Job 21:1-17- “God Distributes Sorrow In His Anger”

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Study Aired July 8, 2012

Job 21:1 But Job answered and said,

Job 21:2 Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.

Job 21:3 Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on.

Job 21:4 As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?

Job 21:5 Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth.

Job 21:6 Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.

Job 21:7 Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?

Job 21:8 Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.

Job 21:9 Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.

Job 21:10 Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.

Job 21:11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.

Job 21:12 They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.

Job 21:13 They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.

Job 21:14 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.

Job 21:15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?

Job 21:16 Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

Job 21:17 How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.

Introduction

This chapter is the conclusion of the second round of arguments between Job and his friends concerning what God is doing in Job’s life. Job is defending himself against God’s judgments upon his self- righteous contentions with his Creator, and he is defending himself against the false accusations of his friends.

Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar have now all had two opportunities to comfort their poor afflicted friend, and have instead concluded that because Job’s trials are so severe, Job must evidently be a very grievous sinner, albeit one whose sins are not immediately apparent. So this is Job’s answer to Zophar’s last attempt to get Job to confess that he has committed sins which Job simply has not committed. God reproves Job for ‘contending with, reproving, and condemning his Creator’ (Job 40:1-8), while proclaiming his own righteousness and ‘making himself more righteous than God’.

As it turns out, this sin of Job is one which he has committed in common with his comforters. Their sin is a sin which is common to all men and to all of us. It is the sin of self- righteousness and not realizing or recognizing that it is God, and God alone, who is working all things, the good and the evil, “after the counsel of His own will” (Eph 1:11).

Being totally unaware of this sin of self- righteousness, Job continues defending himself against God’s judgments and against his friends’ false accusations.

Job 21:1 But Job answered and said,

Job 21:2 Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.

Consoling and comforting Job was the professed purpose for which Job’s friends had come to be with him in this his time of trial.

Job 2:11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

Job 2:12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

Job 2:13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

We are told that they “had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him”. This they did very well for exactly “seven days and seven nights [ as they] spake [ not] a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” From that moment on these men, as types and shadows of all of us, failed miserably to identify with or console this man who they had called their friend and who they had come to comfort. As the Biblical types of us while we are in the sphere of influence of the great harlot, they condemn Job in his suffering to make themselves appear to be more righteous than Job. Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar think that Job’s severe suffering proves them to be more righteous than Job. So Job is so exasperated that he simply tells them, “Since you have done nothing but falsely accuse me from the moment you first opened your mouth, please be so kind now as to just listen to what I have to say, and we will count that courtesy as the consolations you said you had come to give me.”

Job does not believe that he is in any way less righteous than his friends, and his “pride of life” will have no part of anything coming from his friends which intimates that he is any less righteous than they are.

Job 27:5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.

Job 27:6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

So Job continues to plead his case with his friends:

Job 21:3 Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on.

Job 21:4 As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?

Job dismisses the false accusations of his friends by letting them know that his concern is not with what they think of him as much as it is with what God is doing to him. The word translated ‘complaint’ in this verse carries with it more of the thought of meditation and prayer or supplication than complaint, even though it is most often translated as ‘complaint’. Here are all of the 14 entries for this word in the Old Testament:

H7879

siyach

Total KJV Occurrences: 14

complaint, 9

1Sa 1:16, Job 7:13, Job 9:27, Job 10:1, Job 21:4, Psa 55:2 (2), Psa 142:1-2 (2)

babbling, 1

Pro 23:29

communication, 1

2Ki 9:11

meditation, 1

Psa 104:34

prayer, 1

Psa 64:1

talking, 1

1Ki 18:27

It is this same word which we find translated as ‘meditation’ in this verse of Psalms:

Psa 104:34 My meditation [ Hebrew, siyach] of him shall be sweet: I will be glad in the LORD.

Here in another Psalm it is translated as ‘prayer’:

Psa 64:1 To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Hear my voice, O God, in my prayer [ siyach]: preserve my life from fear of the enemy.

Job is so confident of his own righteousness that he wants only to be able to talk with God and make his case for his own integrity and his own ways.

Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

Job 13:16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.

Job 13:17 Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.

Job 13:18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.

God does not ‘justify’ Job, but not for the reasons his friends suspect. God’s contention with Job is that Job considers himself to be more righteous than God, and it is that spirit which has brought God’s wrath upon Job. Nevertheless Job would rather be appealing to God than to men who have no compassion even under the worst of circumstances.

As Job puts it:

… and if it [ his prayer and supplication] were so [ were to men, especially men such as his friends], why should not my spirit be troubled?

Job continues to express just how mystified he is at what God is doing to him.

Job 21:5 Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth.

Such is Job’s self- confidence in his self- righteousness. He is convinced that it is just a matter of time until his friends are forced to acknowledge Job’s righteousness. He also wants them to remember his evaluation of his situation when they are one day forced to acknowledge that the wicked are not always judged by God in this life.

Job 27:5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.

Job 27:6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

Job 27:7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.

So Job actually considers his friends to be his ‘enemies, the wicked and the unrighteous’. At the same time he confesses that he does not understand why God is dealing with him as He is.

Job 21:6 Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.

We know that Job’s trial lasted for months:

Job 7:3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.

Job has not forgotten the day his surviving servants came in one after the other, and in just a few hours time informed him that everything he had ever worked for had been taken from him via thieves and the hand of God Himself. He remembers being stricken with boils over his entire body shortly thereafter. To make it even worse, he remembers the pillories and false accusations of his closest friends who were supposed to have come to show him compassion and to comfort him. The concept of judgment beginning at the house of God had not yet been revealed. This book of Job is part of the process of showing us, in type and shadow form, that concept of judgment beginning at the house of God.

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

1Pe 1:12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.

So Job is at a complete loss to understand what God is doing to him.

Like King David and Jeremiah and all of us in our own time, Job questions the ways of his Creator.

Job 21:7 Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?

Is this true? Yes, it most certainly is. Just look at who is running the systems of this world. King David lodges the same complaint:

Psa 49:16 Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased;

Psa 49:17 For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.

Psa 49:18 Though while he lived he blessed his soul: and men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself.

Psa 49:19 He shall go to the generation of his fathers; they shall never see light.

Psa 49:20 Man that is in honour, and understandeth not, is like the beasts that perish.

“Men will praise thee, when thou doest well to thyself”. That is what is most natural for all mankind. The fact that when you “do well to yourself” at the expense of your neighbor seems to be of little concern to most men. The rich are honored simply because they are rich in this world.

Job 21:8 Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.

Job 21:9 Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.

As Job pointed out earlier, when God is judging His own house because they have ‘slipped with their feet’, the upright and righteous man who has slipped is abused and laughed to scorn, while God “answers the prayers” of those who are oppressing the righteous.

Job 12:4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who [ our mocking neighbor] calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

Job 12:5 He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.

What seems to be our worst days in this life are often times which tend to bring us closest to our heavenly Father.

2Co 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

2Co 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

Like Job, we are closer to our Maker after we have lost all our possessions and are humiliated and crushed to powder than we were before the time of our trial.

What makes the process so hard to endure is to see God blessing the efforts of those who are oppressing us while, at the same time, destroying us and all we have ever worked to attain.

Job 21:10 Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.

Job 21:11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.

Job 21:12 They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.

Job 21:13 They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.

Is not this what God has promised to those who obey Him?

Deu 7:12 Wherefore it shall come to pass, if ye hearken to these judgments, and keep, and do them, that the LORD thy God shall keep unto thee the covenant and the mercy which he sware unto thy fathers:

Deu 7:13 And he will love thee, and bless thee, and multiply thee: he will also bless the fruit of thy womb, and the fruit of thy land, thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil, the increase of thy kine, and the flocks of thy sheep, in the land which he sware unto thy fathers to give thee.

Deu 7:14 Thou shalt be blessed above all people: there shall not be male or female barren among you, or among your cattle.

Deu 7:15 And the LORD will take away from thee all sickness, and will put none of the evil diseases of Egypt, which thou knowest, upon thee; but will lay them upon all them that hate thee.

Those are the blessings promised for keeping the law. Job did not know about the law of Moses, but Job knew the God of Moses, and he knew of His ways, that he blessed them that obeyed him, and he cursed those who disobeyed Him. That is why Job is so very confused. He knows that he has not taken away a house that he did not build, and he knows that he has not withheld the wages of his servants. Yet he is being cursed and “mocked to his face” by his enemies.

Job 21:14 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.

Job 21:15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?

When God wants us in unbelief and rebellion, all He needs to do is to bless us physically, and in no time we will all turn our backs on Him. Here is how God expresses this phenomenon which He has placed within us all:

Jer 5:7 How shall I pardon thee for this? thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I had fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots’ houses.

Jer 5:8 They were as fed horses in the morning: every one neighed after his neighbour’s wife.

Jer 5:9 Shall I not visit for these things? saith the LORD: and shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?

It is when we have been “fed to the full” and have been physically blessed in all we do that we decide that there is no advantage to serving God. Why should the wicked obey God when it appears that he blesses only those who disobey Him? King David witnessed this same dichotomy.

Psa 73:2 But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.

Psa 73:3 For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.

Psa 73:4 For there are no bands [ Hebrew, drawn cords, no long drawn out deaths] in their death: but their strength is firm.

Psa 73:5 They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.

Psa 73:6 Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.

Psa 73:7 Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.

Psa 73:8 They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.

Psa 73:9 They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.

Psa 73:10 Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.

Psa 73:11 And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?

Behold, these are the ungodly, who prosper in the world [ Hebrew, olawm – this age]; they increase in riches.

It is God’s own people who “set their mouth against the heavens” while they are the “prosperous wicked”. But if God is working to save us at this time, then our sins will find us out in this life, and then God will begin to curse our former prosperity and to humble us before God and man. Whether it is now in this life or later in the lake of fire, part of that “one event” (Ecc 9:2) and the “all things [ which] are ours” is the fact that our sins will find us out, and we will then begin to be judged and have all the “wood, hay and stubble” (1Co 3:13-16) burned out of our lives.

Num 32:23 But if ye will not do so, behold, ye have sinned against the LORD: and be sure your sin will find you out.

King David also knew what it was to be despised even among his neighbors and his family and friends when God began to judge him before them all.

Psa 31:11 I was a reproach among all mine enemies, but especially among my neighbours, and a fear to mine acquaintance: they that did see me without fled from me.

It does not compute to our natural man that God blesses those who lie about Him and disobey Him, while pouring out His wrath on those who are destined to be saved in this age. But “all things are ours” if we are God’s elect (1Co 3:21-22). So it is we first think of ourselves as very righteous, and think that we are serving our Creator and do not need to be dealt with as “an unclean thing… and … as filthy rags”.

Isa 64:6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

But it is that very spirit, the spirit of Job and the Pharisees within us, which most offends our Creator. “We are all as an unclean thing” just does not include us in our minds because we, like Job and all his friends, think we “are not like other men”, and it the judgment of that spirit with which this book of Job is concerned.

Here is how Christ feels about the sin of self- righteousness:

Luk 18:9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:

Luk 18:10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.

Luk 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.

Luk 18:12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.

Luk 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.

Luk 18:14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

God does not at first grant us to see ourselves as this self- righteous Pharisee. Consequently that is exactly who we first all are. “ We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away, [ and we do indeed] live by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God”.

Job 21:16 Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

Job 21:17 How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.

“Lo, their good is not in their hand”, whether Job is saying ‘Their good comes only from God, so how can you say that God always punishes the wicked?’, or if his meaning is that God can take it from them at any moment as He did to Job, Job’s point is that what His accusers are telling him is simply and obviously not true. “How oft is the candle of the wicked put out?” is a question. And “How oft comes their destruction upon them?” is also a question whose obvious answer is, ‘Not very often’ as the rest of Job’s argument reveals. Job’s point is that God does not always judge the wicked in this age. The fact is that we seldom see immediate justice in this age, and it appears to the natural man that being evil makes for a physically more blessed life than a life of fidelity to God and His Word.

“The counsel of the wicked is far from me”. Job wants to make it clear that even though he is pointing out that God does not always punish the wicked in this age, that it is not to be misunderstood as meaning that he is throwing his lot in with the wicked. The blessings God had given Job, via the “hedge” He had placed around all Job possessed, tells us that God sets us up as His elect to be humbled and humiliated if indeed He is working to make us His finished handiwork in this age. He accomplishes that end by means of a fiery judgment.

1Pe 4:12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you:

1Pe 4:13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

1Pe 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

1Pe 4:15 But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.

1Pe 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?

1Pe 4:18 And if the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly and the sinner appear?

1Pe 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

But this is a message that is only beginning to be taught to mankind by Job and the prophets whom God has sent to reveal even more of His ways. The book of Job is the earliest book in scripture to bring us this message. The concept of spiritual judgment in this age was not addressed in the law of Moses. What the law taught, as we will see, was that obedience brings blessings in this age, and disobedience brings curses in this age.

It was the prophets of Israel who began to introduce this concept of spiritual judgment beginning in this age. That becomes clear only when we see their words as being written to us:

Jer 2:30 In vain have I smitten your children; they received no correction: your own sword hath devoured your prophets, like a destroying lion.

Jer 2:31 O generation, see ye the word of the LORD. Have I been a wilderness unto Israel? a land of darkness? wherefore say my people, We are lords; we will come no more unto thee?

Jer 2:32 Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people have forgotten me days without number.

Malachi points out this same error:

Mal 3:13 Your words have been stout against me, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, What have we spoken so much against thee?

Mal 3:14 Ye have said, It is vain to serve God: and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinance, and that we have walked mournfully before the LORD of hosts?

Mal 3:15 And now we call the proud happy; yea, they that work wickedness are set up; yea, they that tempt God are even delivered.

Jeremiah had warned God’s people of this same spirit many years before Malachi:

Jer 7:10 And come and stand before me in this house, which is called by my name, and say, We are delivered [ H5337

natsal] to do all these abominations?

The word translated “delivered” there is also translated “saved” in this verse:

2Sa 19:9 And all the people were at strife throughout all the tribes of Israel, saying, The king saved [ H5337 natsal] us out of the hand of our enemies, and he delivered us out of the hand of the Philistines; and now he is fled out of the land for Absalom.

So the doctrine of ‘greasy grace’ was around long before Paul and James had to deal with it. Of course the Truth is that “grace chastens us…”

Tit 2:11 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Tit 2:12 Teaching [ Greek, chastening] us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Our natural man actually believes that “they that tempt God are even delivered… We are saved to do all these abominations”. But what is the Truth of this matter? Can we receive it? Here is the Truth concerning this matter of God judging His elect in this age:

Ecc 7:1 A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.

Ecc 7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning, than to go to the house of feasting: for that is the end of all men; and the living will lay it to his heart.

Ecc 7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter: for by the sadness of the countenance the heart is made better.

Ecc 7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning; but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

Ecc 7:5 It is better to hear the rebuke of the wise, than for a man to hear the song of fools.

Here are Christ’s words:

Luk 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now [ in this age]: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

It really is blessed to hunger now, to weep now in this age and in this life, than to do so later. These are all spiritual truths, and this is how the natural man receives these words:

1Co 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

Job tells us: “God distributeth sorrows in his anger”. Job has no doubt that God is angry with Him and that he is suffering God’s wrath.

Job 16:9 He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.

Job 19:11 He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.

Job was used by God to show us that God pours out His wrath on those He is judging in this age first. While that is a very terrifying experience, it really is much better to get it behind us in this age than in the next.

Next week, if the Lord wills, we will hear the rest of Jobs answer to Zophar’s contention that God always judges the wicked in this age:

Job 21:18 They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.

Job 21:19 God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.

Job 21:20 His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

Job 21:21 For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?

Job 21:22 Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.

Job 21:23 One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.

Job 21:24 His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow.

Job 21:25 And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.

Job 21:26 They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.

Job 21:27 Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.

Job 21:28 For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked?

Job 21:29 Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens,

Job 21:30 That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.

Job 21:31 Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done?

Job 21:32 Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.

Job 21:33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him.

Job 21:34 How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?

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