Job 20-21: Why do evil people prosper?
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In Job 20 Zophar the Naamathite persists to say that Job has sinned, that whatever Job has swallowed is being vomited up (v. 15). He is poisoned because he has sucked the poison of vipers. Why? Because Job has tortured the poor. So justice of creation rises up against Job, iron spears and arrows will rain down on Job and run through his body. These guys are not only theologically but vividly and violently espousing the justice of God, the curse because of disobedience theory of the world.
In chapter 21, Job replies to Zophar the Naamathite. Job here does two big things.
First, He asks why the wicked prosper (v. 7).
Second, Job wonders what good it does for him to do good when he’s just going to get nothing, even punishment for his integrity (v. 15).
“What is Shaddai that we should serve Him? What will we gain by praying to Him?”
One man dies with milk still in the pail (23-24), the marrows in his bones are still juicy.
Another man dies embittered, never having tasted happiness (v. 25).
Then Job notes that both men lie in the dust, worms eating their rotting corpses (v. 26).
Have you ever wondered, “What’s the use of even trying? It doesn’t seem to help in this neighborhood, this church, this family, this world?” Take five minutes to sit in this question and respond to your feelings and thoughts about it.
LORD, “What’s the use of even trying to be good?” Sometimes it seems the ruthless prosper and the ruth-full, the kind, the respectful, the good man like Botham Shem Jean, just get shot in their homes! Do good guys finish last in this world? What does it help to do good in this world where ruthless people focus more on the “criminal” than “justice” in the idea of criminal justice. Where is justice? Why do the evil prosper and the good face such difficulties in this world?
Greg Taylor preaches for The Journey: A New Generation Church of Christ. Greg's wife, Jill, teaches math at Broken Arrow High School and Tulsa Community College. Greg and Jill have three adult children, Ashley, Anna, and Jacob. Greg is the author of many books, including his latest co-authored with Randy Harris, Daring Faith: Meeting Jesus in the Book of John.