Job 21:1-34 Wicked Prosper
Job answers Zophar’s condemnation of him. “Take a look around you! The wicked DO prosper. And those that don’t, they all lay down in death together.”
There is truth in what Job says. There ARE wicked people who seem to skate through life, never having received justice for their actions. There are others who are brought low. Some repent and try to change their lives while others have their lives cut short. Look through the kings of Judah and Israel and you will find examples of all three outcomes. MANY of the wicked kings prospered. Several of those came to natural ends.
Job isn’t saying that being wicked is a desirable thing or that he is wicked. He is merely countering Zophar’s argument. Not every wicked person is brought low. And therefore not every person brought low is wicked. Sounds like a valid point to me, as far as it goes.
But Job is only partly right. He is looking at things from only one point in this continuum we call life. He is looking at this side of the grave. We live in a fallen world so it stands to reason that those who take advantage of that fact will prosper. But there is more to ‘life’ than is contained on this sphere of dirt. There is eternity afterwards to deal with. THAT is where ultimate judgment comes into play. God does not and will not ‘wink’ at wickedness. He will not let it go unpunished. Hell fire and brimstone wait for those who live such a life. Eternal separation from Him and unending torment are the final ‘rewards’ for the wicked.
There are people who practice evil on a daily basis that seem to get away with it. There are those that ‘get caught’ and judged by society. And there are those that are caught up short by God as He deals with their behavior. Sometimes, after being caught short by God, the wicked person mends their ways. King Manasseh is one from the latter category. He repented when in prison and God restored him to the throne. But he was unable to undo his evil influence on the people and God ultimately judged ALL Judah because of the magnitude of Manasseh’s sins. Wickedness, evil, does have a cost. Quite often that cost is paid in human lives, in one way or another.
I wonder what Zophar thought of Job’s answer. He is not the one who will respond next. Maybe he needed time to get his thoughts together. Or they were replying in specific order to Job. Zophar would have been out of turn if he replied back.
The bottom line here though is that there IS a price to be paid for wickedness. It may not come on this side of the grave but it WILL be paid. Don’t try and repay someone’s wickedness yourself. God will handle it. “Vengeance is Mine, and recompense; Their foot shall slip in due time; For the day of their calamity is at hand, And the things to come hasten upon them” (Deuteronomy 32:35).
Father God, thank You that You keep accurate score. Thank You for forgiveness too! I am not innocent of all evil. But Your forgiveness cleanses me and removes the punishment from me. I may be stuck dealing with ‘natural consequences’ of my actions but You take care of my heart and future.
Help me leave ALL judgement in Your hands instead of trying to figure it out on my own. I trust You to ‘balance the scales’ in the end. Help me endure in this life the evil that I cannot escape. Protect me from its full impact, and to wait patiently for YOUR justice. Yes, some evil people do prosper but only for a time!