Job 20:1-21:34, Matthew 8:18-9:8
Thought from Today’s Old Testament Passage:
Job 21:17-26 Job had largely described the prosperity of wicked people; now, in these verses,
I. He opposes this to what his friends had maintained concerning their certain ruin in this life. “Tell me how often do you see the candle of the wicked put out? Do you not as often see it burnt down to the socket, until it goes out of itself? v. 17. How often do you see their destruction come upon them, or God distributing sorrows in his anger among them? Do you not as often see their mirth and prosperity continuing to the last?” Perhaps there are as many instances of notorious sinners ending their days in pomp as ending them in misery, which observation is sufficient to invalidate their arguments against Job and to show that no certain judgment can be made of men’s character by their outward condition.
II. He reconciles this to the holiness and justice of God. Though wicked people prosper thus all their days, yet we are not therefore to think that God will let their wickedness always go unpunished. No,
1. Even while they prosper thus they are as stubble and chaff before the stormy wind, v. 18. They are light and worthless, and of no account either with God or with wise and good men…
2. Though they spend all their days in wealth God is laying up their iniquity for their children (v. 19), and he will visit it upon their posterity when they are gone.
3. Though they prosper in this world, yet they shall be reckoned with in another world. God rewards him according to his deeds at last (v. 19), though the sentence passed against his evil works be not executed speedily…
III. He resolves this difference which Providence makes between one wicked man and another into the wisdom and sovereignty of God (v. 22): Shall any pretend to teach God knowledge? Dare we arraign God’s proceedings or blame his conduct? Shall we take upon us to tell God how he should govern the world, what sinner he should spare and whom he should punish? He has both authority and ability to judge those that are high. Angels in heaven, princes and magistrates on earth, are accountable to God, and must receive their doom from him. He manages them, and makes what use he pleases of them. Shall he then be accountable to us, or receive advice from us? He is the Judge of all the earth, and therefore no doubt he will do right (Gen. 18:25, Rom. 3:6), and those proceedings of his providence which seem to contradict one another he can make, not only mutually to agree, but jointly to serve his own purposes. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Vol. III—Job to Song of Solomon, (McLean, VA: MacDonald Publishing Co., n.d.), p. 119)