The rich man dies, the poor man dies, the believer dies, the unbeliever dies; and side by side they lie in the dust and worms cover them (v. 26). Job charges that his friends had him in mind all the while as they described the fate of the wicked (v. 27). Job is confident that God will judge the wicked (vv. 28-34). Their judgment may not be until the Great White Throne judgment.

Application

What is important is how I view God in prosperity or poverty, not the prosperity or poverty itself.

Job 21:1-34 (English Standard Version)


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