UNDERSTANDING the ‘FATE’ of the WICKED PEOPLE
May 30 Bible Reading: Job Chapters 19-21
"Look, I know your thoughts, and the schemes with which you would wrong me. For you say, 'Where is the house of the prince? And where is the tent, the dwelling place of the wicked?' Have you not asked those who travel the road? And do you not know their signs? For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath." (Job 21:27-30)
Bildad and Zophar tried to use logic to silence Job, and they reasoned that God blessed the righteous but makes the wicked suffer on this earth. Job was suffering and therefore, Job was wicked. But Job questioned their basic premise. He had often seen the wicked enjoying great blessing: long life, many descendants, peace and safety, riches, success, and days filled with joy. Even when the wicked died, their death is often quick and easy (see 21:7-33; Psalms 73:1–14). However, Job struck at the heart of his friends’ assumption that the wicked are judged and the righteous are blessed on this earth. Looking at life objectively, this simply was not true!
The problem of the Book of Job is still unsolved. Why do the righteous suffer? Job, however, has made some progress and little glimmers of light have begun to shine through the dark enigma of his suffering. The Preacher in the Book of Ecclesiastes reviews this same problem and concludes that from all that a person can see, God must be indifferent (Eccl. 9:1–12; Matt. 5:44, 45). God’s nature is to be patient and kind, but His promises of judgment are not false, whatever the evidence may seem to be in one’s limited historical experience. Equally, God’s promises of blessing for the righteous will be fulfilled one day. We must trust God’s Word rather than our own experience and Job never discovers in this life why the righteous suffer!
Job is perplexed concerning the wicked people as they seem to live prosperously without God, and this was Job’s greatest theological difficulty at this point. We can now better understand why the three friends were so hard on Job: they were afraid that trials might come to them as they did to Job. They protected themselves with a false theology that was born in the pit of hell: “If we obey God, He will bless us and protect us from suffering.” Job detected their fear (6:21) and refuted their reasoning, which made them angry. The three friends had a very shallow view of God and of faith and life, while Job penetrated the deep things of God. People who trust in a false theology are living a life of illusion that one day will vanish!
There is actually no direct connection between one’s outer prosperity and inner spirituality. God’s people are numbered among all levels of society: rich, middle-class, and poor. There are also unrighteous people who are rich, middle-class, and poor. Ultimately, our personal faith and trust in God through Jesus Christ is what matters in our lives!