Tracing out the ways of God

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-second in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 21:1-3 NIV In Chapter 15 Eliphaz had spoken of the wisdom imparted by the friends as “consolations” for Job. (Job 15:11) In response to Zophar's tirade of Chapter 20, Job will refute his condemning words that echoed those of the other friends– in brief– that the wicked experience God’s wrath here and now, and that Job’s misery proves he is wicked. If Zophar and the others could see they are mistaken in these views, Job’s arguments will serve as THEIR consolations. Where there is not truth there is little comfort to be expected. (Matthew Henry)

Job 21:4-6 NIV First of all, though, Job would like to establish that he is not more upset with his friends than he is with his situation, which he acknowledges to be God’s will. Yet, even if he were focused on their verbal abuse, it would be justifiable, for if they would consider all that he has endured, they would stop cruelly berating him.

The suffering saint desires understanding and pity, but it is a dark night of the soul.

Job 21:7-15 NIV Job has observed that the wicked are not harshly treated by the Lord, but rather they enjoy life despite their secular focus.

This is the language of their conduct, though not directly of their lips. . . . Let us alone; we do not trouble thee. Thy ways are painful; we do not like cross-bearing. Thy ways are spiritual; we wish to live after the flesh. We have learned to do our own will; we do not wish to study thine. (Clarke)

Job 21:16 NIV Despite appearances, Job knows their ease is permitted by God, not something they have achieved by their own efforts; therefore he pays no attention to their advice and boasting.

Job 21:17-21 NIV Job believes that rewards and punishments ought to be meted out in real time, not over decades and generations. The wicked man, not his sons, should suffer for his own folly. Yet this is not the way of God.

Job 21:22-26 NIV Though we cannot trace out the ways of God, we must trust they are infallibly right. What often passes as God's neglect of justice is in fact only his wonderful longsuffering, for God is always working his purposes out.

Job 21:27-28 NIV Job realizes his friends will have no regard for his words. They will continue to taunt and humiliate him by pointing out that his children and possessions are no more. Yet if they were truly wise they would recall that the cosmopolitans have seen many evil people who are not in ruins.

Job 21:29-34 NIV Evil people do not receive their just deserts in this life. No one even calls them to task! So — likewise, good people are do not always receive their due but are overturned along their way. But this does not prove they are evil!

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