The providences of God in the government of this world are sometimes hard to be understood. When we cannot clearly account for the prosperity of the wicked and affliction of the godly, we should silently wait the issue, judging nothing before the time.
1 But Job answered and said,
2 Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.
3 Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on.
4 As for me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?
5 Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth.
6 Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.
7 Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?
8 Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.
9 Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.
10 Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.
11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.
12 They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.
13 They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.
14 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him?
16 Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
17 How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! and how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.
18 They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.
19 God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.
20 His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?
22 Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.
23 One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.
24 His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow.
25 And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.
26 They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.
27 Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.
28 For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? and where are the dwelling places of the wicked?
29 Have ye not asked them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens,
30 That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.
31 Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay him what he hath done?
32 Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.
33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him.
34 How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?
Job 21:1-13 – J. Vernon McGee
Job 21:14-34 – J. Vernon McGee
Job 21 – “Shall Any Teach God?”
After a brief introduction, in which he claims the right to reply, Job 21:1-6, Job brings forward a new argument. He affirms that his friends are wrong in assuming that the connection between sin and suffering is invariable. On the contrary, he urges that wicked men often spend their lives in prosperity, on the farm, in the fold, and in the home, Job 21:10-11. Sounds of joy issue from their dwellings, Job 21:12. They die without prolonged torture, Job 21:13. From the contention of his friends, Job turns to the passer-by for confirmation of his words. Surely, he says, it is a matter of common observation that some wicked men do prosper and die in peace, Job 21:29.
With Job’s answer the second colloquy ends. His friends have gained nothing by their arguments, but Job has learned much by his afflictions. On the dark background of his night the Morning Star has actually begun to shine. He appeals to God with greater confidence and even finds refuge in Him; but so far, though arguing his case, he has preserved a humble and reverent attitude. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Job 21:22—Shall any teach God knowledge?
We cannot tell God anything He does not know already. The most fervent and full of our prayers simply unfold in word all that has been patent to His loving, pitying eye. This does not make prayer needless; on the contrary, it incites to prayer, since it is pleasant to talk with one who knows the whole case perfectly; and it is a relief to feel that God’s answers depend—not on the information we bring Him, or even on the specific requests we make, but-on His infinite and perfect acquaintance with circumstances and conditions of which we are altogether ignorant.
“Your Father knoweth” (Matthew 6:8; Luke 12:30). Quicker than lightning is His notice of every transition in your inner life—of your downsittings and your uprisings; of every thought in your heart; every word on your tongue; of the fretting of that inward cross; of the anguish of that stake in your flesh; of the enemy that, like a sword in your bones, reproaches you with the derisive challenge. “Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether” (Psalm 139:3-4). Yes, He knows it all, and loves you better than you know.
Do not presume to dictate to Him; do not dare to say that some other way would be better, some other lot more likely to develop your best self. He knows every track by which to bring sons to glory; and that He has chosen this one is a positive proof that it is the best, the one most adapted to your idiosyncrasies and needs. His ways are higher than your ways, and His thoughts than your thoughts. You could not teach Him knowledge, or increase His love—then trust both. —Our Daily Homily