Job 23:13

 

Job continues speaking and says in Job 23:13-17, “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.[14] For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.[15] Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.[16] For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:[17] Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.” I these verses Job realizes that God has plans and thoughts and purposes and ideas that are totally removed from all human beings. God knows what He knows. Man does not know what God knows. True, we can learn a lot about God through faith in Christ, but there will always be a great number of things about the mind of God that we will not know in this life. That is why Job said in verse 13, “But he is in one mind, and who can turn him?” This is especially true concerning things that happen to us. Things will happen that we do not understand why. We do not know God’s purpose for allowing this or that. As in Job’s case, the things that God allows may be terrible sufferings. Unlike man who is limited, God can do whatever He wants to do. That is why Job said in verse 15, “Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.” The things that Job suffered were so horrible that he said many times that Job thought it would have been better to have died than to have suffered such things. Job said in verse 17, “Because I was not cut off before the darkness.” The “darkness” came into Job’s life, and Job knew that it was the mind of God that planned these things. God is all in all, and Job knew that.

 

Concerning this whole subject of the mind and purposes of God, and our limited ability to know God’s purposes, we have a great promise in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” We may not understand God’s purpose, but we can put our faith in Him and His promise and know that good will come out of it.

 

Job continues speaking and says in Job 24:1, “Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?” This verse sets the theme for everything else that Job says in chapter 24. It refers to the truth that Job has been saying throughout the book of Job: some people seem to be doing just fine for a while even though they are wicked. Therefore, the argument given by Job’s “friends” that Job has suffered because Job has wickedly departed from God is not true. In verse one Job says, “they that know him not see his days.” Job knows that there are many examples of people who are evil and who seem to be doing fine. They seem to be getting away with what they are doing. Of course, they will die and then will be the judgment. As Job says in verse 24, “They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low…” The emphasis here is “a little while.” Life is very short comparted to eternity, and so the lives of the wicked are very short and they are heading towards death and judgment. That is exactly what is said in the New Testament in Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment

 

Job begins to describe the lives of wicked people and Job says in Job 24:2-6, “Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.[3] They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge.[4] They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together.[5] Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.[6] They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.” In verse two Job points out that wicked people in this world cheat and steal. In verse three and four Job states that the wicked people take advantage of those who are vulnerable or less powerful: orphans and widows and poor people. When the wicked feel like it, they rise up and take someone as an animal takes prey. And then after he wicked have done these things, they go about supplying the needs of their families. They reap their harvests, and they live their lives, even though it has been by ill-gotten gains.

 

Job continues talking about what kind of lives the wicked live and what happens to them in this life in Job 24:7-12, “They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.[8] They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.[9] They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor.[10] They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;[11] Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.[12] Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.” To live everyone needs at least food, clothing, and shelter. This passage mentions poor people who lack all three of these things, and the wicked oppress them no matter how great are the needs of the poor people. Notice that verse seven speaks of people who are “without clothing” and who have “no covering.” Verse eight says these poor ones have “want of a shelter.” And verse 10 says that the wicked “take away the sheaf from the hungry.” What happens to the wicked people who are so cruel and who multiply the sufferings of the poor? In this life often it seems to be just as Job noticed in verse 12, “yet God layeth not folly to them.” Many of the wicked go on for a good long while, and God does not make the wicked pay for their wickedness.

 

Job continues talking about what kind of lives the wicked live and what happens to them in this life in Job 24:13-17, “They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.[14] The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.[15] The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.[16] In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.[17] For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.” In verse 13 Job states why the wicked are wicked: they “rebel against the light.” Everyone is offered light. It says about Jesus in John 1:9, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Jesus gives everyone an opportunity to see the Light, but Jesus also gives everyone a free choice. Some people rebel against the Light, and that is what makes them evil. When anyone truly repents and turns to Jesus, part of that is a surrender to the will of God. You will either have surrender or you will have rebellion to the call of God. Once a person turns away from God, they are on the path of sin. Verse 14 mentions murderer and thief. Verse 15 mentions adulterer. Verse 16 speaks of the fact that the wicked are always planning their next crime and their next sin: “they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime.”

 

 

In Job 24:17 Job states the result of wicked life, and Job uses the term “the shadow of death” twice. That is because the result of a wicked life is death and destruction. They harm others whether it is through stealing, adultery, murder, lying, or other immoral and unethical actions. They are a bad example, and they lead many astray. And their own soul is headed for doom and destruction too. And so the shadow of death is all around them.

 

Job continues talking about what kind of lives the wicked live and what happens to them in Job 24:18-25, “He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.[19] Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.[20] The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.[21] He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.[22] He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.[23] Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.[24] They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.[25] And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?” In verse 18 Job says about the wicked: “He is swift as the waters…” Job means that their life passes quickly. That is true of all people. Life is short, especially if you compare life on this earth to eternity. At the end of their lives is when you will really see what happens to the wicked. In verse 19 Job states that the grace will consume “those which have sinned.” No one will escape the full result of their sins. That is why it is important that a person repent and turn to Jesus for forgiveness.

 

In verse 20 when Job says about the wicked, “The womb shall forget him,” and “he shall be no more remembered,” I think that Job is talking about in eternity. That presents an interesting thought. Those who are declared to be righteous because they believe on Jesus will go to heaven. The wicked who turn away from Jesus will go to hell. We know that heaven is a place of eternal happiness. But when we are in heaven what will our thoughts be of all the people who are in hell paying the price for their own sins forever and ever? I would think there are a few possibilities. Maybe we will only remember good things about them. Perhaps we will see and remember how God blessed them in their lives because God does bless all people on this earth. Perhaps the grace of God will reveal to us the fact that the wicked received the just deserts for their evil deeds. But perhaps the things that Job said in Job 24:20 tell us that we will not even remember the wicked in any way. The memory of their very existence would then disappear from our minds.

 

Job 24:21 is a reminder of the sins that the wicked committed. It says, “He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.” The wicked have no heart for those who are in need. “From the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh,” and the wicked speak against those that are alone: the barren. Especially in ancient days, a woman who was barren had no children to help her. As children get older, they become workers for the needs of the family. The more children that you had, the stronger was your family. A barren woman was in a very weak place in life. Women have many more opportunities now, but not in those days. The same was true about widows. Their man is gone, and they are alone. A barren woman and a widow woman symbolized those that are weak and powerless in society. We have people in situations like that today: many of them in the forgotten middle class. The powerful and rich who are wicked do not think of the forgotten masses. The wicked only think of themselves and their agenda for domination and control.

 

In verse twenty-two Job mentions the destructive nature of wicked people: “no man is sure of life.” The way to help the world is to serve God through faith in Christ. It is the only way to help he world. If you go to your work each day with faith in Christ and dedicate your work to Him, then God will bless you, guide you, and use you, and God will make your efforts to feed your family as a part of His work. But that is not true for a wicked person, no matter how hard they work. Because their heart is against God, all of their work will be part of the work that is against God. It will happen naturally. That is why Jesus said, “He that gathers not with me, scatters abroad.”

 

Job concludes what he has been saying about wicked people in verse 24: “They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.” They live their wicked lives and they are part of the system that is against God, and they appear to prosper. But only “for a little while The grave and the judgment of God awaits them and beckons them. They go “the way as all other.” They die: they are “cut off” from among the living when their time comes. That is why they need to repent and turn to Jesus while they have time.

 

For anyone who knows God and knows the Bible, one would think that the things that Job said in this passage about wicked people would be obvious. And so Job asks the question in verse 25, “And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?”   

 

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Copyright; 2018 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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