Read Job 24
24 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
2 There are those who move boundary stones;
they pasture flocks they have stolen.
3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey
and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
4 They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
the wasteland provides food for their children.
6 They gather fodder in the fields
and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
8 They are drenched by mountain rains
and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces;
they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
who do not know its ways
or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
kills the poor and needy,
and in the night steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;
their portion of the land is cursed,
so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,
so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
the worm feasts on them;
the wicked are no longer remembered
but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
and to the widow they show no kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.
25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
and reduce my words to nothing?”
Job poignantly paints a disturbing picture of what seems commonplace in his culture: displaced boundary markers; stealing from the fatherless, the widow, and the needy, leaving them naked, hungry, thirsty, and without shelter; seizing babies as collateral; and mortally wounding the defenseless. What outlandish injustice and oppression Job depicts! He further describes the wicked as a group of heartless, murdering, thieving, lovers of the dark who prey upon the innocent. “For the morning is like death’s shadow to them. Surely they are familiar with the terrors of death’s shadow.” (v. 17) The wicked continue in their evil deeds with no apparent justice ever being served.
But God! Job highlights the justice of God in light of human suffering. “But God drags away the mighty by his power; though they become established, they have no assurance of life. He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their way.” Although He may seem silent, His eyes are ever on mankind. Proverbs 15:3 declares, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.” Nothing escapes His watchful eye. Job opens this chapter with a question that begs an answer: “Why does the Almighty not reserve time for judgment?” Because we are on this side of Calvary, we can affirm 1 Corinthians 4:5, “Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait until the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of the heart. At that time each will receive their praise from God.”
What do we do in the meantime? We are to be prayerfully alert to injustice in our world and spring into action. As followers of Christ, Scripture outlines specifically what we are to be about. James 1:27 declares, “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” We must move from sympathy (feeling) to empathy (action). Join in where the Lord is at work for the least, the lonely, and the forgotten.
- Parts of our world mirror Job’s description in this chapter. Where has the Holy Spirit been tugging at your heart to relieve the plight of others?
- If you are currently in a place of suffering, can you attest to Psalm 27:13-14 (“I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.”)? Write this passage out and meditate on it daily.
- Where can you get involved with your own church or local service organization to help serve the marginalized?
“Job challenges all men to contradict what he affirms, that the righteous may be greater sufferers, and the wicked may for awhile prosper, but that God will, in the end, overthrow the ungodly, and establish the righteous.” Charles Spurgeon in Spurgeon’s Bible Commentary
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