Day 12

Zophar’s Second Speech and Job’s Reply

from the Job reading plan


Job 20:1-29, Job 21:1-34, Psalm 37:34-36, 2 Peter 3:9-13

Scan the most popular podcasts and streaming series on Netflix, and you’ll find a common thread: justice. People are interested in cold cases and unsolved murders, because they want justice to have its day. In our right minds, we want justice for all. God does too. But God also wants mercy to have its day. And like Jonah after him, Job is making a wrong turn at the fork in the road.

Job looks at his life and then looks down the street at the God-haters as they clink their glasses and settle in for another lavish feast, enjoying their lives. Job is perplexed. He wonders, “Why do the wicked continue to live, growing old and becoming powerful?” (Job 21:7). In other words, “Why do they get to keep on living and thriving? Bring down the judgment, Lord!” Job scoffs at the sinners down the street because his vision is being narrowed by his own unrelenting suffering. He is beginning to forget what is true of God, and His doubts are starting to bubble to the surface. Trials have a way of shaking us, so that what we really believe deep down spills out.

So, what about Job’s questions? Why do the wicked continue to live? Why doesn’t God just wipe them out already? Because God is compassionate, merciful, gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in faithful love (Exodus 34:6). Or, as Peter tells us, God is patient with sinners, just like He was and is with us, because He doesn’t want any to perish but all to come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). The wicked who prospered in Job’s day may not have been suffering with poverty or scraping the open sores with jagged bits of pottery, as Job was (Job 2:8); they were in far worse shape. They did not know God.

The wicked live because God is giving them time to repent. Salvation is being held out with every passing minute. Real life is being offered. God gave you time to come to Him, for your faith to spring from the soil; He’s doing the same for others. And, He wants to use you to bring them into His kingdom. Until then, “Wait for the LORD and keep his way, and he will exalt you” in due time (Psalm 37:34).

Written by J.A. Medders

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