"Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?" Job 21:7
In the opening verses of this book, Job is described as a man who was "blameless and upright;" a man who "feared God and shunned evil." He was "the greatest man among all the people of the East." Then came his three tests. First, everything he owned was destroyed. Second, all his children were killed by a storm. Finally, Satan "afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head." But "in all this, Job did not sin in what he said."
Most of the book of Job deals with the dialogues between Job and his three friends, who are convinced that this series of tragedies is the result of Job's sin. In Job's responses are words and thoughts found often in the hearts and minds of those going through difficult times. Today's passage is echoed by many who look up from their pain and see the wicked living untroubled, growing old and increasing in power. What are we to think when we see God's people in pain and the wicked prospering?
I believe that there are three things that we learn from this passage. First, life is not a snapshot but a video. While Job's suffering is unimaginable throughout most of the book, God's blessings return to him. Second, we only see what's happening with a person on the outside. The wicked may be prospering on the outside, but we don't see the emptiness, fears, and doubts that fill their hearts and minds in the morning and continue throughout their day. On the other hand, the believer can experience peace even in the midst of the greatest trial. Finally, this life is short. The believer, regardless of earthly suffering, will spend eternity in heaven. The wicked, regardless of earthly "prosperity," will spend eternity in hell. The wicked may live on, grow old and increase in power, but time on earth pales in light of eternity.
Father, give us an eternal mindset so that we can live our time on this earth with a proper perspective. In Jesus' name. Amen.