Who Are the Wicked?

Job 17-20

Job 19 25 27 NIV (1)

 

Just who are the wicked?  What does it take to wear that label?  The three friends have talked much about the fate of the wicked – and they have even placed Job among the ranks of the wicked.  Job often speaks of the wicked – and hotly contests that he is NOT one of them.  How do you know?  How can you tell?  What is the criteria for wickedness?  Is it possible there are many who will be surprised to learn they fall within God’s wicked classification?  We don’t ask these questions to play judge and jury on the rest of the world – but for the very real task of keeping ourselves where we need to be.  On the wicked-righteous continuum we have some strong candidates for either extreme, but what about everyone else?  It gets quite muddled in the middle.  It’s a big question for a little devotion – but let’s see what we find here in the pages of Job.

 

First of all, let’s restate from previous days that we can’t tell who is evil by seeing who is suffering – as Job’s friends are arguing.  Yes, sometimes our sins bring very real consequences of suffering.  And, yes, wicked people will ultimately be judged and pay for their wickedness.  However, suffering does not necessarily equate with wickedness.  In Job’s case we know that God was pleased with Job’s righteousness, but still allowed Satan’s attacks against him, even though He would be blamed for them.  There are many reasons one may be experiencing suffering (more on that another day soon), but we cannot assume that all suffering people must be wicked people.

 

We can find some truth regarding the wicked in Zophar’s speech in chapter 20.  He says, “For he (the wicked) has oppressed the poor and left them destitute” (Job 20:19).  We know this is true of the wicked from many other passages, including the separating of the sheep (the righteous) and the goats (the unrighteous/wicked) in Matthew 25.  In this parable how well you do – or do not – care for others, especially the disadvantaged/least of society (those who are hungry, thirsty, strangers in need of being invited into your home, the cold and underdressed, the sick, the prisoner) will determine whether you are ultimately saved with the righteous or doomed with the wicked.  I don’t know about you, but this convicts me.  I have some work to do on regularly seeing the needs around me and adding these commitments and opportunities to my calendar – actually making them a priority not just an intention.   In this parable many believers were surprised by their placement with the wicked – and I believe that will be true in the day of judgment as well.  Seriously take the time to evaluate and challenge yourself regularly.

 

Some people may be feeling pretty comfortable right now because they do make it a priority to care for others.  But, there will be more than that required as well.  In Bildad’s speech in chapter 19 the evil man is synonymous with, “one who knows not God.” (Job 18:21).  Looking ahead to chapter 21 Job says of the wicked: “They say to God, ‘Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways.  Who is the Almighty, that we should serve him?’ ” (Job 21:14,15)  To know God and know His ways – so you can serve.  Faith and deeds.  How do we know God and know His ways?  Reading His Word is the best way I know.  I fear there are many today who would much rather create their own god with their own ways.  So they create a god who condones their actions and attitudes and beliefs.  It is a trap we could all fall into – unless we are grounded in seeking out and knowing the One True God and His ways which are revealed for us in His Word.

 

It is that grounded faith in God that is keeping Job going even as his world is falling apart.  He is hurting.  He is questioning.  He is still believing.  He knows that his Redeemer (the one who will care for him) lives and he can not wait for the day he will see him face to face (Job 19:25-27).   May we too look forward to that day – and not be caught by surprise.

 

Know Him and His Ways and Serve,

Marcia Railton

 

Today’s reading of Job 17-20 can be read or listened to here – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job+17-20&version=NIV

Tomorrow’s reading will be Job 21-23 as we progress through the 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan

 

 

 

 

 

The-Kid-Who-Knows-Everything Answer

Job 18-21

job-19-25

Sunday, December 18

A teacher poses a challenging question in his class.  Most students begin to ponder, some begin to turn and whisper, some cross their fingers and hope they are not asked to contribute.  Not a single hand goes in the air.  The teacher repeats the question; this time, he says in a different way.  It doesn’t help.  Thoughts become more frantic.  Anxiety increases.  Some students begin to avoid eye contact.  At the moment that it seems that the teacher will start combing the class for a response, a lone hand ascends into the air.  It is that kid who knows everything. Thank you, that kid who knows everything! The teacher calls on her, and you are saved from having to answer the question.  All’s right with the world; you now can rest easy.

 

I have seen this scenario played out many times as both a student and a teacher.   No matter how difficult the question, it seems there is always one person in our lives who is prepared to answer it.  Whether it is at school, in your family, your circles of friends, or your work, there is always that one person (who very well may be you) that you turn to that has the experience, knowledge, or wisdom it takes to figure out life’s most difficult questions.

 

A passage in today’s text is like “that kid who knows everything.”  It  is the all-encompassing answer that holds God’s key and fundamental truth in which we can fix our hope. It stops us from over-thinking, stifles our anxiety, and helps us to take on, not avoid challenging situations, like:

 

  • When you are having trouble making sense of the world around you
  • When you feel like your prayers are not being answered
  • When you seek  “the reason” THIS is happening to YOU
  • When you lose someone or something you dearly love
  • When justice cannot be found
  • When we lose our health or happiness
  • When we face many other examples from Job 19:7-20

 

This is Job’s answers and ours:

 

Job 19:25-27 – “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him  with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!”


It is not resignation.  It is not a cop-out.  It does not mean you stop seeking, studying, or pursuing.  It is the assurance and peace which you can rest and be guided in while you are waiting.

-Aaron Winner
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