Resist Sin (Job 20:4–5) - Radical

Resist Sin (Job 20:4–5)

Do you not know this from of old, since man was placed on earth, that the exalting of the wicked is short and the joy of the godless but for a moment.
-Job 20:4–5

This is another one of those examples in the Book of Job where one of Job’s friends, in this case Zophar, is saying something that’s true but he is applying it to Job implying that this is Job’s lot, that he’s suffering because of his wickedness, when the reality is Job is actually suffering because of his righteousness. Yet, what Zophar says is true. This is where we have to be so careful in the way we use biblical truth, not to apply it inappropriately or unhelpfully. At the same time, I do want us to think about this biblical truth and pray according to it because it’s true, the exalting of the wicked is short and the joy of the godless but for a moment.

Job 20:4–5 Encourages Those Struggling with Sin

I think about a conversation I had with someone this week who is struggling with sin and they’re believing the lies of the adversary that indulging in this sin will bring satisfaction, that indulging in this sin will bring joy. It’s good for us all to remember, even though it’s inappropriately applied here in Job 20, that the exalting of the wicked is indeed short and the joy of the godless only lasts for a moment. Sin never delivers on what it promises, and I just say that again and remind us all in a fresh way today that sin never delivers, ultimately, on what it promises. It’s joy is just for a moment. The pleasures of sin do not last. They are short.

Job 20:5 says, “And so may we all, today, remember this that when we are tempted to sin and when the adversary tells us that doing this, thinking this, desiring this, saying this, acting in this way will lead to something good for us, may we realize in that moment, it’s not true.” The way to life, fullness, abundance, happiness is found in obedience to God. The God who loves us has designed our lives for good.

Job 20:4–5 Reminds Us of God’s Call to Holiness

God, I pray in my own life today, I pray this person who I was just having this conversation with about a struggle with sin in their life. God, I pray for each one of us that you would help us not to give in to temptation, to believe the lies of the adversary today that sin satisfies when sin destroys. You got to help us all to remember that all day long today, that sin destroys. The adversary does not desire our good, that the adversary desires to harm us, that there are spiritual forces of evil who want to destroy us today. So help us, God, to live in a holiness, to meditate on your word and to do what it says, to live according to your law and in this to experience life to the full.

This Verse Leads Us to Resist Temptation

God, I pray this over my life, over every single person listening right now. We pray that you would help us to resist temptation today by the power of your spirit that you have put in us, that we might experience life. Those who live according to the sinful nature have their mind set on what that nature desires, but we have the spirit to set our minds on what the spirit desires and help us to live in the joy that lasts in the exalting that will not end when we are walking in obedience to you. God, we pray this. In Jesus’ name. In the name of the one who has conquered sin. Whose spirit lives in all who trust in Him right now. We pray this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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