Front Page
Meditations Contents
Series Theme: The Anguish of Job
Series Contents:

1 to 10

11 to 20

31 to 40

41 to 50

51. You ARE a Sinner

52. Where is He?

53. Why Evil?

54. Man righteous?

55 I am righteous

56. Where is Wisdom?

57. I can Justify

58. Introducing Elihu

59. Preparing the Way

60. Lessons in Love


61 to 68



1-10 roughly cover Ch.1-4

11-20 roughly cover Ch.4-7

21-30 roughly cover Ch.8-11

31-40 roughly cover Ch.12-15

41-50 roughly cover Ch.16-21

51-60 cover Ch.22-33

61-68 cover Ch.34-42

Meditation No. 53


Meditation Title:   Why Evil


Job 24:1,2,12b  Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days? Men move boundary stones; they pasture flocks they have stolen….. But God charges no one with wrongdoing.


In this present speech we've seen Job bemoan the fact that he wants to speak with God but can't find him (23:1-12) and also acknowledge it is a fearsome thing to be under God's hand of discipline (23:13-17). While he's wanting to talk with God, he now thinks of other associated questions that he has, especially why it is that God seems to let people get away with unrighteous behaviour (when he hasn't been unrighteous – implied). Thus his opening questions that we have above: i.e. why doesn't God come and sort out those who are doing wrong?

He then categorises some of the wrongs he is aware of – moving boundaries (v.2a), stealing animals (v.2b,3), putting down the poor and not caring for them (v.4-12) – and wonders why God doesn't hold people responsible (v.12b). He goes on about those who sin in darkness (v.13) – the murderer (v.14), the adulterer (v.15) and thieves (v.16) – all of whom make use of the darkness to carry out their wrongs (v.17) and who (implied) get away with it!.

Yet, he is aware that their lives are transitory, they are like the foam that appears on the surface of rivers and which gets blown away (v.18), or the snow which gets easily melted and soon vanishes (v.19a). Yes, death comes to such people (v.19b) and soon they are forgotten (v.20). Yes, they may prey on the weak (v.21) but God deals with them (v.22). He may allow them to rest apparently feeling secure for some time (v.23a) but He is watching them (v.23b) and although they are exalted for a while, they will soon be gone (v.24). He finishes with a challenge, that if this is not so, then tell him (v.25).

This subject or theme regularly crops up in the minds of thinking people. In fact it perhaps seems THE great mystery. How can a holy God make a world that goes wrong, where people rebel against Him and do wrong and harm other people? Why doesn't He step in and deal with such people and minimise the suffering that the poor have to put up with? It needs a little thought but I believe the answer is wrapped up in the whole subject of free will. It is impossible to imagine a human being without free will. There are secular philosophers who are determinists and they maintain that we have no free will; we are locked into life and have to go with what comes. The Christian equivalent is the ultra Calvinist who maintains God's sovereignty is such that He determines our every act.

Both groups maintain we don't have free will in reality, yet that is the clear implication of Scripture. When God tells Adam and Even not to do something and they do it, that is free will in operation. When He told Israel not to do something and they did it, that is free will in operation. To say it is God making them do wrong is a nonsense! The other side of the coin is that God knows what will happen, knows what we will do and so works accordingly, (see Acts 2:23, 4:27,28) i.e. He took our sinful acts and used them to bring salvation to the world.

The big problem with free will is the fact that God has to limit Himself and allow men and women to do what they choose – even though He may speak to them and strongly encourage them to behave otherwise. Yet they choose to sin, they choose to reject Him and rebel against His laws. As they do this they harm other people. Does God just put up with this? No He speaks to them and to others. Sometimes His words restrain them, sometimes His words stir others to speak up for justice, for the Lord uses people to restrain people.

Parliament makes laws to restrain wrong doing, the police seek to uphold those laws and restrain wrong doers, and the courts see that wrong doers are punished. In these ways the Lord restrains evil. But sometimes He steps in specifically deals with an individual. Sometimes we see that individual being exposed and dealt with by the Law. Sometimes they die. There is no clear formula to work this out – but there is the Lord, and He decrees what He sees is right for every situation. That may appear confusing for us, this side of heaven, but one day we will understand and then we will be satisfied, for we will know that the wisdom of God was perfect and is fault-free.

Thus it is that sometimes when wrong doing is right in our face, we question and query, just like Job. Sometimes our emotions are stirred, just like Job, and once our emotions are stirred, we question and query. It is only then, as we think through the reality of these things and see the teaching of Jesus, that we realise that God has given mankind free will and does allow us to act as we will, but He is also sovereign and so He acts into lives and situations and exercises His supreme will. If the wrong doer appears to be getting away with it – for the moment – that is God allowing it, but He may step in and act, so the wrong doer should never feel safe! We would do well to heed these things.