The Bible teaches that it is appointed for a person to die once, and then the judgment. This is a fundamental principle for all people as explained by Hebrews 9:27. Human history has proved the Bible right in this regard. Human history confirms that all people die. No one refutes this claim. Everyone understands that it is only a matter of time, and the older in age people get, the more likely death becomes. The reason so many people are afraid of death is on account of the judgment that will be rendered once death comes. Death is final for this part of life. When we die, there are no other chances to make changes and do differently. The time we have on this planet can only be spent while we breath this air, and when we are done, we are done. The finality of death makes people uneasy on account of the convictions that God places on the human heart and conscience. The scriptures teach that God has revealed His righteousness to all people in all places at all points in human history. Deep down, we know that we will have to give an account for our lives and the things we did in it. Regardless of what we know about God, the Bible explains that He has made His superior righteousness and power known so as to warn us about the day of reckoning. When we die, we all know, whether we admit it or not, that such a day will come.
This is an important principle to remember for two reasons. First, so that we can seek the Lord and His righteousness to prepare our hearts and our souls to meet Him in judgment. The Bible teaches that Jesus will judge both the righteous and the wicked. The righteous are those who live by faith, and faith comes by the hearing of the Word of God. If we neglect to prepare to meet God in eternity by seeking Him through the Word, there are eternal consequences that God will administrate as Jesus Christ. Secondly, we need to remember that it is God who judges, and not us. God alone is eternally self-existing and self-sustaining to be highly exalted above all. God alone is wise to know who truly believes and who doesn’t. God alone is powerful and able to execute the consequences of His decisions. We do not have God’s authority, wisdom, or power. While we might make assessments and develop opinions, we are not God and cannot determine what God will do. Therefore, we should abstain from rendering judgments about others concerning God’s determinations for them as if we are qualified to do God’s job.
This was Job’s point in the testimony of Job 21:22-34. Recall that Job’s friends tried to accuse Job of being a hypocrite that was suffering from the judgments of God because of the way Job’s life appeared. Job suffered greatly and the circumstances of his life changed radically and swiftly. To Job’s friends, it looked like God was punishing Job for some sort of evil because sometimes God judges evil people that way. Job’s point was that God doesn’t always judge evil people that way. Job reminded his friends that there are plenty of times when wicked people go on living as if nothing is wrong. There are plenty of instances in which God allows wicked people to prosper their entire lives, die at an old age, and pass on their prosperity to their children as if their wickedness was totally excused. Job reminded his friends of this truth in order to show them that it is impossible to judge like God and know the full scope of His works. Sure, God often brings frustration, calamity, and darkness into the lives of the wicked while they are alive in this world; but it is also true that God delays judgment for eternity for those who are wicked. How then can we determine what God will do if God treats the wicked in various ways?
Job began this part of his discourse by reminding his friends that God alone is wise and exalted as Judge. He asked, “Can anyone teach knowledge to God?” The question seems obvious, but often times, we as people can conduct ourselves presumptuously as if we have discovered some new hidden truth. Sometimes the human heart can be inflated with the idea that we have special insight, experience, or understanding concerning things. We often forget that God knows all things, even the self-righteousness of our own hearts. If not for God, we wouldn’t know anything at all. God has shared the abundance of His wisdom and knowledge with humanity on account of His grace. Consider that when God created the heavens and the earth, He made all living creatures by the command of His Word, except for human beings. While human beings are unique creatures having the breath of life from the lungs of God, we are also unique in that we were made from the dirt of the ground. Without God’s breath giving us life, we’d be dust without functionality of any kind. If not for God’s command and blessing, we would not have purpose. If not for God’s providential plans, we would not have hope.
Knowing this, what can we offer God that is of value to Him? What do we have that didn’t first come from Him? What can we say that He doesn’t already know? What can we think that He hasn’t already considered? What can we desire that He hasn’t already examined? Since we cannot teach God, who is better fitted to judge? If we try to take the place of God, making examinations according to our limited understanding and knowledge, are we doing right? Isn’t there a high probability that our judgment is wrong being that we have such limited information, perspective, experience, ability, and authority? This is why Jesus told us not to pay attention to that which we observe with our eyes, and to abstain from doing His job, rendering final verdicts about people as if we know what He is doing. We are to “judge” with righteous judgments, meaning that we are to confess our weakness and inadequacy and defer judgment to the One True Righteous Judge of all people – Jesus, the Messiah King of Israel.
Job reminded his friends that God alone is seated on high. This is a reference to His holiness, righteousness, and glory. It is the holiness, righteousness, and glory of God that qualifies Him to judge. When men of God saw Him seated in His throne through visions or spiritual experiences, there were no others in His seat. There is only the throne of the Father and the Son of God seated at His right hand, which is merely an expression that Jesus exercises the power and authority of God as His equal, being God in flesh. When the prophet Ezekiel saw the throne of God, he saw it sitting on top of a platform he called a firmament. Though Ezekiel also saw four living creatures/angels that were great and terrifying, the throne of God was above them on top of the platform. The four cherubim were beneath it. No one sits on the same plane as God. No one matches His holiness. No one matches His righteousness. No one matches His glory. When the Apostle John was taken into the spirit realm to witness the last days from the perspective of heaven, he saw heaven and earth bowing down, worshiping and praising Jesus Christ to the glory of the Father. No one else received praise or glory of any kind. When John was overwhelmed and fell before the angel that showed him things, the angel commanded John to get up and worship Jesus alone. Ever knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus alone is God and glorious. This is why He alone is qualified to judge. No one else is seated as exalted as the Lord is, which proves that His judgments are right and true.
Thus, Job summarized his thoughts with these things in mind. Whether a person appears rich in this life or poor, each will die and face this God. Whether a person is a prince and appears to be prosperous, or a criminal that is obviously wicked, both will die and face the God who knows all, sees all, and judges all. Job’s friends tried to play mind games with Job, suggesting that the appearance of his life was evidence that God would condemn him. Job’s point was that, even if this were true, God would ultimately have the final say. The words of Job’s friends had no authority. The accusations of Job’s friends had no substance. Their assumptions about Job would not serve to influence God in any way, shape, or form. To Job’s point, God alone is wise and knowledgeable. God alone is exalted. He would judge Job based on the truth, and He alone would render Job’s final verdict without consulting Job’s friends for advice.
Job explained that, whether a person outwardly appears wicked or prosperous, God knows who is truly wicked and their day of judgment has been set on God’s calendar. God has a day in mind in which He will render final verdicts, and those whom He knows to be wicked have been set aside and appointed to judgment on that day. This is true whether their lives appear to be good or bad from our perspective. God will pour out His wrath on those whose hearts deny Him, regardless of the physical appearance of their lives. God alone condemns. God alone repays. Thus, the words of Job’s friends had no value if they were going to be accusatory and condemning. What good does it do to speak words of judgment and condemnation if those words hold no weight or value of any kind according to God’s actual judgments?
Job’s point was simple. Everyone dies – both the righteous and the wicked. Only God knows who is really righteous and who is really wicked. Thus, as people who confess that we are children of God, our job is not to make accusations or be hypercritical towards people’s circumstances based on things we observe with our distorted perspective. Instead, the Bible commands the people of God to speak words of comfort concerning God’s mercy, grace, patience, forgiveness, and the hope of His glory for those who humbly seek Him. Our jobs are not to bury people in need with our accusing words. Our jobs are not to talk down to people as if we are better than they are because our lives seem to be more favorable for the moment. If we all die and end up in the same place, and the One True Judge won’t consider the physical circumstances of our life in His judgment, then how can we think ourselves to be better than others? Hence, Job asked his friends how their words to him were to be of any benefit or value since they continued to speak from a position as if they were equal with God. The point of the Bible is to show that words spoken with such arrogance and self-righteousness have no value of any kind and only suffice to work against us when we stand before the One who knows.