Job 20 - Judging a Book by its Cover
Job 20 1Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, 2Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste. 3I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer. 4Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, 5That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment? 6Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds; 7Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he? 8He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night. 9The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him. 10His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods. 11His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust. 12Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue; 13Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth: 14Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him. 15He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly. 16He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him. 17He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter. 18That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein. 19Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not; 20Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired. 21There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods. 22In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him. 23When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating. 24He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through. 25It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him. 26All darkness shall be hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle. 27The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him. 28The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath. 29This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.
Today's Scripture Meaning Zophar speaks of the short joy of the wicked. (1-9) The ruin of the wicked. (10-22) The portion of the wicked. (23-29) Verses 1-9: Zophar's discourse is upon the certain misery of the wicked. The triumph of the wicked and the joy of the hypocrite are fleeting. The pleasures and gains of sin bring disease and pain; they end in remorse, anguish, and ruin. Dissembled piety is double iniquity, and the ruin that attends it will be accordingly. Verses 10-22: The miserable condition of the wicked man in this world is fully set forth. The lusts of the flesh are here called the sins of his youth. His hiding it and keeping it under his tongue, denotes concealment of his beloved lust, and delight therein. But He who knows what is in the heart, knows what is under the tongue, and will discover it. The love of the world, and of the wealth of it, also is wickedness, and man sets his heart upon these. Also violence and injustice, these sins bring God's judgments upon nations and families. Observe the punishment of the wicked man for these things. Sin is turned into gall, than which nothing is more bitter; it will prove to him poison; so will all unlawful gains be. In his fulness he shall be in straits, through the anxieties of his own mind. To be led by the sanctifying grace of God to restore what was unjustly gotten, as Zaccheus was, is a great mercy. But to be forced to restore by the horrors of a despairing conscience, as Judas was, has no benefit and comfort attending it. Verses 23-29: Zophar, having described the vexations which attend wicked practices, shows their ruin from God's wrath. There is no fence against this, but in Christ, who is the only Covert from the storm and tempest, (Isa 32:2). Zophar concludes, "This is the portion of a wicked man from God;" it is allotted him. Never was any doctrine better explained, or worse applied, than this by Zophar, who intended to prove Job a hypocrite. Let us receive the good explanation, and make a better application, for warning to ourselves, to stand in awe and sin not. One view of Jesus, directed by the Holy Spirit, and by him suitably impressed upon our souls, will quell a thousand carnal reasonings about the suffering of the faithful.
Today's Scripture Application Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we continue in the Book of Job with Chapter 20. In our text today we see the continuing dialog between Job and his friends as Zophar addresses Job again and fails to listen to Job. In this speech Zophar comes to a conclusion of Judging Job by the afflictions he is suffering. In making application we see an example of judging a book by its cover. On the outside it seems that Job is a wicked man but on the inside he is a righteous man. Today we still judge a book by its cover as we Minster. The homeless, afflicted, and down and out are judged by us before we even listen to them or share the gospel with them. I have worked with the poor and homeless and found them to be just as everyone else. They just need Jesus and when they do I have seen God use them in an incredible way. How about you? Do you tend to judge others on their outer appearance? Let us learn from our text today and the life of Job to remember to not Judge a book by its cover but rather understand everyone needs Jesus.
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Sincerely, Dr. Dave Burnette Director, The United States Bible Society, Inc.