Have you never questioned those who travel? Have you paid no regard to their accounts — that the evil man is spared from the day of calamity, that he is delivered from the day of wrath?Job 21:29-30
Life seems to be unfair. There appears to be a basic unfairness at the root of things, and this is what causes many people to be troubled by Christians' claims about a loving, faithful, just, and holy God. You often hear the question raised,
If there is a good God, why does He let this kind of thing happen? Job is raising the same question. He says to these pious, respectable friends,
Your arguments do not square with the facts. You say God always visits wrath upon the wicked. What about these wicked people who live without a touch? God never does a thing to them. What about the fact that He seems to treat people very unfairly? Folks who seem to deserve nothing but the grace of God, who are a loving, gentle, kind people, have endless problems and die forsaken. And some who are selfish and cruel and self-centered are the ones who seem to be able to live without struggle. What about this?
Job tells his friends,
If you'll just inquire among those who travel, the people who get around and see life, you'll find that they support what I'm saying. The wicked often escape the day of calamity. It's not just true around here; this is true everywhere. The wicked live above the law, and nobody tells them that they're doing wrong. They get by with it. They die highly honored in their death, their graves are adorned and guarded, and God does nothing about that. So he says at last in verse 34:
So how can you console me with your nonsense? Nothing is left of your answers but falsehood!
If you intend to argue with Job, you had better get your arguments well in hand. This man is able to see through the error of logic in these people's position. They have a theology that does not square with experience, and that is where the problem lies.
These friends represent people—and there are many around today—who have placed God in a box. They have what they think is a clear understanding of all the ways of God, and they can predict how He is going to act, but when He acts in a way that they do not understand and do not expect, they have no way of handling it because it is their creed they have faith in, and not in God Himself.
This is what Job is learning. His creed has been demolished by his experiences. He has had to file his theology in the wastebasket because it did not fit what he was going through. Someone has well said that a person with a true experience is never at the mercy of a person with an argument. Job's friends are unable to answer him because his experience rings true.
Lord, expand my understanding of who You are. I don't want to simply know about You; I want to know You intimately and personally in my experience.
There is no room for phoniness in authentic Christianity. Rationalizing is feckless, so are we seeking genuine heart knowledge and intimacy with Christ our Lord?