Thursday, January 25, 2018

Do You Believe Wicked Are Punished

If you are a Christian, you know the Bible tells you that the wicked are punished. And that:

A it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10 KJV)

Or, as David sang:

The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one. (Psalms 14:2-3 KJV)

There is redemption, though, and there are men who are righteous in God’s eyes. Job was one:

There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. (Job 1:1 KJV)

Job was perfect and upright because he believed God and deliberately refrained from evil. Others in the Bible serve as similar examples – but today, as I’m in the middle of reading Job, I’m thinking of his “friends.” The ones who told him:

Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? or where were the righteous cut off? Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same. By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed. (Job 4:7-9 KJV)

Eliphaz the Temanite believed Job to be guilty because it appeared he was being punished.

Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice? If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression; (Job 8:3-4 KJV)

Bildad the Shuhite felt the same way – that sin causes God to cast sinners away. Job answers them, speaking of his innocence and God’s power. Still:

Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed? For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes. But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; (Job 11:3-5 KJV)

Zophar the Naamathite joins in the accusations. Job must be guilty – of what they can only wait for his confession, for no guilt is obvious. Still, Job denies going against God.

Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee. (Job 15:6 KJV)

Then rounds begin again. By saying God allowed what happened to Job, to continue pleading his innocence, Eliphaz states that Job must be testifying to his guilt.

Back and forth, the friends speak against Job and he defends his innocence, steadfast in his position with God:

God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live. (Job 27:5-6 KJV)

Then a young man, Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, decides his elders just aren’t up to the work at hand and he can do better. In verse 33:33, he is determined to teach Job wisdom.

Mostly, over my lifetime, I’ve been taught the patience of Job – but I don’t see a quiet patience. I see Job seeking to learn from God why this is happening. When his friends assure him God takes care of the righteous and only punishes the guilty, Job describes evil acts men do and there is no punishment.

Thus my questions – do you believe wicked are punished and righteous rewarded, here on earth? Really? Can you share your reason for thinking the punishment is connected to the crime by a short length of time? Trust me, a lifetime really is a short period of time.

Come back to read me tomorrow and we’ll discuss a bit more about time, punishment, and redemption.

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