Blessed with Riches? – Job 21
Today’s Reading Schedule: Job 21-23 (CEB)
Then Job answered:
2 Listen carefully to my remarks
and let that comfort you.
3 Bear with me so I can speak, I myself;
and after my reply you can mock.
4 Are my complaints against another human;
why is my patience short?
5 Turn to me and be appalled;
lay your hand over your mouth.
6 If I recall it, I’m scared;
shaking seizes my body.
7 Why do the wicked live,
grow old, and even become strong?
8 Their children are always with them,
their offspring in their sight,
9 their houses safe from dread,
God’s punishing stick not upon them.
10 Their bull always breeds successfully;
their cows give birth and never miscarry.
11 They send forth their little ones like sheep;
their infants bounce around.
12 They raise drum and lyre,
rejoice at the sound of a flute.
13 They spend their days contentedly,
go down to the grave peacefully.
14 They say to God, “Turn away from us;
we take no pleasure in knowing your ways;
15 who is the Almighty that we should serve him,
and what can we gain if we meet him?”
16 Look, isn’t their well-being the work of their own hands?
A sinner’s logic is beyond me.
17 How often does the lamp of the wicked flicker
or disaster come upon them,
with its fury inflicting pain on them?
18 Let them be like straw in the wind,
like dry grass stolen by a storm.
19 God stores up his punishment for his children.
Let him destroy them so they know.
20 Let their own eyes witness their doom.
Let them drink from the Almighty’s wrath.
21 What do they care about their household after they die,
when their numbered days are cut off?
22 Will they instruct God—
he who judges the most powerful?
23 Someone dies in wonderful health,
completely comfortable and well,
24 their buckets full of milk,
their bones marrow-filled and sound.
25 Another dies in bitter spirit,
never having tasted the good things.
26 They lie together in the dust
and worms cover them.
27 Look, I know your thoughts;
your plans harm me.
28 You say, “Where is the official’s house?
Where is the tent, the dwelling of the wicked?”
29 Haven’t you asked travelers
or paid attention to their reports?
30 On the day of disaster the wicked are spared;
on the day of fury they are rescued.
31 Who can criticize their behavior to their faces;
they act, and who can avenge them?
32 They are carried to their graves;
someone keeps guard over their tombs.
33 The soil near the desert streambed is sweet to them;
everyone marches after them—
those before them, beyond counting.
34 How empty is your comfort to me;
only deceit remains in your responses
What Does the passage Mean to Me/US?
Reading Job is like being a third person in a debate. You get to hear both sides and you agree and disagree with both of their arguments. From hearing both sides of the stories, we hope we get to see the truth.
Today’s scripture starts with Job sharing his perspective on the traditional belief Zophar shared in ch. 20; “Do you know this from long ago—from when humans were placed on earth— that the rejoicing of the wicked is short, the joy of the godless, brief?” (Job 20:4 The Message)
Zophar says that the rich people swallow evil and their evil soon causes them to vomit their entire wealth. It is another way to tell Job, you have done something terrible with your wealth and God is punishing you for what you have done.
Job responds, in ch. 21, saying that he sees plenty of wealthy people who are wicked not experiencing what he is experiencing.
So if Zophar’s word was to condemn Job for his wrongdoings, Job is saying he is falsely accusing him. On the other hand, if Zophar’s words to comfort him, saying that ‘if you do the good deed, God will restore you again,’ Job considers that thought rubbish as we see him say; “So how do you expect me to get any comfort from your nonsense? Your so-called comfort is a tissue of lies” (Job 21:34 The Message).
Through the dialogue, we should reconsider the traditional concept that ‘God blesses the good with wealth.’
It is true that God will give the wealth to the righteous. We also see, however, how people can accumulate wealth despite their unrighteous ways. It shows us that what we have cannot be a measure of our relationship with God.
Whether we have much or less, our desire should be more on having God’s grace in our lives.
We need to be able to see the true relationship we have with Christ, by putting all our possessions aside.
Lord, clear our hearts so we can see the state of our relationship with you. Pour us your grace on us today. In Christ Name, we pray, AMEN
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