Chapter 27:8-23 (ESV) - “For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off,
when God takes away his life?
Will God hear his cry
when distress comes upon him?
Will he take delight in the Almighty?
Will he call upon God at all times?
I will teach you concerning the hand of God;
what is with the Almighty I will not conceal.
Behold, all of you have seen it yourselves;
why then have you become altogether vain?
“This is the portion of a wicked man with God,
and the heritage that oppressors receive from the Almighty:
If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword,
and his descendants have not enough bread.
Those who survive him the pestilence buries,
and his widows do not weep.
Though he heap up silver like dust,
and pile up clothing like clay,
he may pile it up, but the righteous will wear it,
and the innocent will divide the silver.
He builds his house like a moth's,
like a booth that a watchman makes.
He goes to bed rich, but will do so no more;
he opens his eyes, and his wealth is gone.
Terrors overtake him like a flood;
in the night a whirlwind carries him off.
The east wind lifts him up and he is gone;
it sweeps him out of his place.
It hurls at him without pity;
he flees from its power in headlong flight.
It claps its hands at him
and hisses at him from its place.
Question to consider: How had Job’s friends become vain in their thinking?
Job put his hope in the Lord to redeem him from all unrighteousness and asked God to judge those who opposed him in this. Those who put their hope in the things of this life or in their own good works lose everything when this life ends. Those who delight in the Almighty in this life will continue to call upon Him after they die.
Job knew his friends understood this to be true. They had recognized that none of us could stand before God if there was an ultimate judgment after we die. Therefore Job asked them why they had become so vain— why did they now cling to the idea that their own good fortune was the result of their good works, and Job’s calamity was due to some unnamed sin?
If they continued along that path, their portion would be like that of the wicked man. Job’s poetic description of the fate of the wicked man points to the ephemeral nature of wealth and material prosperity. Like Solomon after him, Job recognized that it is meaningless to have heirs and material wealth if they will eventually end up dead and corrupted.
We should know this better than any generation that came before us with the advent of social media. People can go from obscurity to fame or infamy with one clever video or controversial tweet. Companies can go from being a household name to a pariah overnight. Job compared all of this to the east wind sweeping someone away like a tornado. Calamity comes from nowhere, has no pity, and suddenly someone is gone.
This knowledge given to us by Job should spur us on to an eternal perspective on life. Our efforts and energy in this world should be put toward things that have everlasting value. I advise people to find creative activities that provide satisfaction and relaxation while producing something. Someone could put just as much effort into becoming adept at Guitar Hero™ as in learning to play the guitar, but the latter can be used to create or perform beautiful music while the former has no lasting value.
An eternal perspective also helps us to contextualize calamity. We experience both good times and bad times here on earth, and we can look forward to spending eternity with God when we set aside our own good works for the righteousness of Christ. When we experience calamity, we know that Christ is using it for His good purposes and can praise Him for the good that will be done through it.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us blessing in the midst of a world that is bent on calamity. Help us to lift up the name of Christ in times of blessing and in times of difficulty, and may we use the time You have given us to bless You and those around us. Amen.