Job 21-24
(Mock On!)
May 30th

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

“Can anyone teach knowledge to God,
since he judges even the highest?"

- Job 21:22 (NIV)

Summary of Chapters

    Then Job replied:
    “Listen carefully to my words;
        let this be the consolation you give me.
    Bear with me while I speak,
        and after I have spoken, mock on."

    - Job 21:1-3 (NIV)

Chapter 21 opens with Job replying to Zophar’s latest speech. They have not consoled him with their words, so perhaps they can console by listening, which they do for a short period - but then Eliphaz gets his last at bat. Bildad will have his final knock in tomorrow’s study.

Job explains to his friends that there are many wicked men who never seem to suffer, thereby disputing his friends’ claims that Job suffers because of his own wickedness: “So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood (Job 21:34 - NIV).”

Eliphaz gives his final response in chapter 22, once again claiming that Job committed many sins, including taking advantage of the poor, withholding food and water from weary people, impersonating a righteous man, etc., etc., etc. Eliphaz appeals to Job to submit to God and accept his instruction.

In chapter 23 Job fires back in response to this latest insult by explaining that he desires to put his case directly before God, but does not know where to find him.

    "But if I go to the east, he is not there;
        if I go to the west, I do not find him.
    When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
       when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
    But he knows the way that I take;
       when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold."

    - Job 23:8-10 (NIV)

Job continues to hold the floor as he gives additional examples of wicked actions that appear to go unpunished, but notes that the wicked die without any assurance of life beyond this earth.

Reflection and Application

The trial team of Zophar, Eliphaz, and Bildad were wrong in assuming that suffering is always the sign of punishment for evil. Job is more accurate in saying that the wicked appear to escape judgment, but eventually will face God’s wrath – on the other hand, he was ready to face God with the confidence in his own innocence.

When gold is put to the test of the fire it comes out pure, it cannot be melted away or transformed into some other element. When Job says he will come forth as gold he is declaring his confidence that God will find him to be pure.

For reasons that we may not yet fully understand, the innocent and righteous often face indiscriminate suffering while on earth, and often the wicked and greedy appear to prosper. The faithful may be vindicated while on earth, and the evil may face punishment in this life, but certainly, the faithful will receive their reward in heaven and the unrepentant sinners will receive judgment. The prophet Malachi, whose book is the last of the Old Testament, reminds his audience that the LORD will adjudicate the final judgment on the world:

    “So I will come to put you on trial. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive the foreigners among you of justice, but do not fear me,” says the LORD Almighty.”

    - Malachi 3:5 (NIV)

Jesus makes a similar statement at the end of the New Testament:

    “Look, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to each person according to what they have done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

    “Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city. Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood."

    - Revelation 22:12-14 (NIV)

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What experiences have you had as a witness or juror in a court of law or other proceedings?
    2. What are the unpunished actions of the wicked taking place today that you find most disturbing?
    3. Job lamented that he could not find God no matter which direction he headed. Which direction can we go to find God in our world?
    Recommended Prayer
    Jesus - we know you are the Alpha and the Omega. Thank you for your redemptive power. Help us to find you and follow you in our world.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People who are oppressed by others.

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Job 25-30 (Closing Arguments)

    Comments and Questions
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