Job 21:7 – Why Do the Wicked…

Life is full of mysteries.  There are things that happen all around us for which there are seemingly no answers.  We observe them and wonder, “What in the world… ?”  In our questioning, we might also ask, “What could God possibly be thinking to allow that?”  Whatever that is.  Job, who was so beset by tragedy that he couldn’t understand, made one such query.  In the midst of fending off off accusations from his friends about how unrighteous he was and such an awful person, he asked a legitimate question in Job 21:7 that is relevant for all time:

“Why do the wicked live,

    reach old age, and grow mighty in power?”

Have you ever thought that?  In the corridors of power in Washington, DC or among the elites around the world, there are men and women who operate with apparent immunity to the laws of God.  Their wealth insulates them from any legal ramifications that by all rights should come against them.  They grow richer and more powerful by the day.  The schemes they hatch are an offense to God, but He is silent.  We watch what these people do and can only shake our heads in amazement.

Job described those who live like this in the verses following the one above.  Their children have much and cavort without fear.  Their possessions are beyond measure and nothing can touch them.  They party and enjoy life because they live out the dream of immeasurable wealth that few attain.  They shake their fist at their creator as noted in Job 21:14:

“They say to God, ‘Depart from us!

    We do not desire the knowledge of your ways.

What is the Almighty, that we should serve him?

    And what profit do we get if we pray to him?’ “

Indeed.  If life is so good without God, what’s the point of bowing down and serving only Him?  Why not serve the gods of wealth, power, and control over others, trying to attain such heights?

This is the objective in life for many.  It usually comes at the expense of having ever known the One true God.  If a person is raised in a secular environment, there may be little if any thought given to the Lord.  He simply isn’t a consideration.  If that’s the case, it’s understandable why people gravitate toward things in life versus the Person whom they should worship.  That God-shaped hole in our hearts has to be filled somehow.  If not by God, then by something else.

One of the real tragedies is when someone is introduced to the Lord, perhaps even serves Him for a time, then falls away.  It’s likely this individual never truly had a saving relationship with Him, but it’s sad just the same.

In these different circumstances, the lure of the world is greater to them than what they think they can gain by following God.  In their making such a choice, it’s interesting how He allows them the latitude to travel a path far from Him.  What’s also fascinating is the various end results.  Someone may hear the Gospel, be convicted, and even in his riches, serve God.  Another may completely reject the Lord and have everything pulled out from under his feet and wind up destitute and miserable.  One other may – like the person Job describes – live what appears to be a blessed life all around.  When he goes to the grave, he does so satisfied that his existence was worthwhile and all that he did was good.

We should never be fooled by outward appearances.  God knows the heart of every man.  He knows the deeds of all people.  Because God is a righteous judge, none will escape coming into the divine courtroom and facing the One who will determine his eternal fate.  A person may skate in this life and enjoy all good things, but if he has rejected God, that’s all he gets.  His eternity will be one of torment and unending misery.

To repeats Job’s question:

“Why do the wicked live,

    reach old age, and grow mighty in power?”

… we can only answer in the natural that God is sovereign and just.  He knows the end from the beginning.  Because of this, all people will ultimately get what they deserve.  For those of us who choose the Lord, we will receive eternal life.  For those who choose to follow their own way, they will spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.

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