Chapter 21: The Wicked Sometimes Prosper in this Life
Job begins his address to Zophar and his friends…
“Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on” (Job 21:3)
Job goes on to explain that the wicked sometimes prosper in this life, Job’s crisis was fundamentally spiritual in nature, much more than being a medical crisis, an economic crisis, a social crisis, or a family crisis. His struggle was against God, and he wondered were God was in the midst of this very dark time.
Job speaks out about the wicked who prosper in this life; “They spend their days in wealth… Therefore they say unto God; depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? (Job 21:13-15)
Sometimes the wicked do prosper in this life, but with the judgment that will be waiting for them after this life. Job asks an important question; “Ho oft is the candle of the wicked put out…” (Job 21:17). In Job’s rhetorical question, he would answer “Not often enough.” And it would do Job no satisfaction to hear that the judgment would instead come upon the wicked man’s descendants.
Job acknowledged that wickedness was never ultimately rewarded and was always punished in the end. The problem for Job was that it never seemed soon enough that wicked would drink of the wrath of the Almighty. Job suffered in the now, and many of the wicked did not.
I can’t tell you how many times I have felt this exact way… why, if I am doing good, are those who are not seem to be rewarded? It is difficult to swallow at times, but God knows what is going on and will reward the just in His own time and way.
Chapter 22: Eliphaz Accuses Job of Sinning
This begins a third (and shortened) round of debate between Job and his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.
Eliphaz begins by attacking Job’s character. Eliphaz essentially asks Job, “What good is he to God?” – “Can a man be profitable unto God…” (Job 22:2)
Eliphaz heard all of Job’s anguished outpourings to God, and seemed to think that Job simply thought too highly of himself. He wondered why Job thought he was so special, so profitable to God and why he thought God owed him so much.
Eliphaz goes on to describe Job’s great wickedness.
“Will he reprove thee for fear of thee?” (Job 22:4) or essentially; “Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you?” Eliphaz pressed the point home to Job. Surely, the catastrophe that came upon Job (which Eliphaz lightly called a “correction”), did not come because Job feared God; it came because Job’s wickedness was great and his iniquity was without end.
Eliphaz goes on to insult Job’s intelligence, by asking him; “Is not God in the height of heaven?” (Job 22:12). Eliphaz instructed Job in the basics of theology, he thought that because Job would not admit his error, he must be fundamentally wrong in his understanding of God. So he begins with the basic idea of the might, majesty, and sovereignty of God.
Eliphaz, after having insulted the very wisdom and knowledge of Job, boldy asks him to; “Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace; there good shall come unto thee… If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up…” (Job 22:21-22). This was great advice for Job, assuming that the problem was sin in Job’s life. Yet we know (on the basis of Job 1-2) that this assumption was wrong, and therefore the advice was wrong.