The scripture for today, December 1, is Jeremiah 12:1ff as found in the Old Testament of the Bible:
“Lord, you always give me justice when I bring a case before you to decide. Now let me bring you this complaint: Why are the wicked so prosperous? Why are evil men so happy? You plant them. They take root and their business grows. Their profits multiply, and they are rich. They say, ‘Thank God!’ But in their hearts they give no credit to you. But as for me ~ Lord, you know my heart ~ you know how much it longs for you. And I am poor, O Lord!”
Now compare this with Job 15:20-24:
“All his days the wicked man suffers torment, the ruthless through all the years stored up for him. Terrifying sounds fill his ears….He despairs of escaping the darkness; he is marked for the sword. He wanders about ~ food for vultures; he knows the day of darkness is at hand. Distress and anguish fill him with terror.”
These two passages contradict each other. So what is the problem? The words spoken in Job were by Eliphaz, one of Job’s well-meaning friends who took it upon himself to help Job figure out why he had lost all his wealth, all his children, and all his health. Was Eliphaz right?
At the end of the book of Job, is this: “The Lord…said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “I am angry with you and your two friends because you have not spoken of me what is right.” Then God ordered Eliphaz and his friends to sacrifice seven bulls and rams (not small sacrifices), then ask Job to pray for them so God “will not deal with you according to your folly.”
When we read scripture, let us be careful to investigate its context and ALL other scriptures on the same subject. Only then can we have the whole picture. Only then can we avoid religious folly.