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  • William T. Howe Ph.D.

June 8, 2024

Rēad to Read …Again


Daily Reading: Job 24-28

 

Job 24:24

They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.

 

Throughout the discourses of Job with his friends one reoccurring thought is communicated by those friends. They seem to stress the point that God is and will punish all evildoers, hypocrites, and sinners in this life. Like so many things in Scripture this is a half-truth. It is true that God will ultimately judge wrongdoers with the justice of His Word, but largely this is in the afterlife. On this earth, the Lord oftentimes allows those in the wrong to continue as if there were no repercussions for their wrongness.

 

Job challenges the notion of immediate and earthly judgment of God falling upon sinners. He states: They are exalted for a little while… For a little while those who reject God, His Word, and His person may face no reprisals, but only for a while. King David spoke of this when he wrote, For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm. (Psalm 73:3-4) Solomon wrote of this issue saying, There is a vanity which is done upon the earth; that there be just men, unto whom it happeneth according to the work of the wicked; again, there be wicked men, to whom it happeneth according to the work of the righteous:… (Ecclesiastes 8:14)

 

But, this is a half-truth. The wicked may be exalted for a little while, but all too soon that little while is over. Job’s words continue,. …but are gone and brought low, they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn. At the end, God will deal with the wicked. They may look like they have more than the heart could desire now, but then, upon death, God will deal with their wickedness at the great white throne judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).

 

The phrase “cut off as the tops of the ears of corn” is interesting. To this writer it is like the detasseling of corn. The tassel of the corn stalk is that flowery top of the stalk that contains pollen. The common practice was to detassel (remove) the tassel, drop it on the ground to aid in pollination of future corn crops. This is performed at the time of harvest. Job’s use of the phrase could have one or two meanings. One is that the wicked are cut off from the earth during the proper harvest time, meaning they lead a full life. The other could mean that they are cut off, and dropped to the ground, meaning they have no real value in that they are not producing what would benefit others (i.e., the corn versus the tassel, no one draws sustenance from the tassel). Or, it could be a reference to both.

 

The entire conversation between Job and his friends dispels many erroneously held religious positions. One is this notion that God is not patient and does not continue to deal with the wicked. The loving Father in Heaven knows as long as the wicked live there is an opportunity for them to turn to Him and receive His Gospel that will save their eternal souls. After, all, God is in the saving business and …is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (II Peter 3:9)

 

Dr. William T. Howe

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