Job’s friends (or as some commentators call them, “miserable comforters”) live in an ideal world. Doing good results in blessings from God. Evil doers get punished. With that paradigm, it’s easy to see why they (Job’s friends) would press him on just admitting his wrongs and getting back in the right with God.
Following Zophar’s second speech (which ends the second round of the three friends’ barrage against Job), Job responds once again with a real picture that cannot be ignored in our theology of blessing and curses.
In chapter 21, Job speaks to morality and justice in the real world that surrounds all of us.
The wicked, let’s face it, do prosper.
From verse 7 on, Job brings reality to the table for his friends. The wicked live full lives. They reach old age. Some grow mighty in power. Their children are well established. Their houses are spacious and secure. They live well, and God lets it go.
They sing and dance. Their work prospers, “and in peace they go down to Sheol” (v 13).
They “get along” without God (in this life at least).
This should shatter Job’s friends’ theology. It certainly presses on mine.
D.A. Carson comments, “If the tallies of blessing and punishment are calculated solely on the basis of what takes place in this life, this is a grossly unfair world.”
But God is not unfair. The suffering of the day for those who love God, is not because he is unfair. Like in Job’s case, suffering among God’s children will always prove that he is worth our praise and worship.
We don’t love God because this earthly life has been made comfortable by his hand (for many believers it isn’t and won’t be). We love him because of who he is…A God of justice who knows the most outrageous injustice ever known as his son died on a cross…to purchase us from our sin.