Chapters 24 and 25 of the Book of Job remind us that when we live in reflection of God’s heart, we’re not the only ones who benefit. It can be tough to live for others in a world that tells us we should live for ourselves alone. Yet all around us are people who need us in some way or another. Job has a lot to say about how wicked people treat those they view as less than themselves, but within this second-half is a clearer image of how God treats people. As Bildad points out, Dominion is God’s, and because it is His, those in need will never go without. He sees it all, pays attention to it all, even when it doesn’t seem like it.
People in Need
The poor of the land all hide themselves. Behold, as wild donkeys in the desert, the poor go to their work, diligently seeking food; as bread for their children in the desert. They harvest their fodder in a field [that is not their own], and glean the vineyard of the wicked. They spend the night naked, without clothing, and have no covering against the cold. They are wet from he rain of the mountains and cling to the rock for lack of shelter.Job 24:4-8 AMP
Job begins chapter 24 by asking why the wicked are allowed to do what they do without punishment. One of the examples he lists is how the wicked takes the possessions of the orphan, the widow, and displace the poor. Their victims are then forced to hide or live off the land, but instead of looking at the wrongdoing of the wicked, I notice something else.
Instead I notice that the land takes care of the poor. Yes, they forage, but they find food in the wilderness. They may have no building to call home, but the rock which they hide in shelters them.
Even in their misfortune, God provided what they need to survive. God’s eyes are on the victims just as much as they are on the rich and He does not miss the need.
From the [populous and crowded] city men groan, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help; Yet God [seemingly] does not pay attention to the wrong [done to them].Job 24:12 AMP
A key word here is seemingly. God seemingly regards not the wrong done to them.
Two things we know: One, God is justice. Two, God loves to partner with creation.
But if the city is full of wicked people or full of people who don’t listen to God, how will those in need receive help?
It’s like the verse says: If they keep quiet, the very stones would cry out. (Luke 19:40)
God will find a way to deliver what the people need, and true justice will always come about. He does not forget nor ignore those in need.
For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him.Matt. 6:8 AMP
God doesn’t turn a blind eye, either to the sinful actions or the need of a person. He delivers to each their rightful portion.
Season of Justice
God gives them security, and they are supported; and His eyes are on their ways. They are exalted for a little while, and then they are gone; moreover, they are brought low and like everything [they are] gathered up and taken out of the way; even like heads of gray they are cut off.Job 24:23-24 AMP
Even though it doesn’t seem like it, the wicked will enter a season of judgement and justice. Even if it seems like they escape judgement on earth, there is a season of justice. God works in mercy in this life, but He does not ignore the wrong doing or the unrepentant heart.
Job spent the first part of this speech speaking of his desire to draw near to God, to hear His voice and receive His understanding. In contrast to that, this second half is about how the wicked are far from God. The wicked do not resemble God’s heart in any way. In fact, they are the opposite of His heart. In this we see two sides of the same coin, a constant picture that is artfully placed within the entire Book of Job. While it may seem like God is far away, those who trust and believe in Him continue to have hope. Yet those who do not trust in Him are only secure for a moment before their sinfulness catches up to them.
I think Bildad’s response is kind of funny. His reply is very short compared to the previous speeches, but it’s still as lofty.
Dominion and awe belong to God; He establishes peace and order in His high places […] And upon whom does His light not rise? How then can man be justified and righteous with God? Or how can he who is born of a woman be pure and clean?Job 25:2-4 AMP
It feels like he’s saying, “Everything is God’s, but even God cannot make a man clean.”
Kind of a juxtaposition, if you ask me.
Who is like God? No one. Is there anyone who could do God’s job? No.
So no, man by himself cannot be justified and made righteous before God. Thankfully, we do not have to work to acquire that alone.
Dominion, Sovereignty is God’s. God is the One who determines who lives and who dies, who is welcome and who is exiled. He is the One who determines if the gates are open or closed.
The word Awe, in the OJB translation the word Pachad is used. It means fear, care, terror or terror of, to dread.
With it comes the image of standing before the Almighty and realizing that all we have is not ours. From our food to our homes, to any reputation or possession. None of it is ours. The land that the wicked steal from others, that’s not theirs and it doesn’t belong to the people who they stole it from either. It is God’s.
The flocks that were taken weren’t taken from shepherds, they were taken from God. The ox, the donkey, everything that Job lists in the previous chapter, the wicked take as if it is their right. They take advantage of their fellow people, never realizing that the person they are actually stealing from is God.
Why does the land care for the people? Because the land belongs to God. It obeys Him.
We can live as if all we have is ours, like we have a right to every thing or opportunity. Yet the truth is that none of it is ours. We are not possessors or rulers. Nothing is our right or our slave. We are owed nothing. If anything, we are the slaves.
But God chooses to give us things that are good. He lends us His possessions, He provides for us out of the abundance that is His and His alone. In that same way, He provided a way to make us not slaves, but co-inheritors with His Son.
By God, we become siblings to the King of kings, the Ruler whose dominion we live in. Even death is in His dominion.
He could make us slaves but God displays His heart for us in the image Job provides in the verses we began with. (24:4-8) He wants to provide for us. He wants to give us what is good and abundant. The hope that people who trust and believe in God have is not for the next life alone. It is for this one because even this life is within His dominion. His sovereignty.
God also wants to work with us. When our hearts reflect His heart, when our actions line up with that reflection, it is not only us who are blessed and do well. It is not only us who are provided for and receive what we need. It is other people, the people around us.
They cause the poor to go about naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaves [of grain] from the hungry.Job 24:10 AMP
Who causes the poor to go naked and the hungry without food? The wicked.
And since we’ve established that the wicked do not reflect God’s heart, we can see in contrast what God’s heart is. God clothes the poor and gives food to the hungry.
So if we are acting in reflection of God’s heart then we give clothes to the poor and food to the hungry. We don’t take what we think is ours. We don’t cheat or steal our way into prosperity. We don’t lie with smooth words and promises that gain us a better deal than the person on the other end.
We work and live in the reality that every thing and everywhere is God’s dominion. None of it is ours. And if none of it is ours then we don’t worry about how we will possess what we need or want. If it is God’s (and it is) then God will give to us both need and want as long as it is good.
Bildad tries to paint an image of God where He is a destroying conqueror without mercy. He speaks of the dread that fills one up, a feeling that comes upon when terror strikes in the night. To me, Bildad’s image of God comes from a place of one who lives as if God is encroaching on his dominion. Bildad says that dominion belongs to God, but he doesn’t believe it. In fact, he speaks of God’s dominion as being in a specific place: He establishes peace and order in His high places. (Job 25:2)
That same peace and order can be established in our lives, too. If we accept that God’s dominion truly stretches beyond the Heavens and into our very lives and the lives of others.
The other thing is that God’s dominion is not an era. It has no set date of beginning and no set date of ending. It is eternal, everlasting. That means that everything that comes from God is eternal and everlasting in some form.
The blessing of food may be temporary, a single meal to feed someone, but the reflection of God’s heart behind it is everlasting. The call of God within the action is eternal and it not only impacts us but the people we reach out to as well.
And upon whom does His light not rise?Job 25:3
God’s light shines on everyone, everywhere. There is not one person who passes under the sun who is not seen by God. God pays attention to the sinful and the righteous; the wealthy and the poor; and His heart is the same for all of them. To enter into His gates with thanksgiving and praise and to draw nearer to Him that we would truly know Him. To live within His dominion not as one on the brink of exile, but as one dwelling within the palace walls.
Do you live your life as if its God’s dominion or yours?
God pays attention and maybe He’s asking you to pay attention, too.
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