The Works of

Rev. Prof. Dr. F.N. Lee

9 March

The wicked in a moment go down to the grave

Job 21:13

‘Why do the wicked live, (and) become old?…. They spend their days…, and in a moment go down to the grave!…. God lays up…for His children. He rewards them, and they shall know it…. One dies in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet…; and another dies in the bitterness of his soul…. They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them…. The wicked are reserved to the day of destruction! They shall be brought forth, to the day of wrath!’ Job 21:7-30.

Calvin remarks in his Institutes II:10:17 that “the holy fathers under the Old Testament were not ignorant that in this world, God seldom or never gives His servants the fulfilment of what is promised them…. They doubted not that…a time would at length arrive, when the divine promises would be fulfilled….

“Lifting their eyes to the eternal world, they despised the momentary hardships and calamities of the present life and confidently broke out into these exclamations: ‘He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved! But…bloody and deceitful men shall not live out half their days’ (Psalm 55:22-23).

“Where in this world is there a pit of eternal destruction to swallow up the wicked ? Of whose happiness it is elsewhere said: ‘They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave!’ (Job 21:13)?”

In his Tracts and Treatises III:459, Calvin adds: “When Job said,’Yet they shall sleep in the dust and the worms shall cover them’ (Job 21:26)…, do you think that they put (their) souls down before worms to be gnawed by them?” No!

For a long time in this present life, the godless looks happy. He reaches old age, and then still looks powerful. He is fortunate in his descendants, for his children grow up prosperously by his side.

His home life seems to be satisfactory, for there is peace in his dwelling. And his cattle seem content, for their herds break forth in multitudes. At least, such is the view of Job’s three friends.

But Job answers these objections of his three friends. He says that the good of the wicked is not in their hand — and they cannot retain it. It will speedily desert them. Often is it seen to desert them. ‘How oft their destruction comes upon them!’

For the ungodly get swept away, before their time. And God punishes the guilt of the godless Their thoughts, are those of evil-doers who reap the reward of their deeds.

They too get overwhelmed in the middle of all their wishes and expectations. For death makes them too a prey for the worms. Indeed, ‘the wicked are reserved to the day of destruction! They shall be brought forth, to the day of wrath!’ In just a moment, the wicked go down to the grave!