Job 21:16

 

Job continues talking about what happens to wicked people, and Job says in Job 21:16-18, “Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.[17] How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.[18] They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.” The wicked people are wicked in both what they do and what they teach. “their good is not in their hand.” That means their works are evil and not good. “the counsel of the wicked” refers to what the wicked teach. Job is stating his own innocence and pointing out that the three “friends” are wrong. Job was not suffering because he was wicked. There had to be some other explanation for what happened to Job. But Job does state that it is true that the wicked will be punished for their choice to go away from God. “the candle of the wicked” will be put out. Destruction from the hand of God will come to the wicked. And as Job wrote in verse 18, “They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.” The same symbolism was used by David in Psalms 1:4, “The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” After the harvest, in ancient times the chaff was separated from the wheat using the wind to blow away the chaff. That harvesting symbolizes the fact that God’s harvest of souls will come when the time is right.

 

Job continues talking about what happens to wicked people, and Job says in Job 21:19-21, “God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.[20] His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.[21] For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?” The day will come when the wicked will be destroyed. Everything is headed that way. The wicked will get their reward for being wicked: destruction. The wicked “shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.” It is just a matter of time. God hopes that the wicked will turn from their wicked ways and trust in Jesus. But if they do not, the judgment is coming. When that day comes, what pleasure will the wicked have? That is what Job is asking in verse 21, “For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?

 

Job says in Job 21:22-26, “Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.[23] One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.[24] His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow.[25] And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.[26] They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.” Even though Job was sure that he was right and his friends were wrong, Job realized his limitations. None of us knows what God knows. God has His purposes. God knows the future. God knows what is best. God knows every detail about ourselves and those around us. We do not know any of those things. We need to learn from God as much as we can. And so Job says in verse 22, “Shall any teach God knowledge?

 

We are all equal in that we know almost nothing compared to what God knows. We are also equal in that we are all going to die no matter what we experience in life. In verse 23 Job wrote, “One dieth in his full strength.” In verse 24 Job wrote, “And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.” And everyone has the same fate awaiting the physical body: corruption. That is one reason that the resurrection of Christ is so important and so promising. Jesus solves the problem of death and corruption. He will give to each believer a resurrected body.  

 

Job says to his “friends” in Job 21:27-34, “Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.[28] For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked?[29] Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens,[30] That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.[31] Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done?[32] Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.[33] The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him.[34] How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?” There are two important phrases to notice in verse 30: “the day of destruction” and “the day of wrath.” These two phrases describe the same event: God’s judgment. There is a day coming that has not come yet: the day of the wrath of God. It will be a fearful day. It will be a day when the Almighty and all-powerful God says “enough is enough.” Right now we are warned about the wrath to come. If you are fortunate the Holy Spirit will touch your heart and you will fear the wrath to come and will seek forgiveness before it is too late. There will also be a time of God’s wrath against the whole earth. It culminates with the battle of Armageddon as described in Revelation 14:18-20, “And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.[19] And the angel thrust in his sickle into the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great winepress of the wrath of God.[20] And the winepress was trodden without the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs.

 

In Job 21:27-34 Job once again tells his “friends” that they are wrong and that what they are saying is false. In verse 27 Job said that they “wrongfully imagine.” In verse 34 Job states that their answers are “falsehood,” and Job points out again that his friends should be comforting Job, but they were not doing that. When someone suffers a great loss, they need to be comforted. That is their greatest need. They certainly do not need someone to tell them that they deserved what happened. You do not want to say what Job’s friends said: that the oppressed is wicked and deserved what happened. The wicked do not always get judged in this life, but they will definitely be judged in the next. Do not worry: they are headed for the grave, just like everyone else. And after the grave will be their judgment. Hebrews 9:27 puts it this way: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.”  

 

The Bible says in Job 22:1-7, “Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,[2] Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?[3] Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him that thou makest thy ways perfect?[4] Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?[5] Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?[6] For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.[7] Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.” Job’s basic argument had been that He knew that his sufferings came from God because God is all-powerful and God is involved in everything that happens, but Job also knew that these sufferings were not punishments for sin on Job’s part. Job did not know why God allowed these sufferings, but Job knew that Job was not being punished for sin. In verse three Eliphaz accuses Job of being self-righteous and thinking himself to be perfect. It is true that we are all sinners, and so as far as Eliphaz is concerned that truth is all that he needs to accuse Job is deserving the sufferings. That is why Eliphaz says in verse 5, “Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?” And then in verses six and seven Eliphaz invents specific sins that he is accusing Job of committing. These “friends” of Job are so determined to condemn Job that they imagine sins that Job has not committed. That is how badly they want to condemn him. And so Eliphaz says in verses 6 and 7, “For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.[7] Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.” But Job had not done any of these things. Job’s friends had become smear agents and spreaders of falsehood because of their zeal to attack and condemn Job.

 

Eliphaz continues speaking and says in Job 22:8-20, “But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.[9] Thou has sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.[10] Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;[11] Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.[12] Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are![13] And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?[14] Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.[15] Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?[16] Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:[17] Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?[18] Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.[19] The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn.[20] Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.” Eliphaz continues with his criticisms and judgments of Job. In verse eight Eliphaz says that if Job was an honorable person, everything would have gone well for Job and Job would have been a “mighty” person in the earth instead of being cast down. And then Eliphaz accuses Job of saying things that Job did not say. In verse 13 Eliphaz said to Job, “And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud?” But Job never said any such thing. Job’s friends are so self-righteous and so determined to accuse Job that the friends now think of negative things to say about God and accuse job of having said such things. No wonder that Jesus said, “Judge not that ye be not judged.” Once again in verses 15 and 16 Eliphaz says that everyone knows what happens to wicked people: they do not proper. They are “cut down.” The reason they are cut down is because they are against God and they turn away from God: as Eliphaz said in verse 17: “Which said unto God, Depart from us.” And once again Eliphaz says that everyone knows that God will prosper those who believe in Him and serve Him. That is why Eliphaz said in verse 20, “Whereas our substance is not cut down.” Of course, Eliphaz is wrong. Jesus taught that God will supply our basic needs. Nothing more than that is promised. Jesus said in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.” Jesus also promised that if you serve Him, you will suffer certain things in this life. That is why Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-11, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.[11] Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.” And then we are told what some people have suffered willingly because they served Christ and lived by faith in God’s love and in God’s guiding hand. It says in Hebrews 11:36-40, “And others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings, yea, moreover of bonds and imprisonment:[37] They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented;[38] (Of whom the world was not worthy:) they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth.[39] And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise:[40] God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.” And so Eliphaz is wrong. You do not always prosper in this life if you serve God and follow Jesus. Sometimes you lose in this life, but you will be rewarded in the next. Since this life is very short compared to eternity, and since Jesus suffered and died for you, you will be willing to suffer for Him if you love Him and if you understand what is really important.

 

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Copyright; 2018 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
All Rights Reserved