Job fights for his integrity

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-fifth in a series

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Job 24:1 NIV The twentieth-fourth chapter of Job begins:
Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days? (Job 24:1 KJV)
‘Times’ in this verse connotes ‘times of punishment,’ says A.R. Fausset, referencing Eze 30:3 for a similar use. ‘They that know him’ are the godly.

In other words, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Rev 6:10) My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? (Ps 6:3; 13:1; 80:4; 90:13) O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! (Hab 1:2) Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down (Is 64:1)!

Like the martyred, persecuted, innocent victims of the brutal, demon-possessed evildoers across the ages, Job wants God’s judgment to fall NOW.

Job was under an intense persecution specially devised by Satan himself (Job 1:12), but he did not understand why. With Paul, he could have said, For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. (1 Cor 4:9) But Job was not an apostle. His persecution came as a surprise.

He could also have said with Paul, …we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. (1 Cor 4:13) Yes, God permits and imposes extensive belittling of his own in the process of perfecting them.

But, again, WHY are the guilty evildoers not punished— in a timely fashion?! What about the Sabeans and Chaldeans who killed Job’s servants and stole his livestock? If God would make an example of them, then everyone would see that Job is innocent and important to God. That would shut his friends up!

Job 24:2-6 NIV Job will now recount examples of those who assault and injure others. The first ones are somewhat like the Sabeans and Chaldeans, but in particular, they prey on the poor.

Job’s oxen and donkeys were stolen, but unlike the victims he describes, he was rich. These men are more cruel because their victims are poor. On the other hand, the poor glean from the vineyards of the wicked, but Job never gleaned a single grape from his oppressors, for he kept his own fields.

Job 24:7-12 NIV The poor are further described to spotlight the cruelty of their oppressors. Job’s compassion for the poor perhaps was inspired by his newfound ability to empathize with them. Like them, as well, he seems to be without a helper or advocate.

Job 24:13-17 NIV To the evil who perpetrate wrong as their right, nighttime is morning. They have no fear of God but only of being found out by those who could bring them to justice.

Job 24:18-20 NIV Job’s friends have said that evildoers are swiftly accosted and punished. This is untrue! But they will in time enter judgment.

Job 24:21-22 NIV Wicked people prey on the vulnerable and the secure; everyone is his victim.

Job 24:23 NIV Nevertheless, God sees and in time brings his end.

Job 24:24-25 NIV Job is obsessed with convincing his friends that evildoers are not punished swiftly even though they are in God’s timing. But if his friends were to concede this point, what would it prove? Well, Job could then press for further concessions, so he could be vindicated from their accusations and insults. Job has a plan!

A person's integrity is his stock in trade. As Solomon wrote: A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches (Prov 22:1) On the other hand, much time may be wasted in self defense that could be devoted instead to prayer.

The agony of being earnest

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-fourth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 23:1-7 NIV Job earnestly desires to be brought to God's court because he knows he will be vindicated! Is this not prideful? But he is also expressing his heart's desire to again be at peace with God as he formerly had been.

The children of God walk a straight and narrow road. If we wander to the left, we may stray into presumption, but if to the right, we may lose the courage and confidence of our convictions. So, how can we stay in the straight way? Prayer is a good start.

Job 23:8-10 NIV There is a comforting certainty in the heart of the one who knows God. Even in times of darkness and seeming abandonment, he trusts that God is at work to bring about a good change in his character. Although this certainty may be fleeting, we need those positive thoughts to lift us above the waves as we are driven relentlessly by the storms of life. (Don't forget to keep your mouth closed when the waves wash over your head.)

Job 23:11-12 NIV If Job lived before the time of Moses and the written law on the tablets of stone, what commandments had the Lord spoken prior to the generation of Abraham?

First, there was the commandment to Adam and Eve, then to Noah and his sons, to "be fruitful and multiply." (Gen 1:22; 9:1) Job had obeyed this, as we know he had 10 children.

There was evidently a commandment to revere and fear the Lord, since Job had a practice of offering burnt sacrifices for his children after their feasting days (birthday celebrations?) in case they had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. (Job 1:5)

No doubt it was generally known to keep the Sabbath holy, since God had sanctified it from the beginning. (Gen 2:3)

We know God had shown anger and judgment over murder, (Gen 4:10-12) and commanded that murderers receive capital punishment. (Gen 9:6). And we know God had insisted on obedience to his spoken commandments. (Gen 2:16-17; 3:17)

Though we don't know all the sins indulged in by the people of Noah's day, we know they were in part related to sexual misconduct (Gen 6:2-4), and the man who thought to perpetrate or mock such deviancies was relegated to the status of underling to his brothers (Gen 9:22-26).

We also know God did not approve of congregations of people where the few controlled the many, such as in the city with the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:6-7), and we know Job lived as a rancher, not in a city, as Lot did.

So, Job knew many commandments of God, and ESTEEMED them, more than food.

Job 23:13-17 NIV Job seems confident that the Lord will accomplish what He has set out to do; that the trial he has been assigned will end well. His thoughts here are echoed in other Books of the Bible, in 1 Peter (1 Pet 5:10), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:26), Isaiah (Isa 28:24-29), the Psalms (Ps 138:8) and others.

Yet he is very afraid and is losing heart, as shown in his words, "Because I was not cut off before the darkness." Life has become a burden. A great conflict is crowding his very breath. It is a contest between good and evil, trust and despair, waiting on God and insisting on explanations, recalling God's ways and questioning his methods, protesting his innocence and wondering how far God will yet go. Anxiety, discouragement, frustration and self-focus are Satan's marks on our minds.

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!

Attention Readers

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Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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