Job 21

* Job entreats attention. (1-6) The prosperity of the wicked.

(7-16) The dealings of God's providence. (17-26) The judgement

of the wicked is in the world to come. (27-34)

1-6 Job comes closer to the question in dispute. This was,

Whether outward prosperity is a mark of the true church, and the

true members of it, so that ruin of a man's prosperity proves

him a hypocrite? This they asserted, but Job denied. If they

looked upon him, they might see misery enough to demand

compassion, and their bold interpretations of this mysterious

providence should be turned into silent wonder.
7-16 Job says, Remarkable judgments are sometimes brought upon

notorious sinners, but not always. Wherefore is it so? This is

the day of God's patience; and, in some way or other, he makes

use of the prosperity of the wicked to serve his own counsels,

while it ripens them for ruin; but the chief reason is, because

he will make it appear there is another world. These prospering

sinners make light of God and religion, as if because they have

so much of this world, they had no need to look after another.

But religion is not a vain thing. If it be so to us, we may

thank ourselves for resting on the outside of it. Job shows

their folly.
17-26 Job had described the prosperity of wicked people; in

these verses he opposes this to what his friends had maintained

about their certain ruin in this life. He reconciles this to the

holiness and justice of God. Even while they prosper thus, they

are light and worthless, of no account with God, or with wise

men. In the height of their pomp and power, there is but a step

between them and ruin. Job refers the difference Providence

makes between one wicked man and another, into the wisdom of

God. He is Judge of all the earth, and he will do right. So vast

is the disproportion between time and eternity, that if hell be

the lot of every sinner at last, it makes little difference if

one goes singing thither, and another sighing. If one wicked man

die in a palace, and another in a dungeon, the worm that dies

not, and the fire that is not quenched, will be the same to

them. Thus differences in this world are not worth perplexing

ourselves about.
27-34 Job opposes the opinion of his friends, That the wicked

are sure to fall into visible and remarkable ruin, and none but

the wicked; upon which principle they condemned Job as wicked.

Turn to whom you will, you will find that the punishment of

sinners is designed more for the other world than for this,

#Jude 1:14,15|. The sinner is here supposed to live in a great

deal of power. The sinner shall have a splendid funeral: a poor

thing for any man to be proud of the prospect of. He shall have

a stately monument. And a valley with springs of water to keep

the turf green, was accounted an honourable burial place among

eastern people; but such things are vain distinctions. Death

closes his prosperity. It is but a poor encouragement to die,

that others have died before us. That which makes a man die with

true courage, is, with faith to remember that Jesus Christ died

and was laid in the grave, not only before us, but for us. That

He hath gone before us, and died for us, who is alive and liveth

for us, is true consolation in the hour of death.

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