John T. Willis

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Wicked Prosper--Job's Response to Zophar--Job 21

Our journey through the Book of Job comes to the end of the second series of speeches. So, in Job 21, Job responds to Zophar's second speech, which we just discussed in Job 20.

Job offers nothing new in Job 21. It seems impossible to divide Job 21 into paragraphs. Job declares ONE IDEA--all around us, wicked people prosper. Job's friends argued that all righteous people prosper, and all wicked people suffer. BUT, Job claims that in REAL LIFE, there are many wicked people prospering. Let us work through Job 21.

A. As in most of the speeches of Job and his friends, each speaker FIRST rejects the views of his opponent. Job does this here. Job pleads with his friends to hear out Job's arguments. Job admits he is "impatient," as he already admitted in 6:11, in prior response to Eliphaz in 4:5. Job pleads with his friends to "lay their hands on their mouths," that is, be silent and listen to Job's words. Verses 1-5.

B. Job reasons: IF it is really true, then WHY do the wicked live on, reach old age, and are mighty in power? Their children prosper, their houses are safe, their livestock increases, their children are very happy, they are prosperous through life, all the time defying God. Verses 6-16.

C. Job continues: IF it is really true, then HOW OFTEN do the wicked die in youth, experience calamity, receive pain and suffering? On the contrary, they are full of prosperity, they are completely secure, they enjoy a full life. Verses 17-26.

D. Job now challenges his friends to "travel the roads" on the earth, and see how wicked people live. The wicked are spared in the day of calamity, they are rescued in the day of wrath, no one punishes them for their sins, when they die people watch over their graves. Accordingly, Job concludes that Job's friends are false. Verses 27-34.

Okay, we agreed to work through the Book of Job, and we are trying to follow through. BUT, Job does not have any new ideas here in Job 21. He simply repeats the same view which he has affirmed several times previously. How would YOU reason with Job's friends if YOU were in Job's shoes? Could be do better than Job in Job's situation at this time?

How are YOU doing in YOUR journey through the Book of Job. There are some very good and important ideas yet to come. Be patient. Share YOUR ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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