Why Doesn’t God Do Something?

Job 24

Base of Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. / Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.” Emma Lazarus

Millions have passed by, coming from places around the world and most determined to make a fresh start on better life. Many others have come through other ports of entry, including Portland. House Island considered “Ellis Island of the north” because of immigration station there. Aside from fact that our fair land is best in the world <smile>, what compels people to risk life and limb, go to such great lengths to come here? Some of the reasons:

desire for freedom to worship God according to conscience encouraged founding of Plimoth Plantation

lure of economic opportunity – Jamestown, Massachusetts Bay Colony; and to escape hardship, starvation: Irish Potato Famine

significant factors in present: violence and injustice – evil people doing evil things to take advantage of others

Preacher was right: Eccl. 1:9That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.” Little later, Eccl. 3:16Moreover, I saw under the sun that in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness.”

There is so much injustice in the world, wouldn’t you agree?! Truth be told, not limited to the “world” only, includes the church as well. Same was true in Job’s day. His problem:

can’t see God; can see some evidence of God at work but far more evidence of evil; everywhere he looked, apparent something wrong with world. Why doesn’t God do something?

Looked around, saw evils of the day, evils of the night; no one truly safe from evil. All that stood between Job and hopelessness: confidence that evil sometime somehow would be recompensed

A. evils of the day v.1-12

evils can be perpetrated by different entities: Job had individuals in mind, could also be corporations, governments – at root, evil is practiced by individual people either alone or in groups

steal from the weak (2-3)

things Job lists important in farming economy: land, flocks, work animals – in that culture, what average person depended on for food, shelter and clothing

stealing donkey or ox equivalent to taking away workman’s tools, license to drive or practice his trade – no tools, no income, no support for dependents

tread on the needy (4)

simply making through the day hard enough, then more burdens added just because proud and arrogant can do so – Java Dog, permits

mistreat the dependent (5-6)

the stuff of Cinderella and Dickens – labor from dawn till dark, for example in a bakery, without earning enough to buy bread; instead of reward for labor…Tennessee Ernie Ford

“Some people say a man is made outta mud / A poor man’s made outta muscle and blood / Muscle and blood and skin and bones / A mind that’s weak and a back that’s strong / You load sixteen tons, what do you get / Another day older and deeper in debt / Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go / I owe my soul to the company store.”

ignore the homeless (7-8)

these are unfortunate destitute, not willful irresponsible sort; have gotten ensnared by likes of Mr Potter, It’s a Wonderful Life, who then refuses to show any compassion

enslave the innocent (9)

“It’s estimated that millions of children in India live as modern-day slaves. They work in the fields, in factories, brothels and private households — often without pay and usually with no realistic chance of escaping.” ABC News

often taken from parents to be sold as payment for debt; India perhaps worst in world, certainly not only place

treat the poor as subhuman (10-11)

even the dumb ox was permitted to eat some of the fruit of his labors when treading out grain; here the working poor not even treated that well

disregard pleas for help (12a)

evil not confined to one location, one category of worker – found in country and city, farmhands and factory workers

not temporary situation, short-term problem – ongoing to point survival is in question, especially without help

and God does nothing (12b)

this is what is hardest to comprehend, accept: how can God not intervene, at least to help if not deal with evil

B. evils of the night v.13-17

as if Job said: “you thought daytime evil was bad, wait until dark; streets aren’t safe, even home no guarantee of protection. You don’t even want to know all that goes on under cover of darkness.”

these activities a threat to natural order, endangering all of life: Hos. 4:1b-3 “For there is neither faithfulness nor loyalty in the land, nor do they acknowledge God. There is only cursing, lying, murder, stealing, and adultery. They resort to violence and bloodshed. Therefore the land will mourn, and all its inhabitants will perish. The wild animals, the birds of the sky, and even the fish in the sea will perish.”

murder (14)

couple bumper stickers/brand names come to mind: No Boundaries, No Fear – what little restraint daylight brought now long gone, evil runs rampant with no regard for life or property

adultery (15)

crime against individual, now crime against relationship, carried out with deception; plot all day how to carry out evil deed, then act on plot and desire when darkness comes

robbery (16)

home invasions – not safe in your person or in your home

500+ incarcerated @ Cumberland County – vast majority there because in some way have taken from others to support drug/alcohol habit

are friends of the darkness

“Night time sharpens, heightens each sensation / Darkness stirs and wakes imagination / Silently the senses abandon their defenses / Helpless to resist the notes I write / For I compose the music of the night.

Close your eyes and surrender to your darkest dreams / Purge your thoughts of the life you knew before / Close your eyes, let your spirit start to soar / And you’ll live as you’ve never lived before.” Music of the Night, Phantom

C. evil recompensed v.18-25

Job: “any thinking person can see how it is; most thinking people know something is wrong – here’s how it should be, what I would do if I were in charge of the world:”

flotsam (18a)

blow them away like foam on the water, gone before they can have any more impact on those around

no glamor (18b)

make price of evil so high, long-lasting that no one will be attracted to it – piracy off coast of Somalia way down: too many in prison, at bottom of Indian Ocean, few figure it’s worth it

no life (19)

those who have such little regard for others – lives and livelihood of honest people – should not enjoy long life

childless (20a)

last thing that should happen is for cycle to continue, generation after generation of evil-doers

forgotten (20b)

revising history not new; more time goes by, more favorable scoundrels appear; best for all if they fade into oblivion

only short-term security (22-24)

whatever security evil-doers might think they have – empire-building, secrecy, power over others – should suddenly end

ultimate consequences from God – here’s hoping God will eventually begin to act, deal with them as only he can

Job: “Ok, go ahead, prove me wrong, I dare you.” I don’t plan to try, think Job is right on target. But…

D. question unanswered

how to handle the cross? how to reconcile what is with what ought to be?

to some extent, we all have experience like Job’s: see same things wrong with world he did, would really like it if God would line ’em all up and smack ’em

should be distressed by evil in world, have compassion toward casualties

Jesus got angry, especially toward purposeful evil: pronounced curses on Pharisees who

bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers….”Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation.” (Matt. 23:4, 14)

Jesus also “went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil” (Acts 10:38) – both confrontation and compassion

must have worldview, a theology that keeps God in his proper place, too

recognize God’s ways and times are not ours and he will do what is right; meanwhile….

walk by faith, not sight 2 Cor. 5:6-7

live life dependent on Christ for both: our provision and to deal with evil – “live by faith in the Son of God” Gal. 2:20

remember he equips us to overcome evil within our sphere of influence Rom. 12:21

most importantly, keep in mind 2 things: the real enemy and the real conqueror – “we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but against…spiritual hosts of wickedness” (Eph. 6:12) andHe who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

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