The Wicked Live in Comfort
Remember the story of Job?
He had everything that his heart could desire, yet he was righteous.
When Satan destroyed all his children and goods and gave him boils from
head to foot, his complaints were bitter, yet he was righteous. When some
friends came to "comfort" him, but in fact did the reverse, he became even
more bitter, feeling sorry for himself. Yet he remained righteous.
Let's imagine that your name is William Gates and that you have everything
that you desire, more money than you can spend in a hundred lifetimes;
helicopters, private estates etc. And the next morning you wake up to find
that the stock market has crashed and all your shares are worthless, moreover,
because of other ventures that have failed your assets have been confiscated
and you are out in the street without a bed to sleep in at night. Also,
it's winter and you get very sick, but the hospitals won't take you in
because your face is so well known and they know that you won't be able
to pay. You would have cause to complain, not so?
Poor old Job. This happens to him and to cap it all well-wishers come to
commiserate with him but end up doing just the opposite. They say it's
because he's evil that this is happening to him.
His reply to all this is that he cannot be evil because:
Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on. As for
me, is my complaint to man? and if it were so, why should
not my spirit be troubled? Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your
hand upon your mouth. Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling
taketh hold on my flesh. ¶ Wherefore do the wicked live, become old,
yea, are mighty in power? Their seed is established in their sight with
them, and their offspring before their eyes. Their houses are safe
from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. Their bull gendereth,
and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf. They send
forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. They take
the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. They spend
their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Therefore they
say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.
What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit
should we have, if we pray unto him?
Then he tells them:
Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully
imagine against me. For ye say, Where is the house of the prince?
and where are the dwelling places of the wicked? Have ye not asked
them that go by the way? and do ye not know their tokens, That the wicked
is reserved to the day of destruction? they shall be brought forth to the
day of wrath. Who shall declare his way to his face? and who shall repay
him what he hath done? Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and
shall remain in the tomb. The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him,
and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before
him. How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth
You see, in all this he remains righteous, he doesn't curse God as his
wife advised him to.
The next is important, as the following is what his "friend" accuses him
Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said, Can a man be profitable unto
God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself? Is it any
pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain
to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect? Will he reprove thee
for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment? ¶ Is
not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? For thou hast
taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their
clothing. Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast
withholden bread from the hungry. But as for the mighty man, he
had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it. Thou hast sent widows
away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken. Therefore
snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee; Or
darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover
thee. Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height
of the stars, how high they are! And thou sayest, How doth God know? can
he judge through the dark cloud? Thick clouds are a covering to
him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven. ¶
Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden? Which were
cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood: Which
said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them? Yet
he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the
wicked is far from me. The righteous see it, and are glad: and the
innocent laugh them to scorn. Whereas our substance is not cut down, but
the remnant of them the fire consumeth. ¶ Acquaint now thyself with
him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee. Receive, I pray
thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart. If thou
return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity
far from thy tabernacles. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the
gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks. Yea, the Almighty shall
be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver. For then shalt thou
have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.
Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt
pay thy vows. Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established
unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways. When men are
cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall
save the humble person. He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and
it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.
Much of which this man says about God is true, however it's twisted in
Now Job is really distressed, feeling that God is so far from him that
He cannot be found:
Then Job answered and said, Even to day is my complaint bitter:
my stroke is heavier than my groaning. Oh that I knew where I might find
him! that I might come even to his seat! I would order my
cause before him, and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know the words
which he would answer me, and understand what he would say unto
me. Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would
put strength in me. There the righteous might dispute with him;
so should I be delivered for ever from my judge. ¶ Behold, I go forward,
but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive
him: On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him:
he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: But
he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come
forth as gold. My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not
declined. Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I
have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.
¶ But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what
his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the
thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with
him. Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid
of him. For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me: Because
I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the
darkness from my face.
But he's still righteous:
Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him
not see his days? Some remove the landmarks; they violently take
away flocks, and feed thereof. They drive away the ass of the fatherless,
they take the widow's ox for a pledge. They turn the needy out of the way:
the poor of the earth hide themselves together. Behold, as wild
asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a
prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their
children. They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather
the vintage of the wicked. They cause the naked to lodge without clothing,
that they have no covering in the cold. They are wet with the showers
of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter. They pluck
the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor. They cause
him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from
the hungry; Which make oil within their walls, and tread
their winepresses, and suffer thirst. Men groan from out of the
city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly
to them. They are of those that rebel against the light; they know
not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof. The murderer rising
with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.
The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye
shall see me: and disguiseth his face. In the dark they dig through
houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they
know not the light. For the morning is to them even as the shadow
of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the
shadow of death. He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed
in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards. Drought and heat
consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have
Most of us know what happened to Job in the end:
And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends:
also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. Then came there
unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been
of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and
they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had
brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one
an earring of gold. So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than
his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels,
and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses. He had also seven
sons and three daughters. And he called the name of the first, Jemima;
and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.
And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters
of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren. After
this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons'
sons, even four generations. So Job died, being old and full
"OK, OK" you might say, "but what's this got to do with me?"
My friend, the story of Job is not a fairy story, it actually happened,
moreover it was placed in the Bible for us to learn from. If you are reading
this, then the chances are good that you are a professing Christian. If
God was to test you, would you remain righteous? Would I?
Why would God want to test us?
James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes
which are scattered abroad, greeting. My brethren, count it all joy when
ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of
your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work,
that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according
to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the
resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, To an inheritance incorruptible,
and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, Who
are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed
in the last time. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season,
if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the
trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth,
though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and
glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: Whom having not seen, ye love;
in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even
the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:3-9)
Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard, and hold fast, and
repent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief,
and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Thou hast a few
names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall
walk with me in white: for they are worthy. He that overcometh, the same
shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out
of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and
before his angels.
You know, the Lord of Glory also suffered and He didn't suffer for Himself,
He suffered unto death, even the death of the cross, for us. He who is
part of the Godhead came so low that He died for those whom He created.
Obedience Through Suffering
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications
with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death,
and was heard in that he feared;
Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;
This verse eight came up in church this morning while we were studying
another subject and its content was drawn attention to by the Holy Spirit.
It seems to mean that Jesus, who was God's agent and made the worlds,
who was with God in the beginning, who came onto the earth in the flesh
in obedience to the oneness with God, when He knew that the time of His
crucifixion had arrived, offered up prayers and supplications with strong
crying and tears to God, who could have saved Him from the fear and pain
to come, yet was He obedient to God's will. All He had to do was to ask
God to excuse Him from this and to find someone else; but then their decision
to save mankind from Adam's sin would have fallen through, not so.
To dwell here just a moment, please place yourself in the right frame
of mind to realise that the spirit that was in this man Jesus of Nazareth,
was the spirit of the Son of God. He had all the power of God at His disposal;
He saw Satan cast out of heaven, in the Old Testament He was the "Angel
of the LORD" or "Mine Angel" and yet in loving obedience, He allowed Himself
to be tortured, His flesh ripped apart until He became unrecognisable,
crucified, at the hands of those that He had created. He did this because
the original man, Adam, was disobedient!
So repeating the above scriptures again, let's add the next verse as well:
Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications
with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death,
and was heard in that he feared; Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience
by the things which he suffered;
And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto
all them that obey him;
Or put another way:
If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort
of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil
ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of
one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife
or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than
themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on
the things of others. Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ
Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal
with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form
of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion
as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the
death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given
him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee
should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and
things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess
that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Wherefore,
my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now
much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his
good pleasure. Do all things without murmurings and disputings: That ye
may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the
midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in
the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day
of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.
O bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be heard:
Which holdeth our soul in life, and suffereth not our feet to be moved.
For thou, O God, hast proved us: thou hast tried us, as silver is tried.
Thou broughtest us into the net; thou laidst affliction upon our loins.
Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through
water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place. I will go
into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows, Which my
lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost love you and I with
the purest, strongest love that there is.
How real is Jesus to you?
Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things
which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them
slip. For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression
and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; How shall we escape,
if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken
by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;