Highlighted Text: Job 21:7
Full Text: Job 21; 1 Cor. 8

Mysterious | There are some things that I may never understand this side of heaven. Why does God take both of my friend’s parents before she’s thirty – even as I still have both of mine? Why does God give children to some people who aren’t married and desperately want to avoid getting pregnant – even as others are married and long for children? Why do some Christians live in persecution and imprisonment for their faith – even as we live in freedom? [1]

Confusing | Knowing his own righteousness, Job looks around at the prosperity of the wicked and asks, “Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? … They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to [the grave]. They say to God, ‘Depart from us! We do not desire the knowledge of your ways’” [2] Yes, he agrees with his friends in theory – that “the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment” [3] – but he fails to see how this plays out: “Have you not asked those who travel the roads, and do you not accept their testimony that the evil man is spared in the day of calamity, that he is rescued in the day of wrath? … How then will you comfort me with empty nothings? There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood” [4].

Winning | When we see Jesus on the cross, however, we see how difficult it is to assess the Lord’s mysterious ways [5]. Jesus was mocked and murdered. Evil won in the short-run. Yet Jesus was the only perfectly obedient Son. He secured the victory of His people for eternity when he conquered death and rose from the grave [6].

Prayer | Lord, You move in mysterious ways to perform your wonders. Yet sometimes we fear the clouds that hang overhead. Let us not, however, give into that fear. Instead, show us how those clouds will break with mercy and blessings upon us. For behind a frowning providence, you hide a shining face. Our blind unbelief is sure to err, as we scan your work in vain. Yet you are your own interpreter and you will make it plain [7]. Amen.



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[1] Perhaps my favorite Psalm that confronts this reality is Psalm 73. What causes the Psalmist to stop questioning the Lord’s ways? He questions and questions and questions … Then he “went into the sanctuary of God; then I discerned their end” (v. 17). In His presence, the Psalmist was quieted. He recognized his own lack of knowledge about his situation.  |  [2] Job 21:7, 13-14 ESV  |  [3] Job 20:5 ESV  |  [4] Job 21:29, 34 ESV  |  [5] See Psalm 103:7; Deut. 29:29.  |  [6] Matt. 27:32-44; Heb. 12:2-3  |  [7] This prayer is taken from William Cowper’s famous hymn, God Moves in a Mysterious Way. (warning: this site has music). The story behind this hymn gives light to its lyrics.