This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroys the perfect and the wicked.
Job complains that the same doom is meted out to the perfect and the wicked; this seems to be unjust. Our modern complaints are of the injustice of the terrible inequalities of life. But Job's position suggests to us that justice is not simple equality. Equal dealing may be unjust dealing. To be fair to all, we must not treat all alike. Yet the injustice of equality is apparently a common thing in the experience of life, and even in the dispensations of Providence. Thus special providence seems to be lost, and one broad, rough treatment appears to serve for the greatest variety of people.
I. IT WOULD BE UNJUST TO TREAT ALL ALIKE. This much may be conceded if we think of the whole of life, not of external experience alone, nor only of this temporal and limited sphere of existence. To look for absolute equality is to ignore variations of requirements and distinctions of character. But if this be so, what are we to understand by the apparent disregard of those differences? The world is governed by general laws. Events have widespread influences. Calamities come in a swelling tide, not in a meandering stream, and when they sweep over the land, weeds and fruitful plants suffer from the same devastation.
II. NEVERTHELESS, GOD IS NOT THUS UNJUST. Job is mistaken.
1. We only see the outside of life. The events which are common to all alike are external. They are visible objects of superficial observation. But these events do not constitute the whole of experience. The blow that breaks stone only toughens iron. The calamity that is a crushing judgment to one man is a healing tonic to another. When a flood sweeps over a district it leaves behind very different effects; for while it only brings ruin to houses, it brings fertility to fields. So the trouble is only equal externally. If only we could follow it into the experience of different men, we should discover that the inequality has ceased, and that a different effect is produced according to character and condition. While it is a curse to one life, it is a blessing to another.
2. We only see the present experience. Now, and on earth, there seems to be a rough, indiscriminate treatment of men. Here the injustice of equality is too often seen. Bat we must wait for the end. In Job's case the end brought about a complete reversal of the whole course of events. Now God makes his sun to shine and his rain to fall on good and bad alike - favouring equally, as he sometimes chastises equally. But this equality will not continue after death. Wheat and tares grow together, but only until the harvest. There will be a great inequality of treatment, when the one is gathered into the barns, and the other is burned. Surely men should learn to bear the common troubles of life patiently, if they know that beyond them all there is more than compensation: there is fruitful increase, with richest blessings, for the true servants of God who endure patiently. - W.F.A.
Parallel VersesKJV: This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.