To back up a little, in Job chapter 20 we had a strange speech from Zophar. He seemed to be preoccupied with food as he described what he believed happens to all wicked men.
And what Zophar described matches the system of theology that he and his two buddies – and even Job up to this point in the book – have believed. And that is the idea that wicked men are punished right away in this life. In contrast, righteous men are rewarded right away in this life.
This is what we’ve labeled “Retribution Theology.”
Everyone believes it in the book of Job. That is, up to this point.
But something really interesting happens in chapter 21.
Job starts articulating the ways in which this theology is wrong. We haven’t seen him do this yet. Job has mostly defended himself to his friends by pleading his innocence – by expressing bewilderment as to why he’s suffering – and by sometimes flatly accusing God of not doing things right. There have also been times where Job’s faith shines through the darkness of his own spiritual turmoil.
But never before have we seen Job make an attack directed squarely at the faulty assumptions of Retribution Theology.
That is, until now.
So, as we enter into this last cycle of speeches between Job and his friends – we’ll see Job developing in his understanding of reality. We’ll see him questioning his man-made theology.