Job 21:7–8: “Why do the wicked live and become old, / Yes, become mighty in power? / Their descendants are established with them in their sight, / And their offspring before their eyes.”

June 13th, 2017 by Pastor Ed in devotional

Job’s friends had exhausted him with their continued argument that the wicked never prospered and the innocent never suffered; therefore, since he was suffering, he must be wicked. He countered their accusations, pointing out that the wicked don’t always die young and they don’t always receive the punishment they deserve here in this life. In fact many remain quite powerful, even into their old age; and their descendants are also frequently strong and powerful. Job’s correct argument was that the circumstances of a person’s life cannot be the absolute indicator of their innocence or wickedness and that life often doesn’t seem fair.

Scripture describes this problem in several places. In Psalm 73, Asaph wrote: “But as for me, my feet had almost stumbled; / My steps had nearly slipped. / For I was envious of the boastful, / When I saw the prosperity of the wicked” (73:2–3). Asaph, like Job, saw that the wicked prospered, and it caused him to question life. He couldn’t understand how a wicked and mean person could seemingly get away with all the evil they were doing. And worse than just getting away with wickedness, they seemed to be thriving in it, living in luxury. Asaph’s confusion continued “Until [he] went into the sanctuary of God; Then [he] understood their end” (73:17). The fallacy with this line of reasoning is thinking that this present life is the end of the story. We cannot judge the circumstances of a person’s life as they relate to the present because God sees the circumstances as they relate to the eternal.

We stumble when we find ourselves looking more for present benefits than eternal ones. But when we come into God’s presence, we begin to understand that this earthly life is just the first phase of our existence. Jonathon Edwards, in his classic sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” startled his listeners when he preached on Deuteronomy 32:35: “Their foot shall slip in due time.” Many were moved that day to see things from an eternal perspective, and were brought to repentance. That is always the longing of our heavenly Father. He desires all to repent: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9).

“LORD, we do want to walk with You and serve You this day. Please lead us we ask in Jesus’ name.”