Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday - Job 24 - Nightfall (part 2)

here are some people who simply rebel against the light (Job 24:13). By contrast, Job felt like he was a prisoner in the night... or better, a prisoner of the night. Here he speaks of those who relish the night. There are places in the Bible where the words temptation, evil and darkness are used variously to speak of trouble from 2 very different angles... sometimes not at all as any indication of transgression (James 1:12, Job 2:10, I Kings 8:12). It is true that painful trouble is naturally connected in many cases to iniquitous trouble, but the 2 things are not actually synonymous. Again, if there had never been a sin, there would never be a painful trial either. But, in any case, the darkness which Job spoke of concerning himself had to do with the difficulties of life... while the darkness which he alluded to in this chapter in reference to evil men was a darkness of disobedience (John 3:19 & Job 24:16).

In this second part of Job's answer to Eliphaz, he picks up on the listing of specific infractions and transgressions and carries it much further than Eliphaz had. For about 20 verses Job lists the precise manners of men who are ignorant of God. Read it for yourself. It's an enumeration of things that we should certainly avoid. To be guilty of any of these things could do great damage to the name and cause of Christ within our sphere of influence.  Then again, perhaps some of us are guilty of turning the needy away (Job 24:4). And, by Jesus' definition (Matthew 5:28), adultery is more common among us than any of us would like to admit (Job 24:15). And, are we guilty of ignoring obvious opportunities to be kind to widows (Job 24:21)?

In all of this, what was Job getting at though? I think he was responding as intensely and as honestly as he could muster to the viewpoint that had been repeatedly fired at him.  Herein, he explicitly described the way of the wicked and then clarified that even though he didn't understand why many of them seem to live long and prosper, God surely is keeping a record and justice will prevail (Job 24:1, 23-24). When will justice run its course?  Not in this life; in the next (Job 24:20 & 24).  And, Job closes with a challenge.  He says that if he has truly misjudged reality, then someone should stand forth with some substantive material to disprove his testimony (Job 24:25).  He knew he was right.  In the words of Asaph in Psalm 73:20, "As a dream when one awakes; so, O Lord, when You awake, You will despise their image."  Job and Asaph both recognized that only in eternity will the scales of moral justice ultimately be balanced out.

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