Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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ENTERED: January 28, 2015
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Scripture Passage



        Job - Chapter 24 (Contemporary English Version)
      1. Why doesn't God set a time for court? Why don't his people know where he can be found?
      2. Sinners remove boundary markers and take care of sheep they have stolen.
      3. They cheat orphans and widows by taking their donkeys and oxen.
      4. The poor are trampled and forced to hide
      5. in the desert, where they and their children must live like wild donkeys and search for food.
      6. If they want grain or grapes, they must go to the property of these sinners.
      7. They sleep naked in the cold, because they have no cover,
      8. and during a storm their only shelters are caves among the rocky cliffs.
      9. Children whose fathers have died are taken from their mothers as payment for a debt.
      10. Then they are forced to work naked in the grain fields because they have no clothes, and they go hungry.
      11. They crush olives to make oil and grapes to make wine-- but still they go thirsty.
      12. And along the city streets, the wounded and dying cry out, yet God does nothing.
      13. Some rebel and refuse to follow the light.
      14. Soon after sunset they murder the poor and the needy, and at night they steal.
      15. Others wait for the dark, thinking they won't be seen if they sleep with the wife or husband of someone else.
      16. Robbers hide during the day, then break in after dark because they reject the light.
      17. They prefer night to day, since the terrors of the night are their friends.
      18. Those sinners are filthy foam on the surface of the water. And so, their fields and vineyards will fall under a curse and won't produce.
      19. Just as the heat of summer swallows the snow, the world of the dead swallows those who sin.
      20. Forgotten here on earth, and with their power broken, they taste sweet to worms.
      21. Sinners take advantage of widows and other helpless women.
      22. But God's mighty strength destroys those in power. Even if they seem successful, they are doomed to fail.
      23. God may let them feel secure, but they are never out of his sight.
      24. Great for a while; gone forever! Sinners are mowed down like weeds, then they wither and die.
      25. If I haven't spoken the truth, then prove me wrong.

Reflections



Job - Chapter 24

Entered: January 28, 2015

Job's response to Eliphaz is continued from chapter 23. In that portion of his response he complained that God could not be found and he had no way of appealing his plight. Here, in chapter 24, Job suggests that God needs to reserve times people know they can take their complaints to Him for judgment. But since that is not the case, all sorts of injustice goes on without anything or anyone to stop it.

Those unable to help themselves, such as the poor, the widows, and the orphans, are oppressed and God seems to be oblivious to it all. This contradicts the assertions of Job's friends who claim that the wicked die young as a result of their actions. Job says no, the wicked live much as the righteous do as if God pays no attention to their sin. On the other hand, Job is pointing out that the righteous do not necessarily live lives of ease either. They often suffer at the hands of the wicked who go unpunished. No, the simplistic view the friends have of life is just not right. Both the wicked and the righteous suffer and both prosper.

From the human perspective, only what happens in our earthly life is what matters. But, of course, this is a very short-sighted view. God has an eternal perspective on justice that is far superior to ours. From His perspective, whatever enjoyment the wicked receive in this life is all they get. Once this life is ended all they have for an eternity is suffering. It is this perspective Job seems to be eluding to in the last verses of the chapter. The wicked may be exalted "for a moment," he says, but then they are gone, brought low and shriveled up. God allows the wicked a "sense of security," but "His eyes watch over their ways." Their judgment is coming.

A prayer authored by theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr, referred to as the "Serenity Prayer," can be applied to the tension we have with injustice in this world. It states:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

We cannot change the injustice in this world. Sure, criminals can be punished, but much injustice does not fall under any crime and nothing short of vengeance can be done about it. We have to leave it in God's hands and trust that His justice is right and best. Therefore, we do best to accept what we cannot change and leave it to God. What we can change we should, but we need God's wisdom to know the difference.



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