Job Chapter Twenty-Four
Job now turns from the complaints that he voiced in chapter 23 and moves again to refute the doctrinal teaching that his friends ascribe to; namely that the righteous are blessed of God because of their righteousness and that the wicked are given trials, tribulations and afflictions by God because of their wickedness. They claim that we can discern whether someone is righteous or wicked by observing how God relates to them physical world and provides or doesn’t provide physical blessings.
Read Job 24:1-12
v1. “WHY, SEEING TIMES ARE NOT HIDDEN FROM THE ALMIGHTY, DO THEY THAT KNOW HIM NOT SEE HIS DAYS?”
Job says times are not hidden from the Almighty. Past times will not be hidden from his judgment:
Ecclesiastes 3:15-17 “THAT WHICH HATH BEEN IS NOW; AND THAT WHICH IS TO BE HATH ALREADY BEEN; AND GOD REQUIRETH THAT WHICH IS PAST. AND MOREOVER I SAW UNDER THE SUN THE PLACE OF JUDGMENT, that WICKEDNESS was THERE; AND THE PLACE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS, that INIQUITY was THERE. I SAID IN MINE HEART, GOD SHALL JUDGE THE RIGHTEOUS AND THE WICKED: FOR there is A TIME THERE FOR EVERY PURPOSE AND FOR EVERY WORK.”
Present times are not hidden from his providence:
Matthew “ARE NOT TWO SPARROWS SOLD FOR A FARTHING? AND ONE OF THEM SHALL NOT FALL ON THE GROUND WITHOUT YOUR FATHER.”
God rules this world; therefore we may be sure that nothing that goes on within it is hidden from his knowledge. Bad times and bad men are not hidden from him though they may think so.
Psalms 94:6-7 “THEY SLAY THE WIDOW AND THE STRANGER, AND MURDER THE FATHERLESS. YET THEY SAY, THE LORD SHALL NOT SEE, NEITHER SHALL THE GOD OF JACOB REGARD it.”
v2-12. “Some REMOVE THE LANDMARKS; THEY VIOLENTLY TAKE AWAY FLOCKS, AND FEED thereof. THEY DRIVE AWAY THE ASS OF THE FATHERLESS, THEY TAKE THE WIDOW'S OX FOR A PLEDGE. THEY TURN THE NEEDY OUT OF THE WAY: THE POOR OF THE EARTH HIDE THEMSELVES TOGETHER. BEHOLD, as WILD ASSES IN THE DESERT, GO THEY FORTH TO THEIR WORK; RISING BETIMES FOR A PREY: THE WILDERNESS yieldeth FOOD FOR THEM and FOR their CHILDREN. THEY REAP every one HIS CORN IN THE FIELD: AND THEY GATHER THE VINTAGE OF THE WICKED. THEY CAUSE THE NAKED TO LODGE WITHOUT CLOTHING, THAT they have NO COVERING IN THE COLD. THEY ARE WET WITH THE SHOWERS OF THE MOUNTAINS, AND EMBRACE THE ROCK FOR WANT OF A SHELTER. THEY PLUCK THE FATHERLESS FROM THE BREAST, AND TAKE A PLEDGE OF THE POOR. THEY CAUSE him TO GO NAKED WITHOUT CLOTHING, AND THEY TAKE AWAY THE SHEAF from THE HUNGRY; which MAKE OIL WITHIN THEIR WALLS, and TREAD their WINEPRESSES, AND SUFFER THIRST. MEN GROAN FROM OUT OF THE CITY, AND THE SOUL OF THE WOUNDED CRIETH OUT: YET GOD LAYETH NOT FOLLY to them.
Job spends the rest of this section of chapter 24 enumerating the sins of the wicked. Some remove landmarks to be able to claim someone’s land, they take away flocks violently, they take away the work animals, perhaps the only means the fatherless and widows have of sustaining themselves. They turn the needy out of their way, drive them away from their door. They are like the wild animals of the desert, it’s the survival of the fittest, might makes right, and the weak become their prey. Those that gather the corn of the field and the vintage of the wicked are caused to lodge naked without clothing, they’re given no covering for the cold, they are not given shelter but must live in the rocks of the mountains. They take the fatherless when very young or take a pledge from the poor making them servants and slaves. They cause them then to go naked without clothing, take away the very food that would sustain those that work for them within their walls and trod their wine presses. They don’t even give them sufficient to drink while they’re working. Men groan under this mistreatment, the wounded cry to God for justice, yet God does nothing to stop these wicked men.
Read Job 24:13-17
v13-17. “THEY ARE OF THOSE THAT REBEL AGAINST THE LIGHT; THEY KNOW NOT THE WAYS THEREOF, NOR ABIDE IN THE PATHS THEREOF. THE MURDERER RISING WITH THE LIGHT KILLETH THE POOR AND NEEDY, AND IN THE NIGHT IS AS A THIEF. THE EYE ALSO OF THE ADULTERER WAITETH FOR THE TWILIGHT, SAYING, NO EYE SHALL SEE ME: AND DISGUISETH his FACE. IN THE DARK THEY DIG THROUGH HOUSES, which THEY HAD MARKED FOR THEMSELVES IN THE DAYTIME: THEY KNOW NOT THE LIGHT. FOR THE MORNING is TO THEM EVEN AS THE SHADOW OF DEATH: IF one KNOW them, they are IN THE TERRORS OF THE SHADOW OF DEATH.”
Job continues by describing other sinners who go about their business without being punished physically by God. He describes those who rebel against the light and do their work in darkness where they think they’re hidden both from God, from men and from men’s governments who would punish them. He includes three sins representative of all sin:
The murderer who preys on the poor and the needy and works as a thief in the night;
The adulterer who waits for the twilight, thinking that no eye will see them and disguises his face that he might not be recognized;
The thief who marks houses as targets in the daytime and then waits until the night to dig through houses and steal whatever they’ve seen or made note of to steal during the day: When our subdivision was about 75% constructed and occupied there were lot of problems with thievery; but they ceased when the construction clean up crews quit working after dark. The morning is to be avoided like death itself because it will bring light to their evil works.
Read Job 24:18-25
v18. “HE is SWIFT AS THE WATERS; THEIR PORTION IS CURSED IN THE EARTH: HE BEHOLDETH NOT THE WAY OF THE VINEYARDS.”
Some are swift on the water as pirates or privateers, even their portion of the earth is cursed because they hold in contempt those who work for their living in the fields and vineyards.
v19-20. “DROUGHT AND HEAT CONSUME THE SNOW WATERS: so doth THE GRAVE those which HAVE SINNED. THE WOMB SHALL FORGET HIM; THE WORM SHALL FEED SWEETLY ON HIM; HE SHALL BE NO MORE REMEMBERED; AND WICKEDNESS SHALL BE BROKEN AS A TREE.”
When these men finally fall as a result of their sin, they will be like snow water in the time of drought and heat. They will be cut down, perhaps even of their own doing and go to the grave with all the rest who have sinned. They shall be forgotten even by the one who bore them as children, the worms will feed upon them in their graves and they won’t even be remembered any more than a tree that falls and is reduced to slivers and firewood.
v21. “HE EVIL ENTREATETH THE BARREN that BEARETH NOT: AND DOETH NOT GOOD TO THE WIDOW.”
Women who were barren were looked down upon in the society of Job’s day, both they and the widow without a husband to care and protect her were targets for evil men. This is still true today of thieves, con men and scam artists.
v22. “HE DRAWETH ALSO THE MIGHTY WITH HIS POWER: HE RISETH UP, AND NO man IS SURE OF LIFE.”
There are those who by the power gained through their wicked work that the mighty are not able to stand up to them. When these men rise up no man can be sure of his life. And we understand this because no doubt there are places in this very city were prudent men do not go after dark.
v23. “Though IT BE GIVEN HIM to be IN SAFETY, WHEREON HE RESTETH; YET HIS EYES are UPON THEIR WAYS.”
These sinners seem sometimes to be under special protection of God’s presence. They continue to do things that would bring most men to destruction but they escape through life living with so many dangers that we can’t understand how they manage. Yet God sees their sin and folly, his eyes are on their ways and their day if punishment is being reserved.
v24. “THEY ARE EXALTED FOR A LITTLE WHILE, BUT ARE
GONE AND BROUGHT LOW; THEY ARE TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY AS ALL other, AND CUT OFF AS THE
TOPS OF THE EARS OF CORN.”
They are exalted for a little while, they get away with their way of living for a period of time but then they’re gone, they’re brought low and their lives end just as do all other men. They will be taken out of the way, their power and prosperity will fade away, they will become the prey of human vultures even stronger they are. And if they escape this punishment they will be cut off at the proper time just like the heads of ripened grain and, as it were, be winnowed on God’s threshing floor.
v25. “AND IF it be NOT so NOW, WHO WILL MAKE ME A LIAR, AND MAKE MY SPEECH NOTHING WORTH?”
In closing his discourse Job issues a challenge. If this isn’t so, who will make him a liar, who will refute his arguments and make his speech worth nothing? Righteous men who speak the truth in soberness need not fear having anything that they say brought to the test. Especially those of us who study, teach and preach God’s word - if we remain faithful, do not become infatuated with our own ideas, humbly presenting and representing God’s word as it is; we should have no fear from anything or anyone in this world or the one to come.