Job’s distant God

Today I’ve got my reading plan more exact so it’s officially Job 18-31, part of which I already read.

Job 21:3: “Bear with me while I speak; then after I have spoken, you may continue mocking.”  Job refutes the claims of the prosperity gospel by pointing to the prosperity of the wicked, in terms that reminded me strongly of Ecclesiastes. Eliphaz repeats himself, saying God does good to the righteous (c 22) and Job complains that he would go argue with God, except that he doesn’t know how to find Him (c 23), but is still not without faith.  This is how he accounts for the prosperity of the wicked (24:22-24, hcsb):

Yet God drags away the mighty by His power;
when He rises up, they have no assurance of life.
He gives them a sense of security, so they can rely on it,
but His eyes watch over their ways.
They are exalted for a moment, then they are gone;
they are brought low and shrivel up like everything else.
They wither like heads of grain.

Bildad’s answer seems to be that God is so mighty that it’s hopeless (c. 25) to be good, to which Job answers, “I will never affirm that you are right!” (27:5) and reiterates a) that the wicked prosper in this life, but that b) their fortune is tainted (27:14-23) even in this life, and c) God is ultimately just and merciful and tells us to fear the Lord and turn from evil (28:28).

Finally, Job again bemoans that his friends mock and accuse him (c 30), and that God does not answer him (30:20), and calls God his Opponent.

Tomorrow, Elihu’s reply and God’s answer!

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