-As Job responds once again in this back and forth narrative with his friends, we see the fortitude of heart and disdain for the wicked in Job’s words. He beckons once again for his friends to listen carefully to his speech so that it would be their way of consolation. He begged them to bear with him while he spoke, and then they could continue mocking him in his depravity. He begins with the issue of his complaint. He asks, “As for me, is my complaint to man?” Then he wonders, “And why should I not be impatient?” He asked them to look at him. He was a complete wreck resulting in the petition to cover their mouths with their hands when they see him. Even when Job remembers his past, he is disturbed and horror has taken over his bodily flesh (Job 21:1-6).
-Now he extrapolates his disdain for the wicked and their ways. He opposes Zophar’s view in the last chapter by stating to the contrary on numerous observations. He personally has seen the wicked still live with their sin continuing on to become very powerful. He sees their descendants becoming established in their sight. He, unlike Zophar (Job 20:28), believes their houses tend to be safe from fear, and the wrath of God, so far, leaves them alone. This provides for a great theological principle relating to the patience of God to draw men into repentance and give them every opportunity for conversion. Not only that, but Job observes that their livestock reproduce without problems. There is much rejoicing and merriment with the families of the wicked, and “they spend their days in prosperity.” But, then they pass from this earth and are judged in Sheol. They had said to God, “Depart from us!” They had no desire for the knowledge of His ways. They didn’t want to serve Him, but pleased themselves with their own interests. They see no gain in entreating the LORD. Job summarizes thus, “Behold, their prosperity is not in their hand; the counsel of the wicked is far from me (Job 21:7-16).” Despised, rejected, and abandoned Job still holds to his faith. This is the fortitude of a champion. He has the right kind of heart.
-Job continues his quest to demonstrate the plight of the wicked and the patience of the Almighty. He questions, “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out, or does their calamity fall on them?” God’s anger isn’t as swift as Zophar had spoken. They aren’t exactly the straw and chaff that his friend had made them out to be. Sometimes evil prospers for a season. Job refutes their wisdom all the while maintaining that the ways of the wicked lead them to eventual destruction, though it be in the long-run sometimes. He asks a serious question to them, “Can anyone teach God knowledge, in that He judges those on high?” Some, he says, die in full strength being wholly at ease and satisfied, while others die with a bitter soul never tasting anything good. Together, they lie down in the dust when they pass from earth, and worms cover them (Job 21:17-26). Only in the judgment will the truth be known. This is when all things are revealed (Matthew 12:36, Romans 14:10, Revelation 20:11-15).
-Job’s main message in the last pericope of this chapter is that “the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity.” They indeed will be led forth to obliteration at the day of fury. God is the One who will repay, though it take some time and questioning. No one can avoid death however it may look during the course of life. In the end, Job reveals that he feels that his friends’ comfort has been vain and their answers full of falsehood given their limited knowledge of the situation (Job 21:27-34).
-*Application* As hard as we might try, this life is impossible to quite figure out. Why do evil people prosper sometimes? Why do the righteous suffer so? Things really don’t seem fair at all sometimes if we are totally honest. At times like these we must remember this passage of Scripture and entrust everything to God in His supreme judgment at the end of time. He knows all and will reveal all in the final analysis. The evil ones will not get away with anything then, and the righteous by faith in Christ will be in euphoria.
Verse to Memorize: Job 21:22