Job 21:1-21: Eternity
November 23, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Job’s reply is especially devastating to his so-called “comforters.” They have argued that the reason why Job is suffering is because he has done something to deserve such suffering. To prove their case, they have argued that the wicked receive their comeuppance from God. What can Job do to answer their accusations?
What he does is state the bald facts. In this first section of chapter 21, Job is basically just saying that by his observation it is not true that the wicked receive their just deserts during this life.
“Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power? They see their children established around them, their offspring before their eyes. Their homes are safe and free from fear; the rod of God is not on them” (21:7-9).
“The rod of God is not on them.” Job then recounts the kind of answers that some gave to this observation. That is, they said that if the wicked did not receive their just punishments for their deeds during their life, it would still be something that affected their legacy, their children, after they had died. But Job is here not settled in accepting this reply. Even if that were the case, so what?
“It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment of the wicked for their children.’ Let him repay the wicked, so that they themselves will experience it! Let their own eyes see their destruction; let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty. For what do they care about the families they leave behind when their allotted months come to an end?” (21:19-21).
If someone is “wicked,” then presumably they are not too bothered about what happens to those who follow after they have died.
What can we say to Job’s observation? I am sure that all of us can think of occasions when what Job says is proven true. I can think of at least one famous case when a notorious pedophile commented before he died—when he was still alive, none suspected his crimes—that after he was dead people would think differently about him. But he seemed content that he would be gone by then.
The answer, of course, is to reflect on two words: eternal judgment. The first word “eternal” should strike terror into every person outside of Christ when matched with the second word “judgment.” Forever. Think of it. Never ending. Never. The idea, the mere idea of such a horror means that no amount of “getting away with it” in this world can ever be thought to be really “getting away with it.” Hard as it can be at times, it is important we live our lives with a view to eternity. The question to ask ourselves each day is: with the gifts that God has given me, with the opportunities that he has put before me, what can I most do to advance the kingdom of God? Live your life with a view to eternity. That way you will both make the most of this life and invest in the life to come. As Jim Eliot famously put it: he is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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