We have been looking at God’s answer about how he runs the world from the book of Job over the course of this year. Job returns to his cry of desiring to be in a courtroom with God so a just verdict would be rendered to resolve his suffering. But it is not possible to do so (23:1-4). If Job could, he is ready with arguments for God to set this situation straight (23:4-5). God would listen to Job’s arguments and Job would be found in the right because God would welcome the arguments from an upright person (23:6-7). Then God would alleviate Job’s suffering. But Job cannot find God or enter his plead with him (23:8-9).
Even in the face of all of this suffering, Job has not rejected God or walked away from him (23:11-12). Job points out the sovereignty of God (23:13-14). God does as he pleases. Whatever his will is, he will accomplish that will. God is all-powerful and exercise control. But the sovereignty of God is fearful to Job because this means to Job that this trial will never stop or never change. God will not change this! God has decided to destroy me and there is nothing I can do about it. This is what Job feels and it brings him to despair. We may feel like Job in trials but that this is an inaccurate feeling. We can approach God and change God’s mind. This is a stunning fact we see in the life of Abraham who speaks to God about Sodom and Gomorrah. God does relent. God does listen to his children. This means for us that the sovereignty of God is not fearful but comforting and amazing. This gives the people of God peace during times of suffering. God rules. God sees. God knows. God is in control. God will accomplish his will. So we can talk to God about his purposes and pray for certain outcomes by the will of God to help us through our suffering. In fact, God calls for us to pray to him and have these discussions with him.
Why Doesn’t God Do Something?
In chapter 24 Job moves to describing the evil acts of the wicked. The first verse of chapter 24 asks the question that is often on the minds of the righteous: Why doesn’t God do something? Why doesn’t God bring the wicked into judgment? Why do the wicked continue on in their days? Please consider that what Job is saying is a direct rebuttal of what his friends have said. His friends have said that the wicked get what they deserve. Yet Job says that he looks around and he does not see that. “From out of the city the dying groan, and the soul of the wounded cries for help; yet God charges no one with wrong” (Job 24:12 ESV).
Why doesn’t God bring the wicked into judgment? We ask this question and feel this pain. We often do not see the righteous judgments of God. We want God to do something now. So we should not struggle with Job expressing a disconnect in his understanding of God. How often do we feel the same disconnect? We know the truth of God’s character from his word but it does not feel that way. Why doesn’t God bring his judgment? Why doesn’t God do something against the wicked? Yet now Job affirms his belief that God will do something. God will judge the wicked. They will not get off without punishment because Job knows that God is just. He still has faith in God and still believes in God’s justice even in the midst of all his suffering and loss (24:24).
Hope In Justice
We also continue to hope in God’s justice. Job wants justice on the wicked now. While this often sounds good to the righteous, the righteous must understand even they are deserving of God’s judgment. It is only because of God’s patience and mercy have we been granted the time to receive the grace of God and be forgiven. Instant justice would be disastrous for all human beings. Jesus did not come to judge the world but to save it. God could easily and quickly judge all people for we are all deserving of judgment. But God desires to save all people from their sins. His goal is not to destroy us for our sins. God patiently desires all to return to him.
So how can God continue to be just? There must be a final judgment because God is just yet what happens in this world is not just. God will take care of the wicked. God will hold the wicked in account. But justice cannot come now. God does not run the world by righting all of the world’s wrongs now, shortly, in our lifetimes, or ever in this physical life. Our hope is not right now. God made a promise: “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19). Just as our vindication does not come in this life so also God’s judgment on the wicked does not come in this life from our actions. We do not give justice. If we believe that God is just, then we must believe in a final judgment. God will deal with evil. God will give justice. But we must wait for it.