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    • November 3, 2016 4:43 PM EDT
    • BOOK OF JOB

       

      As with other books of the Bible, Job bears the name of the narrative’s primary character. This name might have been derived from the Hebrew word for “persecution,” thus meaning “persecuted one,” or from an Arabic word meaning “repent,” thus bearing the name “repentant one.” The author recounts an era in the life of Job, in which he was tested and the character of God was revealed.

       

      New Testament writers directly quote Job two times (Romans 11:35; 1 Corinthians. 3:19), plus Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and James 5:11 show Job was a REAL person.

       

      SO WHAT ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND DATE?

       

      We notice the book of Job does NOT name its author. And I admit, that until restudying Job did I realize that it IMPOSSIBLE for Job personally to have been the author.

       

      WHY?

       

      Think about it....the book of Job’s message rests on Job’s ignorance of the events that occurred in heaven as they related to his ordeal.

       

      Interestingly enough, did you know, ONE Talmudic tradition suggests Moses as author since the land of Uz (1:1) was adjacent to Midian where Moses lived for 40 years, and he could have obtained a record of the story there.

       

      King Solomon is also a good possibility due to the SIMILARITY of content with parts of the book of Ecclesiastes, as well as the fact that Solomon wrote the other "WISDOM" books (except Psalms, and he did author Pss. 72; 127). Though he lived long AFTER Job, Solomon could have written about events that occurred long before his own time, in much the same manner as Moses was inspired to write about Adam and Eve. Elihu, Isaiah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, and Ezra have also been suggested as possible authors, but without support.

       

       

      The date of the book’s writing may be much later than the events recorded therein.

      WHY?

      1) Job’s age (42:16).

      2) his life span of nearly 200 years (42:16) which fits the patriarchal period (Abraham lived 175 years; Gen. 25:7).

      3) the social unit being the patriarchal family.

      4) the Chaldeans who murdered Job’s servants (1:17) were nomads and had NOT yet become city dwellers.

      5) Job’s wealth being measured in livestock rather than gold and silver (1:3; 42:12).

      6) Job’s priestly functions within his family (1:4, 5).

      7) a basic silence on matters such as the covenant of Abraham, Israel, the Exodus, and the law of Moses.

      8) The events of Job’s odyssey appear to be patriarchal. Job, on the other hand, seemed to know about Adam (31:33) and the Noahic flood (12:15).

      9) These cultural/historical features found in the book appear to place the events chronologically at a time probably AFTER Babel (Gen. 11:1–9) but BEFORE or contemporaneous with Abraham (Gen. 11:27).

       

      Background and Setting

       

      This book BEGINS with a scene in HEAVEN that explains everything to the reader (1:6–2:10).

      Job was suffering because God was contesting with Satan.

      Job NEVER knew that, NOR did any of his friends, so they all struggled to explain suffering from the perspective of their ignorance, until finally Job rested in nothing but FAITH in God’s goodness and the HOPE of His redemption.

      That God VINDICATED Job's trust is the CULMINATING message of the book. When there are NO rational, or even NO theological, explanations for disaster and pain, TRUST GOD.

       

      Historical and Theological Themes

       

      The occasion and events that follow Job’s sufferings present significant QUESTIONS for the faith of believers in all ages.

       

      WHY DOES JOB SERVE GOD? Job is heralded for his righteousness, being compared with Noah and Daniel (Ezek. 14:14–20), and for his spiritual endurance (James 5:11).

       

      WHY DO THE RIGHTEOUS SUFFER? Though an answer to that question may seem important, the book does NOT set forth such an answer.

      THINK ABOUT IT AS WE STUDY THIS BOOK.

      1. Job NEVER knew the reasons for his suffering and NEITHER did his friends.

      2. Job, the righteous sufferer does NOT appear to learn about ANY of the heavenly court debates between God and Satan that precipitated his pain.

      3. In fact, when finally confronted by the Lord of the universe, Job put his hand over his mouth and said NOTHING. Job’s silent response in NO WAY trivialized the intense pain and loss he had endured. It merely underscored the importance of TRUSTING God’s purposes in the MIDST of suffering because suffering, like all other human experiences, is directed by perfect divine wisdom.

      4. In the end, the lesson we learn from Job is that one may NEVER know the specific REASON for his suffering; but one must trust in Sovereign God. That is the real answer to suffering.

       

      The book treats TWO major themes and many other minor ones, both in the narrative framework of the prologue (chaps. 1, 2) and epilogue (42:7–17), and in the poetic account of Job’s torment that lies in between (3:1–42:6).

       

      A KEY to understanding the first theme of the book is to NOTICE the debate between God and Satan in heaven and how it connects with the 3 cycles of earthly debates between Job and his friends.

       

      God wanted to PROVE the character of believers to Satan and to ALL demons, angels, and people.

      The accusations are BY Satan, who indicted God’s claims of Job’s righteousness as being untested, if not questionable.

      Satan ACCUSED the righteous of being faithful to God ONLY for what they could get. Since Job did not serve God with pure motives, according to Satan, the whole relationship between him and God was a sham.

      Satan’s SELF CONFIDENCE that he could turn Job AGAINST God came, no doubt, from the fact that he had led 1/3 of the holy angels to rebel with him AGAINST GOD.

      Satan thought he could DESTROY Job’s faith in God by inflicting suffering on him, thus showing in principle that saving faith COULD be shattered.

      God released Satan to make his point IF he could, but he FAILED, as true faith in God proved unbreakable. Even Job’s wife told him to curse God (2:9), but he refused; his faith in God NEVER failed (see 13:15).

      AND WE REMEMBER Satan TRIED to do the same to Peter (see Luke 22:31–34) and FAILED in destroying Peter’s faith (see John 21:15–19).

      When Satan has unleashed ALL that he CAN do to destroy saving faith, it STANDS FIRM, confirmed in Romans 8:31–39).

      In the end, God PROVED His point with Satan that saving faith CAN NOT be destroyed NO MATTER how much trouble a saint suffers, or how incomprehensible and undeserved it seems.

       

      A second and related theme concerns proving the character of God to men. Does this sort of ordeal, in which God and His opponent Satan square off, with righteous Job as the test case, suggest that God is lacking in compassion and mercy toward Job?

      Not at all.

      As James says, in James 5:11, “You have heard of the perseverance of Job and have seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."

      It was to prove the very opposite (42:10–17). Job says, “Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” (2:10).

       

      God’s servant does NOT deny that he has suffered.

      He DOES deny that his suffering is a result of sin.

      Nor does he understand WHY he suffers.

       

      Job simply commits his ordeal with a devout heart of worship and humility (42:5, 6) to a sovereign and perfectly wise Creator—and that was what God wanted him to learn in this conflict with Satan. In the end, God flooded Job with more blessings than he had ever known.

       

      The MAJOR reality of the book is the inscrutable mystery of innocent suffering.

      1. God ordains that His children walk in sorrow and pain, sometimes because of sin, in Numbers 12:10–12.

      2. Sometimes for chastening in Hebrews. 12:5–12.

      3. Sometimes for strengthening in 2 Corinthians 12:7–10 & 1 Peter 5:10.

      4. Sometimes to give opportunity to reveal His comfort and grace in 2 Corinthians. 1:3–7.

      5. But there are times when the compelling issue in the suffering of the saints is unknowable because it is for a heavenly purpose that those on earth can not discern, in Exodus 4:11 & John 9:1–3.

       

      Job and his friends wanted to analyze the suffering and look for causes and solutions. Using all of their sound theology and insight into the situation, they searched for answers, but found only useless and wrong ideas, for which God rebuked them in the end (42:7).

      They could NOT know why Job suffered because what happened in heaven between God and Satan was unknown to them. They thought they knew all the answers, but they only intensified the dilemma by their insistent ignorance.

       

      By spreading out some of the elements of this great theme, we can see the following truths in Job’s experience:

       

      1) There are matters going on in heaven with God that believers know nothing about; yet, they affect their lives.

       

      2) Even the best effort at explaining the issues of life can be useless.

       

      3) God’s people do suffer. Bad things happen all the time to good people, so one cannot judge a person’s spirituality by his painful circumstances or successes;

       

      4) Even though God seems far away, perseverance in faith is a most noble virtue since God is good and one can safely leave his life in His hands.

       

      5) The believer in the midst of suffering should not abandon God, but draw near to Him, so out of the fellowship can come the comfort—without the explanation.

       

      6) Suffering may be intense, but it will ultimately end for the righteous and God will bless abundantly.

       

      Interpretive Challenges

       

      The most critical interpretive challenge involves the book’s primary message. Although often thought to be the pressing issue of the book, the question of why Job suffers is never revealed to Job, though the reader knows that it involves God’s proving a point to Satan—a matter which completely transcends Job’s ability to understand.

       

      James’ commentary on Job’s case (5:11) draws the conclusion that it was to show God’s compassion and mercy, but without apology, offers no explanation for Job’s specific ordeal.

      Readers find themselves, putting their proverbial hands over their mouths, with no right to question or accuse the all-wise and all-powerful Creator, who will do as He pleases, and in so doing, both proves His points in the spiritual realm to angels and demons and defines His compassion and mercy.

       

      Engaging in “theodicy,” i.e., man’s attempt to defend God’s involvement in calamity and suffering, is shown to be appropriate in these circumstances, though in the end, it is apparent that God does not need nor want a human advocate. The book of Job poignantly illustrates Deut. 29:29, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God … ”

       

      The nature of Job’s guilt and innocence raises perplexing questions. God declared Job perfect, upright, fearing God, and shunning evil (Job 1:1).

       

      But Job’s comforters raised a critical question based on Job’s ordeal: Had not Job sinned?

      On several occasions Job readily admitted to having sinned (7:21; 13:26).

      But Job questioned the extent of his sin as compared to the severity of his suffering. God rebuked Job in the end for his demands to be vindicated of the comforters’ accusations (Job 38–41). But He also declared that what Job said was correct and what the comforters said was wrong (42:7).

       

      Another challenge comes in keeping separate the pre-understandings that Job and his comforters brought to Job’s ordeal. At the outset, all agreed that God punishes evil, rewards obedience, and no exceptions are possible. Job, due to his suffering innocently, was forced to conclude that exceptions are possible in that the righteous also suffer. He also observed that the wicked prosper. These are more than small exceptions to the rule, thus forcing Job to rethink his simple understanding about God’s sovereign interaction with His people. The type of wisdom Job comes to embrace was not dependent merely on the promise of reward or punishment. The long, peevish, disputes between Job and his accusers were attempts to reconcile the perceived inequities of God’s retribution in Job’s experiences. Such an empirical method is dangerous. In the end, God offered no explanation to Job, but rather called all parties to a deeper level of trust in the Creator, who rules over a sin-confused world with power and authority directed by perfect wisdom and mercy.

       

      Understanding this book requires:

      1) Understanding the nature of wisdom, particularly the difference between man’s wisdom and God’s.

      2) Admitting that Job and his friends lacked the divine wisdom to interpret Job’s circumstances accurately, though his friends kept trying while Job learned to be content in God’s sovereignty and mercy.

       

      The turning point or resolution for this matter is found in Job 28 where the character of divine wisdom is explained: divine wisdom is rare and priceless; man can not hope to purchase it; and God possesses it all. We may NOT know what is going on in heaven or what God’s purposes are, but we MUST trust Him. Because of this, the matter of believers suffering takes a back seat to the matter of divine wisdom.

       

      JOB 1 OPENS WITH:

       

      JOB ENDURES HIS LOSS AND IT HAS TWO STAGES FOR A GREAT DRAMA: ON EARTH AND IN HEAVEN.

       

      Verses 1-5 tells us The EARTHLY stage.

       

      "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East. And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, "It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." Thus Job did regularly."

       

      The Book of Job is rightly understood to be a masterpiece of Hebrew poetry and Western literature. As the FIRST poetic book of the English Bible, Job introduces the reader to the idea of Hebrew poetry, which involves the repetition and combination of ideas more than sounds.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...

       

      Judging by the STYLE of the Hebrew it uses, some scholars judge Job to be the OLDEST book of the Old Testament.

       

      That Job WAS blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil:

       

      The first look at Job shows him to be an exceedingly righteous man. The author gives an impressive description of a man who is NOT perfect, but certainly COMPLETE in his devotion, respect, and obedience to God.

       

      Job's connection with God seems to be INDEPENDENT of ANY other Old Testament character. Some believe that the Jobab mentioned in Genesis 10:29 is Job, which would put him in the era between Noah and Abraham.

       

      If that was the era of Job, then we can say that Job's deep and true relationship with God was no doubt passed on to him from his ancestors dating back to the time of Noah and his son.

       

      In this respect, he was somewhat like Melchizedek (as in Genesis 14:18-24) who simply appeared on the scene as someone who was a worshipper and a follower of the TRUE God.

       

      Others point to several reasons for dating Job later, perhaps in the generations after Jacob and Esau.

       

      - Huz (Uz?) was Abraham's nephew, the son of his brother (Genesis 22:21). The land of Uz may be named after him.

      - Eliphaz (Job 2:11) was the son of Esau (Genesis 34:10-11); this son of Esau had a son named Teman (Genesis 36:10-11), and the descendants of Teman were known for their wisdom (Jeremiah 49:7).

      - Bildad is called a Shuhite (Job 2:11), and Shuah was a son of Abraham through Keturah (Genesis 35:2)

       

      MORGAN says it well, "This strong statement of the godliness of Job is IMPORTANT to understanding the rest of the story. Recognizing this righteousness of Job "will save us from the mistake of thinking at any point of those experiences as having their explanation in the man himself. Nor for himself did he suffer. His pains were NOT penalties for wrongdoing: they were NOT even chastisements for correction."

       

      SEVEN sons and THREE daughters were born to him:

       

      In a culture where status and wealth might be measured by the size of one's family, Job was a man of impressive wealth and status.

       

      His possessions were seven thousand sheep:

       

      By any measure, Job was a prominent and affluent man. His godliness, wealth, and status made it true that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.

       

      MASON tells us, "Much later in the book we will catch a glimpse of what Job actually did with his money, and with his time and energy: he rescued the needy; he cared personally for the handicapped and the dying; he brought orphans into his home; he even took the power barons of his day to court and argued the case for the underprivileged (confirmed to us in Job 29:12-17; 31:16-21)."

       

      His sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day:

       

      The idea of this description seems to be that Job's family had a HAPPY AND CLOSE relationship. This reinforces the idea that Job and his family were greatly blessed, and does not seem to indicate that they were unduly given over to festivity and pleasure-seeking. They happily celebrated special days (each on his appointed day), which probably refers their birthdays.

       

      SPURGEON saw in Job 1:4-5 a permission for feasting and celebration among believers; he preached a Christmas sermon upon this very text and used it as proof that God allows and enjoys such celebrations among His people.

       

      Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings:

       

      MEYER says it well, "What a beautiful example is furnished by Job to Christian parents! When your girls are going among strangers, and your boys into the great ways of the world, and you are unable to impose your will upon them, as in the days of childhood, you can yet pray for them, casting over them the shield of intercession, with strong cryings and tears. They are beyond your reach; but by faith you can move the arm of God on their behalf."

       

      One would not know it from the first few verses, but the Book of Job is about an EPIC WAR. Yet NO city is attacked or besieged or conquered; NO battles are won or lost; NO oceans are sailed or nations founded or adventures recorded. The whole conflict happens on an ash heap - virtually a garbage dump - outside a village. It is an epic war, but one of the INNER life; a struggle to make sense of some of the deepest questions of life.

       

      Verses 6-12 tells us The stage IN HEAVEN.

       

      "Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person." So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD."

       

      Now there was a day...

       

      This reveals the scene in heaven; UNSEEN/UNKNOWN to Job and others on earth, but ABSOLUTELY REAL nonetheless. The story of Job can really only be properly understood by taking into account what happened in heaven, and by having more than an earthly perspective.

       

      When the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD:

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The phrase "sons of God" is used in the Old Testament to describe ANGELIC BEINGS, confirmed to us in Genesis 6:1-4 and Job 38:7. Among this group of angelic beings, Satan ALSO came among them.

       

      The fact that Satan … came among them shows that Satan is himself an angelic being, and in NO WAY equal to God.

       

      SADLY, We often - to his great delight - inflate Satan's status and importance, thinking of him as THE OPPOSITE of God.

       

      1. As if God were light and Satan were darkness.

       

      2. As if God were hot and Satan were cold.

       

      3. Satan wishes he was the opposite of God, but God wants us to know that Satan is a MERE creature, and is in no way the opposite of God.

       

      4. If Satan has an opposite, it is not God the Father or God the Son; it would be a high-ranking angelic being such as Michael.

       

      The fact that they came to present themselves before the LORD shows that angelic beings - indeed, fallen angelic beings - have access to the presence of God, confirmed to us in 1 Kings 22:21, Zechariah 3:1, but one day they WILL be restricted to the earth, confirmed to us in Revelation 12:9.

       

      From where do you come?

       

      God allowed (and continues to allow) Satan and fallen angelic beings into His presence, but ONLY for His own purposes. Therefore God demanded to know what Satan's business was.

       

      From going to and fro on the earth...

       

      Though Satan has access to heaven, he also has free access to the earth, and roams about the earth as a roaring lion, confirmed to us in 1 Peter 5:8. It can be said that Satan has an active interest in what happens on the earth.

       

      Have you considered My servant Job...

       

      You notice...It was God who brought up Job as a subject for discussion, and God brought up Job in the sense of bragging about Job's godliness and character. God was SO impressed with Job that He affirmed the description of Job first recorded in Job 1:1.

       

      Of course Satan DOES consider the saints of God; yet what does the devil see when he considers the saints?

       

      1. He sees them and is amazed at the difference between himself and God's people.

       

      2. He sees us and knows that though he has fallen, these earthen creatures stand.

       

      3. He sees them and is amazed at their happiness.

       

      4. He knows too well the misery of his own soul, but he hates the peace in the soul of the believer.

       

      5. He sees them and looks for some fault, so that he may find some small comfort to his own black soul and hypocrisy.

       

      6. He sees them - especially great hearts among the saints - and sees those who block and hinder his foul work.

       

      7. He sees them and looks for opportunity to do them harm.

       

      There is NONE like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil...

       

      This was God's pronouncement of Job's character. After these first two chapters of Job, almost everything we know of the man is colored by the perspective of EACH speaker.

       

      Later, when Job talks about himself and his situation we must take into account that it is Job who speaks; when his friends speak likewise they speak according to their OWN knowledge, ignorance, and bias.

       

      ONLY in the first TWO chapters do we have a truly objective viewpoint about Job. What God thinks. Job really was a blameless and upright man, NO matter what his friends would later say.

       

      1. We know (and God knew) that Job was not sinlessly perfect; yet God called him blameless.

       

      2. We know that Job was not sinlessly perfect; yet God unashamedly seemed to see him that way. The modern believer stands in the same place, completely justified in Jesus Christ.

       

      Does Job fear God for nothing?

       

      Here Satan fulfilled the role described in Revelation 12:10 - the ACCUSER of the brethren. Satan ACCUSED Job before God, insisting that Job's godliness was essentially false and that Job ONLY served God for what he could get from Him.

       

      Satan's reply to God FIRST reveals his essential cynicism; he DOUBTS every supposed good as being dishonest and hollow.

       

      Cynicism is the essence of the satanic.

       

      The accusation against Job was ALSO an accusation against God, for it implied that God had BRIBED Job into obedience. "I myself,' he seems to say, 'could be as pious as Job, were I as prosperous as he."

       

      Satan's accusation gave testimony to the fact that God had protected Job (Have You not made a hedge around him) and had also blessed him (You have blessed).

       

      WE REMEMBER....Jesus indicated that Satan wanted to do MUCH worse against Peter than God allowed him to do (Luke 22:31-32) because of a similar hedge of protection.

       

      Confident in his accusation AGAINST Job, Satan insisted to God that Job would surely curse You to Your face if this protection and blessing was withdrawn.

       

      Satan BELIEVED that adversity could make Job move from his standing in faith; that Job would be unable to stand against the wiles and the deceptions of the devil as is given to the believer in Ephesians 6:13.

       

      Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person...

       

      In response to Satan's accusation, God gave him great - though limited - permission to attack Job. God would let down the hedge without completely removing it.

       

      1. Satan had the power and the desire to afflict Job all along; what he lacked was the ALLOWANCE from God. When God allowed it, Satan was more than happy to attack Job up to the limit of the allowance.

       

      2. Though Satan was now able to attack Job in a much greater way than before, his power was NOT unlimited. God only allowed Satan to do what he wanted to do to ultimately serve His purpose.

       

      Satan went out from the presence of the LORD...

       

      As he did, he continued a sequence of events in the spiritual realm that (as in Ephesians 6:12) were real but NOT immediately apparent to Job as having their origin in a spiritual battle.

       

      The revelation of the heavenly scene behind the earthly scene helps us to understand the later comment of James on Job, in James 5:11, which says, "Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord - that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."

       

      The TWO GREAT THEMES of the Book of Job, as explained by James, are the perseverance of Job and the end intended by the Lord, and it is important that we learn both themes. The end intended by the Lord (James 5:11) connects with God's eternal purpose as revealed in Ephesians 3:10-11 - that God intends that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, according to the eternal purpose. God used Job to teach angelic beings, especially to teach them about His own spectacular wisdom.

       

      Therefore, the Book of Job teaches us that there is an aspect of human misery that is NOT the penalty for sin, NOT correction in righteousness, NOT redemptive in itself, and NOT the noble bearing of persecution for righteousness' sake.

       

      Job's suffering was of this aspect; we might say that the reason for his suffering was as a tool to TEACH angelic beings; Job made known the manifold wisdom of God to the principalities and powers in heavenly places confirmed to us in Ephesians 3:10-11.

       

      We might say that all the other reasons for suffering can also be used of God to reveal His wisdom to angelic beings; the man who suffers as the penalty of sin can, by the way he receives the suffering, be an important lesson of God's wisdom. Yet Job's case was unique; his suffering seems to be mainly or only concerned with this purpose of INSTRUCTING angelic beings.

       

      In that process God USED Satan himself, even as he went out from the presence of the LORD in all his evil design. "Satan may intend one thing, but God uses him for another. In all these things he is a minister - used for the ultimate blessing, comfort, and help of the people of God, and for their present spiritual profit. . . . He was allowed to be the author of Job's trials and losses: but all his labour was WASTED; for it ended in Job's receiving a DOUBLE blessing for time, and for earth, and 'the righteousness of God' for ever and ever."

       

      As good as Job was at the beginning of the book, he will be a BETTER MAN at the end of it. He was better in character, humbler, and more blessed than before.

       

      Verses 13-19 tells us Job's tragic and sudden losses.

       

      "Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house; and a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, when the Sabeans raided them and took them away; indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!" While he was still speaking, another also came and said, "Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother's house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!"

       

      Now there was a day...

       

      Given greater allowance to afflict Job, Satan maximized his work against the man of God by bringing the catastrophe to Job in the span of a FEW HOURS. In that limited time Job lost his oxen, his servants, his sheep, his camels, and his sons and daughters.

       

      This shows us that Satan was focused on maximizing his advantage. If he were allowed to attack Job, he would do it in the most effective way possible all the way up to what God would allow. Therefore, any foothold we give to Satan is dangerous. We should expect that he will maximize any advantage WE GIVE him.

       

      The catastrophe came upon Job's sons and daughters as they were feasting in their oldest brother's house. We know from Job 1:4-5 that Job would specifically sacrifice for his sons and daughters on these days; yet these prayers-in-action of Job on behalf of his children did NOT prevent the catastrophe. This made the crisis all the more mysterious and problematic for Job.

       

      The Sabeans … the fire of God fell from heaven … the Chaldeans … a great wind...ALL these tragedies came to Job from many different causes; yet we know that the prior cause was the instigation of Satan.

       

      In this we learn something of how Satan works. Satan did NOT force godly Sabeans and Chaldeans to do things against Job that they did NOT WANT to do. He accomplished his evil purpose by working through the EVIL character of FALLEN men.

       

      We also learn that in some way, Satan had some influence over the weather (a great wind) and could imitate a phenomenon usually associated with God (the fire of God from heaven). The servants of Job thought that God sent this fire, but that was only true in a very indirect sense, in the sense that God had allowed it by removing a prior restriction. This shows that at least at some times, Satan wants to work in such a way that what he does will be blamed on God.

       

      We can only conclude that Satan swings SOME power over the weather. Not all power over all weather. But some power over some weather. To the extent that God allows, the Devil has supernatural power at his disposal to direct the elements to accomplish his evil purposes.

       

      We also see that this attack by Satan was clearly focused against Job; yet others suffered because Satan attacked Job and God allowed him to be attacked. Job's animals, servants, and children all perished because Job was the target. This can only be justified if we understand that:

       

      1. In allowing their lives to be ended, God did not allow these people to pass from an immortal state to a mortal state. Each of these unfortunates was born mortal and subject to death; the only surprise in their death was that they died sooner than expected, not that they died at all.

       

      But we TRUST and SAY what Abraham knew of God: "Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?" in Genesis 18:25.

       

      Verses 20-22 tells us Job reacts to his losses.

       

      "Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped. And he said:

       

      "Naked I came from my mother's womb,

      And naked shall I return there.

      The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away;

      Blessed be the name of the LORD."

       

      WE NOTICE FIRST AND FOREMOST....In all this Job did NOT sin NOR charge God with wrong.

       

      Quite appropriately, Job MOURNED his tremendous losses. He had lost his sons and daughters and servants a great amount of material wealth. It was a time for mourning.

       

      AND WE NOTICE SOMETHING ELSE HERE....Job mourned, but he did NOT mourn as the heathens or the pagans mourned. He did NOT cut or gash or tattoo himself for the dead as was the common practice among those ancient peoples, confirmed to us in Leviticus 19:28.

       

      He fell to the ground and worshipped...

       

      In the midst of his mourning, Job also DECIDED AND CHOSE to worship God despite his circumstances and feelings. We might say that this was indeed pure worship and greatly glorifying to God.

       

      THINK ABOUT THIS AS WELL...SATAN WAS WAITING FOR HOWLING AND CURSING AND JOB SHAKING HIS FIST AT HEAVEN...IMAGINE HIS BEWILDERMENT AND FURY, WHEN JOB FELL ON HIS FACE IN MOURNING, YET EVEN THEN JOB CHOSE TO WORSHIP ALMIGHTY GOD.

       

      IT is it important to remember that a man's FIRST reaction is often very telling, and reveals what really dominates his heart. Worship was Job's first reaction to his crisis.

       

      The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away...

       

      Job analyzed his situation in a godly and wise way. Job UNDERSTOOD that:

       

      1. He came into this world with nothing, so everything he had was indeed a blessing from the bounty of God.

       

      2. If he now had less, it was still more than he came into this world with and more than he would take with him to the world beyond.

       

      3. His prior prosperity was NOT due to luck or mere human ingenuity; it was because of the great and powerful blessing of God upon his life.

       

      4. God was in control of his life, and no matter what the immediate source of adversity or tragedy was, it had to pass through the loving and wise hands of God before it could touch him.

       

      5. God was worthy to be blessed and praised in any and all circumstances of life.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "I am so pleased to think that Job recognized the hand of God everywhere giving. He said, 'The Lord gave.' He did not say, 'I earned it all.' He did not say, 'There are all my hard-earned savings gone."

       

      We CAN AND SHOULD meditate on the implications of the words, the LORD gave:

       

      1. We should never think the good things of this world come to us from the earth; they come from heaven.

      2. They come to us as gifts; that is, they are undeserved.

      3. God gives His gifts with kindness and thoughtfulness.

      4. Knowing this sweetens the value of everything we have; things are more precious because they are gifts from a loving God.

      5. This prevents us from dishonesty; we want nothing in our hand except what God gives us, and do not want to mix what He gives with what the devil gives.

      6. It is foolishness to take pride in having more than what another has.

      7. It is easy to give back to God when we really understand that all we have comes from Him.

      8. We must always worship the Giver and not the gifts. The Giver is greater than the gifts He gives.

       

      Blessed be the name of the LORD...

       

      This was the expression of worship mentioned in the previous verse. Job was able to bless the name of God even when he was specifically and severely tempted to curse the name of God.

       

      In all this Job DID NOT SIN nor charge God with wrong:

       

      This demonstrates that Job did not sin or wrongly blame God when he said, "the LORD has taken away." He was right to understand that God was ultimately behind all things, even if the immediate responsibility for an event was not God's.

       

      We are impressed with Job's perspective on material things. He truly understood what Jesus said, in Luke 12:15, "One's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses."

       

      SADLY, There are FEW in the world today who would endure the loss of such a GREAT fortune AND family with such godliness and patient endurance.

       

      We are impressed with Job's unshaken commitment to God, and his enduring love for God. Satan's accusation - that if blessings were taken from Job, he would curse God - was proved to be a LIE, and we might say that God was justifiably proud of His servant Job.

       

      In this FIRST ROUND of spiritual warfare Satan was singularly UNSUCCESSFUL in shaking Job from his standing in faith. Job successfully battled against spiritual attack and fulfilled the exhortation that would come many hundreds of years later from the Apostle Paul, in Ephesians 6:13, "that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."

       

      1. Job made his stand against fear and did not give into panic.

      2. Job made his stand against make-believe pretending and appropriately mourned.

      3. Job made his stand against pride and humbled himself before God.

      4. Job made his stand against self and decided to worship God.

      5. Job made his stand against a time-bound mindset and chose to think in terms of eternity.

      6. Job made his stand against unbelief and did not give into vain questionings of God.

      7. Job made his stand against despair and saw the hand of God even in catastrophe.

      8. Job made his stand against anger and did not blame God.

       

      This wonderful triumph of faith did NOT come from Job acting alone, but only as Job reacted to these disasters filled with and connected TO God.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "We are not told that the Spirit of God filled Job to react this way and say these things, but we KNOW it to be true. Satan was acting; but so was God in heaven. He saith to himself, 'If Satan shall do much, I will do more; if he takes away much, I will give more; if he tempts the man to curse, I will fill him so full of love to me that he shall bless me. I will help him; I will strengthen him; yea, I will uphold him with the right hand of my righteousness.'"

       

      In this Satan's attack on Job he was utterly disappointed; he misjudged and could not and did not see the heart of Job. He thought all people inferior and weak compared to him. Yet, God knew Job to the soul and KNEW that Satan has chosen a man who loved his God more than his earthly portion.

       

      Sat

    • November 3, 2016 4:39 PM EDT
    • JOB 2

       

      OPENS WITH ANOTHER SCENE IN HEAVEN AND JOB'S HEALTH IS DESTROYED

       

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us God BOASTS AGAIN over His servant Job.

       

      "Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. And the LORD said to Satan, "From where do you come?" So Satan answered the LORD and said, "From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it." Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause."

       

      AGAIN THERE WAS A DAY when the sons of God came:

       

      This again indicates that Satan and certain angelic beings (fallen as well as faithful) have somewhat open access to God's presence in heaven.

       

      And the LORD said to Satan: The dialogue recorded here was completely UNKNOWN to Job.

       

      From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it:

       

      Surely as Job STILL retained his integrity, so did Satan his BLIND HATRED AND VANITY.

       

      Up to this point, this second recorded dialogue followed the same pattern shown in Job 1:6-8. God used the repetition to impress upon Satan the FUTILITY of his first attack against Job.

       

      And still he HOLDS FAST to his integrity, God tells us that Job strengthens his grip on his belief in God.

       

      Although you incited Me against him:

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      This shows that both God and Satan understood that the attack could ONLY come to Job because God allowed it. Although God did not actively send the Sabeans, the Chaldeans, the fire, or the wind, they could only come by His permission.

       

      To destroy him without cause:

       

      The idea is NOT that cause was absent in either God or Satan; they both had something they wanted to prove and establish in the whole account. However, there was NO SINFUL cause in Job that prompted the calamities that befell him.

       

      Verses 4-6 tells us Satan's reply.

       

      "So Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!" And the LORD said to Satan, "Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life."

       

      Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life:

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Satan here asserted that Job FAILED to curse God ONLY because he was afraid that if he did, it would bring personal punishment from God. Satan argued that the problem with the PRIOR attacks was that NONE of the previous attacks touched Job directly, but only things next to or outside of Job (his family and his possessions).

       

      DID YOU KNOW...

       

      In Job's ancient culture, 'skin for skin' was a BARTERING term meaning to trade one skin for another. The Devil is accusing Job of being willing to risk the skin of his children and livestock in order to protect his own skin.

       

      When it came down to it, the Bible tells us...

       

      1. Abraham betrayed his wife to save his life.

      2. David forsook his sanity to save his life.

      3. Peter denied Jesus to save his own life.

       

      So there is certainly some truth to the statement, all that a man has he will give for his life.

       

      Touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face! Satan insisted that if the attack were made against Job DIRECTLY - if some calamity came upon Job's body - then Job WOULD certainly curse God.

       

      Satan suggested to God a new test for Job. Physical suffering. Pain can weaken our resistance and make everything look and feel worse than it really is. More than one person has withstood tragedy only to fall apart under the onslaught of pain.

       

      Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life:

       

      With this God again "lowered the hedge" that protected Job, but He did NOT eliminate it. Satan was given greater allowance to attack Job, but NOT unlimited allowance.

       

      Verses 7-8 tells us Job is smitten with painful and disgusting sores & yet continues to show Godly faith and interity.

       

      "So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes."

       

      This disease that came upon Job was specifically meant to drive Job to such great despair that he would curse God. We are not surprised that the attack against Job was severe (painful boils) and massive (from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head).

       

      We again are challenged to see that Satan has the power to attack mankind in ways we perhaps previously did not perceive.

       

      Previously we saw that Satan could inspire others to attack Job (Job 1:14, 1:17) and could direct natural calamity as an attack against Job (Job 1:16, 1:18-19).

       

      Now we see that disease and physical suffering could come against Job as a attack from Satan. Another example of this is in Luke 13:17, where Jesus revealed that a woman who had been afflicted for 18 years was actually afflicted with a spirit of infirmity and was bound by Satan in her condition.

       

      One of the curses God promised to a disobedient Israel was, The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, with tumors, with the scab, and with the itch, from which you cannot be healed (Deuteronomy 28:27).

       

      This may very well be the same affliction that Job suffered from; it reminds us also that Job had every reason to feel cursed by God, and he appeared that way to others also.

       

      Whatever the exact diagnosis of Job's condition, taken together his medical problems were significant. Other passages in the Book of Job tell us more of what Job suffered.

       

      1. Intense pain (My bones are pierced in me at night, and my gnawing pains take no rest; Job 30:17)

      2. Peeling and darkened skin (My skin grows black and falls from me; Job 30:30a)

      3. Pus-filled, erupting sores (My flesh is caked with worms and dust, my skin is cracked and breaks out afresh; Job 7:5b)

      4. Anorexia, emaciation (My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh; Job 19:20)

      5. Fever (My bones burn with fever; Job 30:30b)

      6. Depression (I loathe my life; I would not live forever; Job 7:16 and My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest; days of affliction confront me. I go about mourning, but not in the sun; Job 30:27-28)

      7. Weeping (My face is flushed with weeping; Job 16:16a)

      8. Sleeplessness (When I lie down, I say, 'When shall I arise, and the night be ended?' Job 7:4)

      9. Nightmares (Then you scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions; Job 7:14)

      10. Putrid breath (My breath is offensive to my wife; Job 19:17)

      11. Difficulty breathing (He will not allow me to catch my breath; Job 19:18)

      12. Failing vision (On my eyelids is the shadow of death; Job 16:16b)

      13. Rotting teeth (I have escaped by the skin of my teeth; Job 19:20)

      14. Haggard looks (When they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him; Job 2:12)

      15. Painful swollen sores all over his body (painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head; Job 2:7)

      16. Intense itching (to scrape himself; Job 2:8)

      17. This condition lasted for months (Oh, that I were as in months past; Job 29:2 and I have been allotted months of futility; Job 7:3)

       

      He took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself:

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Job dealt with his painful affliction to the best of his ability and then sat in a mournful place. In the midst of the ashes probably means "in the city dump," where garbage was burned; Job sat on a burned heap.

       

      Verses 9-10 tells us Job holds his integrity before his wife.

       

      "Then his wife said to him, "Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!" But he said to her, "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips."

       

      Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die! Job's wife has become a proverbial example of a cruel, unsupportive, sharp-tongued wife. Yet some allowance must be made considering her losses in the previous few days. She also lost her children and her wealth, and should not be too harshly judged.

       

      REMEMBER THIS...She can NOT bear to see her husband suffer like this. Her heart, already crushed by the loss of her ten children, is now without hope. She is saying, 'Curse God and He'll strike you dead too. Then you can escape this pain. Death would be better than this.

       

      Nevertheless, the implication of her words, "do you still hold fast to your integrity?" is that she had ABANDONED her integrity. Satan's goal in his attacks against Job was to shake Job from his standing; he failed in regard to Job, but he SUCCEEDED in regard to Job's wife.

       

      BRADLEY says it well, "Job must have been severely grieved both at his wife's foolish words and her own shaken faith. "His cup seemed full. One other turn of the rack, so to speak, is yet possible. It is not spared him. From the one human quarter from which comfort might have yet come, there comes only a vulgar taunt, and suggestion of despair."

       

      You speak as one of the foolish women speaks:

       

      This was a wisely-worded rebuke to Job's wife. He did not accuse her of being a foolish woman, but of speaking like one of the foolish women. He indicated that this was out-of-character for her.

       

      Mason comments on Satan's strategy here: "He sows strife and succeeds in turning the couple against each other. She ridicules his religion, and he calls her a fool. A degree of alienation sets in which, just in itself, would very likely have been the worst trial these two had ever passed through in their married life."

       

      Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?

       

      Job again shows his wisdom in this reply. He recognized that God does NOT owe us good; He gives it as A GIFT that we should accept. Accordingly, if adversity comes to us, and we are wise to see that even in adversity there may be a "gift" that we should accept.

       

      In all this Job did NOT sin with his lips:

       

      This is another remarkable statement to the credit of Job. He did not sin in his response to either his God or his wife.

       

      In all this is a broad statement, meaning that up to this point Job had not sinned at all in what he said.

       

      This is important to note, WHY?

       

      Because some READERS AND TEACHERS WRONGLY SAY that these calamities came upon Job because of a NEGATIVE confession he made, supposedly recorded in Job 1:5 and in Job 3:25.

       

      This statement FROM ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF makes it clear that Job did NOT sin with his lips, certainly NOT in the sense of a NEGATIVE confession.

       

      Verses 11-13 tells us the CONSOLATION of Job's friends.

       

      "Now when Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great."

       

      When Job's three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place:

       

      This passage introduces THREE remarkable friends of Job. Their names were Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. These men came to Job in his hour of need.

       

      To come and mourn with him, and to comfort him:

       

      Their INTENDED goal was good and noble. They came to be with him (to come), to share his sorrow (and mourn with him), and to bring some relief to Job (and to comfort him).

       

      And did not recognize him:

       

      The boils left Job with a horrific, disfigured appearance. Upon seeing Job, his three friends were instantly gripped with grief and mourning as if one had died.

       

      They sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him:

       

      This was a wonderful display of comfort and common cause with Job. They shared in his afflicted state, acting as if they were similarly afflicted. They offered no statement except for their compassionate presence.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Seven days and seven nights was the usual time of mourning for the dead, told to us in Genesis 50:10; 1 Samuel 31:13, and therefore proper both for Job's children, who were dead, and for Job himself, who was in a manner dead even though he lived.

       

      After this point in the Book of Job there begins 35 chapters of DISCUSSION between Job and his friends. Yet all that discussion must be put in the context of the genuine love and concern that these friends had for Job, and there was a sense in which they earned their right to speak by their sacrificial display of compassion.

       

      AND WE NEED TO REMEMBER...While it is true that Job suffered MORE at the hands of these friends ultimately than by the attacks of Satan, yet some recognition must be made of the goodness of the men.

       

      WHY?

       

      1. They are to be admired because they came to Job.

      2. They are to be admired because they wept for and with Job.

      3. They are to be admired because they sat in silence with Job for seven days.

      4. They are to be admired because they intended all the best for Job, and were persistent in wanting and doing what they thought was best for Job.

      5. They are to be admired because they spoke their opinion about Job and his condition to Job himself, instead of speaking about him to others.

       

      JOB 2 ENDS with us leaving Job and his friends seated in silence. There is calm around them, but we feel that the air is heavy, and that there is a tempest in the sky.

       

      AND WE NEED TO REMEMBER WHAT GOD TELLS US AND SHOWS US IN THIS CHAPTER. HE WHO READS AND KNOWS THE HEART, MIND, AND SOUL OF JOB, HIS WIFE, AND JOB'S THREE FAITHFUL FRIENDS...

       

      THOUGH THROUGH DEEP GRIEF AND SORROW THEY SAID AND WERE PROMPTED BY WHISPERS OF SATAN AND HIS GREAT DESPAIR, HOPELESSNESS, AND ACCUSATION AND WILL ALL SAY THINGS TO JOB, THAT THOUGH INTENDED TO DIAGNOSE, HELP, AND TO COMFORT, IN THE LONG RUN...UNKNOWINGLY ADD TO JOB'S HURT AND SORROW AND PAIN.

       

      WE MUST ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT THE LORD SEES AND READS THEIR HEARTS PERFECTLY. HE KNOWS WHAT THOUGHTS ARE THEIR OWN AND THOSE THAT ARE INFLICTED ON THEM BY SATAN. AND THIS AND THE FOLLOWING CHAPTERS WILL SHOW US THAT THE LORD SEES PERFECTLY AND ONLY CONFRONTS THOSE THOUGHTS THAT COME FROM THEIR OWN HEARTS AND MINDS.

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 4:38 PM EDT
    • JOB 3

       

      OPENS WITH JOB WISHES HE HAD NEVER BEEN BORN

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us Job will curse his birth day, but NOT his God.

       

      "After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job spoke, and said:"

       

      AFTER THIS...This was after ALL the catastrophe, ALL the personal affliction, and ALL the demonstration of compassion from Job's friends. Now Job will begin to speak about his situation.

       

      Cursed the day of his birth...

       

      Satan was confident that he could push Job to curse God (Job 1:11 and 2:5). As Job spoke in his deep distress, he cursed the day of his birth - but he did NOT even come close to cursing God.

       

      Job's thinking was somewhat common among the ancients. The historian Herodotus described an ancient people who mourned new births (for the suffering that the new life would endure) and rejoiced in deaths (as a final release from the suffering of life).

       

      This chapter BEGINS the battle in Job's mind and soul. He will NOT lose more or suffer more than he already has (though his physical pain will continue). Yet now we can say that the battle enters into an entirely other arena; the arena of Job's MIND AND SOUL.

       

      How will he choose to think about his suffering?

      How will he choose to think about what others think about his suffering?

      How will he choose to think about God in all this?

      These are the questions that take up the REMAINDER of the book, and soon come to any sufferer. The catastrophic loss itself is only an entry point into the agonizing battle in the mind and soul.

       

      MASON says it well, "One of the grimmest aspects of this story is that Job never does teeter over the brink into madness, but rather faces his entire ordeal with eyes wide-open."

       

      Verses 3-10 tells us Job curses the day of HIS birth.

       

      "May the day perish on which I was born,

      And the night in which it was said,

      'A male child is conceived.'

      May that day be darkness;

      May God above not seek it,

      Nor the light shine upon it.

      May darkness and the shadow of death claim it;

      May a cloud settle on it;

      May the blackness of the day terrify it.

      As for that night, may darkness seize it;

      May it not rejoice among the days of the year,

      May it not come into the number of the months.

      Oh, may that night be barren!

      May no joyful shout come into it!

      May those curse it who curse the day,

      Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan.

      May the stars of its morning be dark;

      May it look for light, but have none,

      And not see the dawning of the day;

      Because it did not shut up the doors of my mother's womb,

      Nor hide sorrow from my eyes."

       

      May the day perish on which I was born...

       

      Here, in fine Hebrew poetic style, Job cursed the day of his birth. Yet if that were not enough, he goes even further back and curses the night of his conception. Job's complaint is that it would be better if he were never born than to endure his present catastrophe of affliction.

       

      This begins a section that somewhat like a dialogue between Job and his friends. Sometimes a speaker in this dialogue answers what the previous speaker said; sometimes they do not. Sometimes the speeches are emotional much more than logical.

       

      AND WE WILL NOTICE...When Job speaks, he often speaks TO God; his friends speak much ABOUT God but never TO God.

       

      Beginning with Job 3:3, the style of speaking (and writing) is poetic. This means that we must allow for figures of speech and exaggeration of feeling in those who speak.

       

      May that day be darkness...

       

      Job here is despising the day of his birth, and wishing that this day could be wiped off the calendar of history. Job does NOT curse God here or anywhere else in the Book of Job; but he here makes his strongest statements against the wisdom and plan of God.

       

      "As God had said in Genesis 1:3, 'Let there be light,' so Job, using the same terminology in Job 3:4, said, 'As for that day, let there be darkness' (literal translation). All this is a logical absurdity, but it is poetry, and Job meant to give full vent to his feelings to God.

       

      FRUSTRATINGLY TO SATAN...We can say that Job cursed his birthday, but NOT his God, as the Satan wanted him to do.

       

      May those curse it who curse the day...

       

      Without endorsing the practices of ancient sorcerers, Job calls upon them (those who curse) to also pronounce this curse upon the day he was born.

       

      IN OTHER WORDS, Job summons the ancient soothsayers/sorcerers of his day to curse his birthday. Despite what some teach and believe, Job did NOT believe in nor seek their dark mystical power, nor was he committing himself to them. He was saying basically, if he was a curse and a shame to His God, then he would be left abandoned to the powers of darkness to curse him as well.

       

      Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...This is the FIRST mention of this strange creature in the Bible, but Leviathan is mentioned prominently in a long discourse beginning at Job 41:1. Usually Leviathan is considered to be a mythical sea-monster or dragon that terrorized sailors and fishermen.

       

      In Job's present context, the idea may be that even as sailors and fishermen would curse the threatening Leviathan with all their might, so Job wishes the day of his birth would also be cursed.

       

      SMICK tells us, "Current mythology used the term Leviathan for a monster of chaos who lived in the sea, and the Sea itself was a boisterous deity who could be aroused professionally. But to Job, a strict monotheist, this was simply vivid imagery."

       

      AND WE KNOW...The name Leviathan means "twisting one" and is also used in other interesting places in Scripture.

       

      1. Psalm 74:12-14 refers to Leviathan as a sea serpent, and that God broke the head of the Leviathan long ago, perhaps at the creation.

      2. Psalm 104:26 also refers to Leviathan as a sea creature.

      3. Isaiah 27:1 speaks of the future defeat of Leviathan, also associating it with a twisted serpent that lives in the sea.

      4. Isaiah 51:9 and Psalm 89-8-10 also speak of a serpent associated with the sea that God defeated as a demonstration of His great strength, and identifies this serpent with the name Rahab, meaning proud one.

      5. Job 26:12-13 also refers to God's piercing defeat of a fleeing serpent associated with the sea.

       

      AND WE KNOW...Satan is often represented as a dragon or a serpent (Genesis 3; Revelation 12 and 13) and the sea is thought of as a dangerous or threatening place in the Jewish mind (Isaiah 57:20; Mark 4:39; Revelation 21:1). Therefore, Leviathan may be another serpent-like manifestation of Satan, who was the original "Rahab" (proud one).

       

      Verses 11-19 tells us Job longs for the grave as a release from his present misery.

       

      "Why did I not die at birth?

      Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?

      Why did the knees receive me?

      Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?

      For now I would have lain still and been quiet,

      I would have been asleep;

      Then I would have been at rest

      With kings and counselors of the earth,

      Who built ruins for themselves,

      Or with princes who had gold,

      Who filled their houses with silver;

      Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child,

      Like infants who never saw light?

      There the wicked cease from troubling,

      And there the weary are at rest.

      There the prisoners rest together;

      They do not hear the voice of the oppressor.

      The small and great are there,

      And the servant is free from his master."

       

      Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?

       

      Job continued his complaint from his place of misery. Using poetic exaggeration, Job powerfully communicated his present pain and the feeling that it would be much better if he had never survived to face such catastrophe.

       

      It is as if Job said at this point, "I have asked that the day of my birth be obliterated, and that has not and can not happen. So why could I have not been a stillbirth?"

       

      AND WE NEED TO REMEMBER SOMETHING...

       

      It is easy - but very, very wrong - to think and teach and believe that Job was a sinner because he was SO emotional. But the Bible does not present to us a stoic, unfeeling, "stiff upper lip" approach to the problems of life. "It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the startling sentiments expressed in this speech do not mean that Job has cracked under the strain. There is no hint that Satan has finally made his point. . . . Job is, casting all his cares, fears, worries, doubts, pain and sorrows UPON HIS GOD.

       

      For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep:

       

      MANY POINT TO THIS SCRIPTURE AND SAY AND TEACH AND BELIEVE IN "SOUL SLEEP" OR "SUSPENDED STATE" AT EARTHLY DEATH...IN OTHER WORDS OUR SOULS AND BODIES FLOAT ABOUT AWAITING THE RESURRECTION DAY.

       

      WHY IS IT WRONG?

      The idea of soul sleep is wrong because of what Paul clearly wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 - "that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord." Paul understood that if he was not alive on this earth, he would be in the presence of God and not in a suspended state lying in a grave or his soul hovering over the earth. Paul also understood that if he died it would be an IMMEDIATE gain (Philippians 1:21), which also argues against the idea of soul sleep.

       

      We can explain Job's lack of knowledge of the afterlife by understanding the principle of 2 Timothy 2:10: "that Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."

       

      The understanding of immortality was at best cloudy in the Old Testament, but is much clearer in the New Testament.

       

      For example, we can say that Jesus knew fully what He was talking about when He described hell and judgment (such as in Matthew 25:41-46). We therefore rely on the New Testament for our understanding of the afterlife, much more than the Old.

       

      We also understand that this does not in any way take away from the truth of the Bible and the Book of Job. What is true is that Job actually said this and actually believed it; the truth of the statement itself must be evaluated according to the rest of the Bible.

       

      Later, God challenged and corrected Job's presumptuous assertions regarding the afterlife, reminding Job that he did not in fact know that life after death was like (Job 38:2 and 38:17).

       

      There the wicked cease from troubling...

       

      Job was ALSO wrong in this view of the afterlife. He had the feeling that many people have - that the world beyond this is somehow a better place for everyone. In fact, the wicked do NOT cease from troubling in the world beyond; their trouble ONLY increases. The prisoners, those who rejected Jesus Christ in life, become prisoners in the waiting prison of Hell do NOT rest, and perhaps the only voice they hear is that of their oppressor.

       

      AND MANY AGNOSTICS AND ATHEISTS AND OTHER RELIGIOSITIES BELIEVE THIS...THAT DEATH IS AN END...WHETHER GOOD OR BAD PEOPLE. WHEN A PERSON DIES IT IS OVER...ETERNALLY.

       

      This deception is remarkably widespread. One notable RECENT example involves the infamous Columbine murderers, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, who left behind a videotaped document spelling out their motivation. In the last segment of tape, shot the morning of the murders, Harris and Klebold are dressed and say they are ready for "our little Judgment Day." Then Klebold, looking tense, says goodbye to his parents. He concluded, "I didn't like life too much. Just know I am going to a better place than here." Incredibly, these young men believed they were going to a better place.

       

      Yet, we understand that Job was NOT aiming for theological certainty or to explain the afterlife. He SIMPLY poured out the agony of his soul TO GOD.

       

      Verses 20-26 tells us Job laments his state: why go on living?

       

      "Why is light given to him who is in misery,

      And life to the bitter of soul,

      Who long for death, but it does not come,

      And search for it more than hidden treasures;

      Who rejoice exceedingly,

      And are glad when they can find the grave?

      Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,

      And whom God has hedged in?

      For my sighing comes before I eat,

      And my groanings pour out like water.

      For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me,

      And what I dreaded has happened to me.

      I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;

      I have no rest, for trouble comes."

       

      Why is light given to him who is in misery?

       

      Job wondered why God allowed those in misery such as his to go on living, and why life was given to those who were so bitter of soul. It is a moving, poetic expansion of the idea expressed in the previous passage, speculating that death was better than his present misery.

       

      Job was among those who long for death, but it does NOT come. Yet, Job did NOT commit or seem to seriously consider suicide. Again, this was the outpouring of a honest, agonizing soul.

       

      Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in?

       

      AND WE NEED TO SEE AND UNDERSTAND WHERE ALL THIS AGONY AND OUTPOURING OF GRIEF AND WISH THAT HE HAD NOT EVEN BEEN BORN COMES FROM AND WHY...BECAUSE Job's trouble did NOT come because he had lost faith in God. He felt and feared that God had LOST FAITH in him.

       

      ANDERSEN says it well, "His concern from beginning to end is God; not his wealth or his health, but his life with God. It is because he seems to have lost God that he is in such torment."

       

      MASON reminds us, "Never does he whine and wail that the Lord has taken away his children, his servants, his camels, and his building. . . . What Job does begrudge, however, is that he feels to be the loss of his spiritual estate … what he is really bemoaning is the loss of his peace with God - the loss of unbroken fellowship with his Creator, the loss of any felt sense of the Lord's friendship and approval."

       

      "The words are even more bitter, for there is an ironical echo of what the Satan had said in 1:10. The Satan saw God's hedge as a protection; Job finds it a restriction. He feels trapped."

       

      Job, the man here described can see no reason for the trouble he is in; his way is hidden. Yet there was actually a wonderful answer to Job's question, if he could only see it with the eye of faith.

       

      1. God allowed Job to continue on in life to teach a lesson to angelic beings.

      2. God allowed Job to continue on in life to teach him special reliance upon God.

      3. God allowed Job to continue on in life to teach him to NOT regard the wisdom of man so much.

      4. God allowed Job to continue on in life to VINDICATE him before other men.

      5. God allowed Job to continue on in life to make him a lesson and an example for all ages.

      6. God allowed Job to continue on in life to give him more than he ever had before.

      For my sighing comes before I eat, and my groanings pour out like water...

       

      We sense the great emotion in Job's speech. He was not a stoic or concerned with keeping what is known as a "stiff upper lip" in the midst of all his calamity. Such an emotionless Christian life is NEVER presented to us a Biblical ideal.

       

      For the thing that I greatly feared has come upon me...

       

      Job reminds us that before this disaster came to his life, he did NOT live a happy-go-lucky care-free life. He was concerned that trouble might come to him or to his family, so he took precautions before God to prevent it (Job 1:5).

       

      I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes...

       

      With these final four blows of the hammer, Job ends his first speech. Through it all he shows us that even a great man of faith can fall into great depression and despair.

       

      Charles Spurgeon, describe just such a season in his own life: "I was lying upon my couch during this last week, and my spirits were sunken so low that I could weep by the hour like a child, and yet I knew not what I wept for - but a very slight thing will move me to tears just now - and a kind friend was telling me of some poor old soul living near, who was suffering very great pain, and yet she was full of joy and rejoicing. I was so distressed by the hearing of that story, and felt so ashamed of myself, that I did not know what to do; wondering why I should be in such a state as this; while this poor woman, who had a terrible cancer, and was in the most frightful agony, could nevertheless 'rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory.' "

       

      MORGAN says it well too, "Yet, "Such outpouring is a far more healthy thing for the soul than dark and silent brooding."

       

      As the Third Day song, "Cry out to Jesus" says, we are not to brood, hide ourselves away, keep our hurts, fears, sorrows, and pain internalized or seek answers through the limitations of man, family, friends, experts, but just as Job, he poured out his heart to Jesus and as he did, instead of cursing God, as Satan believed and hope, each heart cry of Job was like pouring heaping coals of fire and condemnation upon Satan's head.

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 4:37 PM EDT
    • JOB 4

       

      OPENS WITH THE FIRST SPEECH OF ELIPHAZ

       

      JOB 4 begins a long section in the Book of Job where Job's friends counsel him and he answers them. His friends speak in more or less three rounds, with each speech followed by a reply from Job. At the end of these speeches, God answers Job and his friends and settles the matter.

       

      Verses 1-6 tells us Eliphaz calls upon Job to remember the advice he has given to others as a helper of the weak.

       

      "Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

      "If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary?

      But who can withhold himself from speaking?

      Surely you have instructed many,

      And you have strengthened weak hands.

      Your words have upheld him who was stumbling,

      And you have strengthened the feeble knees;

      But now it comes upon you, and you are weary;

      It touches you, and you are troubled.

      Is not your reverence your confidence?

      And the integrity of your ways your hope?"

       

      Eliphaz was from Teman, an Edomite city that was known as a center of wisdom confirmed to us in Jeremiah 49:7.

       

      If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary?

       

      With this tactful beginning, Eliphaz began his speech. We may say that he had earned the right to speak to Job because, in a remarkable display of friendship, he sat wordless with Job through whole week to show his sympathy and brotherhood with the afflicted man confirmed to us in Job 2:11-13.

       

      But who can withhold himself from speaking?

       

      Eliphaz felt compelled to speak; his love and concern for Job strongly motivated him to help his suffering friend. Nevertheless, it will be later found that the advice of Eliphaz and the rest of Job's counselors WAS WRONG, confirmed to us in Job 42:7-8.

       

      Surely you have instructed many … now it comes upon you, and you are weary:

       

      Eliphaz began to confront Job with what he saw as JOB'S PROBLEM. This took a great deal of courage on the part of Eliphaz; he was the first one to speak, and he spoke to a man with an enviable reputation for godliness and one suffering from terrible calamity.

       

      ANDERSEN says it well, "Already there is insinuation that Job is unable to apply to himself what he preached to others."

       

      Is not your reverence your confidence?

       

      This has the idea of Eliphaz, "Job, does not your despair show that you have lost confidence in your God, your reverence and lost hope in the integrity of your ways?"

       

      This begins a section where Eliphaz (and others) will try to make Job see that his problems have come upon him because of SOME SECRET SIN on his part, and that he should confess and repent of his sin in order to be restored.

       

      Eliphaz began on the basis of Job's complaint as recorded in Job 3. He reasoned that Job would not complain in this way unless he was in some way guilty; that his guilty conscience was the root of his suffering. As it turned out, this was a FALSE assumption. Job's complaint was simply the cry of a life in pain TO HIS GOD and not because Job consciously or unconsciously understood that he deserved this calamity because of his sin.

       

      AND THEN AND NOW...WE HAVE SO CALLED CHRISTIANS, BIBLICAL SCHOLARS, TEACHERS AND PREACHERS OF MANY FALSE RELIGIOSITIES THAT TEACH AS ELIPHA BELIEVED. IN OTHER WORDS, YOU SAY YOU ARE A CHRISTIAN, YOU SAY YOU ARE SAVED, BUT LOOK AT YOUR LIFE. YOU HAVE "SUDDENLY" LOST ALL. YOU ARE DEATHLY ILL. IF YOU WERE REALLY ACCEPTED BY GOD AND REDEEMED BY GOD AND SAVED BY GOD...YOUR LIFE WOULD SHOW IT. YOU WOULD BE HEALTHY, WEALTHY, AND WISE. SO GOD MUST HAVE REJECTED YOU AT WORST AND AT BEST YOU HAVE SOME SECRET EVIL DARK SIN IN YOUR LIFE. SO YOU NEED TO CONFESS IT AND MAYBE, JUST MAYBE GOD WILL FORGIVE YOU AND CLAIM YOU AGAIN AS HIS OWN.

       

      Verses 7-11 tells us Eliphaz explains what he BELIEVES to be the source of Job's troubles.

       

      "Remember now, who ever perished being innocent?

      Or where were the upright ever cut off?

      Even as I have seen,

      Those who plow iniquity

      And sow trouble reap the same.

      By the blast of God they perish,

      And by the breath of His anger they are consumed.

      The roaring of the lion,

      The voice of the fierce lion,

      And the teeth of the young lions are broken.

      The old lion perishes for lack of prey,

      And the cubs of the lioness are scattered."

       

      Who ever perished being innocent?

       

      Here Eliphaz came to the heart of his argument. He boldly said that Job was GUILTY of some sin because HE WRONGLY BELIEVED the innocent do NOT suffer as he had, and the upright are NOT cut off from God as he was.

       

      In this context, CUT OFF means to be forsaken by God and goodness. In later Israel it would often mean to be EXECUTED.

       

      Those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same:

       

      Eliphaz spoke convincingly from his own experience (Even as I have seen). Job was reaping trouble, so he must have plowed sin (iniquity) and sown the seeds of trouble.

       

      The counsel of Eliphaz is full of common sense and rooted in his own observations and experience. Nevertheless, we also know that in Job's case he was wrong and this was the wrong counsel. WE WILL STUDY AND LEARN IN JOB 42:7 WHAT GOD SAYS OF ELIPHAZ AND JOB'S OTHER FRIENDS AND COUNSELORS...THEY ARE ALL VERY VERY WRONG!

       

      SADLY TODAY, MANY MANY PEOPLE AND FALSE RELIGIOSITIES TEACH, PREACH, AND BELIEVE the counsel of Eliphaz, and believe it as an absolute spiritual law instead of a general principle.

       

      Some take the passage from Galatians 6:7: "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, that he will also reap."

       

      Yet it is important to understand the context of Paul's statement, which was encouragement and exhortation for Christians to give materially for the support of their ministers. It is true that the principle of Galatians 6:7 has application beyond giving and supporting teachers and ministers. It has a general application in life; what we get out is often what we put in. Yet Paul did NOT promote some law of spiritual karma that ensures we will get good when we do good things or always get bad when we do bad things.

       

      WHY?

       

      IF THERE WAS SUCH AN ABSOLUTE SPIRITUAL LAW OR KARMA...it would surely **** us all. Instead, Paul simply related the principle of sowing and reaping to the way we manage our resources before the Lord. He used the same picture in 1 Corinthians 9:11 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-10.

       

      AND WE SEE AND WILL LEARN THROUGHOUT JOB, THAT HIS FRIENDS HAVE THEIR OWN CONCEPTS OF WHAT GOD IS AND HOW HE THINKS AND HOW HE RESPONDS.

       

      Job and his friends have built their whole life on the belief that God HELPS THE GOOD PEOPLE AND HINDERS AND REJECTS THE BAD. JOB'S FRIENDS WRONGLY CONCLUDE THAT JOB HAS SINNED GREATLY AND HAS UNREPENTED SIN AND IS REJECTED BY GOD AND THEY BELIEVE ((IF)) JOB IS INNOCENT BEFORE GOD, THEN GOD MUST BE UNJUST.

       

      By the blast of God they perish:

       

      Eliphaz here clearly implied that Job's suffering came as the judgment of God against him; that the breath of His anger burned against Job.

       

      The idea is also that the mere breath of His anger is enough to destroy God's foes.

       

      The teeth of the young lions are broken:

       

      HERE Eliphaz painted the picture of how strong the anger of God is, that it is strong enough to humble and defeat even strong young lions. The idea is that the anger of God has also brought Job low.

       

      Verses 12-16 tells us A SPIRIT comes to Eliphaz by night.

       

      "Now a word was secretly brought to me,

      And my ear received a whisper of it.

      In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night,

      When deep sleep falls on men,

      Fear came upon me, and trembling,

      Which made all my bones shake.

      Then a spirit passed before my face;

      The hair on my body stood up.

      It stood still,

      But I could not discern its appearance.

      A form was before my eyes;

      There was silence;

      Then I heard a voice saying:"

       

      YOU NOTICE WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS...A SPIRIT...A WORD SECRETLY CAME TO ELIPHAZ BY NIGHT.

       

      WE KNOW ONE THING...OUR GOD IS CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE...NO ONE WHO RECEIVES A DREAM, A WORD, OR A COMMAND FROM ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF...IS CONFUSED AND CALLS IT A SECRET WORD OR A SPIRIT.

       

      WE ALSO KNOW FROM THE BIBLE THAT SATAN AND HIS DEMONS WHO ARE CALLED TERRORS OF NIGHT, DO COME AND SPEAK FALSE WORDS AND GIVE FALSE MESSAGES VISIONS, DREAMS AND DO EVEN ILLUSION THEMSELVES TO BE ANGELS OF LIGHT, WHEN THEY ARE NOTHING BUT SPIRITS AND ANGELS OF DEMONS.

       

      AND THE LORD HIMSELF TOLD US IN JOB 1 WHAT SATAN WAS THINKING, PLANNING, AND PLOTTING.

       

      Eliphaz claimed that he received this word in a dream, when deep sleep falls on men, and he received it by a spirit that passed before his face in his dream.

       

      THAT IS WHY IT IS SO IMPORTANT TO READ, STUDY AND MEDIATE ON THE ACTUAL WORDS, THE ARTICLES OF SPEECH IN THE BIBLE.

       

      A SPIRT...A WORD...WHEN WE KNOW THROUGHOUT THE BIBLE, GOD ALWAYS SAYS...THUS SAYS THE LORD...THUS SAYS THE LORD...

       

      SO WE KNOW THAT SATAN SENT THIS DREAM, THIS MESSAGE, THIS VISION TO ELIPHAZ...NOT THE LORD GOD.

       

      A spirit passed before my face:

       

      The words in the following section came to Eliphaz from this strange and mysterious spirit.

       

      SO THIS PASSAGE TEACHES US TO TEST THE SPIRITS...WHETHER THEY COME BY DREAM, WHISPER, VISION...WHATEVER...TEST THE SPIRITS...THE LORD JESUS CAN NOT AND WILL NOT TESTIFY AGAINST HIMSELF. JESUS DOES NOT CHANGE. HIS WORD IS UNCHANGING. SO THEN AND NOW, WE MUST NOT AUTOMATICALLY TAKE EVERY THOUGHT, DREAM, FEELING...AS HAVING COME FROM JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF...IT CAN COME FROM SATAN AND HIS DEMONS...WHOSE FOCUS IS ALWAYS TO SEEK OUT, TO KILL AND DESTROY THE LIFE AND THE LIGHT OF THOSE WHO LOVE JESUS.

       

      SO WHEN DREAMS COME...IF THEY DO COME FROM JESUS CHRIST HIMSELF...THEY WILL BE CONFIRMED AND AFFIRMED IN THE BIBLE...AND IN THE EXACT SAME CONTEXT THAT WE FIND IN THE BIBLE.

       

      BE NOT DECEIVED...

       

      Verses 17-21 tells us What the spirit said.

       

      'Can a mortal be more righteous than God?

      Can a man be more pure than his Maker?

      If He puts no trust in His servants,

      If He charges His angels with error,

      How much more those who dwell in houses of clay,

      Whose foundation is in the dust,

      Who are crushed before a moth?

      They are broken in pieces from morning till evening;

      They perish forever, with no one regarding.

      Does not their own excellence go away?

      They die, even without wisdom.' "

       

      Can a mortal be more righteous than God?

       

      Eliphaz called attention to the common sinfulness of man. The idea is clear: "Job, we all sin. There is no great shame in admitting that you have sinned and that is why this calamity has come upon you."

       

      If He charges His angels with error, how much more those who dwell in houses of clay:

       

      Eliphaz made this interesting comment to point out man's spiritual and moral frailty. He noted that even angels had fallen into error, therefore it should surprise no one that man - including Job - has also fallen into error.

       

      AND WE NEED TO REMEMBER....GOD HIMSELF TELLS US OF JOB, HE AUTHORED THE BOOK OF JOB....JOB HAS NO IDEA WHAT HAS OCCURRED IN HEAVEN, BETWEEN GOD AND SATAN, TOLD TO US IN JOB 1 AND JOB 2.

       

      BUT IT IS INTERESTING...This statement hit closer to THE REAL truth than Eliphaz could know. It WAS one of these angels charged with error - Satan himself - who was the REAL cause of Job's calamity.

      Satan also led a large number of angelic beings into rebellion against God, confirmed to us in Revelation 12:4, 12:9. The Bible also says that in the age to come, redeemed man will in some way judge these fallen angels (1 Corinthians 6:3). Eliphaz was correct on this point: He charges His angels with error.

       

      MORGAN reminds us, "Eliphaz had no knowledge of those secret councils in heaven, and was making the mistake of attempting to press all things into the compass of his philosophy."

       

      AND WHAT WE LEARN IN JOB 4 IS THIS....ELIPHAZ, THINKS HIMSELF WISE AND GIVING GODLY COUNSEL TO JOB. WE NOTICE ELIPHAZ DOES NOT PRAY TO GOD OR TALK TO GOD ABOUT JOB, AS HE SHOULD.

       

      MACLAREN adds, "He is so carried along on the waves of his own eloquence, and so absorbed in the stringing together the elements of an artistic whole, that he forgets the very sorrows which he came to comfort."

       

      ELIPHAZ HAS THE OPPORTUNITY TO SEEK GOD'S FACE AND HIS WISDOM AND TO PRAY FOR AND COMFORT AND SUPPORT JOB, BUT HE DOES NOT.

       

      INSTEAD, THIS IS HIS MOMENT TO SEEM WISE OF COUNSEL AND HAVING THE EAR OF GOD. HE DOES NOT QUESTION THE SPIRIT, THE WORD, THE VISION COMING TO HIM, WHETHER IT COMES FROM HEAVEN OR HELL.

       

      HE SIMPLY CHOOSES TO SPEAK IT AS TRUTH AND WISDOM OF GOD AND FROM HIS OWN IDEOLOGIES OF WHO AND WHAT OUR GOD IS.

       

      AND ELIPHAZ, UNKNOWINGLY SPEAKS THE WORDS GIVEN HIM, WHICH DRIVE AND TWIST THE KNIFE INTO JOB'S HURTING HEART AND TORTURED MIND. ELIPHAZ IS SO EXCITED WITH THE WHISPERED WORD AND VISION AND WISDOM HE BELIEVES HE SOLELY HAS FROM GOD, AND SAYS HE RECEIVED, THAT HE DOES NOT REMEMBER HIS PURPOSE FOR COMING...COMFORT AND SUPPORT HIS HURTING FRIEND JOB.

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 4:34 PM EDT
    • JOB 5

       

      OPENS WITH ELIPHAZ CONTINUES HIS SPEECH AND EXPLAINS THE CAUSE OF JOB'S TROUBLES

       

       

      Verses 1-7 tells us Eliphaz appeals to common wisdom.

       

      "Call out now;

      Is there anyone who will answer you?

      And to which of the holy ones will you turn?

      For wrath kills a foolish man,

      And envy slays a simple one."

       

      Call out now; is there anyone who will answer you?

       

      Eliphaz begged his friend Job to listen to reason and to agree with the COMMON WISDOM regarding Job and his problem. If he would merely consult any godly person, they would tell him the same as Eliphaz did (to which of the holy ones will you turn?)

       

      For wrath kills a foolish man...

       

      Eliphaz did NOT directly accuse Job; he more suggested that Job do all he could to NOT be like a foolish man who would be killed by wrath.

       

      Verses 3-7 tells us The fate of the foolish man.

       

      "I have seen the foolish taking root,

      But suddenly I cursed his dwelling place.

      His sons are far from safety,

      They are crushed in the gate,

      And there is no deliverer.

      Because the hungry eat up his harvest,

      Taking it even from the thorns,

      And a snare snatches their substance.

      For affliction does not come from the dust,

      Nor does trouble spring from the ground;

      Yet man is born to trouble,

      As the sparks fly upward."

       

      His sons are far from safety...

       

      These were backhanded references to Job and his own sons. Eliphaz argued that the fact that such GREAT disaster fell upon them proves that they WERE foolish and in sin.

       

      Again, we notice Eliphaz's frame of reference...

       

      I have seen. He speaks from his own experience and observation on life.

       

      His sons are far from safety, they are crushed in the gate, and there is not deliverer...

       

      DID YOU KNOW...There is reference here to a custom that in the Eastern countries the court-house, or tribunal of justice, was at the GATE of the city; here the magistrates attended, and the plaintiff and defendant came for justice.

       

      Affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble spring from the ground...

       

      Eliphaz believed that this trouble did NOT come to Job from nowhere; it did NOT just spring from the ground. The implication is clear: this affliction came upon Job from God.

       

      IN OTHER WORDS....JOB SOWED THE SEEDS OF HIS AND HIS FAMILY'S TROUBLE AND DESTRUCTION.

       

      Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward...

       

      This point connects with the one Eliphaz just made. Trouble does NOT come to man from nowhere; it comes as a judgment from God, or at least because man has sown trouble so now he reaps it. Since just as it is true that as the sparks fly upward, it is also true that man is born to trouble, then it can also be said that all men sin and deserve the affliction and trouble that comes to them.

       

      Verses 8-16 tells us Eliphaz defends and praises God's omnipotence and justice.

       

      "But as for me, I would seek God,

      And to God I would commit my cause;

      Who does great things, and unsearchable,

      Marvelous things without number.

      He gives rain on the earth,

      And sends waters on the fields.

      He sets on high those who are lowly,

      And those who mourn are lifted to safety.

      He frustrates the devices of the crafty,

      So that their hands cannot carry out their plans.

      He catches the wise in their own craftiness,

      And the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them.

      They meet with darkness in the daytime,

      And grope at noontime as in the night.

      But He saves the needy from the sword,

      From the mouth of the mighty, And from their hand.

      So the poor have hope,

      And injustice shuts her mouth."

       

      As for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause:

       

      Eliphaz TRIED to say it tactfully, yet he still said it - that Job was NOT seeking God and was NOT committing his cause to God in his affliction.

       

      Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number...

       

      According to the counsel of Eliphaz, this is why Job should seek God and commit his way to Him. It is because God is a great God, great in both His power over creation (He gives rain on the earth) and in His moral justice (he frustrates the devices of the crafty … injustice shuts her mouth).

       

      Again, the implication is clear.

       

      Eliphaz believed that the justice of God, at this present time, worked AGAINST Job because Job was in sin and REFUSED to see it. Yet if Job would only see this and repent, perhaps the justice of God would once again work on his behalf.

       

      ii. "These lines are a fine example of hymn genre in OT poetry. A similar creedal hymn appears in Isaiah 44:24-28. That is why the apostle Paul could cite a line from Job 5:13 in 1 Corinthians 3:19: 'He catches the wise in their craftiness.' But in Eliphaz's case what is absolutely true is misapplied. Great truths misapplied ONLY hurt more those who are already hurting.

       

      He saves the needy from the sword, from the mouth of the mighty...

       

      "Thus the meaning is the same as in Psalm 57:4; 55:21; 64:3. . . . 'Mouth' is put for the edge of the sword."

       

      Verses 17-26 tells us Eliphaz attributes Job's suffering to God's chastening for sin in his life.

       

      "Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects;

      Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.

      For He bruises, but He binds up;

      He wounds, but His hands make whole.

      He shall deliver you in six troubles,

      Yes, in seven no evil shall touch you.

      In famine He shall redeem you from death,

      And in war from the power of the sword.

      You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue,

      And you shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes.

      You shall laugh at destruction and famine,

      And you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

      For you shall have a covenant with the stones of the field,

      And the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.

      You shall know that your tent is in peace;

      You shall visit your dwelling and find nothing amiss.

      You shall also know that your descendants shall be many,

      And your offspring like the grass of the earth.

      You shall come to the grave at a full age,

      As a sheaf of grain ripens in its season."

       

      Happy is the man whom God corrects...

       

      With poetic power, Eliphaz emphasized his point that Job's problems are because God corrects His sinful children, and Job is one of those sinful children.

       

      Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty...

       

      Eliphaz did not wish to push Job into despair. He believed that Job should not despise this correcting work in his life, but instead humble himself under it, forsake his sin, and learn from it.

       

      He bruises, but He binds up … He shall deliver you in six troubles...

       

      Eliphaz wanted to encourage Job further. "Job, God will heal your wounds and deliver you if you will confess your sin and turn to Him."

       

      Eliphaz continued and described in detail all the blessings of restoration that would come to Job's life if he would only repent and turn to God (you shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue … you shall laugh at destruction and famine … you shall know that your tent is in peace, and so on).

       

      SPURGEON says, "Even as the color of the wheat is golden, so that it looks more beauteous than when the greenness of its verdure is on it, so the gray-headed man has a crown of glory on his head. He is glorious in his weakness, more than the young man in his strength, or the maiden in her beauty. Is not a shock of corn a beautiful picture of the state of man, moreover, because very soon it must be taken home? The reaper is coming."

       

      Verse 27 tells us Eliphaz declares his confidence in HIS words.

       

      "Behold, this we have searched out;

      It is true.

      Hear it, and know for yourself."

       

      Behold, this we have searched out...

       

      Eliphaz wanted to persuade Job, so he gave his statement the authority of communal knowledge (we have searched out). "Job, we all together here - your friends and counselors - have investigated this carefully and WE KNOW what we are talking about."

       

      ANDERSEN says it well, "It is worthy to remember that the Lord singled Eliphaz out at the end of the book for a SPECIAL REBUKE: the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has" (Job 42:7).

       

      Eliphaz's fault is not that his doctrine is unsound; it is his ineptness as a counselor. True words may be thin medicine for a man in the depths.

       

      BRADLEY says it well, "One thing is clear. The words of Eliphaz, however well meant, fall wide of their mark. Truth after truth has been uttered by him. But these truths bring no comfort or conviction to his afflicted friend. To him this wholesome food seems poison."

       

      It is true:

       

      Eliphaz said this LIE with ABSOLUTE confidence. "Job, God's principle of cause and effect together with your reaction to your calamity proves that you were and are in sin and you must repent to be restored."

       

      To Eliphaz and the rest of Job's friends this was so obvious that it did not need to be proven; he simply confidently declared, "It is true."

       

      AND SADLY, WE NOTICE ELIPHAZ DOES NOT LIFT ONE PRAYER TO GOD. NOT ONE HEART CRY FOR GOD'S WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT. NOT ONE INTERCESSION. HE THOUGHT HIS WISDOM AND COMMON SENSE MORE THAN ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH JOB'S PROBLEMS.

       

      SMICK says it well, "It is not what Eliphaz knew that is wrong; it is what he was ignorant of - God's hidden purpose - that made all his beautiful poetry and grand truth only a snare to Job."

       

      Similarly, so much of the advice that Eliphaz and the other friends dole out is more than useless, it is a lie.

       

      AND DO YOU NOTICE AS I FINALLY DID...Eliphaz preaches a God who can be figured out. For Eliphaz, there are NO unknowns behind the scenes; there is NO drama or purpose in the heavens that motivate what God does and what He allows to be done. However, we know this heavenly drama from the first two chapters, and we see how SELF-IMPRESSED and unknowing the counsel of Eliphaz was. Job did NOT know what we know, but he could feel that the counsel of Eliphaz was wrong in his situation.

       

      Preconceptions exist in our own head; if we start out with the preconception that God will never allow the innocent to perish and then we see a righteous man perishing, we will have to say, 'You cannot be a righteous man, because my preconception tells me that if you were, God would not allow you to suffer; therefore you are proved to be a bad man.

       

      CHAMBERS reminds, "It was this exact reasoning on the part of the religious authorities of Jesus' day that motivated them to put him on the cross, and to mock Him at His crucifixion."

       

      The famous atheist Huxley said, "I object to Christians - they know too much about God."

       

      So did Eliphaz and his friends THINK THEY KNEW ALL ABOUT GOD.

       

      If the study of the Book of Job is making us MORE reverent with what we do NOT understand, we are gaining insight.

       

      Hear it, and know for yourself...

       

      In the mind of Eliphaz, Job only needed to accept these obvious truths in order to find the answers to his current crisis.

       

      MACLAREN says it well, "The speech of Elipha ends with a somewhat self-complacent exhortation to the poor, tortured man: 'We have searched it, so it is.' We wise men pledge our wisdom and our reputation that this is true. Great is authority. An ounce of sympathy would have done more to commend the doctrine than a ton of dogmatic self-confidence."

       

      MASON says it well, "It is one of the supreme ironies of this book that only after the arrival of these three bosom friends of his does Job really lose a grip on himself and fall off the edge into despair. Their pedantic theology, their reforming zeal, and their subtle slights are more than the poor man can take, and undoubtedly this backhanded betrayal by his friends is Job's final and most severe trial."

       

      WE ARE LEARNING FROM THESE FRIENDS OF JOB, THE OLD ADAGE IS TRUE, WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES. WE ARE LEARNING THAT OUR OWN WISDOM AND DISCERNMENT AT ITS VERY BEST IS FLAWED...DANGEROUS. WE ARE LEARNING TO DO WHAT THESE FRIENDS DID NOT DO...THEY DID NOT PRAY TO GOD OR FOR JOB. THEY DID NOT SEEK GOD'S FACE, HIS LEADING, HIS GUIDING, AND HIS WISDOM.

       

      THEY BELIEVED THEMSELVES TO BE WISE IN THEIR OWN EYES, AND THEIR ARROGANCE, THEIR OWN PRIDE, THEIR OWN LACK OF HUMILITY, AND THEIR LACK OF JESUS COMPASSION AND LOVE AND CARE, DID AND WILL DO MORE HARM TO JOB THAN ALL THE TRAGEDIES THAT SATAN BROUGHT TO HIM.

       

      AND WE KNOW, THAT WHETHER THEY KNOW IT OR NOT, THEY ARE BEING LED BY WHISPERS FROM SATAN, WHO IS ENCOURAGING THEIR ARROGANCE, THEIR PRIDE, AND THEIR OWN SELF-PERCEIVED WISDOM TO FURTHER HARM JOB'S HEART AND MAKE THE BATTLE OF HIS OWN MIND AND HEART AND SOUL MUCH MORE VICIOUS.

       

    • November 3, 2016 4:33 PM EDT
    • JOB 6

       

      OPENS WITH JOB REPLIES TO ELIPHAZ: "WHAT DOES YOUR ARGUMENTS/WISDOM PROVE?"

       

      Verses 1-7 tells us Job explains his rash words.

       

      "Then Job answered and said:

      "Oh, that my grief were fully weighed,

      And my calamity laid with it on the scales!

      For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;

      Therefore my words have been rash.

      For the arrows of the Almighty are within me;

      My spirit drinks in their poison;

      The terrors of God are arrayed against me.

      Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass,

      Or does the ox low over its fodder?

      Can flavorless food be eaten without salt?

      Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

      My soul refuses to touch them;

      They are as loathsome food to me."

       

      Job's friends were kind enough to sit with him in sympathetic silence for some seven days (Job 2:13). Job broke his the silence with an anguished cry and casting his cares upon His God rant (Job 3), and Eliphaz responded with a poetic call to repentance (Job 4-5). Now Job will answer the words of Eliphaz the Temanite.

       

      IF WE HAD ANY DOUBT THAT ELIPHAZ words of personal wisdom and rebuke hurt Job, Job's first response to the words of Eliphaz were to complain about the greatness of his suffering, because Eliphaz only made his suffering worse, with his well-intentioned but wrong analysis of Job's problem.

       

      This was not only Job's feeling; it was also the judgment of God as revealed at the end of the Book of Job, where He said of Eliphaz and Job's other counselors: You have not spoken of Me what is right, as My servant Job has (Job 42:7).

       

      Therefore my words have been rash...

       

      Job's out cries to His God in Job 3, did not curse God, but Job here now admits that his words were indeed rash, but explained that it was because of the excessive heaviness of his grief. Basically saying he would have been far better served to NOT have cried out to His God in the presence of these 3 friends.

       

       

      The arrows of the Almighty are within me...

       

      Job explained why his suffering was so deep because he felt that God Himself had attacked and cursed him. He felt that he had FAILED AND DISPLEASED IN SOME WAY, AND that God had shot arrows at him; had sent poison against him; and had arrayed His terrors against Job.

       

      Can flavorless food be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

       

      WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

       

      Job described how the words of Eliphaz "tasted" to him. They were weak and flavorless, and certainly did NOT give Job any health or strength.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "The speech, also, to which Job had listened from Eliphaz the Temanite did not put much sweetness into his mouth; for it was devoid of sympathy and consolation. If you read it at home you will see that it was worthy to be the first of a singular selection of galling utterances. . . . He had spoken as harshly and severely as if he were a judge addressing a criminal who was suffering no more than he deserved."

       

      Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass?

       

      Job insisted that he had REASON for his grief and crying out to His God. In other words, he is telling Eliphaz he is NOT crying out to His God without reason.

       

      Verses 8-10 tells us Job longs for God to grant the escape of death.

       

      "Oh, that I might have my request,

      That God would grant me the thing that I long for!

      That it would please God to crush me,

      That He would loose His hand and cut me off!

      Then I would still have comfort;

      Though in anguish, I would exult,

      He will not spare;

      For I have not concealed the words of the Holy One."

       

      Job returns to the theme of his complaint to His God from Job 3, where he mourned the day of his birth and believed he would be better off dead. Though Job never seems to have contemplated suicide, he wished God Himself would end his life.

       

      MORGAN says it very well of this scripture, "When the answer does not come, when instead of the release of cutting off, we have the continuity of pain, and a great silence, then let us remember this story: and remain confident that there is some explanation, and that when it comes, we shall thank God that He did not give us our request."

       

      I have not concealed the words of the Holy One...

       

      Here Job ONCE AGAIN INSISTS on his basic innocence before God. The calamity in his life was not due to some sin such as concealing the words of the Holy One, which means Job did NOT DENY NOR DISOBEY the words of the Holy One.

       

      SMICK says it well, "He would have one consolation left before he died - that he had not denied the words of the Holy One, though he emphatically rejected the words of Eliphaz."

       

      Verses 11-13 tells us Job laments his weakness.

       

      "What strength do I have, that I should hope?

      And what is my end, that I should prolong my life?

      Is my strength the strength of stones?

      Or is my flesh bronze?

      Is my help not within me?

      And is success driven from me?"

       

      Job reflected that he was FACING AND FIGHTING AGAINST the FEELINGS of hopelessness of the severe and chronic sufferer. Sensing no inner strength to meet the present and future challenges.

       

      Is my help not within me?

       

      We should NOT think that Job is like a motivational self-help speaker encouraging himself to looking within for a hidden resource of help. Instead these words from the pain-wracked man sitting on a burned-out place in a garbage dump indicate Job's absolute sense of helplessness. AND JOB KNOWS...IF HIS ONLY HELP WILL COME FROM HIS OWN SUFFERING, WEAK BODY, then he has no help. Indeed, all success is driven from him.

       

      SMICK adds, "The words of Job can bring immense comfort for the simple reason that many sufferers have felt rage but have been too ashamed to express it."

       

      Verses 14-23 tells us Job criticizes Eliphaz and defends himself.

       

      "To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend,

      Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.

      My brothers have dealt deceitfully like a brook,

      Like the streams of the brooks that pass away,

      Which are dark because of the ice,

      And into which the snow vanishes.

      When it is warm, they cease to flow;

      When it is hot, they vanish from their place.

      The paths of their way turn aside,

      They go nowhere and perish.

      The caravans of Tema look,

      The travelers of Sheba hope for them.

      They are disappointed because they were confident;

      They come there and are confused.

      For now you are nothing,

      You see terror and are afraid.

      Did I ever say, 'Bring something to me'?

      Or, 'Offer a bribe for me from your wealth'?

      Or, 'Deliver me from the enemy's hand'?

      Or, 'Redeem me from the hand of oppressors'?"

       

      YOU KNOW...ALL THAT JOB HAS LOST, ALL THE SUFFERINGS AND PAIN HE IS NOW DEALING WITH...JOB MAY BE DOWN...BUT HE IS NOT OUT.

       

      JOB QUIETLY YET FIRMLY PUTS ELIPHAZ IN HIS PLACE!

       

      Kindness should be shown by his friend..

       

      Job here made his most basic accusation against Eliphaz. "You should show me kindness, even if were true that I had forsaken the fear of the Almighty."

       

      My brothers have dealt deceitfully like a brook...

       

      Even though only Eliphaz had previously spoken, Job addressed his brothers collectively. Either this was out of politeness (not wanting to single out Eliphaz), or because Job believed that the attitude and silence of his other companions meant they agreed with Eliphaz. Job accused them of being as unreliable as a snow-fed stream that vanishes when it is hot.

       

      For now you are nothing, you see terror and are afraid...

       

      Verse 21 is the climax of Job's reaction to his friends' counsel. They offered NO help. The verse is like a sermon about the special strength needed to be willing to make oneself available when we see others in a truly dreadful condition.

       

      Did I ever say...

       

      Job was NOT asking his friends to pay him money or to ransom him from kidnappers. All he wanted was some words of comfort, support, prayers for him, godly counsel and he heard NONE.

       

      Verses 24-30 tells us Job challenges his friends to point out his error and lack of discernment.

       

      "Teach me, and I will hold my tongue;

      Cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

      How forceful are right words!

      But what does your arguing prove?

      Do you intend to rebuke my words,

      And the speeches of a desperate one, which are as wind?

      Yes, you overwhelm the fatherless,

      And you undermine your friend.

      Now therefore, be pleased to look at me;

      For I would never lie to your face.

      Yield now, let there be no injustice!

      Yes, concede, my righteousness still stands!

      Is there injustice on my tongue?

      Cannot my taste discern the unsavory?"

       

      Do you intend to rebuke my words, and the speeches of a desperate one...

       

      Job believed that Eliphaz was unduly harsh in his reply and failed to see that his Job's heart cry to His God was TO HIS GOD, and not some MINDLESS rant to his friends recorded in chapter 3.

       

      AND JOB has sat through Eliphaz speech and condemnation and worldly wisdom...not godly wisdom and listened to the dialogue they make veiled accusations, deliver general moral pronouncements. But all their insinuations are without substance, and by way of actually identifying and getting at the root of Job's problem … the best they can do is suggest that his 'attitude' is all wrong.

       

      IN OTHER WORDS, JOB SAYS Eliphaz, in his insensitivity, acted as if Job's words were as wind.

       

      Instead of comforting Job, Eliphaz was as bad as someone who would overwhelm the fatherless and undermine his friend. "Now he seems to retaliate with charges of his own: You would even gamble over an orphan and bargain over your friend. This is pretty rough stuff. There is no more indication that the friends gambled for orphans than there is that Job asked for bribes. Perhaps this is what Job is getting at. But their relationship has certainly deteriorated.

       

      AND IS THAT NOT HUMAN NATURE...AND DO WE NOT REALLY KNOW WHO OUR TRUE BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN JESUS ARE...UNTIL WE FACE ILLNESS, HURT, SHAME, OR ADVERSITY?

       

      TRUE FRIENDS WHO TRULY KNOW YOU...AND LOVE YOU ANY WAY...AND THEY ARE NOT SO WORLDLY FOCUSED AND WEAK IN HEART AND MIND THAT THEY WOULD INSTANTLY BELIEVE EVERY LIE, WHISPER, GOSSIP OR ACCUSSATION OR ASSUMPTION MADE AND BROUGHT AGAINST YOU.

       

      Now therefore, be pleased to look at me...

       

      THIS TELLS US THAT THROUGHOUT JOB'S speech the friends have been hanging their heads and refusing to meet his gaze, while in an odd reversal of roles the sick man now holds his head high and looks his sleek and healthy inquisitors straight in the eye.

       

      Yes, concede, my righteousness still stands!

       

      Job very much wanted Eliphaz and his other friends to see that his present calamity was NOT judgment for some grievous (though hidden) sin.

       

      The words "teach me," "cause me," "what does your arguing prove," and "concede" are all demands for evidence and proof. "He turns to Eliphaz and says, 'You say that I AM suffering because of sin, but you have NEVER pointed anything out specifically. Teach me and tell me what my sin is. But until you do, there's no proof of your argument.

       

      Because we know the story-behind-the-story from Job 1 and 2, we understand this to be true. Yet Job's friends have a very hard time believing this, and will continue the contention with Job over this point.

       

      Is there injustice on my tongue? Cannot my taste discern the unsavory? Previously in this chapter Job has represented the words of Eliphaz as bits of food; bits that were very unsatisfying to Job in his present suffering.

       

      - According to the analogy of animals, if the words of Eliphaz had comforted and satisfied Job, he would not have cried out as he did in Job 3 and Job 6:5.

      - The words of Eliphaz were like flavorless food (Job 6:6)

      - The words of Eliphaz were like rotten, loathsome food (Job 6:7)

      - Job can discern the unsavory character of the words of Eliphaz (Job 6:30).

       

      IS IT NOT AMAZING...WE ARE BEGINNING TO SEE WHY GOD BRAGGED AND HAD SUCH FAITH IN HIS RIGHTEOUS SERVANT JOB BEFORE SATAN AND HIS DEMON ANGELS.

       

      EVEN WITH ALL THAT HAS HIT JOB...HE PRAYS AND CRIES OUT TO GOD. HE KNOWS THAT HE HAS KEPT PRAYERFUL SHORT ACCOUNTS WITH HIS GOD. EVEN WITH SUCH UNSPEAKABLE PAIN IN HEART, MIND, AND BODY, HE KNOWS HIS GOD. HE CAN STILL KNOW, DISCERN, AND UNDERSTAND THAT HIS FRIENDS ARE WRONG...THEIR ATTITUDES, THEIR BEHAVIORS, AND THEIR WORDS AND ACTIONS ARE NOT GODLY.

       

      AND I LOVE THAT JOB LIFTS HIS HEAD, LOOKS HIS FRIENDS IN THE EYE, AND TELLS THEM THE GODLY TRUTH AND EXPOSES THEIR WORDS AND THEIR ACTIONS AND THEIR ATTITUDES AS NOT THAT OF A FRIEND, MUCH LESS GODLY COUNSELORS AT ALL.

       

      JOB, UNLIKE US, WHO HAVE READ AND KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON IN HEAVEN AND ON EARTH, FROM READING JOB 1 AND JOB 2, WHERE ALMIGHTY GOD TELLS US WHAT IS HAPPENING...JOB HAS NO CLUE. HE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND ANYTHING THAT HAS HAPPENED AND COME UPON HIM, BUT HE KNOWS HIS GOD HAS AN UNSEEN REASON AND UNSEEN PURPOSE FOR IT ALL.

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 4:32 PM EDT
    • JOB 7

       

      OPENS WITH NO RESPONSE TO ELIPHAZ, JOB CRIES OUT TO GOD

       

      Verses 1-5 tells us The hard service of Job's comfortless suffering.

       

      "Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth?

      Are not his days also like the days of a hired man?

      Like a servant who earnestly desires the shade,

      And like a hired man who eagerly looks for his wages,

      So I have been allotted months of futility,

      And wearisome nights have been appointed to me.

      When I lie down, I say,

      'When shall I arise,

      And the night be ended?'

      For I have had my fill of tossing till dawn.

      My flesh is caked with worms and dust,

      My skin is cracked and breaks out afresh."

       

       

      I have been allotted months of futility...

       

      Job sees his present suffering like the futile, discouraging work of a servant or a hired man. He felt there was no hope or reward, only weariness.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The words HARD SERVICE in Job 7:1 are descriptive of MILITARY service.

       

      The Latin Vugate translates, The life of man is a WARFARE upon earth.

      The early English Coverdale translation has it, Is not the life of man upon earth a VERY BATTLE?

       

      With this Job communicated both the struggle of life, together with the idea that he has been DRAFTED unwillingly into this battle.

       

      Wearisome nights have been appointed to me...

       

      Job described his physical condition in painful terms. He suffered from insomnia and his skin affliction came back again and again.

       

      So must so that worms have caked his skin, and we know worms like to eat dying and dead flesh.

       

      Verses 6-10 tells us Job mourns the futility of life.

       

      "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,

      And are spent without hope.

      Oh, remember that my life is a breath!

      My eye will never again see good.

      The eye of him who sees me will see me no more;

      While your eyes are upon me, I shall no longer be.

      As the cloud disappears and vanishes away,

      So he who goes down to the grave does not come up.

      He shall never return to his house,

      Nor shall his place know him anymore."

       

      My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle...

       

      Job did not mean this in a positive sense, as in saying "My, look how fast the time is going by." In this season of affliction time is DRAGGING BY by for Job through his sleepless and painful nights.

       

      Worse than the disease itself, Job HAS LITTLE HOPE of being healed. He believed his only release from pain was death.

       

      So he who goes down to the grave does not come up...

       

      This is one of Job's statements about the afterlife that are sprinkled throughout the book. These statements are a combination of uncertainty (as here) and triumphant confidence (as in Job 19:25-26).

       

       

      Verses 11-16 tells us Job's POURS OUT HIS ANGUISH TO GOD.

       

      "Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;

      I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;

      I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

      Am I a sea, or a sea serpent,

      That You set a guard over me?

      When I say, 'My bed will comfort me,

      My couch will ease my complaint,'

      Then You scare me with dreams

      And terrify me with visions,

      So that my soul chooses strangling

      And death rather than my body.

      I loathe my life;

      I would not live forever.

      Let me alone,

      For my days are but a breath."

       

      Job here cried out to God, first wondering if he were not a dangerous creature (as sea, or a sea serpent) that needed to be guarded and restrained by God.

       

      SPURGEON explains it well, "We hear of persons being 'shadowed' by the police, and certain people feel as if they were shadowed by God; they are mysteriously tracked by the great Spirit, and they know and feel it. Wherever they go, an eye is upon them, and they cannot hide from it."

       

      AND JOB'S ANALOGY IS ACCURATE OF MANKIND...

       

      WHY?

       

      We are more like the sea than we would like to admit.

       

      1. The sea is restless, and so is our nature.

      2. The sea can be furious and terrible, and so can we.

      3. The sea can never be satisfied, and neither can sinful man.

      4. The sea is mischievous and destructive, and so is sinful man.

      5. The sea will not obey, and neither will sinful man.

       

      Job's words here remind us of something remarkable. Though his physical suffering was intense and prolonged, Job's greatest troubles were inward. Job's spiritual crisis was deeper than his physical or material crisis.

       

      You scare me with dreams...

       

      DO YOU NOTICE....SATAN EVEN TROUBLED HIS DREAMS....Job was denied even the comfort of sleep and rest. When he did lay down to sleep (upon his bed or couch), he was disturbed with nightmarish dreams and terrifying visions.

       

      So that my soul chooses strangling …

       

      Job's condition is so miserable that, at this point, his soul would prefer the release of death. Job cries out...God leave me alone and let me die.

       

      Verses 17-21 tells us Job appeals to God: "Have I sinned?"

       

      "What is man, that You should exalt him,

      That You should set Your heart on him,

      That You should visit him every morning,

      And test him every moment?

      How long?

      Will You not look away from me,

      And let me alone till I swallow my saliva?

      Have I sinned?

      What have I done to You, O watcher of men?

      Why have You set me as Your target,

      So that I am a burden to myself?

      Why then do You not pardon my transgression,

      And take away my iniquity?

      For now I will lie down in the dust,

      And You will seek me diligently,

      But I will no longer be."

       

      Job felt at this moment that God's attention was unwelcome. If all his calamity was from the hand of God, Job wondered why God could not simply leave him alone.

       

      The language of verse 17 is too similar to that of Psalm 8 to be a coincidence.

      Scholars are divided as to which came first. It would seem best to say that the lines from Job came first, and that David in Psalm 8 re-worked Job's painful theme into one filled with praise.

       

      Job asked, "What is man?" but he didn't wait for the answer. "Man is more than we guess, else God would never take such time and pains with him.

       

      Till I swallow my saliva...

      Job wondered why God could not look away from him for just the smallest moment...one moment of relief.

       

      What have I done to You, O watcher of men?

       

      Job could not understand why he seemed to be God's target; and if Job had sinned to cause all his suffering, he asked God "Why then do You not pardon my transgression?"

       

      Job was so honest with God in passages like Job 7:20 seem to have been altered by Jewish scribes who were uncomfortable with his bold honesty with God.

       

      Ancient scribal transcripts show the original reading to be: Have I become a burden to you?

       

      Yet the original text shows how deep Job's grief is, feeling himself to be a burden to God.

       

      Once more we benefit from know the story-behind-the-story, which Job and his friends do not know at this point in the narrative. Job believed that God was punishing him, but it was NOT true.

       

      Job was not being punished; he was being honored.

       

      God was giving to him a name like that of the great ones of the earth.

       

      The Lord was lifting him up, promoting him, putting him into the front rank, making a great saint of him, causing him to become one of the fathers and patterns in the ancient Church of God.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "God was really doing for Job such extraordinarily good things that you or I, in looking back upon his whole history, might well say, 'I would be quite content to take Job's afflictions if I might also have Job's grace, and Job's place in the Church of God."

       

      Now I will lie down in the dust, and You will seek me diligently, but I will no longer be...

       

      Job wished he could escape by going to the dust (his grave).

       

      ANDERSEN reminds us well, "All Job has known about God he still believes. But God's inexplicable ways have his mind perplexed to the breaking-point. Job is in the right; but he does not know that God is watching with silent compassion and admiration until the test is fully done and it is time to state His approval publicly (Job 42:8)."

       

      MASON closes this chapter well, "We like to talk about 'having the faith to be healed,' but what about having the faith to be sick?"

       

    • November 3, 2016 4:30 PM EDT
    • JOB 8

       

      OPENS WITH BILDAD REBUKES JOB

       

      Verses 1-7 tells us If Job was righteous, God would bless and defend him.

       

      "Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

      "How long will you speak these things,

      And the words of your mouth be like a strong wind?

      Does God subvert judgment?

      Or does the Almighty pervert justice?

      If your sons have sinned against Him,

      He has cast them away for their transgression.

      If you would earnestly seek God

      And make your supplication to the Almighty,

      If you were pure and upright,

      Surely now He would awake for you,

      And prosper your rightful dwelling place.

      Though your beginning was small,

      Yet your latter end would increase abundantly."

       

      How long will you speak these things...

       

      Bildad (whom some think was a descendant of Shuah, Abraham's son by Keturah, as in Genesis 24:1-2) now speaks. He rebuked Job for Job's rebuke of Eliphaz who had previously rebuked Job. Bildad dismissed Job's defense as recorded in Job 6-7 as a strong wind.

       

      Bildad does not begin as courteously as Eliphaz, but accuses Job bluntly of being a windbag, vehement but empty.

       

      There is not a word of apology, or any touch of friendly sympathy. There is no attempt to soothe and calm the sufferer.

       

      If Eliphaz strikes us as the most refined member of this group, comparatively flexible and sophisticated, the Bildad the Shuhite comes across as the staunch, ramrod traditionalist, the one who sees all issues in black and white and who prides himself on his straightforward, non-nonsense approach.

       

      Bildad was quick to rebuke Job for his strong words; but he did not stop to consider why Job spoke this way. He heard Job's words but did not consider his pain.

       

      Does the Almighty pervert justice?

       

      Bildad's confidence is in the justice of God; in the idea that Job could only receive such calamity from God as the punishment for some sin.

       

      Bildad was brash enough to throw the death of Job's sons before his face (If you sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression). There is not only steely indifference to Job's plight but an arrogant certainty that Job's children got just what they deserved and that Job was well on his way to the same fate.

       

      AND WE REMEMBER Job had been concerned about this very point and, by sacrifice, had provided against even their hidden sins.

       

      If you would earnestly seek God … If you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you...

       

      Bildad was like everyone else in this drama, unable to see the drama behind the scenes in the heavenly realm. Therefore, his only way of interpreting Job's situation was to apply the principle of cause and effect and to call Job to repentance.

       

      For Job, this was hollow, "look on the bright side" advice. "The 'gospel of temperament' works very well if you are suffering only from psychical neuralgia, so to speak, and all you need is a cup of tea; but if you have a real deep complaint, the injunction to 'Cheer up' is an insult. What is the use of telling a woman who has lost her husband and sons in the war to 'Cheer up and look on the bright side'? There is no bright side, it is absolute blackness, and if God cannot come to her help, truly she is in a pitiable condition.

       

      Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly...

       

      When Bildad said this he was both wrong and right.

       

      WHY?

       

      1. He was WRONG in that he assumed that because Job was NOT currently in prosperity and abundance, it proved that Job had not made supplication and was not pure and upright. He wished to prove that Job could not possibly be an upright man, for if he were so, he here affirms that his prosperity would increase continually, or that if he fell into any trouble.

       

      THIS IS THE SAME FALSE TEACHING WE HEAR IN PULPITS, AND BY SOME RELIGIOUS COUNSELORS..IF JESUS LOVED YOU AND YOU WERE REALLY SAVED...YOU WOULD ALWAYS BE HEALTHY, WEALTHY, AND WISE.

       

      2. He was RIGHT in that Job, in the end of it, did increase abundantly.

       

      Verses 8-10 tells us Job should respect ancient wisdom.

       

      "For inquire, please, of the former age,

      And consider the things discovered by their fathers;

      For we were born yesterday, and know nothing,

      Because our days on earth are a shadow.

      Will they not teach you and tell you,

      And utter words from their heart?"

       

      Inquire, please, of the former age...

       

      Bildad asked Job to consult the WORLDLY wisdom of the ages and to consider what they had to teach and tell Job. IN OTHER WORDS, Sinners get just punishment, and good men are blessed with health and prosperity.

       

      Bildad quoted the ancients, but even in ancient Biblical history they could see that there is not an easily seen correlation between righteousness and blessing. Even at the beginning of time, Abel was righteous but was rewarded with murder from his brother Cain.

       

      ONCE AGAIN, WE NOTICE, BILDAD TOO, THIS SUPPOSED CLOSE GODLY FRIEND OF JOB DOES NOT PRAY FOR HIM. DOES NOT CONSULT GOD. DOES NOT OFFER COMFORT OR COMPASSION AT ALL.

       

      For we were born yesterday, and know nothing...

       

      Bildad gave Job a graceful excuse for what he considered to be his previous foolishness. It was simply because Job did not consider and consult ancient wisdom.

       

      To be sure, we can today learn from the past, but the past must be a rudder to guide us into the future and not an anchor to hold us back. The fact that something was said years ago is no guarantee that it is right. The past contains as much folly as wisdom. WE SHOULD SEEK JESUS AND HIS WISDOM IN HIS WORD AND IN PRAYER ALWAYS.

       

      Verses 11-18 tells us The rule of cause and effect applied to Job's situation.

       

      "Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh?

      Can the reeds flourish without water?

      While it is yet green and not cut down,

      It withers before any other plant.

      So are the paths of all who forget God;

      And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish,

      Whose confidence shall be cut off,

      And whose trust is a spider's web.

      He leans on his house, but it does not stand.

      He holds it fast, but it does not endure.

      He grows green in the sun,

      And his branches spread out in his garden.

      His roots wrap around the rock heap,

      And look for a place in the stones.

      If he is destroyed from his place,

      Then it will deny him, saying, 'I have not seen you.'"

       

      Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh?

       

      Bildad used the illustration of the growing papyrus to illustrate two things.

       

      FIRST, it shows the principle of cause and effect because the water causes it to grow.

       

      SECOND, it is a fragile growth that withers before any other plant.

       

      These reeds are like the hypocrite or the one who makes a mere show of faith without true trust in God.

       

      Spurgeon used Bildad's illustration of papyrus reed in Job 8:11-18 as a description of the hypocrite.

       

      1. Like the reed, hypocrites grow up quickly.

      2. Like the reed, hypocrites are hollow and without substance.

      3. Like the reed, hypocrites are easily bent.

      4. Like the reed, hypocrites can lower their head in false humility.

      5. Like the reed, hypocrites bear no fruit.

       

      So are the paths of all who forget God...

       

      Even as the papyrus quickly withers and dies, so will all those who turn their back on God. He may prosper for a time, but will ultimately come to ruin.

       

      AND JUST AS WITH THOSE WHO HONOR AND LOOK TO AND SEEK OUT NATURE AND NATURAL LAW TO GUIDE THEM...Bildad used powerful and vivid pictures from the natural world, but he misapplied them to Job as if he were a sinning, shallow hypocrite.

       

      CHAMBERS says it well, "If you take an illustration from Nature and apply it to a man's moral life or spiritual life, you will not be true to facts because the natural law does not work in the spiritual world. . . . God says, 'And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten … '; that is not a natural law, and yet it is what happens in the spiritual world."

       

      Verses 19-22 tells us God's promise of blessing to the blameless.

       

      "Behold, this is the joy of His way,

      And out of the earth others will grow.

      Behold, God will not cast away the blameless,

      Nor will He uphold the evildoers.

      He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,

      And your lips with rejoicing.

      Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,

      And the dwelling place of the wicked will come to nothing."

       

      Bildad's message was blunter and less diplomatic than that of Eliphaz, but his basic message was the same. Job could once again come to a place of joy and laughing if he would turn to God again.

       

      Those who hate you will be clothed with shame: Job's frustration was rising because of these contentious dialogues with his friends. After the harsh words between Eliphaz and Job (Job 4-5 and 6-7), Bildad invited Job to find vindication through repentance.

       

      Bildad had his wisdom of the ancients and his own belief system, both of which agreed and seemed unshakable. What he did not really have was God Himself.

       

      Bildad and the other counselors of Job talk a lot, but what they do not do is pray. It would seem that Bildad had very little real experience with God; yet Job was being prepared to experience God so closely that he could say, now my eyes see You (Job 42:5).

       

      THESE FRIENDS TOTALLY DISMISSED JOB'S HEART CRIES TO HIS GOD. HIS PRAYERS TO GOD. HIS PLEADINGS TO HIS GOD TO SHOW HIM HIS SIN, OR WHERE HE FAILED HIS GOD, SO HE COULD CORRECT IT. THEY BASICALLY CALLED HIM A WHINING WINDBAG.

       

      HOW THEY COULD LOOK AT THE EXTREME AND HORRIFIC PHYSICAL SUFFERING OF JOB, THE TOTAL LOSSES OF JOB, AND NOT HIT THEIR KNEES AND WRAP THEIR ARMS AROUND HIM AND PRAY FOR HIM, COMFORT HIM, SHOWS US THE TRUE HEART OF THESE SO-CALLED FRIENDS.

       

      SOME HAVE SAID TO US IN THEIR SUFFERING, PRAY FOR ME? PRAYERS DO NOTHING! I NEED ADVICE. I NEED HELP. I NEED ANSWERS. DO NOT PRAY...DO SOMETHING!

       

      BUT WE WHO LOVE THE LORD JESUS KNOW THAT THE VERY BEST AND THE MOST POWERFUL THING WE CAN DO FOR ANYONE IS TO LIFT THEM INTO OUR JESUS ABLE HANDS. JESUS SEES ALL THINGS. READS ALL HEARTS AND MINDS PERFECTLY. JESUS UNDERSTANDS ALL THINGS. AND ONLY OUR JESUS CAN DO ALL THINGS.

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 4:28 PM EDT
    • JOB 9

       

      OPENS WITH...JOB'S REPLY TO BILDAD

       

       

      Verses 1-13 tells us Job praises the wisdom and strength of God, though it means that God is beyond his ability to know.

       

       

      Then Job answered and said:

      "Truly I know it is so,

      But how can a man be righteous before God?

      If one wished to contend with Him,

      He could not answer Him one time out of a thousand.

      God is wise in heart and mighty in strength.

      Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?

      He removes the mountains, and they do not know

      When He overturns them in His anger;

      He shakes the earth out of its place,

      And its pillars tremble;

      He commands the sun, and it does not rise;

      He seals off the stars;

      He alone spreads out the heavens,

      And treads on the waves of the sea;

      He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades,

      And the chambers of the south;

      He does great things past finding out,

      Yes, wonders without number.

      If He goes by me, I do not see Him;

      If He moves past, I do not perceive Him;

      If He takes away, who can hinder Him?

      Who can say to Him, 'What are You doing?'

      God will not withdraw His anger,

      The allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath Him."

       

       

      Truly I know it is so…

       

      Job's answer to Bildad seems so much more gracious than the hard words Bildad had for Job in the previous chapter. He began by agreeing with Bildad's general premise: that God rewards the righteous and corrects (or judges) sinners.

       

       

      But how can a man be righteous before God?

       

      Job's response to Bildad was wisely stated. Job obviously suffered more than normal; yet no one could rightly accuse him of sinning more than normal. If Job was not righteous before God, then how could any man be?

       

       

      It is important for us to understand that the Bible speaks of human righteousness in two senses.

       

      1. A man can be righteous in a relative sense, where one can properly be considered as righteous among men as both Noah (Genesis 7:1) and Job (Job 1:1) were so considered.

       

      2. A man can be righteous in a forensic (legal) sense, declared and considered righteous by God through faith (Romans 5:19)

       

       

      Job's question here concerns the FIRST aspect of righteousness, though it is also relevant to the other aspect of righteousness. Job primarily wanted to know, "If I have not been righteous enough to escape the judgment of God, then who can be?"

       

       

      Yet in the ultimate sense, Job's question is the MOST important question in the world. How can a man find God's approval? How can a man be considered righteous and not guilty before God?

       

       

      If one wished to contend with Him, he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand…

       

      Job understood that man could not debate with God or demand answers from him. Sadly, this will become the basic sin of Job in the story, the sin he repented of in Job 42:1-6.

       

       

      He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south…

       

      Job praised the great might of God, who created the worlds and put the sun and stars in the sky. Yet the might of God was no comfort to Job; it just made him feel that God was more distant than ever.

       

       

      Chambers of the south…

       

      "The most remote, hidden, and secret parts of the south; so called, because the stars which are under the southern pole are hidden from us, and are enclosed and lodged as in a chamber."

       

      Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?

       

      Job agreed with the basic premise of Bildad, that one is never blessed by hardening one's self against God. Yet Job did not think that this principle applied to himself in this situation, because he knew in his heart that he had not hardened himself against God.

       

       

      He does great things past finding out, yes, wonders without number…

       

      Job considered the great works of God in the universe, and how they displayed the majesty and power of God. Yet this understanding of the greatness and might of God did not comfort Job; it made him feel that God was too great to either notice (If He goes by me, I do not see Him) or care and help Job (God will not withdraw His anger).

       

       

      It was as if Job cried out, "Why is God so hard to figure out?"

       

      His friends did not think that God was hard to figure out; the problem was simple to them. Job had sinned in some bad an unusual way, therefore all this disaster came upon him. Yet Job, knowing not all the truth (as revealed in Job 1-2), but at least knowing his own heart and integrity, knew that God was not so simple to figure out.

       

       

      The allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath Him…

       

      As Mason demonstrates, there are many thoughts in this passage that connect with Jesus.

       

      - We read that God treads on the waves of the sea; Jesus walks on the water.

      - We read that God made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and star was made to announce the birth of Jesus.

      - We read that God does great things past finding out, yes wonders without number and Jesus did uncountable miracles and great things.

      - We read that God moves past, and I do not perceive Him, and Jesus could pass through an angry crowd as if He were invisible (John 8:59).

      - We read that no one can say to God, "What are You doing?" and in the life of Jesus it would come to pass that no one dared ask Him any more questions (Mark 12:34).

      - We read that God will not withdraw His anger, so we are not surprised that sometimes Jesus showed anger.

      - We read it is said of God, the allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath him, and so also evil spirits fell prostrate at the feet of Jesus (Mark 3:11).

       

       

      MASON adds,"What wonderful irony there is in seeing Job set out to describe the immortal and invisible God, and in the process paint a stunningly accurate portrayal of the earthly Jesus!"

       

       

      In the very chapter where Job seems to beg for Jesus to come in all His offices (Job 9:32-33), he also powerfully and accurately anticipated Jesus coming.

       

       

      Verses 14-20 tells us Job wonders how to answer such a mighty God.

       

      "How then can I answer Him,

      And choose my words to reason with Him?

      For though I were righteous, I could not answer Him;

      I would beg mercy of my Judge.

      If I called and He answered me,

      I would not believe that He was listening to my voice.

      For He crushes me with a tempest,

      And multiplies my wounds without cause.

      He will not allow me to catch my breath,

      But fills me with bitterness.

      If it is a matter of strength, indeed He is strong;

      And if of justice, who will appoint my day in court?

      Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me;

      Though I were blameless, it would prove me perverse."

       

       

      How then can I answer Him…

       

      Job's problem is clear; he understood that God is righteous and mighty; what he can't understand is how God will use that righteousness or might to help Job. God seemed distant and impersonal to Job, and to many who suffer.

       

       

      He crushes me with a tempest, and multiplies my wounds without cause…

       

      Job felt that God's might was against him, not for him. In this sense it did no good for Job to consider the awesome power of God, because that power seemed to be set against him.

       

       

      LAWSON adds,"When Job says he is guiltless, he is not claiming to be sinless. He's not espousing moral perfection. Just relative innocence. He doesn't believe he's done anything to deserve this kind of treatment."

       

       

      SMICK adds,"Job saw God's power as if it were amoral, a sovereign freedom, an uncontrollable power that works mysteriously to do whatever he wills so that no one can stop him and ask, 'What are you doing?'"

       

       

      Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me…

       

      If Job were to proclaim his own righteousness it would not be true. If he were to proclaim his own righteousness, the words themselves would be evidence of enough pride and arrogance to condemn him. If he were to proclaim his own righteousness, he would say that God is wrong about man.

       

      Job 9:20 says that if a man justifies himself, his own mouth will condemn him.

      Romans 8:33-34 tells us that if God justifies a man, then none can condemn him.

       

       

      Though I were righteous … Though I were blameless, it would prove me perverse…

       

      Job gave eloquent voice to his exasperation. He felt as though there was nothing he could do to please God or come into His favor again.

       

       

      Verses 21-24 tells us He explains his own inability to defend himself before God

       

      "I am blameless, yet I do not know myself;

      I despise my life.

      It is all one thing;

      Therefore I say, 'He destroys the blameless and the wicked.'

      If the scourge slays suddenly,

      He laughs at the plight of the innocent.

      The earth is given into the hand of the wicked.

      He covers the faces of its judges.

      If it is not He, who else could it be?"

       

       

      I am blameless, yet I do not know myself…

       

      Job gave vent to his tortured feelings. He genuinely believed that he was blameless, yet at the same time he admitted that he did not know himself well enough to have a completely clear conscience.

       

       

      He laughs at the plight of the innocent…

       

      Job felt that not only was God distant and silent, but He was also having sport at the expense of godly sufferers like Job.

      We must remember that all we know so well about Job's situation from chapters 1 and 2 was completely UNKNOWN to Job at this time. He describes the world as how it looks to him. From what Job can see of God, "His outward carriage is the same to both; he neglects the innocent, and seems not to answer their prayers, and suffers them to perish with others, as if he took pleasure in their ruin also.

       

       

      SMICK adds, “The developing spiritual crisis in Job has to do with his misapprehension of God. Tozer wrote, "The most important thing about you is what comes into your mind when you think of God." Job's conception of God was becoming - quite understandably - twisted by his own experience and imagination. "This God of Job's imagination was worse than morally indifferent; he even mocked the despair of the innocent and blocked the administering of justice."

       

       

      If it is not He, who else could it be?

       

      Job's logic was solid. He understood that his situation could be traced back to God.

       

       

      Verses 25-31 tells us Job's strong sense of condemnation.

       

      "Now my days are swifter than a runner;

      They flee away, they see no good.

      They pass by like swift ships,

      Like an eagle swooping on its prey.

      If I say, 'I will forget my complaint,

      I will put off my sad face and wear a smile,'

      I am afraid of all my sufferings;

      I know that You will not hold me innocent.

      If I am condemned,

      Why then do I labor in vain?

      If I wash myself with snow water,

      And cleanse my hands with soap,

      Yet You will plunge me into the pit,

      And my own clothes will abhor me."

       

       

      Now my days are swifter than a runner…

       

      Job felt that his life was spinning and running completely out of control. Time moved fast and was like a hostile predator against him (like an eagle swooping on its prey).

       

       

      Job felt that his life was passing by so quickly that his days would be over and God would leave this whole matter unresolved.

       

       

      I know that You will not hold me innocent…

       

      Job felt that he had already been tried and condemned by God, and that it would even do him no good to cleanse himself before God. If he did, he believed that God would just plunge him into the pit again.

       

       

      SMICK adds, "Job's experience told him that sometimes God crushes the innocent for no reason at all. We who are privileged to see the drama from the divine perspective know that Job was innocent and that God did have a cause, a cause beyond the purview of Job, a cause that could not be revealed to Job at the moment."

       

       

      If I wash myself with snow water…

       

      Spurgeon saw the washing with snow water as a description of the vain things that sinners do to justify themselves and cleanse themselves of their sin.

       

      - Snow water is hard to get, and therefore considered more precious.

      - Snow water has a reputation for purity, and is thought therefore to be more able to cleanse.

      - Snow water comes down from the heavens and not up from the earth, and is thought to be more "spiritual."

       

       

      Snow water and soap each speak of great effort to be pure. One can use purest water and the strongest soap, but it is still impossible to cleanse one's sin by one's self.

       

       

      Yet You will plunge me into the pit…

       

      The more Job considered the greatness of God, the more he felt plunged into a pit of depravity.

       

       

      God may plunge a man into the pit to see his true sinfulness in many different ways.

       

      - He may bring the memory of old sins to remembrance.

      - He may allow the man to be greatly tempted and thus to know his weakness.

      - He may reveal to the man how imperfect all his works are.

      - He may make the man to understand the spiritual character of the law.

      - He may display His great holiness to the man.

       

       

      SPURGEON adds, "When the Lord, the Holy Spirit, convinces a man of sin, the words of Job are none too strong: 'Mine own clothes shall abhor me.' You may sometimes have abhorred your clothes because they were so dirty that. you were ashamed to be seen in them.: but, you must be dirty indeed when your very clothes seem ashamed to hang upon you. This is what the convinced sinner feels, - that he is so foul that his very clothes seem to be ashamed of him, as if they would rather have been on anybody else's back than on, the back of such a filthy sinner as he is."

       

       

      Verses 32-35 tells us Job longs for a mediator to help.

       

      "For He is not a man, as I am,

      That I may answer Him,

      And that we should go to court together.

      Nor is there any mediator between us,

      Who may lay his hand on us both.

      Let Him take His rod away from me,

      And do not let dread of Him terrify me.

      Then I would speak and not fear Him,

      But it is not so with me."

       

       

      He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him…

       

      Job here keenly felt the distance between himself and God. He felt unjustly treated by God, yet felt there was no way to address the problem. God could not be confronted with Job's unexplained circumstances, so Job despaired of every finding a satisfactory answer to his problem.

       

       

      Nor is there any mediator between us, Who may lay his hand on us both…

       

      Understanding the distance between himself and God, Job longed for someone to bridge the gap between him and God.

       

       

      MORGAN adds, “Job needed someone to sort out the differences between him and God. His prior belief system did not do that; his experience did not do that; neither did the counsel of his friends. Recognizing this need, Job cried out for a mediator between himself and God. "Here, then, was Job crying out for some one who could stand authoritatively between God and himself, and so create a way of meeting, a possibility of contact."

       

       

      CHAMBERS adds, “This cry was a good thing. It showed Job looking outside of himself for answers. Yet, "It was grief that brought Job to this place, and grief is the only thing that will; joy does not, neither does prosperity, but grief does."

       

       

      We have a great promise of a Mediator that Job did not yet know of: For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5).

       

      What Job longed for is fulfilled in Jesus. He fulfills all the qualifications for a mediator, someone to stand between two parties in disagreement:

       

      - The mediator must be accepted by both parties.

      - The mediator must be allowed to fully settle the case.

      - The mediator must be someone able to relate to both parties.

      - The mediator must have the desire to see a happy settlement.

       

       

      SPURGEON adds, “Job began this chapter with the language of the law-court (If one wished to contend with Him, Job 9:3), and here he ends with the picture of a mediator to end a dispute. The end of Job's dispute will not come until later, but the end of our dispute with God is available now in Jesus Christ. "But, what is more and more wonderful still, both parties have gained in the suit. Did you ever hear of such a law-suit as this before? No, never in the courts of man."

       

       

      Let Him take His rod away from me…

       

      "As shebet signifies, not only rod, but also scepter or the ensign of royalty, Job might here refer to God sitting in his majesty upon the judgment-seat; and this sight so appalled him, that, filled with terror, he was unable to speak."

       

       

      Then I would speak and not fear Him, but it is not so with me…

       

      Because he lacked a mediator, Job felt that he could not speak with God.

       

    • November 3, 2016 4:00 PM EDT
    • JOB 10

       

      OPENS WITH WHAT JOB WOULD SAY TO GOD

       

      Verses 1-7 tells us Job would ask God, "Why are You doing this?"

       

      "My soul loathes my life;

      I will give free course to my complaint,

      I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

      I will say to God, 'Do not condemn me;

      Show me why You contend with me.

      Does it seem good to You that You should oppress,

      That You should despise the work of Your hands,

      And smile on the counsel of the wicked?

      Do You have eyes of flesh?

      Or do You see as man sees?

      Are Your days like the days of a mortal man?

      Are Your years like the days of a mighty man,

      That You should seek for my iniquity

      And search out my sin,

      Although You know that I am not wicked,

      And there is no one who can deliver from Your hand?"

       

      It seems that Job believed that he had NOT yet begun to complain. And we need to remember that God is the author of Job. This tells us that God DOES hear our cries, our thoughts, our groanings, and our tears...even though right now Job does not realize God is hearing every single word and thought of his righteous servant Job.

       

      ANDERSON says it well, "Such a poem is called a complaint, a moaning appeal to God's compassion. The parallel phrase the bitterness of my soul describes misery, but not sourness."

       

      Do not condemn me; show me why You contend with me...

       

      SMICK explains it well, "The meaning of [do not condemn me] is literally 'treat a person as wicked.' That was Job's problem with God. It appeared to him that the Almighty was giving him what a wicked man deserved when he knew Job was not a wicked man."

       

      It is a remarkable fact, apparently unobserved by commentators, but very revealing of Job's mind, that in none of his petitions does he make the obvious request for his sickness to be cured. As if everything will be all right when he is well again! That would not answer the question which is more urgent than every other concern: Why Lord? Show me how I have failed and shamed you and any wickedness I am unaware of.

       

      The tried SAINT may ask as Job did, "Show me why You contend with me." Spurgeon suggested several answers:

       

      - It may be that God is contending with you to show you His power to uphold you.

      - It may be that God is contending with you go develop your graces.

      - It may be that God is contending with you because you have some secret sin that is doing you great damage.

      - It may be that God is contending with you because He wants you to enter the fellowship of His sufferings.

      - It may be that God is contending with you to humble you.

       

      The seeking SINNER might also ask as Job did, "Show me why You contend with me." Spurgeon suggested several answers to the seeking sinner:

       

      - It may be that God is contending with you because you are not yet thoroughly awakened to your lost condition.

      - It may be that God is contending with you in order to test your earnestness.

      - It may be that God is contending with you because you are harboring one sin that you will not turn over to Him.

      - It may be that God is contending with you because you do not yet thoroughly understand the plan of salvation.

       

      Does it seem good to You that You should oppress, that You should despise the work of your hands...

       

      Job vented more and more TO God. "Does this make you happy? I am the work of your hands, and look at how you are treating me!"

       

      Do You have eyes of flesh? Or do you see as man sees?

       

      Job clearly knew that God was not limited in His vision as humans are; yet by the facts Job had seen and experienced, it seemed like God saw him with the same shallow and superficial vision that his friends used.

       

      Although You know that I am not wicked...

       

      Job appealed to God's knowledge of Job and his character. Of course, God agreed with Job's self-estimation, even saying that Job was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1). But remember Job knows none of Job 1-2, which God himself shares with us.

       

      Yet Job's present distress twisted his perception of God, to the point where he could not see what could only be seen by the eye of faith that goes beyond the sight of present circumstances.

       

      Verses 8-12 tells us Job would ask, "I am Your creation: Why do You afflict me?"

       

      " 'Your hands have made me and fashioned me,

      An intricate unity;

      Yet You would destroy me.

      Remember, I pray, that You have made me like clay.

      And will You turn me into dust again?

      Did you not pour me out like milk,

      And curdle me like cheese,

      Clothe me with skin and flesh,

      And knit me together with bones and sinews?

      You have granted me life and favor,

      And Your care has preserved my spirit.' "

       

      Your hands have made me and fashioned me, an intricate unity...

       

      Job was a smart scientist and knew that God was the author of creation and specifically of mankind. He had the same understanding as the Psalmist who said, I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well (Psalm 139:14).

       

      In mentioning You have made me like clay and will You turn me into dust again Job even seemed to understand that mankind came from the dust of the ground (Genesis 2:7).

       

      In wonderful poetry, Job illustrated the fashioning of his body by three pictures:

       

      - Man is like a vessel of clay, shaped by a potter (Job 10:9).

      - Man is like a cheese, poured out by a cheese maker (Job 10:10).

      - Man is like a garment, woven by a weaver (Job 10:11).

       

      Yet You would destroy me...

       

      Job knew that God created him; now he felt that God wanted to destroy him. What Job did not know is that God had strictly forbade this calamity to end in death (Job 2:6). We can sympathize with what Job felt, and we understand that he could not know this. Yet we also know the truth from the heavenly scene behind the earthly scene.

       

      You have granted me life and favor, and Your care has preserved my spirit...

       

      Job could not deny God's past work in his life as creator and as preserver; yet all that made things more problematic, not less. The depth of his experience told him, "Why has the same God who created me and preserved me now so obviously abandoned me?"

       

      In Job 10:12, Job actually thanked God for three wonderful things:

       

      - Life (You have granted me life)

      - Divine Favor (You have granted me … favor)

      - Divine Visitation (Your care has preserved my spirit)

       

      Verses 13-17 tells us Job asks God to reveal a sinful cause within Job himself.

       

      "And these things You have hidden in Your heart;

      I know that this was with You:

      If I sin, then You mark me,

      And will not acquit me of my iniquity.

      If I am wicked, woe to me;

      Even if I am righteous, I cannot lift up my head.

      I am full of disgrace;

      See my misery!

      If my head is exalted,

      You hunt me like a fierce lion,

      And again You show Yourself awesome against me.

      You renew Your witnesses against me,

      And increase Your indignation toward me;

      Changes and war are ever with me."

       

      These things You have hidden in Your heart; I know that this was with You...

       

      Job begins to touch on the core of the problem that stirred inside of him. He knew that God knew all the causes and answers for Job's condition; yet God did not tell Job.

       

      Again, because of Job 1 and 2, we are in the curious position of knowing what Job did not know. The causes and intentions of Job's present calamity were hidden in God and were hidden to Job, but God has shared with the reader of the Book of Job what Job himself did not know.

       

      It is easy to read the Book of Job assuming that Job himself knew what happened in the heavenly realms as recorded in the first two chapters of the book. The reader of the Book of Job must resist this assumption and instead empathize with Job, knowing that it was just as difficult for him to comprehend the workings of the spiritual realm as it is for us.

       

      If I am wicked, woe to me...

       

      Job's friends insisted that the disasters of his life came upon him because of some particular iniquity or wickedness within him. Job protested that this was not the case; and here he again states the thought.

       

      You hunt me like a fierce lion, and again You show Yourself awesome against me...

       

      Job felt as though God were no help to him at all in his present distress. Instead, he felt as though he were prey for God, who came against him like a fierce lion.

       

      Verses 18-22 tells us Job asks God to leave him alone.

       

      'Why then have You brought me out of the womb?

      Oh, that I had perished and no eye had seen me!

      I would have been as though I had not been.

      I would have been carried from the womb to the grave.

      Are not my days few?

      Cease! Leave me alone, that I may take a little comfort,

      Before I go to the place from which I shall not return,

      To the land of darkness and the shadow of death,

      A land as dark as darkness itself,

      As the shadow of death, without any order,

      Where even the light is like darkness.'"

       

      Why then have You brought me out of the womb?

       

      Job here returned to a theme first found in Job 3. He felt that it would be better if he had never been born.

       

      Job FELT these thoughts because he could not see any sense in His suffering. His friends saw sense (Job suffered because he has sinned, and this is his proper correction), but Job knew they were wrong. We see sense because we know what Job did not know from the first two chapters of the book. Even though Job could not see it, it was real nonetheless.

       

      It would have completely changed Job's situation if he could see by faith the invisible, or at least comfort himself in the understanding that there were invisible dynamics in heavenly places that made sense of his situation.

       

      Cease! Leave me alone...

       

      At this point in the story, Job would simply prefer that God would leave him alone. He did not recognize that it was only because God did not leave him alone that he had endured this far and was not completely destroyed by either the devil or despair.

       

      MORGAN says it well, "As we read it we feel that the suggestions which Job made about God were entirely wrong: but we remember that they were not wicked, because they were honest."

       

      To the land of darkness and shadow of death...

       

      The Book of Job well reflects the difficult apprehension of the truth of the afterlife in the Old Testament. Statements of murky, near-despair like this are combined with occasional declarations of triumphant, confident faith (as in Job 19:25, I know that my Redeemer lives … and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God).

       

      This cloudy understanding of the afterlife in the Old Testament does not surprise the reader of the New Testament, who knows that Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light (2 Timothy 1:10).

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:57 PM EDT
    • JOB 11

       

      OPENS WITH THE FIRST SPEECH OF ZOPHAR WHO CRITICIZES JOB FOR COMPLAINING.

       

      Verses 1-6 tells us Zophar tells Job that he actually DESERVES far worse from God.

       

      "Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

      "Should not the multitude of words be answered?

      And should a man full of talk be vindicated?

      Should your empty talk make men hold their peace?

      And when you mock, should no one rebuke you?

      For you have said,

      'My doctrine is pure,

      And I am clean in your eyes.'

      But oh, that God would speak,

      And open His lips against you,

      That He would show you the secrets of wisdom!

      For they would double your prudence.

      Know therefore that God exacts from you

      Less than your iniquity deserves."

       

       

      Zophar the Naamathite...

       

      This friend of Job's speaks the least of them all (only here and in Job 20), but perhaps he speaks the most arrogantly and confrontationally to Job.

       

      Zophar was a severe man. Like Bildad he lacked compassion and was ruthlessly judgmental. He is the most inveterate of Job's accusers, and generally speaks without feeling or pity.

       

      Should a man full of talk be vindicated?

       

      Zophar had enough of Job's protests to innocence. In his mind, all of Job's eloquent complaining shows him to be nothing more than a man full of talk, one who should not be vindicated. Therefore, Zophar will continue with a rebuke of Job.

       

      For you have said, "My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in your eyes":

       

      Zophar did not truthfully represent Job's words here. Job did not claim to be pure and clean, as if he were sinless and perfect.

       

      Job knew there was no special or specific sin on his part behind the loss of his children, his health, his servants, and his material wealth (Job 7:20). Even so, Job knew that he was a sinner in a general sense and could not be considered righteous compared to God.

       

      - Therefore my words have been rash (Job 6:3)

      - Why then do You not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? (Job 7:21)

      - How can a man be righteous before God? (Job 9:2)

      - Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me; though I were blameless, it would prove me perverse. (Job 19:20)

      - I know that You will not hold me innocent (Job 9:28)

       

      Therefore, we understand Job's claims to be blameless (Job 9:21-22) to refer to the fact that there was indeed no special or particular sin on his part that prompted his great suffering. Indeed, even God recognized Job as blameless in this sense (Job 1:1, 1:8, and 2:3).

       

      Know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves...

       

      In the thinking of Zophar, not only was Job wrong to claim to be either pure or clean, he was actually so guilty before God to deserve far worse than he had suffered.

       

      Zophar here sounds like a man who has carefully studied a particular theological idea (especially in Reformed Theology) known as total depravity. In this idea, the sinfulness of man ? both inherited from Adam and actually practiced by the individual - is so great that one could say regarding every suffering of life, "know therefore that God exacts from you less than your iniquity deserves."

       

      Unfortunately, Zophar is among the miserable comforters (Job 16:2) who were actually quite wrong in their analysis and advice (Job 42:7). Whatever the merits of the theological idea of total depravity, it did not speak to Job's circumstance at all.

       

      Verses 7-12 tells us Zophar teaches Job theology.

       

      "Can you search out the deep things of God?

      Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?

      They are higher than heaven; what can you do?

      Deeper than Sheol; what can you know?

      Their measure is longer than the earth

      And broader than the sea."

      "If He passes by, imprisons, and gathers to judgment,

      Then who can hinder Him?

      For He knows deceitful men;

      He sees wickedness also.

      Will He not then consider it?

      For an empty-headed man will be wise,

      When a wild donkey's colt is born a man."

       

      Can you search out the deep things of God?

       

      After instructing Job in the doctrine of total depravity, Zophar went on to teach Job about the transcendence of God. Therefore, in Zophar's thinking, Job was wrong to question God.

       

      Who can hinder him?

       

      The next lesson in Zophar's theology was the sovereignty of God. Zophar believed that the best thing Job could do was to accept his punishment from God instead of protesting the injustice of it. In Zophar's mind, Job's punishment was just and God was actually giving Job less than he deserved.

       

      He knows deceitful men; he sees wickedness also. Will He not then consider it?

       

      Zophar here implied that what Job wanted was for God to turn His head aside from justice. Zophar wanted Job to know that it was wrong - and wicked - to wish that God would not consider the deceit and wickedness of man; in this case, Job's deceit and wickedness.

       

      For an empty-headed man will be wise, when a wild donkey's colt is born a man...

       

      Here, Zophar simply called Job stupid. He associated him with the empty-headed man, who will be wise as soon as wild donkeys start giving birth to human beings.

       

      For Zophar - as with others who share his basic theological perspective - there was no mystery in Job's situation at all. God was sovereign, God was just, Job was a sinner, and therefore he should be thankful that he wasn't worse off.

       

      BRADLY captures the idea of Zophar well: "Wherever there is suffering, there is sin, real and tangible sin, proportioned to that suffering. God governs the world by rewards and punishments, and those rewards and punishments are distributed here below with an unerring justice. It follows therefore that this Job, this seeming Saint, is really a man full of heinous sin."

       

      Verses 13-19 tells us Zophar calls upon Job to repent.

       

      "If you would prepare your heart,

      And stretch out your hands toward Him;

      If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away,

      And would not let wickedness dwell in your tents;

      Then surely you could lift up your face without spot;

      Yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear;

      Because you would forget your misery,

      And remember it as waters that have passed away,

      And your life would be brighter than noonday.

      Though you were dark, you would be like the morning.

      And you would be secure, because there is hope;

      Yes, you would dig around you, and take your rest in safety.

      You would also lie down, and no one would make you afraid;

      Yes, many would court your favor."

       

      If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away...

       

      Given Zophar's wrong, worldly, theological understanding of Job's situation, the answer is easy. Job should simply repent and seek the mercy and goodness of God.

       

      Because you would forget your misery, and remember it as waters that have passed away...

       

      This is what Job longed for; to be so restored and blessed again that he would forget all this ever happened to him. Zophar said - falsely - that this could be Job's portion if he would only repent of the great sins that brought this disaster upon him.

       

      SPURGEON says, "We remember it no more, except as a thing that has passed and gone, to be recollected with gratitude that we have been delivered from it, but not to be remembered so as to leave any scar upon our spirit, or to cause us any painful reflection whatsoever. 'Thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away.'"

       

      Your life would be brighter than noonday … no one would make you afraid; yes, many would court your favor...

       

      Zophar encouraged Job to confess and repent of his sin by showing him how God would bless and honor him, restoring him to a bright, confident, admired life once again.

       

      Verse 20 tells us Zophar warns and rebukes Job.

       

      "But the eyes of the wicked will fail,

      And they shall not escape,

      And their hope; loss of life!"

       

      The eyes of the wicked will fail, and they shall not escape...

       

      Zophar here encouraged Job to confess and repent by warning him of the consequences if he did not. Surely, he would not escape a greater display of God's displeasure.

       

      Zophar and Job's friends believed in God's power and His absolute righteousness. They also believed that God would forgive a sinner and take him back into favor if the sinner responded correctly to the punishment God appointed.

       

      Nevertheless, the application of this creed - these deeply held believes about how life and God and the universe work - was completely wrong in Job's situation. The reasons for his calamity were completely out of the conception of Job's friends, though they were confident that they understood the situation completely.

       

      They misapplied the most precious truths and the most edifying of doctrines of God; turned wholesome food to poison; pressed upon their friend those half-truths, which are sometimes the worst of untruths.

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:55 PM EDT
    • JOB 12

       

      OPENS WITH JOB COMPLAINS TO GOD ABOUT HIS FRIENDS

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us Job sarcastically answers Zophar and his other friends.

       

      "Then Job answered and said:

      "No doubt you are the people,

      And wisdom will die with you!

      But I have understanding as well as you;

      I am not inferior to you.

      Indeed, who does not know such things as these?"

       

      No doubt you are the people...

       

      It is easy to hear the sarcastic and bitter tone of voice in Job. That tone was appropriately taken, because Job's friends really had acted as if they were the ONLY REAL people GOD and if they ONLY had all of GOD'S AND MAN'S wisdom.

       

      I have understanding as well as you. . . . Indeed, who does not know such things as these?

       

      In rebuke to Zophar and his friends, Job made TWO points.

       

      FIRST...that he also was a man of understanding.

       

      SECOND...that the theological principles presented by Zophar and the others were really widely known.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "In response, Job will speak plainly about the wisdom and greatness of God. "I would we had another Job, to chastise the high-sounding language of modern theologians. There are starting up in our midst men, who if they are not heretics in doctrine, are aliens in speech."

       

      Verses 4-6 tells us Job's complaint: "My friends mock and misunderstand me."

       

      "I am one mocked by his friends,

      Who called on God, and He answered him,

      The just and blameless who is ridiculed.

      A lamp is despised in the thought of one who is at ease;

      It is made ready for those whose feet slip.

      The tents of robbers prosper,

      And those who provoke God are secure;

      In what God provides by His hand."

       

      I am one mocked by his friends...

       

      Job complained that even though he was a godly man (one who called on God, and He answered), a man who was just and blameless - even so, he was mocked and ridiculed.

       

      The way that innocent Job was mocked by others reminds us of what Jesus endured in His sufferings and on the cross, when He was mocked by the soldiers who beat Him (Matthew 27:29), was mocked by the chief priests as He hung on the cross (Matthew 27:41), and was ridiculed by others (Mark 15:27-31).

       

      A lamp is despised in the thought of one who is at ease...

       

      Job remembers what his life used to be like. He used to call on God and receive an answer, and in those bright days he did NOT feel like he needed a lamp, because his life was at ease WITH HIS GOD WHO WAS HIS LAMP.. Now it is all different and his friends only mock and misunderstand him.

       

      Those who provoke God are secure...

       

      Now, it seemed to Job that his life and prior understanding was upside-down. Before, everything seemed to make sense. The righteous seemed to be blessed and the wicked seemed to be afflicted. Now it is all different.

       

      CHAMBERS says it well, "Job did not give up on God, but he had to give up on his prior understanding of God. "Job's creed has crumbled into ruins, 'therefore', he says, 'I leave my creed, but I deny that I have left God.'"

       

      Verses 7-12 tells us JOB EXPLAINS his understanding of God's way and that all creation knows the power of God.

       

      "But now ask the beasts, and they will teach you;

      And the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

      Or speak to the earth, and it will teach you;

      And the fish of the sea will explain to you.

      Who among all these does not know

      That the hand of the LORD has done this,

      In whose hand is the life of every living thing,

      And the breath of all mankind?

      Does not the ear test words

      And the mouth taste its food?

      Wisdom is with aged men,

      And with length of days, understanding."

       

      Now ask the beasts, and they will teach you...

       

      Job here expands on the idea first made in Job 9:3: Indeed, who does not know such things as these? The point is that what his friends say about God is so elementary that even the animals know it.

       

      MASON says it well, "If you want to know the ways of the Lord, says Job, just look around you. You can theologize all you want, but if your theories do not mesh with the nature of things as they are, then what good are such theories? Even a dog has more knowledge of God than you do!"

       

      That the hand of the LORD has done this...

       

      Does not the ear test words...

       

      In these few verses Job recites a truisms; statements that are understood as obviously true. The idea is that as clearly as these things are true, so is the power and majesty of God also easily understood as true.

       

      Verses 13-25 tells us Job describes the great power of God.

       

      "With Him are wisdom and strength,

      He has counsel and understanding.

      If He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt;

      If He imprisons a man, there can be no release.

      If He withholds the waters, they dry up;

      If He sends them out, they overwhelm the earth.

      With Him are strength and prudence.

      The deceived and the deceiver are His.

      He leads counselors away plundered,

      And makes fools of the judges.

      He loosens the bonds of kings,

      And binds their waist with a belt.

      He leads princes away plundered,

      And overthrows the mighty.

      He deprives the trusted ones of speech,

      And takes away the discernment of the elders.

      He pours contempt on princes,

      And disarms the mighty.

      He uncovers deep things out of darkness,

      And brings the shadow of death to light.

      He makes nations great, and destroys them;

      He enlarges nations, and guides them.

      He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth,

      And makes them wander in a pathless wilderness.

      They grope in the dark without light,

      And He makes them stagger like a drunken man."

       

      With Him are wisdom and strength, He has counsel and understanding...

       

      In this section, Job rebuked the previous speech of Zophar (Job 11), especially where Zophar criticized Job for not knowing God and likened him to an empty-headed man (Job 11:7-12). Here Job showed that he did indeed know that God was great in wisdom and strength, and that He was mighty in counsel and understanding.

       

      Job's message to his friends was clear: "I do know God and how great He is. Do NOT criticize me on this point any longer."

       

      If He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt...

       

      With wonderful poetic beauty and repetition, Job described the power and majesty of God.

       

      1. He showed God's power over material things (If He breaks a thing down, it cannot be rebuilt). "He alone can create, and he alone can destroy. Nothing can be annihilated but by the same Power that created it. This is a most remarkable fact. No power, skill, or cunning of man can annihilate the smallest particle of matter. Man, by chemical agency, may change its form; but to reduce it to nothing belongs to God alone.

       

      2. He showed God's power over men (If He imprisons a man).

       

      3. He showed God's power over minds (The deceived and the deceiver are His).

       

      4. He showed God's power over the wise (He leads counselors away plundered, and makes fools of the judges).

       

      5. He showed God's power over rulers (He loosens the bonds of kings … He leads princes away plundered).

       

      6. He showed God's power over the eloquent (He deprives the trusted ones of speech).

       

      7. He showed God's power over the darkness (brings the shadow of death to light).

       

      8. He showed God's power over the nations (He makes nations great, and destroys them).

       

      This may be a mockery of the lopsidedness of Eliphaz's creedal hymn in Job 5:18-26, where everything good happens to the righteous. It is hardly a parody on God's wisdom since in the introduction to the poem (Job 12:13) Job ascribed wisdom to God in conjunction with his purpose and understanding.

       

      Disarms the mighty is more literally in the Hebrew, loosens the belt of the mighty. Which is the idiom for depriving of strength, because it disables the wearer for the contest by letting the garments fly loose, and thus hindering the necessary movement for the putting forth of strength.

       

      He takes away the understanding of the chiefs of the people of the earth...

       

      Here Job extended his description of the power of God to the idea of God's ability to take away the understanding of even great men. When He does this, they grope in the dark without light.

       

      This shows how easy it is for God to make men wander in the pathless wilderness or stagger like a drunken man. All He must do is merely take away understanding, showing that the wisdom and understanding of man is dependent upon God.

       

      We sense that Job actually described himself, as this prominent man without understanding, a man wandering in a pathless wilderness, a man groping in the dark without light, and who staggered like a drunken man.

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:54 PM EDT
    • JOB 13

       

      OPENS WITH JOB CHALLENGES HIS CRITICS

       

      Verses 1-12 tells us Job's STRONG rebuke to his friends.

       

      "Behold, my eye has seen all this,

      My ear has heard and understood it.

      What you know, I also know;

      I am not inferior to you.

      But I would speak to the Almighty,

      And I desire to reason with God.

      But you forgers of lies,

      You are all worthless physicians.

      Oh, that you would be silent,

      And it would be your wisdom!

      Now hear my reasoning,

      And heed the pleadings of my lips.

      Will you speak wickedly for God,

      And talk deceitfully for Him?

      Will you show partiality for Him?

      Will you contend for God?

      Will it be well when He searches you out?

      Or can you mock Him as one mocks a man?

      He will surely rebuke you

      If you secretly show partiality.

      Will not His excellence make you afraid,

      And the dread of Him fall upon you?

      Your platitudes are proverbs of ashes,

      Your defenses are defenses of clay."

       

      Behold, my eye has seen all this … What you know, I also know...

       

      Job here complained against the claim of superior knowledge on the part of his friends. To them - especially perhaps to Zophar - the situation seemed so simple; therefore Job must be somewhat ignorant to see what they believed was so easy to see.

       

      I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God...

       

      Job here developed a theme that would end with a virtual demand that God make sense of his suffering. God's response to Job's demand (and Job's response to God's response) makes up the last few chapters of the book.

       

      We sense the deep frustration in Job that prompted this plea, "I desire to reason with God." It was bad enough when he could make no sense of his situation; but it was worse when his friends persistently insisted on their own wrong answer to Job's crisis. As much as anything, it was their insistence that prompted Job to demand an answer (and vindication with it) from God.

       

      You forgers of lies, you are all worthless physicians...

       

      The same devastating frustration that led Job to wish he were dead now leads him in bitter response to his friends' accusations.

       

      We can sympathize with Job's situation and turmoil, all the while recognizing that we are called to a better standard than Job: Repay no one evil for evil (Romans 12:17; see also 1 Peter 2:21-23).

       

      Will you speak wickedly for God … Will you contend for God?

       

      Job's friends were very confident in their ability to speak FOR God; but since what they said was NOT true, they actually misrepresented them. They acted like lawyers on God's behalf; but since they did not truly represent Him, Job could rightly ask: "Will it be well when He searches you out?"

       

      Job warned them about lying even while they uttered beautiful words in defense of God. If they were going to plead God's case, they had better do it honestly. God would judge them for their deceit even if they used it in his behalf (Job 13:8-9).

       

      He will surely rebuke you if you secretly show partiality...

       

      The partiality Job's friends showed was toward THEMSELVES. Job knew they would NEVER want to be treated the way they were treating Job.

       

      Your platitudes are proverbs of ashes...

       

      The friends of Job claimed to know wisdom and speak wisely; Job dismissed their supposed guidance as mere platitudes. Their wisdom had NO substance, NO use, and left Job feeling burned-over - truly, proverbs of ashes.

       

      The idea is that men may argue in defense of God upon FALSE lines, through man's worldly LIMITED knowledge. That is exactly what these men had been doing. The result was that they were unjust to Job. They did not know it: they did not intend that it should be so. But it was so, because they trusted in their OWN WORLDY WISDOM. THEY DID NOT SEEK GOD IN PRAYER. THEY DID NOT SEARCH HIS WORD, THEY DID NOT CRY OUT FOR JOB OR FOR GOD'S DISCERNMENT. THEY THOUGHT THEY KNEW ALL THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT GOD AND THE WORLD.

       

      Verses 13-19 tells us Job's CONFIDENCE in God and his own integrity.

       

      "Hold your peace with me, and let me speak,

      Then let come on me what may!

      Why do I take my flesh in my teeth,

      And put my life in my hands?

      Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.

      Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.

      He also shall be my salvation,

      For a hypocrite could not come before Him.

      Listen carefully to my speech,

      And to my declaration with your ears.

      See now, I have prepared my case,

      I know that I shall be vindicated.

      Who is he who will contend with me?

      If now I hold my tongue, I perish."

       

      Hold your peace with me, and let me speak...

       

      Perhaps at this point Job's friends tried to interrupt him, or said their own words of protest. Job demanded the right to finish his statement. He had been respectfully silent and did not interrupt them, he expected the same from them.

       

      Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him...

       

      This is THE ATTITUDE that will see Job through his past and present crises. He did NOT understand any of his situation and felt that God was against him, not for him (as in Job 9:28 and 10:16-17). At the same time, he could still exclaim: yet I will trust Him.

       

      CLARKE says it well, "I have no dependence but God; I trust him alone. Should he even destroy my life by this affliction, yet will I hope that when he has tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

       

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH...DID YOU KNOW...Writing fictionally in the voice of a senior demon instructing a junior demon in his popular book The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis stated - from a demon's perspective - this dynamic of trial in the life of the believer: "He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy's will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys."

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "It is well worthy of observation that in these words Job answered both the accusations of Satan and the charges of his friends. Though I do not know that Job was aware that the devil had said, 'Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast thou not set a hedge about him and all that he hath?' Yet he answered that base suggestion in the ablest possible manner, for he did in effect say, 'Though God should pull down my hedge, and lay me bare as the wilderness itself, yet will I cling to him in firmest faith.'"

       

      Charles Spurgeon listed several reasons why he thought that "slaying times" were good times.

       

      - Such times show us that we are really His sons and daughters, because He only chastens His children.

      - Such times - slaying times - are when real faith is created.

      - Such times are when God tests and affirms our faith.

      - Such times are when we can grow in faith.

      - Such times allow the child of God to prove that they are not a mercenary professor of faith.

       

      SPURGEON adds, "Once more, the grim supposition of the text, if ever it was realized by anybody it was realized by our Lord Jesus. Our great covenant Head knows to the full what his members suffer. God did slay him, and glory be to his blessed name, he trusted God while he was being slain."

       

      Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. . . . I know that I shall be vindicated...

       

      Before his crisis, Job believed himself to be a blameless and upright man, as indeed he was (Job 1:1 and 1:8). He steadfastly clung to this believe throughout ALL his experience of calamity, and through ALL the protests and arguments of his friends. Even before God, he would defend his own ways - NOT in arrogance, but in determined connection with reality.

       

      In this Job is a remarkable example of a man who will NOT forfeit what he knows to be true in the midst of the storm. This is actually an area of great difficulty; because such storms are undeniably helpful in shaking us from wrong beliefs. Some who have felt they had Job's determination to hold on to the truth actually merely were sinfully stubborn. Yet Job did NOT question the concept of truth or his ability to know it; he KNEW that God himself would agree that Job's disaster did NOT come upon him because of special or severe sin; he KNEW God himself would agree that Job was a blameless and upright man (Job 1:1 and 1:8).

       

      If now I hold my tongue, I perish...

       

      In one sense, it seems that Job felt that this determined connection to truth and reality was all he had. He had lost everything, including his sense of spiritual well-being. All he had was the truth, and he felt that if he let go of that to simply stop the argument or to please his friends, he would perish.

       

      Verses 20-27 tells us Job asks God to tell him if sin is indeed the cause of his suffering.

       

      "Only two things do not do to me,

      Then I will not hide myself from You:

      Withdraw Your hand far from me,

      And let not the dread of You make me afraid.

      Then call, and I will answer;

      Or let me speak, then You respond to me.

      How many are my iniquities and sins?

      Make me know my transgression and my sin.

      Why do You hide Your face,

      And regard me as Your enemy?

      Will You frighten a leaf driven to and fro?

      And will You pursue dry stubble?

      For You write bitter things against me,

      And make me inherit the iniquities of my youth.

      You put my feet in the stocks,

      And watch closely all my paths.

      You set a limit for the soles of my feet."

       

      Do not … Withdraw Your hand far from me...

       

      Earlier, Job had told God that he just wanted to be left alone (Job 7:16). Now he shows that this previous feeling was JUST A FRUSTRATED, HURTING, SAD FEELING IN THAT MOMENT, and that really he did NOT want God to withdraw His hand far from him.

       

      PRECIOUSLY, This shows that at least in a small sense, Job understood that God's hand WAS sustaining him in the midst of this great trial. We understand his feeling of abandonment; yet Job can grudgingly admit that God's hand has been with him in the fire of affliction.

       

      Then I will not hide myself from You...

       

      Job has NEVER hidden from God and has no intention of doing so. On the contrary, it is the hiddenness of God that is horrifying him. Cain's identical words in Genesis 4:14 describe his expulsion by God from His company. AND UNLIKE CAIN, WHO WALKED AWAY, REJECTED GOD AND HIS PRESENCE AND WAS THE FIRST TO CREATE HIS OWN FALSE RELIGION AND WORLDLY STANDARDS...This is what Job thinks has happened to him (Job 13:24 - clearly God's act), YET EVEN AS HE can neither understand nor endure it, He cries out, He clings to what HE KNOWS and BELIEVES and TRUSTS in ALMIGHTY GOD.

       

      Let not the dread of You make me afraid...

       

      Here we sense the VALUE that Job placed upon his personal connection with God, and worried that this present season would destroy it. Job wanted restored communication with God MORE than he wanted healing, blessings, provisions, and favor. (Then call, and I will answer).

       

      The fear Job was concerned about was not the good and proper fear of God; instead, this was prompted by dread. The wrong kind of fear of God is afraid that God will hurt us; the right kind is afraid that we will hurt God.

       

      JOB FELT THE LATER...HE FELT THAT HE HAD IN SOME UNKNOWN WAY FAILED HIS GOD, SHAMED HIS GOD, AND GOD HAD PROPERLY ABANDONED HIM.

       

      Make me know my transgression and my sin...

       

      Job has steadfastly held to his own innocence, in the sense that there was no special or severe sin that prompted his recent cataclysm of suffering, and despite the eloquent pleas of his friends. At the same time, he will allow for the possibility that he is wrong. Therefore, he prayed this wonderful prayer, asking God to show him his iniquities and sins.

       

      Job's words here catch the attitude of the later Psalmist, "Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting." PSALM 139:23-24).

       

      Why do You hide Your face, and regard me as Your enemy...

       

      Again, we sense Job's agony. He longed for restored communication and communion with God, but felt as though God was hiding from him and regarded him as an enemy.

       

      Will You frighten a leaf driven to and fro?...

       

      Job likens himself-a helpless, hopeless, worthless, weak, despised, perishing thing.

       

      You write bitter things against me, and make me inherit the iniquities of my youth...

       

      This is another example of the truth that Job did not believe himself to be without sin. Instead, he recognized the iniquities of my youth and feared that God was now charging these sins against him.

       

      You put my feet in the stocks...

       

      Because he felt that God was against him, Job felt completely hindered and fenced-in by God. He felt as if his feet were limited and his paths were closely watched.

       

      You set a limit for the soles of my feet...

       

      This is literally, You inscribe a print on my feet. As owners of cattle and camels, etc., put their mark upon the hoof, so that it may be known and traced."

       

      Verse 28 tells us Job laments the frailty of man.

       

      "Man decays like a rotten thing,

      Like a garment that is moth-eaten."

       

      Man decays like a rotten thing...

       

      Job's eloquent meditation on the greatness of God (especially in Job 12, earlier in this same speech) certainly elevated God. But it also made man, by comparison, seem like a rotten thing.

       

      Job essentially agreed with Zophar's understanding of the depravity of man (Job 11:5-6); his disagreement was with Zophar's application of that doctrine to Job's circumstance.

       

      Like a garment that is moth-eaten...

       

      Job's statement was more than a poetic description of the depravity of man in general; it was a discouraged sigh over his own condition. Job was the one decaying like a rotten thing; Job was like a garment that is moth-eaten. Zophar could talk about it; but he and these other "so-called friends of Job....ignored, dismissed that Job WAS living it.

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:53 PM EDT
    • JOB 14

       

      OPENS WITH JOB CONSIDERS THE GRAVE AND THE AFTERLIFE

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us Job muses on the FRAILTY of man.

       

      "Man who is born of woman

      Is of few days and full of trouble.

      He comes forth like a flower and fades away;

      He flees like a shadow and does not continue."

       

      Few of days and full of trouble...

       

      Having mentioned the idea of the frailty of men in general and his own frailty in particular, Job here expands on the idea. He considers that the days of man on this earth are short and often full of trouble.

       

      He flees like a shadow and does not continue...

       

      Considering the life of man - fleeting and frail - Job also speculated on what happened to man after this fading, shadow-like life; considering that perhaps it does not continue.

       

      SMICK says it well, "Job was NOT giving a general polemic against resurrection. On the contrary, he was saying that if God wanted to, he could hide Job in Sheol till his anger passed and then raise him (Job 14:13).

       

      Verses 3-6 tells us Job's prayer: "Consider how frail man is and have mercy on him."

       

      "And do You open Your eyes on such a one,

      And bring me to judgment with Yourself?

      Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!

      Since his days are determined,

      The number of his months is with You;

      You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.

      Look away from him that he may rest,

      Till like a hired man he finishes his day."

       

      Do You open Your eyes on such a one...

       

      Job here applied his previous thoughts on the fleeting and frail nature of humanity to prayer over his own situation. "God, You see that I am the rotting one; the moth-eaten garment; the fading flower and the fleeing shadow. Look upon me in mercy!"

       

      Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?

       

      No one! Job despairs that perhaps God demands something of him that he is unable to be or do. If God demands perfect cleanness before He will relieve Job's affliction, then Job knew he could never meet that standard.

       

      Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? "I do not say, I am clean, as Zophar pretendeth; but confess that I am a very unclean creature, and therefore liable to thy justice, if thou wilt deal rigorously with me; but remember that this is not my peculiar case, but the common lot of every man.

       

      You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass. Look away from him that he may rest...

       

      Job continued to paint the picture of God fencing man in, restricting his movements. Under such an idea, it would be better if God would just look away so the afflicted one could rest.

       

      Verses 7-12 tells us Job considers the idea that man does not live beyond the grave.

       

      "For there is hope for a tree,

      If it is cut down, that it will sprout again,

      And that its tender shoots will not cease.

      Though its root may grow old in the earth,

      And its stump may die in the ground,

      Yet at the scent of water it will bud

      And bring forth branches like a plant.

      But man dies and is laid away;

      Indeed he breathes his last

      And where is he?

      As water disappears from the sea,

      And a river becomes parched and dries up,

      So man lies down and does not rise.

      Till the heavens are no more,

      They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep."

       

      There is hope for a tree...

       

      Job here observed that there is a sort of resurrection in the world of trees and plants; new life can sprout out of an old stump.

       

      But a man dies and is laid away...

       

      As far as Job could see, death ends the existence of man and after death a man simply disappears (And where ishe?) As Job thought about it, it all seemed so unfair. Why should a tree have a better hope of resurrection than a man?

       

      So man lies down and does not rise. . . . They will not awake nor be roused from their sleep...

       

      We come to another place in the Book of Job reflecting his own shadowy and uncertain understanding of the afterlife. We who have the New Testament now have the MYSTERY REVEALED IN OUR JESUS AND IN HIS PROMISES AND TEACHINGS...BUT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT DAYS...THE AFTERLIFE...WAS MURKY and man's understanding incomplete.We can simply say that Job was wrong in his understanding of the afterlife.

       

      We can explain Job's lack of knowledge of the afterlife by understanding the principle of 2 Timothy 2:10: "that Jesus Christ brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."

       

      The understanding of immortality was at best cloudy in the Old Testament, but is much clearer in the New Testament.

       

      For example, we can say that Jesus knew fully what He was talking about when He described hell and judgment (such as in Matthew 25:41-46). We therefore rely on the New Testament for our understanding of the afterlife, much more than the Old.

       

      We also understand that this does not in any way take away from the truth of the Bible and the Book of Job. What is true is that Job actually said this and actually believed it; the truth of the statement itself must be evaluated according to the rest of the Bible.

       

      AND WE WHO HAVE STUDIED JOB BEFORE, know that later, God challenged and corrected Job's presumptuous assertions regarding the afterlife, reminding Job that he did not in fact know that life after death was like (Job 38:2 and 38:17).

       

      Verses 13-17 tells us Job longs for the grave and hopes for something beyond.

       

      "Oh, that You would hide me in the grave,

      That You would conceal me until Your wrath is past,

      That You would appoint me a set time, and remember me!

      If a man dies, shall he live again?

      All the days of my hard service I will wait,

      Till my change comes.

      You shall call, and I will answer You;

      You shall desire the work of Your hands.

      For now You number my steps,

      But do not watch over my sin.

      My transgression is sealed up in a bag,

      And You cover my iniquity."

       

      Oh, that You would hide me in the grave...

       

      Job did NOT know much about the condition of man after death, but he supposed - perhaps hoped - that it was better than his current misery. Yet Job's general uncertainty is reflected in his question, "If a man dies, shall he live again?"

       

      MORGAN says it well, "It was a tremendous question: but let us remind ourselves that there is no answer to it, save that which came to men through Jesus Christ and His Gospel. As Paul said, it is He 'Who brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel' (2 Timothy 1:10). The question of Job was answered by Jesus, and that so completely as to leave no room for doubt."

       

      All the days of my hard service I will wait, till my change comes...

       

      Job looked for the change he hoped death to bring, that at least it would relieve him from his present agony.

       

      ANDERSEN says it well, "Even if God kills him (before his vindication?) he will wait in hope. His readiness to go down into death in faith transforms his ideas of Sheol … It is now seen as a temporary hiding place … It is another period of contracted service. Even if silent now, God will be heard then."

       

      "Three glimpses of this glorious change were seen...

       

      1. In Moses' face.

      2. In Christ's transfiguration.

      3. In Stephen's countenance when he stood before the council.

       

      Such a change as this is well worth waiting for."

       

      We who love Jesus Christ also wait for our change to come.

       

      1. We shall be changed into immortality at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50-53).

      2. When we see Him, we will be like Him (1 John 3:2).

      3. Our bodies will be gloriously transformed (Philippians 3:21).

      4. David was confident he would be changed into God's likeness (Psalm 17:15).

       

      YET WE WHO LOVE JESUS ALSO KNOW, at the same time, there are some things that will NOT change for the believer when they go to heaven.

       

      1. A Christian's purpose and priority of life does not change.

      2. A Christian's identity does not change.

      3. A Christian's companions will not change very much.

       

      You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands...

       

      Job here hoped for a restoration of relationship with God after death, since he no longer really hoped for a restoration during this life.

       

      We see the tension (perhaps confusion) in Job regarding the afterlife. To say, "You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands" is much more hopeful and positive than previous statements.

       

      But do not watch over my sin. . . . You cover my iniquity...

       

      Job prayed these words not only because he desperately wanted God to not judge him according to the full measure of his sins, but also because he wanted Zophar and the others to hear that Job did in fact know that he was a sinner, and not perfect (as Zophar accused Job of in Job 11:4).

       

      My transgression is sealed up in a bag: "This includes two ideas:

       

      1. Job's transgressions were all numbered; not one was passed by.

      2. They were sealed up; so that none of them could be lost.

       

      Verses 18-22 tells us Job considers the limitless power of God - and despairs.

       

      "But as a mountain falls and crumbles away,

      And as a rock is moved from its place;

      As water wears away stones,

      And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth;

      So You destroy the hope of man.

      You prevail forever against him, and he passes on;

      You change his countenance and send him away.

      His sons come to honor, and he does not know it;

      They are brought low, and he does not perceive it.

      But his flesh will be in pain over it,

      And his soul will mourn over it."

       

      So You destroy the hope of man...

       

      Job pictured a great mountain crumbling away, or a flood sweeping away great tracts of earth; he considered that this illustrated the way that God sweeps away the hope of man. The idea is that when God sets Himself against a man, there is nothing the man can do; God will prevail forever against him, and he passes on.

       

      In Job's poetic outpouring in chapter 14, in the middle of the poem he gives his glorious confidence in the resurrection; yet the poem ends back in despair (So You destroy the hope of man).

       

      Yet it would be wrong to think that it means that Job's hope of resurrection was only temporary or fleeting. We should not be of those "expecting Job to use western logic in constructing his discourse so that an argument is followed through step by step until the result is reached at the end.

       

      His sons come to honor, and he does not know it...

       

      And his soul will mourn over it...

       

      These words fittingly conclude this section recording Job's speech to his friends and his prayers to God. His soul is genuinely in mourning, and much of what we read is the agonized outpouring of his feelings.

       

      It is easy to read these emotional outbursts and the lack of theological detachment in this blameless and upright man and think that Job was less spiritual than he should be. Yet we remember that the Book of Job records many of Job's opinions (born out of great pain and frustration), opinions that are later corrected and reproved (Job 38:2 and 38:17).

       

      And we need to remember Job was decaying and rotting physically, he could not breathe without pain, he was severely dehydrated, he could not sleep, he could not eat, he could not stay clean, he was in constant deep and horrific pain, night and day and when he did close his eyes the nightmares and horrific visions he had destroyed any hope of rest, and he had supposed godly men friends who were no comfort and no help whatsoever for him.

       

      And for those of us who have faced and survived horrific illness, pain, and suffering that left us sleepless, struggling to withstand the pain and agony of the illness...we know that deprived of food, water, and rest...our brain begins to wander, and our reasoning becomes cloudy and disconnected...so we can fully empathize and understand Job's confusion and his crying out to the only one who hears all, and can answer all...that he feels in the season of affliction that His Great God is ashamed of him, that he failed His God, and felt that he had been abandoned by His God.

       

      We are somewhat reminded of Jesus' words at Mark 15:34: "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?"

       

      On the one hand, those words were a true and accurate description of how Jesus felt; He rightly felt forsaken by God the Father at that moment. He felt it because Jesus not only endured the withdrawal of the Father's fellowship, but also the actual outpouring of the Father's wrath upon Him as a substitute for sinful humanity.

       

      At the same time, we cannot say that the separation between the Father and the Son at the cross was complete, because as 2 Corinthians 5:19 says, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself at the cross.

       

      According to the same example, we can say of Job's suffering that his feelings were real and understandable; yet there was a truth that went beyond his feelings that made sense of his suffering, though that truth was completely veiled to Job.

       

      We remember God is the originator of the Book of Job, and Almighty God tells us what is happening in Job 1 & 2, while His Job was not told and did NOT know any of these things.

       

      Yet through it all...He kept calling upon, crying out to, and casting his hurts, cares, worries, and fears upon His God.

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:52 PM EDT
    • JOB 15

       

      OPENS WITH ELIPHAZ SPEAKS IN THE SECOND ROUND OF SPEECHES AND SEVERELY CRITICIZES JOB AGAIN.

       

      Verses 1-6 tells us the answer and accusation of Eliphaz.

       

      "Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

      "Should a wise man answer with empty knowledge,

      And fill himself with the east wind?

      Should he reason with unprofitable talk,

      Or by speeches with which he can do no good?

      Yes, you cast off fear,

      And restrain prayer before God.

      For your iniquity teaches your mouth,

      And you choose the tongue of the crafty.

      Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;

      Yes, your own lips testify against you."

       

      Should a wise man answer with empty knowledge...

       

      Eliphaz was NOT impressed by Job's eloquent dependence on God as expressed in the previous chapters. He replied with a sharp rebuke of Job, accusing him of empty knowledge, of unprofitable talk, and of having cast off fear.

       

      As Job becomes more vehement in his innocence and trust in God, his friends become more severe. Eliphaz, in modern coarse terminology tells Job he is belching and passing gas into the wind.

       

      Or by speeches with which he can do no good...

       

      Eliphaz sought to discourage Job from his self-defense. "It is NOT doing any good, Job. We are NOT listening to you. You are NOT persuading us."

       

      And restrain prayer before God...

       

      Eliphaz was WRONG in his judgment of Job; though Eliphaz could not see Job's secret prayer life, AND he dismissed Job's cries to God as useless and meaningless and offensive belching or passing gas. We know God said Job was a man of piety and prayer as Job 1 demonstrates.

       

      Nevertheless, certainly some people DO RESTRAIN PRAYER before God. Spurgeon considered ways that some do this.

       

      1. Some restrain prayer before God because they do not pray often or regularly.

      2. Some restrain prayer before God because they do not prepare their hearts properly to pray. They do not consider who they are praying to, the way their prayer should be made, that they are sinners, what they should ask of God, and be thankful for what He has done in the past.

      3. Some restrain prayer before God because they pray in such a formal, strict manner that they never really pour out their heart before God.

      4. Some restrain prayer before God because they pray with little faith and much unbelief.

       

      Your own mouth condemns you, and not I...

       

      Eliphaz insisted that Job was also condemning himself more every time he spoke. This is because in the perspective of Job's friends, the only words Job should speak are words of humble repentance for ANY UNKNOWN OR UN-REMEMBERED SIN that COULD HAVE put him in this place.

       

      Verses 7-13 tells us Eliphaz accuses Job of A LACK of understanding.

       

      "Are you the first man who was born?

      Or were you made before the hills?

      Have you heard the counsel of God?

      Do you limit wisdom to yourself?

      What do you know that we do not know?

      What do you understand that is not in us?

      Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us,

      Much older than your father.

      Are the consolations of God too small for you,

      And the word spoken gently with you?

      Why does your heart carry you away,

      And what do your eyes wink at,

      That you turn your spirit against God,

      And let such words go out of your mouth?"

       

      Were you made before the hills?

       

      Eliphaz argued along similar lines as God later did with Job in chapters 38 and 39. They both appealed to Job to consider that he did not know as much as he thought he did. Yet, what Eliphaz thought Job did NOT know was entirely different than what God knew Job did NOT know.

       

      What do you know that we do not know?

       

      Job could not claim to be the first man who was born, or could not claim he was made before the hills, or claim that he had heard the counsel of God. Yet Job could RIGHTLY claim to know more than his friends did in his situation. They "knew" Job was a particular and notorious sinner who needed to repent; Job knew that he was not, and that there must be some other reason for his crisis.

       

      ANDERSEN says it well, "The charges are not deserved. Job has made no such exaggerated claims. He had claimed only to be as intelligent as his friends (Job 12:3), not to have a monopoly of knowledge (Job 15:8)."

       

      Are the consolations of God too small for you?

       

      TALK ABOUT ARROGANCE, PRIDE AND BLINDNESS...It is important to remember that Eliphaz considered the consolations of God to be the advice of he and his friends. He assumed that if Job rejected their advice, he was rejecting God's consolations. Therefore, he thought that Job had turned his spirit against God.

       

      WE SEE THIS THEN AND TODAY...PEOPLE IN RELIGIOSITIES WHICH CONSIDER EVERY WORD OUT OF THEIR MOUTHS, EVERY COUNSEL AND WISDOM AND KNOWLEDGE THEY OFFER OR SPEAK...AS IF IT WERE JESUS CHRIST SPEAKING.

       

      AND I AM REMEMBERED OF THE VERSES...

       

      ISAIAH 5:12 says, "Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!"

       

      PROVERBS 26:12 says, "Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him."

       

      PROVERBS 3:7 says, "Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil."

       

      Spurgeon suggested what some of the consolations of God are considered by some to be TOO small and neglected or rejected:

       

      1. The consolations of God are applied by the Holy Spirit, who is the Comforter.

      2. Jesus is the substance of these consolations, for He is called "The Consolation of Israel" (Luke 2:25)

      3. The consolations of God deal with our problem of sin; its guilt and stain and power.

      4. The consolations of God assure us of a new heart and nature.

      5. The consolations of God reveal a reason for sorrow that remains.

      6. The consolations of God show us One who suffers with us; Jesus Christ.

      7. The consolations of God compensate us for all trials and sufferings.

      8. The consolations of God tell us of our heavenly destination and hope.

       

      Verses 14-16 tells us The universal impurity of mankind. Eliphaz groups Job with the wicked deserving of and receiving judgment.

       

      "What is man, that he could be pure?

      And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous?

      If God puts no trust in His saints,

      And the heavens are not pure in His sight,

      How much less man, who is abominable and filthy,

      Who drinks iniquity like water!"

       

      What is man, that he could be pure?

       

      Job and his friends have already argued over this point, with Zophar (among others) accusing Job of claiming to be pure and clean (Job 11:4). Job's own admissions of sin have meant nothing to persuade his friends that not only is he a sinner in a general sense, but he must also be one in a particular and wicked sense.

       

      How much less man, who is abominable and filthy...

       

      Eliphaz seems to have the angels in mind with the reference to saints in Job 15:15. If God puts no trust in His saints, then it is entirely logical that He has even less confidence in man, who drinks iniquity like water.

       

      Verses 17-26 tells us the suffering that comes upon the wicked.

       

      "I will tell you, hear me;

      What I have seen I will declare,

      What wise men have told,

      Not hiding anything received from their fathers,

      To whom alone the land was given,

      And no alien passed among them:

      The wicked man writhes with pain all his days,

      And the number of years is hidden from the oppressor.

      Dreadful sounds are in his ears;

      In prosperity the destroyer comes upon him.

      He does not believe that he will return from darkness,

      For a sword is waiting for him.

      He wanders about for bread, saying, 'Where is it?'

      He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand.

      Trouble and anguish make him afraid;

      They overpower him, like a king ready for battle.

      For he stretches out his hand against God,

      And acts defiantly against the Almighty,

      Running stubbornly against Him

      With his strong, embossed shield."

       

      What I have seen I will declare, what wise men have told...

       

      Again, Job's friends appeal to the idea of MAN'S AND THE LOST WORLD'S tradition and "all the wise people know this." They speak in terms of cause and effect associations between human wickedness and received judgment, and assume that this principle is ALWAYS true in all cases - especially in Job's particular case.

       

      THEN AND NOW...SATAN DOES NOT CHANGE...THEN AND NOW THEIR ARE FALSE RELIGIOSITIES LIKE THE WORD OF FAITH MOVEMENT, NAME IT CLAIM IT GOSPEL, THAT TEACH THAT IF YOU ARE APPROVED BY GOD AND REALLY SAVED BY JESUS...YOU SHOULD ALWAYS BE HEALTHY, WEALTHY, AND WISE...IF YOU SHOULD GET SICK, YOU SHOULD PRAY IN FAITH AND EXPECT AN INSTANT HEALING...IF YOU ARE NOT HEALED, OR YOU OR A FAMILY MEMBER DIES...THEN YOU ARE NOT REALLY SAVED...YOU HAVE BEEN REJECTED BY ALMIGHTY GOD AND WORSE HIS SON JESUS CHRIST...THAT IS DOCTRINES OF DEMONS THEN AND NOW...AND LIES AND UNBIBLICAL.

       

      CHAMBERS says it well, "When once the sledge-hammer of tradition is brought to bear there is nothing more to say. . . . The Pharisees adopted this method with Jesus. . . . The 'Eliphaz' method has hindered more souls in developing the life with God than almost any other thing."

       

      The wicked man writhes in pain all his days...

       

      "Job, it is only the wicked who suffer as you do. You are suffering in great pain; therefore you must be one of the wicked. The sooner you confess this and repent of it, the better it will be for you."

       

      BRADLEY sums it up best, "If the friends are right, these and the army of the defeated whom they represent, those, the victims of the chances, as we say, of life, 'on whom the Tower of Siloam fell' are all rejected of God, all sinners beyond their brethren. And behind these, is the form of One, who was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, from whom we, his fellow-men, who stood around his cross - hid as it were our faces, He was despised and we esteemed Him not."

       

      He stretches out his hand against God, and acts defiantly against the Almighty...

       

      By association, Eliphaz clearly accuses Job of this arrogance and defiance; of virtually attacking God (running stubbornly against Him with his strong, embossed shield).

       

      CHAMBERS adds, "If Eliphaz had been wise he would have seen what Job was getting at - 'Job is facing something I do not see; I don't understand his problem, but I will treat him with respect'. Instead of that he said, 'According to my traditional belief, you are a hypocrite, Job'."

      I HAVE SAID IT BEFORE...AND IT BEARS CONSTANT REPEATING...WITH SUPPOSEDLY GODLY FRIENDS LIKE THESE THREE: ELIPHAZ, BILDAD, AND ZOPHAR...WHO NEEDS ENEMIES.

       

      Verses 27-35 tells us The certainty of God's judgment against the wicked.

       

      "Though he has covered his face with his fatness,

      And made his waist heavy with fat,

      He dwells in desolate cities,

      In houses which no one inhabits,

      Which are destined to become ruins.

      He will not be rich,

      Nor will his wealth continue,

      Nor will his possessions overspread the earth.

      He will not depart from darkness;

      The flame will dry out his branches,

      And by the breath of His mouth he will go away.

      Let him not trust in futile things, deceiving himself,

      For futility will be his reward.

      It will be accomplished before his time,

      And his branch will not be green.

      He will shake off his unripe grape like a vine,

      And cast off his blossom like an olive tree.

      For the company of hypocrites will be barren,

      And fire will consume the tents of bribery.

      They conceive trouble and bring forth futility;

      Their womb prepares deceit."

       

      Though he as covered his face with fatness … He dwells in desolate cities...

       

      Eliphaz poetically explained that the wicked may SEEM to succeed for a while (as Job did), but their success is only an illusion. They actually are lonely, poor, and in darkness.

       

      DID YOU KNOW..."Being fat in that world was not objectionable. It was the proof of prosperity."

       

      Here Eliphaz was admitting that the wicked do prosper; but as he said in Job 15:29, 'His wealth will not endure.'"

       

      MORGAN adds, "There was wisdom in Eliphaz's description of the ungodly and their destiny. The problem was that they did not apply to Job and his situation. Apart from the fact that these words did not fit the case of Job, they constitute a magnificent description of the unutterable folly of the man who rebels."

       

      They conceive trouble and bring forth futility...

       

      In this indirect manner, Eliphaz accuses Job of all kinds of sin including hypocrisy, bribery, trouble-making, and lying.

       

      As the discussion deepens we see all three of the friends growing more and more convinced that Job is his own worst enemy and that his trials are entirely of his own making.

       

      CLARKE sums up this chapter well, "Poor Job! What a fight of affliction had he to contend with! His body wasted and tortured with sore disease, his mind harassed by Satan; and his heart wrung with the unkindness, and false accusations of his friends. No wonder he was greatly agitated, often distracted, and sometimes even thrown off his guard. However, all his enemies were chained; and beyond that chain they could not go. God was his unseen Protector, and did not suffer his faithful servant to be greatly moved."

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:51 PM EDT
    • JOB 16

       

      OPENS WITH JOB LAMENTS HIS MISERABLE COMFORTERS TO GOD AND ANSWERS ELIPHAZ

       

       

      Verses 1-5 tells us Job reproaches his pitiless friends.

       

      "Then Job answered and said:

      "I have heard many such things;

      Miserable comforters are you all!

      Shall words of wind have an end?

      Or what provokes you that you answer?

      I also could speak as you do,

      If your soul were in my soul's place.

      I could heap up words against you,

      And shake my head at you;

      But I would strengthen you with my mouth,

      And the comfort of my lips would relieve your grief."

       

      I have heard many such things...

       

      Job reminded his critics that ALL they gave him was the "worldly conventional wisdom" explanation of an absolute relationship of cause and effect to make sense of his suffering. Job's friends said, "Everyone knows these things" (as in Job 15:14-15); Job's response was "It is all what we have heard before; I have heard many such things.

       

      Miserable comforters are you all! Job hoped this reproach would shame his accusers into seeing just how greatly they failed to help Job. Their too-great confidence in their own wisdom made them unable to properly sympathize with Job. They did much better in the days when they simply sat silently with the suffering Job (Job 2:11-13).

       

      TRAPP attempted to capture the heart of Job's complaint: "You charge me for slighting the consolations of God, and pretend to come purposely to comfort me; but such cold comforters I have seldom met with; for instead of abating and allaying my sorrows, you do all you can to increase and heighten them. Is this your kindness to your friend?"

       

      Shall words of wind have an end?

      Job just wanted his friends to stop their windy speeches, full of condemnation. It seems that this part of Job's trial was as severe as the losses described in Job 1 and 2.

       

      I also could speak as you do … I could heap up words against you, and shake my head at you:

       

      Job recognized that he could indeed be in the same place of unsympathetic condemnation towards his friends as they were towards him. Yet he also saw that his suffering had changed his perspective, and would now instead strengthen and comfort them.

       

      MORGAN says it well, "The folly of criticizing sorrow from the vantage point of prosperity is declared. Job said that he could speak as they if they were in his place, but he would not do it. He would attempt to strengthen them."

       

      AND HOW COULD JOB SEEK TO COMFORT AND STRENGTHEN...THAT IS ONE OF THE FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT THAT PROVE THAT JESUS LIVES WITHIN US...One of the great advantages of personal suffering is that it makes the sufferer far more sympathetic towards others who suffer. Those who otherwise would have been harsh and strict towards those suffering will often find themselves much more willing to give strength and comfort towards others who suffer similar grief.

       

      Verses 6-14 tells us Job laments the EJECTION by his friends.

       

      "Though I speak, my grief is not relieved;

      And if I remain silent, how am I eased?

      But now He has worn me out;

      You have made desolate all my company.

      You have shriveled me up,

      And it is a witness against me;

      My leanness rises up against me

      And bears witness to my face.

      He tears me in His wrath, and hates me;

      He gnashes at me with His teeth;

      My adversary sharpens His gaze on me.

      They gape at me with their mouth,

      They strike me reproachfully on the cheek,

      They gather together against me.

      God has delivered me to the ungodly,

      And turned me over to the hands of the wicked.

      I was at ease, but He has shattered me;

      He also has taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces;

      He has set me up for His target,

      His archers surround me.

      He pierces my heart and does not pity;

      He pours out my gall on the ground.

      He breaks me with wound upon wound;

      He runs at me like a warrior."

       

      Though I speak, my grief is not relieved; and if I remain silent, how am I eased:

       

      Job felt trapped by both options. If he speaks, he finds no relief from his unsympathetic friends; yet silence does nothing to ease his grief.

       

      Now He has worn me out...

       

      Job here seemed close to surrender to God; to simply acknowledge that in his struggle with God, God had indeed won. God had stripped everything away from Job and exhausted him. Job's exhausted condition was a witness against him.

       

      You have made desolate all my company either refers to the loss of Job's family (described in Job 1), or in the desolate manner of Job's unhelpful companions.

       

      He tears at me in His wrath, and hates me … my adversary sharpens His gaze on me...

       

      Job felt he was in a supreme conflict; not with his friends, not with his circumstances, but with HIS God - or at least with his prior conception of God and how God worked things. His crisis threw all that prior conception into uncertainty and he now felt that he was under attack from God.

       

      SMICK says it well, "Eliphaz accused Job of attacking God, but Job claimed the reverse was true; God assailed him."

       

      LAWSON says it well, "Job sees himself as the object of God's wrath. He pictures God as a savage beast, hunting him down, and tearing him apart limb from limb. Our suffering at the hands of Satan and man can give us a distorted view of God, can't it?"

       

      It seems that Job here wrestled with God just as intensely as Jacob wrestled with the Angel of the Lord (Genesis 32:22-32). The similarity of the struggle is instructive, given the difference in their character. Jacob wrestled with God as a carnal man who needed to be conquered. Job struggled with God as a godly man also needed to be conquered, or at least more conquered.

       

      They gather together against me...

       

      Part of Job's agony was related to the idea that this entire struggle was so public, acted out in front of the audience of his friends and onlookers. At least Jacob's struggle with God was private; the public nature of Job's crisis made him feel that his friends were on God's side against him in some way, or used by God as another way to deepen his crisis (God has delivered me to the ungodly).

       

      In recalling the attacks of the ungodly, Job remembered the cruel attacks of the Chaldeans and Sabeans that came upon his servants and livestock, as recorded in the first chapter.

       

      I was at ease, but He has shattered me...

       

      Job piled one poetic description upon another to powerfully communicate his feeling that God was against him. According to how Job felt:

       

      1. God had assaulted Job as in a street fight (He also has taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces)

      2. God was the pitiless archer and Job was the target (He has set me up for His target)

      3. God was the warrior who utterly slew Job (He breaks me with wound upon wound; He runs at me like a warrior)

       

      There is a sense in which Job is a prophetic picture of Jesus Christ, the righteous one on the cross who nevertheless became a target of God's righteous wrath; not because he deserved it, but because it was in the good and greater plan of God to do so.

       

      TRAPP says it well, "We especially recognize the idea from Job 16:10: They gape at me with their mouth, they strike me reproachfully on the cheek, they gather together against me. "Our Savior was so served according to the letter; they gaped upon him, mowed at him, buffeted him on the face, gathered themselves together against him, as here. Hence some of the ancients call Job a figure and type of Christ, who was thus dealt with both literally and also figuratively."

       

      He pours out my gall on the ground: "The gall is affixed to the liver, and when that is poured out; the man cannot live, because his wound is mortal and incurable.

       

      Verses 15-17 tells us Job wonders why his righteous life has deserved his dark trial.

       

      "I have sewn sackcloth over my skin,

      And laid my head in the dust.

      My face is flushed from weeping,

      And on my eyelids is the shadow of death;

      Although no violence is in my hands,

      And my prayer is pure."

       

      I have sewn sackcloth over my skin...

       

      Job recounted the demonstrations of his grief including sackcloth, dust on the head, and weeping.

       

      Although no violence is in my hands, and my prayer is pure...

       

      Job simply could not reconcile his previous righteous and pious life with his present desolation. Why would God attack (as described in Job 16:12-14) such a righteous and pious man?

       

      BRADLEY reminds us all, "My prayer is pure: "There is one thing that he will not let go - the testimony of his conscience, that he has lived as the friend of God, not as his enemy. He is certain that he does not belong to the class whose sins and punishment his friends have set before him for a warning. To this certainty he clings as to a plank in the devouring waves. Deep is his anguish, but he is conscience-free."

       

      Verses 18-22 tells us Job protests to creation.

       

      "O earth, do not cover my blood,

      And let my cry have no resting place!

      Surely even now my witness is in heaven,

      And my evidence is on high.

      My friends scorn me;

      My eyes pour out tears to God.

      Oh, that one might plead for a man with God,

      As a man pleads for his neighbor!

      For when a few years are finished,

      I shall go the way of no return."

       

      O earth, do not cover my blood..

       

      Job here begged the creation to not erase his life. If he were to die in his crises, Job at least wanted his blood to remain evident as a testimony.

       

      POOLE reminds us, "The earth is said to cover that blood which lies undiscovered and unrevenged; of which see on Genesis 4:10-11; Isaiah 26:21."

       

      "With a cry of almost bewildering boldness, he appeals to earth, from which the blood of righteous Abel once cried up to God, not to cover his blood, when the end comes at last, but to let the cry of his wronged life go up from her bosom, and find no rest till it has pierced the ear of God."

       

      Job thought that he would die before he could be vindicated before his peers; so he was concerned that the injustice done to him should never be forgotten.

       

      Surely even now my witness is in heaven...

       

      We see here the REAL BATTLE...THE BATTLE OF THE HEART AND MIND at work in Job. A few verses before (as in Job 16:12-14) he believed God fought against him will all His divine strength and skill. Nevertheless, Job also truly did believe that he had a righteous witness in heaven that would vindicate him as all the evidence was revealed.

       

      MORGAN says it well, "In the midst of all this travail of soul, his faith triumphed over his doubt. He believed that God knew the truth about him, and would be his witness. . . . This is another instance of the light breaking forth, if only for a moment, from his deepest life."

       

      "By 'witness' he intended a watcher, who knows, and knows all. He was surrounded by men who were perfectly honest, and were his friends, but who failed in what they were saying to him, because they did not know all. They thought they did. . . . In the midst of the suffering of this misunderstanding, he declared his conviction that there was One in heaven watching, understanding, knowing all.

       

      My friends scorn me; my eyes pour out tears to God...

       

      In one poetic and powerful sentence, Job described his present agony. He was sometimes confident in his future and ultimate vindication, yet also lived in the agony of his moment.

       

      Oh, that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleads for his neighbor! Job here recognized that what he needed was a true advocate in heaven; someone to plead his case before God.

       

      AND WE KNOW...Job anticipated the need that would be fulfilled in Jesus Christ, who is both our mediator (1 Timothy 2:5) and our advocate (1 John 2:1) in heaven before God the Father. It is plain that the mystery of man's redemption by Christ was known to the ancient patriarchs, as hath been oft noted before, and to Job among others, in Job 19:25.

       

      Job knew that he needed a mediator, someone to bridge the gap between himself and a holy, great God. Job also knew by faith that such a person existed and could be trusted. This made Job a believer in Jesus before Jesus ever walked the earth; he had faith in God's Messiah to come.

       

      In anticipation of the Messiah, Job essentially said: "Christ, who is God and man, will plead my cause with his Father; he can prevail, because he is God equal to the Father; he will undertake it, because he will be man like to me."

       

      This reminds us that although the comfort of faith in God's unseen hand and plan was available to Job, it is even more available to us in light of the finished work of Jesus Christ and His exaltation to the right hand of God the Father in heaven.

       

      For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return...

       

      Job would not live long enough to see his longing fulfilled in Jesus Christ, yet He would be eventually comforted by the anticipation of that fulfillment.

       

      ANDERSEN says it well, "Perhaps it is enough to find here another expression of the thought that a man's short life-span does not give enough time to solve the problems of life. With increasing clarity Job is seeing that satisfactory answers might be gained only when he has more direct dealings with God after death."

       

      AND THAT IS PURE TRUTH FOR THOSE OF US WHO LOVE JESUS CHRIST AND HIS WORD...AND SEEK HIS WISDOM, HIS WAYS, HIS TEACHINGS AND HIS ANSWERS.

       

      WE WILL HAVE TRIALS HERE...BUT NOT IN HEAVEN.

      WE WILL HAVE ILLNESS HERE...BUT NOT IN HEAVEN.

      WE WILL HAVE WAR HERE...BUT NOT IN HEAVEN.

      WE WILL HAVE LOSS HERE....BUT NOT IN HEAVEN.

      WE MAY NOT BE HEALED IN THIS LIFE...BUT WE WILL BE ETERNALLY WHOLE IN HEAVEN.

      WE MAY NOT ALWAYS HAVE VICTORY HERE IN THIS LIFE...BUT JESUS WILL AVENGE US AND WE WILL BE VICTORS FOREVER IN HEAVEN.

      WE MAY NOT HAVE THE ANSWERS TO THE WHYS OR HOWS IN THIS LIFE...BUT WE WILL LEARN ALL THINGS WHEN WE ENTER THE GATES OF HEAVEN.

      THAT IS BECAUSE OUR ADVOCATE, OUR DEFENDER, OUR FRIEND, OUR COMFORTER AND OUR SAVIOR PAID THE PRICE FOR OUR SINS AND SATISFIED THE WRATH OF ALMIGHTY GOD ON THE CROSS.

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:50 PM EDT
    • JOB 17

       

      OPENS WITH...JOB CONFRONTS BOTH GOD AND HIS FRIENDS

       

       

      Verses 1-2 tells us Job's broken spirit.

       

      "My spirit is broken,

      My days are extinguished,

      The grave is ready for me.

      Are not mockers with me?

      And does not my eye dwell on their provocation?"

       

       

      My spirit is broken, my days are extinguished…

       

      Job continued his same sense of defeat and brokenness as described in the previous chapter.

       

       

      Are not mockers with me?

       

      The lack of sympathy and help from Job's friends - that they started out as sympathetic sufferers (as in Job 2:11-13) but became mockers when Job did not respond to their wisdom as they thought he should - was an especially painful aspect of his crisis.

       

       

      Verses 3-5 tells us Job begs heaven to sustain and support him.

       

      "Now put down a pledge for me with Yourself.

      Who is he who will shake hands with me?

      For You have hidden their heart from understanding;

      Therefore You will not exalt them.

      He who speaks flattery to his friends,

      Even the eyes of his children will fail."

       

       

      Who is he who will shake hands with me?

       

      Job felt - rightly so, according to his circumstances - that heaven was against him. Here he plead for an agreement of peace between himself and heaven.

       

       

      In a small way, Job grasped the whole tone of salvation under the New Covenant…

       

      God has made the atonement and the reconciliation; we do not have to do it ourselves.

       

       

      You have hidden their heart from understanding…

       

      Job understood that if God had wanted to inform the hearts of Job's friends, He was fully capable of doing so. Ultimately even the unsympathetic manner of his friends was an aspect of Job's crisis allowed by God.

       

       

      Therefore You will not exalt them…

       

      At the same time, Job's friends were accountable for their lack of understanding. God's withholding of understanding from them was an evidence of His displeasure towards them.

       

       

      He who speaks flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children will fail…

       

      Job here seemed to justify his harsh words towards his friends. He recognizes that it would be a bad reflection on his character if he were to simply flatter them.

       

      Verses 6-9 tells us Job explains his present condition and the ultimate resolution he trusts in.

       

      "But He has made me a byword of the people,

      And I have become one in whose face men spit.

      My eye has also grown dim because of sorrow,

      And all my members are like shadows.

      Upright men are astonished at this,

      And the innocent stirs himself up against the hypocrite.

      Yet the righteous will hold to his way,

      And he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger."

       

       

      He has made me a byword of the people, and I have become one in whose face men spit…

       

      Job here spoke with poetic power of his own humiliation, and how greatly he had been humbled. It reminds us of the universal principle of the humiliation of man.

       

       

      Job's own humiliation was so complete that he could say, "Upright men are astonished at this." Onlookers found it hard to believe that this righteous man had been so seriously afflicted.

       

       

      Our own humiliation is inevitable. The frailty of humanity and the fallen nature of this world combine together to make the humiliation of man certain, yet it may come in many forms. Our humiliation may come to us through our own sin, through our own weaknesses, through circumstances beyond our control, or by what others put upon us.

       

       

      Thankfully, the humiliation of humanity has its model and sympathy in the life of Jesus. He climbed the ladder down from heaven's glory to the lowest of human experience (Philippians 2:5-8) to give both meaning and dignity to the humiliation of man.

       

       

      We are also thankful that humiliation serves as a gateway to grace. The principle stands true: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5).

       

       

      He has made me a byword of the people…

       

      Though Job recognized his own humiliation, he also proclaimed the sovereignty of God. He did not find the cause of his crisis in blind fate or even human cruelty. He understood that if he was indeed a byword of the people and a man in whose face men spit, it was because God had made him so.

       

      Job and his friends did not agree on much, but they did agree on this. They disagreed on the reasons why God had made him so, but all saw the sovereign and great hand of God behind it.

       

       

      Understanding this can help us - though it was obviously difficult for Job and for us in similar circumstances - that God has a good and loving plan even in allowing our humiliation.

       

       

      CLARKE adds, “Job indeed became a byword of the people. "My afflictions and calamities have become a subject of general conversation, so that my poverty and affliction are proverbial. As poor as Job, As afflicted as Job, are proverbs that have even reached our times and are still in use."

       

       

      Yet the righteous will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger…

      In this section Job added a final, emphatic point, declaring the victory of the righteous. Even in his crisis he had flashes of faith that lit up the night of his misery.

       

       

      This victory comes in endurance, as the righteous will hold to his way. Job would himself experience this victory as he endured through his severe and long season of crisis.

       

       

      This victory comes in progression, as he who has clean hands will be stronger and stronger. Job's situation did not get better in an instant. There were flashes of inspiration and clarity, but overall God brought him through the crisis in a prolonged experience.

       

       

      Yet the righteous will hold to his way….

       

       

      MEYER gave several reasons why this was so.

       

      1. "You shall hold on your way because Jesus holds you in his strong hand. He is your Shepherd; He has vanquished all your foes, and you shall never perish."

       

      2. "You shall hold on your way because the Father has designed through you to glorify His Son; and there must be no gaps in his crown where jewels ought to be."

       

      3. "You shall hold on your way because the Holy Spirit has designed to make you his residence and home; and He is within you the perennial spring of a holy life."

       

       

      Verses 10-16 tells us Job's sense of hopelessness.

       

      "But please, come back again, all of you,

      For I shall not find one wise man among you.

      My days are past,

      My purposes are broken off,

      Even the thoughts of my heart.

      They change the night into day;

      'The light is near,' they say, in the face of darkness.

      If I wait for the grave as my house,

      If I make my bed in the darkness,

      If I say to corruption,

      'You are my father,'

      And to the worm,

      'You are my mother and my sister,'

      Where then is my hope?

      As for my hope, who can see it?

      Will they go down to the gates of Sheol?

      Shall we have rest together in the dust?"

       

       

      For I shall not find one wise man among you…

       

      Job here threw down the rhetorical challenge to his friends once more, insulting them as they had insulted him.

       

       

      My days are past, my purposes are broken off…

       

      Job accepted now that his good years and strong years were behind him, and anticipated not the quick death he once longed for, but perhaps a progressive loss of strength and ability until he simply perished.

       

       

      They change the night into day…

       

      'The light is near,' they say, in the face of darkness: Job thought of his approaching death and took comfort in it. It would transform his current night into day. The corruption of the grave would be as close to him as a family member.

       

       

      SMICK adds, "The counselors had said that night would be turned to day for Job if only he would get right with God (cf. Job 11:17). In Job 17:12-16 Job made a parody of their advice. It was like going to the grave with the notion that all you have to do is treat it like home where warmth and loved one are and it will become so."

       

       

      Where then is my hope?

       

      At the same time, this comfort did not sit well with Job. He recognized that it was a slender and frail hope to trust in the grave; he could not be confident that hope would follow him down to Sheol and give him rest.

       

       

      Job therefore concludes this speech with a conflicted hope; wishing for death but not being satisfied or confident in that hope. What he really wanted was a resolution from God.

       

       

      CLARKE adds,"Job himself, though sometimes strongly confident, is often harassed with doubts and fears upon the subject, insomuch that his sayings and experience often appear contradictory. Perhaps it could not be otherwise; the true light was not then come: Jesus alone brought life and immortality to light by his Gospel."

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:27 PM EDT
    • JOB 18

       

      OPENS WITH...BILDAD SPEAKS A SECOND TIME

       

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us Bildad rebukes Job for his words and low opinion of his friends.

       

      Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

      "How long till you put an end to words?

      Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak.

      Why are we counted as beasts,

      And regarded as stupid in your sight?"

       

       

      How long till you put and end to words?

       

      Bildad basically returned Job's words in Job 16:3. It seems that they were all getting tired of hearing each other talk, yet the matter was far from resolved.

       

       

      Bildad again addresses Job in the plural (Job 8:2) probably speaking to him as representing a class: as Job had done before in his reply to Zophar (Job 12:2).

       

       

      Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak. Why are we counted as beasts, and regarded as stupid in your sight? Bildad continued to trade insults with Job. They accused each other of being dense and stupid as beasts.

       

       

      TRAPP adds, “Bildad herein sinned against the law of love, as likewise he doth much more in the following vehement interrogation, charging Job with insolent boldness against God."

       

       

      Verse 4 tells us Bildad tells Job to look to himself and the unchangeable laws of life.

       

      "You who tear yourself in anger,

      Shall the earth be forsaken for you?

      Or shall the rock be removed from its place?"

       

       

      You who tear yourself in anger…

       

      Bildad told Job, "Just look at yourself. You are tearing yourself to pieces in anger. Your condition is all the evidence anyone needs to see that you are in sin and need to repent."

       

       

      Shall the earth be forsaken for you?

       

      Bildad felt that Job wanted to overturn unchangeable laws of life; mainly the laws of cause and effect that tell us Job has caused his own crisis by his sin and refusal to repent.

       

      Verses 5-6 tells us The dark life of the wicked.

       

      "The light of the wicked indeed goes out,

      And the flame of his fire does not shine.

      The light is dark in his tent,

      And his lamp beside him is put out."

       

       

      The light of the wicked indeed goes out…

      Bildad wanted to teach Job about the life and fate of the wicked, and in doing so he hoped that Job would get the idea that he was among the wicked that Bildad described.

       

       

      SMICK adds, "Bildad's concern, however, was to establish in Job's mind the absolute certainty that every wicked man gets paid in full, in this life, for his wicked deeds."

       

       

      The light is dark in his tent…

       

      At the end of Job's previous speech (Job 17:10-16) he described the darkness of his life and prospects, all in the gloomy context of the grave as a welcome home. Bildad wanted Job to see that this dark outlook on life meant that he was among the wicked.

       

       

      Verses 7-10 tells us the dangerous path of the wicked.

       

      "The steps of his strength are shortened,

      And his own counsel casts him down.

      For he is cast into a net by his own feet,

      And he walks into a snare.

      The net takes him by the heel,

      And a snare lays hold of him.

      A noose is hidden for him on the ground,

      And a trap for him in the road."

       

       

      The steps of his strength are shortened…

       

      Bildad here described the wicked man as someone weak in his steps, unable or unwilling to continue the journey of life. He felt this accurately described Job and set him among the wicked men.

       

      He walks into a snare…

       

      Not only is the wicked man weak in his journey, he is also on a dangerous path. He walks right into trouble, and the net takes him by the heel. In Bildad's perspective Job has walked into his own crisis, and a snare lays hold of him.

       

       

      Verses 11-16 tells us the miserable life of the wicked.

       

      "Terrors frighten him on every side,

      And drive him to his feet.

      His strength is starved,

      And destruction is ready at his side.

      It devours patches of his skin;

      The firstborn of death devours his limbs.

      He is uprooted from the shelter of his tent,

      And they parade him before the king of terrors.

      They dwell in his tent who are none of his;

      Brimstone is scattered on his dwelling.

      His roots are dried out below,

      And his branch withers above."

       

       

      Terrors frighten him on every side…

       

      Again, Bildad takes previous statements of Job and turns them back upon him. Job spoke in his previous speech about how he felt attacked and assaulted by God on every side (Job 16:9-14). Bildad regarded this as proof of Job's wickedness.

       

       

      It devours patches of his skin…

       

      Part of Job's medical crisis was skin disease (Job 30:30a, 7:5b, and 2:7-8). Bildad says, "The wicked have terrible problems with their skin. That means you are among the wicked, Job."

       

       

      We are told that Job’s medical crisis is in part:

       

      His plump body becomes emaciated,

      His ribs stick right out,

      Disease corrodes his skin,

      Death's eldest son swallows his organs.

       

       

      He is uprooted from the shelter of his tent…

       

      Bildad made the simple calculation that the wicked suffer such great crises; Job suffered in a great crisis; therefore Job must be among the wicked and the sooner Job realized it the better.

       

       

      They parade him before the king of terrors…

       

      This seems to be a marvelously poetic description of death itself, given the horrific title the KING OF TERRORS.

       

       

       

      ANDERSEN tells us, "The incomparable phrase the king of terrors is another reference to death, and the repetition of the same Hebrew word for terrors marks verses 11-14 as a single unit."

       

       

      Sadly, this regard of death did not completely die with the Christian era. The author recalls reading the following inscription on an Irish tombstone on the Hill of Slane, outside of Dublin.

       

      O cruel Death you well may boast

      Of all Tyrants thou art the most

      As you all mortals can control

      The Lord have mercy on my soul

      (1782)

       

       

      Brimstone is scattered on his habitation…

       

      This may either refer to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, as has already been intimated, or to an ancient custom of fumigating houses with brimstone, in order to purify them from defilement.

       

       

      Verses 17-21 tells us The sad destiny of the wicked.

       

      "The memory of him perishes from the earth,

      And he has no name among the renowned.

      He is driven from light into darkness,

      And chased out of the world.

      He has neither son nor posterity among his people,

      Nor any remaining in his dwellings.

      Those in the west are astonished at his day,

      As those in the east are frightened.

      Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked,

      And this is the place of him who does not know God."

       

      The memory of him perishes from the earth…

       

      In his previous speech, Job pled for the earth to cry out on his behalf, testifying of his innocence before God (Job 16:18-19). Here Bildad told Job that there was no possibility of this if he should die in his wicked state. If so, he would simply be among those whose memory … perishes from the earth.

       

      He has neither son nor posterity among the people…

      This was an especially cruel statement to one who had lost all ten of his children (included seven sons) in a tragic accident (Job 1:2, 1:18-19). Bildad felt that such cruelty was necessary to wake Job up from his self-deception.

       

       

      ANDERSEN adds, "Bildad gives a transparent allegory which is singularly cruel in its obvious reference to Job's bereavement. The last state, having no offspring, descendant or survivor, is the worst. Bildad has listed the things most dreaded by an Israelite in life and in death as the tokens of rejection by God."

       

       

      This is the place of him who does not know God…

       

      Bildad carried his attack yet further. Not only was Job among the wicked, he was also one who does not know God. This was a cruel and false statement to make against a man who was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1).

       

       

      It is NOT Job's wickedness but his faithfulness that the Lord is disclosing through this ordeal. In fact there may be nothing our God wants more than to bring each one of us to the point where He can do with us exactly what He did with Job: hand us over with perfect confidence into the clutches of Satan, knowing that even then our faith will hold.

       

       

       

       

    • November 3, 2016 3:25 PM EDT
    • JOB 19

       

      OPENS WITH...JOB'S ANSWER TO BILDAD: "I KNOW THAT MY REDEEMER LIVES"

       

       

      Verses 1-6 tells us Job complains that his friends have not understood him at all.

       

      Then Job answered and said:

      "How long will you torment my soul,

      And break me in pieces with words?

      These ten times you have reproached me;

      You are not ashamed that you have wronged me.

      And if indeed I have erred,

      My error remains with me.

      If indeed you exalt yourselves against me,

      And plead my disgrace against me,

      Know then that God has wronged me,

      And has surrounded me with His net."

       

       

      How long will you torment my soul…

       

      Job answered Bildad with a familiar complaint, that his friends were unsympathetic tormentors of his soul.

       

       

      SPURGEON says, "They struck at him with their hard words, as if they were breaking stones on the roadside. We ought to be very careful what we say to those who are suffering affliction and trial, for a word, though it seems to be a very little thing, will often cut far more deeply and wound far more terribly than a razor would."

       

       

      D.L. MOODY adds, “We might say that many in the church today are as unloving as Job's friends were. "The church has become very jealous about men being unsound in the faith. If a man becomes unsound in the faith, they draw their ecclesiastical swords and cut at him. But he may be ever so unsound in love, and they don't say anything."

       

       

      CLARKE adds, "Job's friends have been, by the general consent of posterity, consigned to endless infamy. May all those who follow their steps be equally enrolled in the annals of bad fame!"

       

       

      And if indeed I have erred, My error remains with me…

       

      Job was steadfast in his refusal to agree with his friends that he had caused his crisis by some remarkable sin and refusal to repent.

       

       

      Know then that God has wronged me, and has surrounded me with His net…

       

      Job insisted to his friends that he was not a guilty victim before a righteous God. If God had sent or allowed this calamity in Job's life, it could be said that God had wronged Job because the calamity was not a just penalty for some sin in Job.

       

       

      And of course, allowing for the emotional aspect of this pained outpouring, we understand how Job would say, "Know then that God has wronged me." He had reason to think this, and poured out his honest feelings before God and his friends.

       

       

      SMICK adds, "In a sense the Accuser was acting as the hand of God, for he had said to God, 'But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh' (2:5). And God had replied, 'Very well, then, he is in your hands' (2:6). So Job was not totally wrong when he said, 'The hand of God has struck me' (19:21).”

      Verses 7-12 tells us Job describes how God has attacked him.

       

      "If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard.

      If I cry aloud, there is no justice.

      He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass;

      And He has set darkness in my paths.

      He has stripped me of my glory,

      And taken the crown from my head.

      He breaks me down on every side,

      And I am gone;

      My hope He has uprooted like a tree.

      He has also kindled His wrath against me,

      And He counts me as one of His enemies.

      His troops come together

      And build up their road against me;

      They encamp all around my tent."

       

       

      If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard…

       

      Job here complained at what was the core of his crisis. Job was accustomed to finding comfort and some sense of an answer from God in his previous trials. Yet now when he cried out to heaven he heard no reply.

       

       

      He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass…

       

      This is reminiscent of Job's complaint in Job 3:23, where he sadly said that he was one whom God has hedged in.

       

       

      He has stripped me of my glory …

       

      With a deeply moving poetic style, Job described how he felt God had brought him low. He was like a king uncrowned, like a house with its walls broken down, and like an uprooted tree.

      He counts me as one of His enemies…

       

      Though Job could not comprehend it (nor be expected to), God still held him in special favor and care. God put Job into a place where he was expected to believe despite what seemed to be irrefutable circumstances and personal feelings.

       

       

      They encamp all around my tent…

       

      In Job 19:8-12, Job recount the reverse progression of an ancient siege and conquering of a city; yet the irony was that Job was not like a mighty city, but only like a humble tent.

       

       

      We can see the reverse progress starting at Job 19:8:

       

      - Captivity (I cannot pass; and He has set darkness in my paths).

      - Dethronement (taken the crown from my head)

      - Being like a wall torn down (He breaks me down on every side)

      - Being like an uprooted tree (my hope He has uprooted like a tree)

      - Having a siege set against him (build up their road against me)

      - Being surrounded (they encamp all around my tent)

       

       

       

      Verses 13-20 tells us Job describes the bitter results of God's attack upon him.

       

      "He has removed my brothers far from me,

      And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.

      My relatives have failed,

      And my close friends have forgotten me.

      Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants,

      Count me as a stranger;

      I am an alien in their sight.

      I call my servant, but he gives no answer;

      I beg him with my mouth.

      My breath is offensive to my wife,

      And I am repulsive to the children of my own body.

      Even young children despise me;

      I arise, and they speak against me.

      All my close friends abhor me,

      And those whom I love have turned against me.

      My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh,

      And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth."

       

       

      He has removed my brothers far from me…

       

      Job probably meant his three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar). He once regarded them as close brothers but now felt they had forsaken him and turned against him.

       

       

      I call my servant, but he gives no answer…

       

      Before his crisis, Job was a wealthy and influential man. Yet now even his own servants did not obey or respect him.

       

       

      My breath is offensive to my wife, and I am repulsive to the children of my own body…

       

      Job was in such a miserable state both physically and spiritually, that his wife wanted nothing to do with him (as in Job 2:9). The children Job refers to here must be either grandchildren or those who were symbolically Job's children; it seems that all of Job's ten children were killed in a tragic accident (Job 1:2; 1:18-19).

       

       

      It may also be that Job had in mind that his children cursed or rejected him from the world beyond; he felt that from their place in the after-life they regarded him as repulsive.

       

       

      SMICK adds, "In any society nothing hurts more than rejection by one's family and friends, but what could be worse in a patriarchal society than to have children ridicule the patriarch?"

       

       

      My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth…

       

      Job here referred to his emaciated and unhealthy condition, and just how close he was to physical death.

       

       

      Some think that Job meant that only his gums were left unaffected by his diseased condition. Others suggest that Job was so tortured that he gnawed at his skin with his teeth, or on his own lips in agony.

       

       

      Verses 21-22 tells us Job pleads for pity from his friends.

       

      "Have pity on me, have pity on me,

      O you my friends,

      For the hand of God has struck me!

      Why do you persecute me as God does,

      And are not satisfied with my flesh?"

       

       

      Have pity on me, O you my friends…

       

      In light of the eloquence and truth of his previous complaint, Job called upon his friends to therefore pity him. Instead of joining against him in a concert of condemnation, they should have had pity on this one so afflicted by the hand of God.

       

       

      Why do you persecute me as God does…

       

       

      Job made his appeal to God and felt there was no reply given. Now he appealed to his friends, and hoped to at least turn their hearts towards him.

       

       

      Verses 23-29 tells us Job's triumphant proclamation of faith.

       

      "Oh, that my words were written!

      Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!

      That they were engraved on a rock

      With an iron pen and lead, forever!

      For I know that my Redeemer lives,

      And He shall stand at last on the earth;

      And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,

      That in my flesh I shall see God,

      Whom I shall see for myself,

      And my eyes shall behold, and not another.

      How my heart yearns within me!

      If you should say, 'How shall we persecute him?';

      Since the root of the matter is found in me,

      Be afraid of the sword for yourselves;

      For wrath brings the punishment of the sword,

      That you may know there is a judgment."

       

       

      Oh, that my words were written!

       

       

      Job seemed to have no sense that his own personal tragedy and drama would indeed be written and inscribed in a book by Almighty God himself, and be so for the benefit of countless others through succeeding generations. His words and life were indeed written with an iron pen and lead, forever!

      For I know that my Redeemer lives, and he shall stand at last on the earth…

       

      This is another of the brilliant flashes of faith in Job's otherwise dark and bleak background of crisis and suffering. Perhaps as he considered that future generations would indeed look at his life and words, it stirred him to a triumphant proclamation of faith.

       

       

      The word translated Redeemer is “GOEL”, presenting one of the wonderful concepts of the Old Testament. "The 'Goel' stood for another to defend his cause, to avenge wrongs done to him, and so to acquit him of all charges laid against him.

       

       

      LAWSON adds, "A redeemer was a vindicator of one unjustly wronged. He was a defender of the oppressed. A champion of the suffering. An advocate of one unjustly accused. If you were ever wronged, a redeemer would come and stand beside you as your champion and advocate."

       

       

      SMICK adds, "The meaning of the word goel ('redeemer') is fundamental to understanding this passage. The word is important in Old Testament jurisprudence. It had both a criminal and a civil aspect. As 'blood avenger,' a goel had a responsibility to avenge the blood of a slain kinsman (Numbers 35:12-28). He was not seeking revenge but justice. On the civil side he was a redeemer or vindicator. Here he had the responsibility to 'buy back' and so redeem the lost inheritance of a deceased relative. . . . As such he was the defender or champion of the oppressed."

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "Christ's kinship with his people is to be thought of with great comfort because it is voluntary. We have some, perhaps, who are akin to us, yet, who wish they were not. Many a time, when a rich man has poor relations, he is half ashamed of the kinship between them, and wishes that it did not exist. Shame upon him for thinking so! But our Lord Jesus Christ's relationship to us is no accident of birth; it was voluntarily assumed by him. Remember, too, that it was always considered to be the duty of the goel, not merely to redeem by price, but where that failed, to redeem by power. . . . There are two redemptions, - redemption by price and redemption by power, and both of these Christ hath wrought for us; - by price, by his sacrifice upon the cross of Calvary; and by power, by his Divine Spirit coming into our heart, and renewing our soul."

       

       

      For I know…

       

      We are impressed with Job's certainty. This was something that he knew; it was much more than a hope and more than a guess.

       

       

      That my Redeemer…

       

      Job knew that he had a Redeemer; someone to rescue him from his crisis and despair and every accusation set against him.

       

       

      That my Redeemer lives…

       

      Job knew that his Redeemer was alive, and that because He lived He could also bring life to Job.

       

       

      And shall stand at last on the earth…

       

      This meant that Job knew his Redeemer was more than a spiritual concept; He was a living being who could stand at last on the earth. He knew his Redeemer would come to comfort and vindicate Job, though to this point Job had been conspicuously without evident comfort from God.

       

       

      SMICK adds, "At the end of chapter 16 Job was obsessed with the notion that someone in heaven would stand up for him and plead his case. But here in chapter 19 he expected to witness his own vindication on earth."

      And after my skin is destroyed…

       

      At this point Job held no more hope for the preservation of his flesh; he knew that his skin would be destroyed (it was already in bad condition according to Job 2:7-8).

       

       

      This I know, that in my flesh I shall see God…

       

      Though Job expected the destruction of his skin to be completed, at the same time he had the confidence of faith to know that God would not hide Himself forever; that "in my flesh I shall see God." This would be the moment of Job's comfort, restoration, and vindication, and he would have confidence in it even if it only came after life on this earth was over.

       

       

      MEYER adds,"Beyond the heavens Job thought there lived a Kinsman, who saw all his sufferings, and pitied, and would one day appear on earth to vindicate his innocence and avenge his wrongs. He was content to leave the case with Him, sure He would not fail, as his friends had done."

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "It has occurred to me that, possibly, Job himself may not have known the full meaning of all that he said. Imagine the patriarch driven into a corner, badgered by his so-called friends, charged by them with all manner of evils until he is quite boiling over with indignation, and, at the same time, smarting under terrible bodily diseases and the dreadful losses which he has sustained; and, at last, he bursts out with this exclamation, 'I shall be vindicated one day; I am sure I shall. I know that my Vindicator liveth. I am sure that, there is One who will vindicate me; and if he never clears my name and reputation as long as I live, it will be done afterwards. There must be a just God, in heaven, who will see me righted; and even though worms devour my body until the last relic of it has passed away, I do verily believe that, somehow, in the far-off ages, I shall be vindicated.'"

       

       

      Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another…

      This bold confidence of Job - though it shines as flash of faith in a dark background of despair - completely routed Satan's confidence that Job could be turned against God. His confidence and trust, blind as it was at the moment, was set upon the fact that he would one day see God for himself, a statement powerfully and poetically repeated for emphasis.

       

       

      Anticipating the fulfillment of all this, no wonder Job could say, "How my heart yearns within me!" With this wonderful revelation and proclamation of his anticipated Redeemer, he clearly though probably unknowingly looked forward to Jesus Christ and His work as Redeemer.

       

       

      POOLE adds, “This is entirely in keeping with other passages which refer to God as our Redeemer. "And if the places where God is called Goel in the Old Testament be examined, it will be found that either all or most of them may be, and some of them must be, understood of God the Son, or of Christ, as Genesis 48:16; Isaiah 59:20."

       

       

      MASON adds, “Nevertheless, it is also significant that in this passage where Jesus is wonderfully celebrated as a living Redeemer and Vindicator and Kinsman for His people, we also see the shadow of the suffering of Jesus. "Job's language in Chapter 19 is full of haunting premonitions of Christ's crucifixion."

       

       

      - [God] has surrounded me with His net (Job 19:6)

      - He has set darkness in my paths (Job 19:8)

      - He has stripped me of my glory (Job 19:9)

      - He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone (Job 19:10)

      - He has kindled His wrath against me, and He counts me as one of His enemies (Job 19:11)

      - He has removed my brothers far from me (Job 19:13)

      - My close friends have forgotten me (Job 19:14)

      - Those whom I love have turned against me (Job 19:19)

      - My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh (Job 19:20)

       

       

      CLARKE described how he felt this remarkable revelation given to Job changed him, and gave him a different attitude that is evident in the rest of the Book of Job: "It is not at all probable that Job had this confidence any time before the moment in which he uttered it: it was then a direct revelation, nothing of which he ever had before, else he had never dropped those words of impatience and irritation which we find in several of his speeches. And this may be safely inferred from the consideration, that after this time no such words escaped his lips: He bears the rest of his sufferings with great patience and fortitude; and seems to look forward with steady hope to that day in which all tears shall be wiped away from off all faces, and it is fully proved that the Judge of all the earth has done right." We could say that seeing Jesus changed Job and transformed him in the midst of his suffering.

       

       

      Be afraid of the sword for yourselves…

       

      Full of spiritual confidence and faith, Job warned his friends regarding their own disbelief. They seemed to believe more in God as a system of belief rather than in a person, a person whom Job would see and would one day vindicate him.

       

      How intriguing it is that Job, even while his tragic circumstances have induced in him a fresh fear of God, never exhibits the least fear of God's judgment, and is actually eager to see it through.

       

       

      Job was not afraid of judgment because he was confident that the charges against him were false, and that his Redeemer would vindicate him. However, our Redeemer also clears us of our true guilt. There is another most comforting thought, - that our Vindicator will clear us from true charges as well as false ones. As for the false charges, what do they matter? It is the true ones that really concern us: can Christ clear us from them? Yes, that he can.

       

       

      BRADLEY says it well, "He has now given full vent to his anguish. He has clung for all that to his sense of innocence; and he has risen from his despair to a height from which he sees, for one brief moment, 'the land that is very far off,' the better shore that lies beyond the dark stream of death. And then, silent and exhausted, he has to listen once more to the voice of the third of his counselors."

       

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:52 PM EDT
    • JOB 20

       

      OPENS WITH ZOPHAR SPEAKS A SECOND TIME AND ANSWERS JOB

       

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us Zophar describes HIS turmoil.

       

      Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

      "Therefore my anxious thoughts make me answer,

      Because of the turmoil within me.

      I have heard the rebuke that reproaches me,

      And the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer."

       

       

      My anxious thoughts make me answer…

       

      Zophar insisted that Job's striking defense in the previous chapters made him anxious and caused turmoil within him. Job's speech upset him.

       

       

      CHAMBERS says it well, "Zophar speaks with dignity, but dignity is not an indication of discernment. Zophar has listened to Job's words but not to the spirit of them; he is ashamed of the attitude his former friend has taken."

       

       

      I have heard the rebuke that reproaches me, and the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer…

       

       

      Though wounded by Job's tough response, Zophar claimed he would answer Job with understanding.

       

       

      CLARKE adds, "Zophar therefore assumes his old ground, and retracts nothing of what he had said. Like many of his own complexion in the present day, he was determined to believe that his judgment was infallible, and that he could not err."

       

       

      We can rightly question the LACK OF SPIRITUAL understanding of Zophar's answer, but he certainly spoke with an understanding of poetry and literature.

       

       

      Verses 4-11 tells us The short triumph of the wicked man.

       

      "Do you not know this of old,

      Since man was placed on earth,

      That the triumphing of the wicked is short,

      And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?

      Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens,

      And his head reaches to the clouds,

      Yet he will perish forever like his own refuse;

      Those who have seen him will say, 'Where is he?'

      He will fly away like a dream, and not be found;

      Yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night.

      The eye that saw him will see him no more,

      Nor will his place behold him anymore.

      His children will seek the favor of the poor,

      And his hands will restore his wealth.

      His bones are full of his youthful vigor,

      But it will lie down with him in the dust."

       

       

      Do you not know this of old…

       

       

      Unbelievable as it is on top of sad, Zophar here did what he and his friends had done on previous occasions; he made a claim to authority simply by saying, "We all know these things to be true" without proving the claim. And still we notice, not once do these “supposed” godly friends pray for Job, comfort him, or seek Almighty God at all. Once again, these wise in their own eyes, worldly men, claim they know all about God and have no need to hit their knees in prayer or to cry out to God for help and answers.

       

       

      The triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment…

       

      Job, we all know this - that whatever good or triumph the wicked seem to enjoy, it is all quickly passing. It is only for a moment, and the wicked man will perish forever like his own refuse.

       

       

      Yet he will perish forever like his own refuse…

       

      Zophar here hints his disbelief in that doctrine of the resurrection of the body, which Job had so solemnly asserted in the preceding chapter.

       

       

       

      Verses 12-19 tells us The frustrated life of the wicked man.

       

      "Though evil is sweet in his mouth,

      And he hides it under his tongue,

      Though he spares it and does not forsake it,

      But still keeps it in his mouth,

      Yet his food in his stomach turns sour;

      It becomes cobra venom within him.

      He swallows down riches

      And vomits them up again;

      God casts them out of his belly.

      He will suck the poison of cobras;

      The viper's tongue will slay him.

      He will not see the streams,

      The rivers flowing with honey and cream.

      He will restore that for which he labored,

      And will not swallow it down;

      From the proceeds of business

      He will get no enjoyment.

      For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor,

      He has violently seized a house which he did not build."

       

       

      Though evil is sweet in his mouth … Yet his food in his stomach turns sour…

       

      Zophar argued that though the wicked man might enjoy things for a while, God surely brings His judgment against him so that all can see. What is sweet today for the wicked man will soon become sour.

       

       

      Unbelievably, in this passage Zophar implies a painful and aggressive application. He insists that Job was this wicked man, and his previous blessing and prosperity in life was only the sweet that has now turned sour.

       

       

       

      For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor…

       

      Here Zophar described what he thought was the sinful conduct of the wicked man, and why he deserved to be frustrated in life. Clearly, he implied that this wicked man was Job.

       

       

      Verses 20-29 tells us The dark destiny of the wicked man.

       

      "Because he knows no quietness in his heart,

      He will not save anything he desires.

      Nothing is left for him to eat;

      Therefore his well-being will not last.

      In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress;

      Every hand of misery will come against him.

      When he is about to fill his stomach,

      God will cast on him the fury of His wrath,

      And will rain it on him while he is eating.

      He will flee from the iron weapon;

      A bronze bow will pierce him through.

      It is drawn, and comes out of the body;

      Yes, the glittering point comes out of his gall.

      Terrors come upon him;

      Total darkness is reserved for his treasures.

      An unfanned fire will consume him;

      It shall go ill with him who is left in his tent.

      The heavens will reveal his iniquity,

      And the earth will rise up against him.

      The increase of his house will depart,

      And his goods will flow away in the day of His wrath.

      This is the portion from God for a wicked man,

      The heritage appointed to him by God."

       

       

      In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress…

       

      Zophar thought that the reason Job was in such agony and distress was because of his own self-sufficiency; this explained his great misery.

       

       

      He will flee from the iron weapon; a bronze bow will pierce him through…

       

       

      Zophar claimed that the wicked could not escape from their destiny of judgment. If they escaped the iron weapon, then a bronze bow was waiting for them.

       

       

      It is drawn, and comes out of the body…

       

      Here Zophar saw the wicked man pierced by the arrows of God's judgment. He took the complaint of Job of being pierced by God's arrows (Job 6:4, 7:20) and turned it back upon Job, claiming that Job deserved this as a wicked man.

       

       

      Sad to realize, at first, these supposed godly long time friends of Job's did not seem to regard him as a wicked man when they first came to him (Job 2:11-13).

       

      They, these supposed godly friends of Job, may well have thought that they were being cruel, harsh, and piously strident against Job, because he refused their worldly wisdom, their assessment, and their blind judgment of his situation.

       

      They may even have wrongly believed that Job virtually provoked this judgment from them, in that they simply tried to help Job see that he was a sinner who needed to repent, and when Job absolutely refused to agree with them, they came to regard him as a stubborn and wicked man.

       

      And once they came to this erroneous conclusion, they regarded Job as this evil and wicked man getting what he deserved, and they quickly hardened in their estimation of Job.

       

       

      The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him. The increase of his house will depart, and his goods will flow away in the day of His wrath…

       

      Zophar seems to describe Job's losses, and he therefore made the clear connection that Job was the stubborn, wicked man who deserved this judgment from God.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The phrase "and his goods will flow away" is revealing, showing that Zophar focused almost ENTIRELY on the material aspect of Job's troubles, losses, and virtually ignored the spiritual dynamic.

       

      Zophar sees the carrying off of 'possessions' (Job 20:28) as a judgment. The loss of fellowship with God, in this life or after it, does NOT strike him or his companions as a far worse fate. Yet it is precisely this loss of close communication with Almighty God that fills Job's mind with horror, and this need that arouses his most desperate longings.

       

       

      This is the portion from God for a wicked man, the heritage appointed to him by God…

       

      This was Zophar's FIRM, UNMOVABLE BLIND AND ARROGANT conclusion (he speaks no more in the Book of Job). He made the clear connection between the wrath that the wicked man reaps and Job's own situation.

       

       

      Make no mistake, Almighty God did create moral order to the universe and that wickedness in inherently unprofitable, and it is cursed and judged by God. Yet that true general principle did NOT apply to Job's specific situation.

       

       

      Zophar - as with the rest of Job's friends - also left little room for grace. "It is worth pointing out, as a sign of the narrowness of Zopahr's beliefs, that his speech contains NO hint that the wicked might repent, make amends, and regain the favor of God. Zophar has no compassion and his god, which we are beginning to understand, as Almighty God, who authored Job intended, Zophar and his friends god has no mercy either.

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:51 PM EDT
    • JOB 21

       

      OPENS WITH JOB ANSWERS ZOPHAR'S DISCOURSE

       

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us Job's opening plea.

       

      Then Job answered and said:

      "Listen carefully to my speech,

      And let this be your consolation.

      Bear with me that I may speak,

      And after I have spoken, keep mocking."

       

       

      Listen carefully to my speech…

       

      Because of the way Job's friends kept repeating themselves and their arguments to him, it was easy for Job to feel that they simply were NOT listening to him.

       

       

      Instead, Job wanted to prove that he had been listening to them. In this closing speech of the second cycle, Job was determined to prove that he had listened to what his supposed friends had said. This he did by quoting or otherwise alluding to their words and refuting them.

       

       

      After I have spoken, keep mocking…

       

      This indicates that Job's hardness towards his friends has not lessened at all; nor has their hardness towards him. Job speaks of God’s word, God’s wisdom, and God’s awesome power and his friends speaks of their own limited worldly wisdom and their own knowledge. They speak with sharp and sarcastic words to each other.

       

       

      Verses 4-16 tells us Considering the prosperity of the wicked.

       

      "As for me, is my complaint against man?

      And if it were, why should I not be impatient?

      Look at me and be astonished;

      Put your hand over your mouth.

      Even when I remember I am terrified,

      And trembling takes hold of my flesh.

      Why do the wicked live and become old,

      Yes, become mighty in power?

      Their descendants are established with them in their sight,

      And their offspring before their eyes.

      Their houses are safe from fear,

      Neither is the rod of God upon them.

      Their bull breeds without failure;

      Their cow calves without miscarriage.

      They send forth their little ones like a flock,

      And their children dance.

      They sing to the tambourine and harp,

      And rejoice to the sound of the flute.

      They spend their days in wealth,

      And in a moment go down to the grave.

      Yet they say to God, 'Depart from us,

      For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.

      Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him?

      And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?'

      Indeed their prosperity is not in their hand;

      The counsel of the wicked is far from me."

       

       

      Is my complaint against man?

       

      This demonstrates again that Job's real point of crisis was his conflict with God, not with man (especially with his friends). His crisis was fundamentally spiritual in nature, much more than being a medical crisis, an economic crisis, a social crisis, or a family crisis. His struggle was against God, and he wondered were God was in the midst of this very dark time.

       

       

      Look at me and be astonished…

       

       

      Thus far Job's friends looked at him and mostly accused and condemned him. He wanted them to take a step back (as it were) and be astonished at what had happened to this good and godly man.

       

       

      Why do the wicked live and become old…

       

      Job challenged the moral order of the universe as previously understood by Job's friends. He challenged them to see that if it was possible for a wicked man to be seemingly blessed, then perhaps also a righteous man like Job could seem to be cursed.

       

       

      Zophar said that the wicked die prematurely (Job 20:4-11); Job insisted that instead the wicked live and become old.

       

       

      Their descendants are established with them in their sight…

       

      In this and the following verses Job explains many of the blessings that seem to come to many of the wicked, even as they reject God (Yet they say to God, "Depart from us").

       

       

      Bildad said that the wicked have no offspring or descendants to remember them (Job 18:19-21); Job countered that their descendants are established with them in their sight, and their offspring are before their eyes.

       

      It is impossible to miss the contrast here. All the advantages that many of the wicked seemed to have, Job was deprived of.

       

      1. Job is the man whose descendants were cursed and not established.

      2. Job is the man whose house was subject to fear.

      3. Job is the man with the rod of God upon him.

      4. Job is the man whose livestock has perished.

      5. Job is the man whose children no longer dance.

       

       

      Verses 17-21 tells us God allows the wicked to prosper, at least in his own day.

       

      "How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?

      How often does their destruction come upon them,

      The sorrows God distributes in His anger?

      They are like straw before the wind,

      And like chaff that a storm carries away.

      They say, 'God lays up one's iniquity for his children';

      Let Him recompense him, that he may know it.

      Let his eyes see his destruction,

      And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

      For what does he care about his household after him,

      When the number of his months is cut in half?"

       

       

      How often is the lamp of the wicked put out?

       

      In Job's rhetorical question, he would answer "Not often enough." And it would do Job no satisfaction to hear that the judgment would instead come upon the wicked man's descendants.

       

      Let his eyes see his destruction…

       

      In thinking upon the seeming comfort of the wicked, Job almost despaired. He cried out to God bring destruction upon the wicked in his own day, and not in the time of his household after him.

       

       

      Job acknowledged that wickedness was never ultimately rewarded and was always punished in the end. The problem for Job was that it never seemed soon enough that wicked would drink of the wrath of the Almighty. Job suffered in the now, and many of the wicked did not.

       

       

      Verses 22-26 tells us God is all wise, yet the wicked sometimes prosper and the godly sometimes suffer.

       

      "Can anyone teach God knowledge,

      Since He judges those on high?

      One dies in his full strength,

      Being wholly at ease and secure;

      His pails are full of milk,

      And the marrow of his bones is moist.

      Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul,

      Never having eaten with pleasure.

      They lie down alike in the dust,

      And worms cover them."

       

       

      Can anyone teach God knowledge…

       

      In the broader context, Job is indeed questioning the ways and wisdom of God in not bringing judgment sooner upon the wicked man. At the same time he sensed that this was wrong, so he corrected himself with his own rhetorical question on this point.

       

       

      One dies in his full strength … another man dies in the bitterness of his soul … they lie down alike in the dust…

       

      Job is clearly uncomfortable in questioning the ways and wisdom of God, yet at the same time it just seemed so unfair that the good and bad would seemingly have the same fate.

       

       

      Job is agonizing over these questions, but he is actually agonizing in a good way.

       

      SMICK explains it well, "God would rather have us complain than be indifferent toward him or to handle his truths arrogantly and so reduce them to dead maxims. Job's anguish over not understanding what God was doing is proof that he was not indifferent or arrogant as his friends were.”

       

       

      Verses 27-34 tells us Job challenges the empty words of his friends.

       

      "Look, I know your thoughts,

      And the schemes with which you would wrong me.

      For you say, 'Where is the house of the prince?

      And where is the tent,

      The dwelling place of the wicked?'

      Have you not asked those who travel the road?

      And do you not know their signs?

      For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom;

      They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.

      Who condemns his way to his face?

      And who repays him for what he has done?

      Yet he shall be brought to the grave,

      And a vigil kept over the tomb.

      The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him;

      Everyone shall follow him,

      As countless have gone before him.

      How then can you comfort me with empty words,

      Since falsehood remains in your answers?"

       

       

      Look, I know your thoughts…

       

      As Job dared to question God in this way, he could see the reaction on the faces of his three friends. They were appalled that he spoke against God and His justice so.

       

       

      Both Job and his friends did NOT know or understand God's ways. Yet there were TWO significant differences between Job and his friends.

       

      FIRST, his friends confidently claimed that they DID understand all these of this world and of God, while Job admitted his limits and his own perplexity.

       

      SECOND, for Job's friends these were matters of theological and moral theory and interesting topics for discussion to pass the time and to arrogantly challenge each others own wisdom; for the severely suffering Job these were life-and-death eternal questions.

       

       

      Where is the house of the prince? And where is the tent, the dwelling place of the wicked?

       

      Job put these words of objection into the mouths of his friends. They thought it was all so simple to analyze; one needed only to look at the house of the prince and the tent … of the wicked to see that righteousness was rewarded and wickedness was punished by God's moral order. Yet Job has tried to show that the matter just is NOT that simple...NOR is His God simple.

       

       

      Have you not asked those who travel the road?…For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom…

       

       

      Job knew that the wicked faced an ultimate unpleasant destiny; he was more upset that it did NOT seem to happen fast enough. He believed this knowledge was so common that one could ask those who travel the road and get the correct answer.

       

       

      Who condemns his way to his face? The ultimate destiny for the wicked may be bad, but who will confront him now? Why does he get away with so much now? There may be an ultimate moral order to the universe, but why is it so slow in being accomplished?

       

       

      He shall be brought to the grave, and a vigil kept over his tomb … the clods of the valley shall be sweet to him…

       

      Job understood that the wicked would indeed die; but many of the wicked enjoy honorable funerals and even their death is a kind of sweetness to them. It all just did NOT seem fair.

       

       

      SMICK reminds us all the truth of it even today, "Contrary to the description of the wicked in Job chapters 8 and 20, the ungodly man is often buried with the highest honors."

       

       

      How then can you comfort me with empty words…

       

      The complexity of Job's situation was far beyond the ability of his friends to properly analyze. They had no comfort for him with their empty words and their false answers.

       

       

      CLARKE reminds us, "THIS chapter may be called Job's triumph over the insinuated calumnies, and specious but false doctrines, of his opponents. The irritability of his temper no longer appears: from the time he got that glorious discovery of his Redeemer, and the joyous hope of an eternal inheritance, Job 19:25, etc., we find no more murmurings, nor unsanctified complainings. He is now full master of himself, and reasons conclusively, because he reasons coolly.”

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:50 PM EDT
    • JOB 22

       

      OPENS WITH ELIPHAZ SPEAKS A LAST TIME

       

       

      This begins a third (and shortened) round of debate between Job and his three friends Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

       

      Through these three rounds, "A certain movement can be detected.

       

      In the FIRST cycle the friends are content to talk generalities, without venturing to apply their doctrine directly to Job.

       

      In the SECOND round the main theme is the fate of the wicked and Job's point of view comes into open contradiction with that of his friends.

       

      Now the THIRD comes into the open and the breach between them is complete. Once this point is reached there can be no further dialogue, and the discussion grinds to a halt.

       

       

      Eliphaz attacks Job's character.

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us Eliphaz asks: "What good are you to God?"

       

      Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

       

      "Can a man be profitable to God,

      Though he who is wise may be profitable to himself?

      Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?

      Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless?"

       

       

      Can a man be profitable to God, though he who is wise may be profitable to himself?

       

      Eliphaz heard all of Job's anguished outpourings to God, and seemed to think that Job simply thought too highly of himself. He wondered why Job thought he was so special, so profitable to God and why he thought God owed him so much.

       

      Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous?

       

      Eliphaz thought Job was arrogant, and believed himself to be a special favorite to God because (he thought that) he was so righteous. He wanted Job to consider that God needed nothing from him, and Job added nothing to God.

       

       

      In one aspect Eliphaz certainly had correct theology; God does not "need" Job in the way Job needed God. Nevertheless Eliphaz's application of this principle was wrong in this context, because it was indeed a pleasure to the Almighty that Job was righteous (as seen in Job 1-2). According to those first two chapters, it was indeed a gain to Him that Job made his ways blameless.

       

       

      Earlier (as recorded in Job 11), Zophar objected to Job's complaint. It was as if he said, "Job, God is sovereign and self-existent. He needs nothing of you and owes you absolutely nothing. God takes no pleasure in your imperfect righteousness and it is no gain to Him that you are considered blameless."

       

       

      BOTTOM LINE...it did not apply to Job in his context.

       

       

      Verses 4-11 tells us Eliphaz describes Job's great wickedness.

       

      "Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you,

      And enters into judgment with you?

      Is not your wickedness great,

      And your iniquity without end?

      For you have taken pledges from your brother for no reason,

      And stripped the naked of their clothing.

      You have not given the weary water to drink,

      And you have withheld bread from the hungry.

      But the mighty man possessed the land,

      And the honorable man dwelt in it.

      You have sent widows away empty,

      And the strength of the fatherless was crushed.

      Therefore snares are all around you,

      And sudden fear troubles you,

      Or darkness so that you cannot see;

      And an abundance of water covers you."

       

       

      Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you…

       

      Eliphaz pressed the point home to Job. Surely, the catastrophe that came upon Job (which Eliphaz lightly called "correction"), did not come because Job feared God; it came because Job's wickedness was great and his iniquity was without end.

       

       

      Eliphaz no longer believed that Job was basically a God-fearing man. Job's troubles were God's rebuke. That they were great testified to the extent of his sin. So Eliphaz felt free, perhaps obligated, to expound on the possible nature of those sins.

       

       

      What Eliphaz did not, and seemingly could not consider, was that Job's crisis had NOTHING to do with correction; it had NOTHING to do with the Almighty entering into judgment with Job. Because he could NOT see the heavenly drama that took place in Job chapters 1 and 2, Eliphaz simply could NOT conceive of other reasons.

       

       

      For you have taken pledges from your brother for no reason, and stripped the naked of their clothing…

      This begins a remarkable list of groundless accusations against Job. He accused Job mainly of greed and cruelty for the sake of riches. None of this was true but Eliphaz assumed it was because Job was once rich and was now beset by such tragedy. The only evidence he could offer was Job's condition and he could not think of another possible explanation for Job's crisis.

       

       

      Therefore snares are all around you, and sudden fear troubles you…

       

      Eliphaz again stated this simple formula that dominated the analysis of Job's friends.

       

       

       

      Verses 12-20 tells us ELIPHAZ SLAMS JOB’S BELIEFS IN GOD with a contrast between the wicked and the righteous.

       

      "Is not God in the height of heaven?

      And see the highest stars, how lofty they are!

      And you say, 'What does God know?

      Can He judge through the deep darkness?

      Thick clouds cover Him, so that He cannot see,

      And He walks above the circle of heaven.'

      Will you keep to the old way

      Which wicked men have trod,

      Who were cut down before their time,

      Whose foundations were swept away by a flood?

      They said to God, 'Depart from us!

      What can the Almighty do to them?'

      Yet He filled their houses with good things;

      But the counsel of the wicked is far from me."

       

      "The righteous see it and are glad,

      And the innocent laugh at them:

      'Surely our adversaries are cut down,

      And the fire consumes their remnant.'"

       

      Is not God in the height of heaven?

       

      Here Eliphaz instructed Job in the basics of theology. He thought that because Job would not admit his error, he must be fundamentally wrong in his understanding of God. So he begins with the basic idea of the might, majesty, and sovereignty of God.

       

      Will you keep to the old way which wicked men have trod…

       

      Eliphaz warned Job to not harden his heart and mind as those did who were swept away by a flood. This is possibly an obscure reference to the flood in Noah's time, and Eliphaz warned Job to not follow in the wickedness of those antediluvian people.

       

      LAWSON says it well, "Sarcastically, he asks Job if he plans to continue going in the wrong direction - along the path of the wicked. He says this same path that Job is now traveling led to the drowning of an entire generation in Noah's day 'by a river,' a reference to the Flood."

       

       

      The righteous see it and are glad…

       

      In contrast to the previously mentioned wicked men, the righteous are happy for the judgments of God. This was another way for Eliphaz to say that Job was wicked and not righteous, because he did not rejoice in the judgments of God.

       

       

      Verses 21-30 tells us Eliphaz counsels Job to make himself right with God.

       

      "Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace;

      Thereby good will come to you.

      Receive, please, instruction from His mouth,

      And lay up His words in your heart.

      If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up;

      You will remove iniquity far from your tents.

      Then you will lay your gold in the dust,

      And the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks.

      Yes, the Almighty will be your gold

      And your precious silver;

      For then you will have your delight in the Almighty,

      And lift up your face to God.

      You will make your prayer to Him,

      He will hear you,

      And you will pay your vows.

      You will also declare a thing,

      And it will be established for you;

      So light will shine on your ways.

      When they cast you down, and you say, 'Exaltation will come!'

      Then He will save the humble person.

      He will even deliver one who is not innocent;

      Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands."

       

       

      Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you…

       

      This was great advice for Job, assuming that the problem was sin in Job's life. Yet we know (on the basis of Job 1-2) that this assumption was wrong, and therefore the advice was wrong.

       

       

      These words introduce a most exquisite picture of the blessings consequent on return to God. They do NOT fit the case of Job, to whom they were addressed, because he had NOT left God; and they sound strange coming from the mouth of Eliphaz. since he has yet to pray or seek God but just assumes he knows all about God.

       

       

      For then you will have your delight in the Almighty…

       

      Eliphaz assumed much because Job was agonizing with God instead of finding delight in Him. Job's agony with God was a real, though temporary phenomenon.

       

       

      And lift up your face to God: In a sermon titled Delight in the Almighty, Charles Spurgeon explained what this means.

       

      1. It means to have joy in God. "When a man hangs his head down he is unhappy: it is the attitude of misery; but oh, when our thoughts of God are changed, and our relationship to God is different, we lift up our faces and sun our countenances in the light of God's favor."

       

      2. It means to have guilt put away. "Guilt makes a man hang his head. "Conscience doth make cowards of us all"; but oh, my brothers, when the atoning sacrifice has come with all its power to us, when we are washed in the blood of the Lamb, and we are clean every whit, then we lift up our face unto God."

       

      3. It means to be free from fear. "Fear covers her face, and would fain hide herself altogether, even though to accomplish concealment the rocks must fall upon her."

       

      4. It means to have expectation. "Oh, to lift one's face toward God, looking for deliverance, safety, and rest, and expecting both grace and glory from his right hand!"

       

       

      So light will shine on your ways … He will save the humble person…

       

      For Eliphaz and his friends, the equation was rather simple. All Job needed to do was to confess the deep and great sins that had brought this calamity on to his life, and then receive God's restoration.

       

       

      MORGAN says it well, "Great and wonderful words are these. Had Eliphaz applied them to himself he would have found that his own imperfect acquaintance with God was the reason why he was not able to bring any real comfort to his suffering friend."

       

       

      Eliphaz the Temanite, who began with a tissue of the bitterest charges, continued with the most cruel insinuations, and ended with common-place exhortations to repentance, and promises of secular blessings in consequence."

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:49 PM EDT
    • JOB 23

       

      OPENS WITH JOB'S DESIRE TO APPEAR BEFORE GOD

       

       

      Verses 1-7 tells us Job's bitter complaint and his inability to connect with God.

       

      Then Job answered and said:

      "Even today my complaint is bitter;

      My hand is listless because of my groaning.

      Oh, that I knew where I might find Him,

      That I might come to His seat!

      I would present my case before Him,

      And fill my mouth with arguments.

      I would know the words which He would answer me,

      And understand what He would say to me.

      Would He contend with me in His great power?

      No! But He would take note of me.

      There the upright could reason with Him,

      And I would be delivered forever from my Judge."

       

      Even today my complaint is bitter…

      At the close of Eliphaz's speech, Job continued to feel desperate. The worldly wisdom and counsel of Eliphaz and others was of NO relief to him, and just made his mental and spiritual agony worse.

       

      Oh, that I knew where I might find Him…

       

      Job felt separated from God. Surely, this was not the first crisis in his life (though of course it was far beyond any previous suffering). He had found comfort and solace in God in prior times, but in this catastrophe he felt he could not find God.

       

      In a way almost infinitely less, yet nevertheless real, Job experienced what Jesus experienced on the cross: A man who had previously been in the fellowship and favor of God now felt utterly forsaken. This was the greatest source of torment in Job's life. NOT the loss of all his material blessings, his children, his home, his riches, his friends, his grieving wife, his servants, his health, nor the people he had given godly wisdom to, financial support to, been their defender in times of trouble. The loss of them was nothing compared to his loss of God’s fellowship and favor.

       

       

      This not only tells us of Job's sense of the loss of the presence of God, but of his longing to have it back.

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "Good men are washed towards God even by the rough waves of their grief; and when their sorrows are deepest, their highest desire is not to escape from them, but to get at their God. In Job's uttermost extremity he cried after the Lord. The longing desire of an afflicted child of God is once more to see his Father's face. His first prayer is not, 'Oh that I might be healed of the disease which now festers in every part of my body!' nor even, 'Oh that I might see my children restored from the jaws of the grave, and my property once more brought from the hand of the spoiler!' but the first and uppermost cry is, 'Oh that I knew where I might find HIM - who is my God! that I might come even to his seat!'"

       

      I would present my case before Him…

       

      Job did not only want the sense of the presence of God for the sake of spiritual comfort; he also wanted it so he might be vindicated in the court of God, especially in the face of the accusations of his friends.

       

      Here Job's courageous honesty is seen at its best. His consuming desire is to come face to face with God, not by a contrived penance, as Eliphaz recommends, but in fair trial.

       

      I would know the words which He would answer me … I would be delivered forever from my Judge…

       

      Job's conscience assured him that he would find mercy and favor at the throne of God. His friends insisted that God was against Job in his sufferings, but Job stubbornly clung to his innocence.

       

      He has confidence in the Lord that, if he could have an audience with him, God would not use his power against him; but, on the contrary, would strengthen him in order that he might state his case.

       

      Verses 8-9 tells us Job confesses his lack of understanding and need of divine revelation.

       

      "Look, I go forward, but He is not there,

      And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;

      When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;

      When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.”

       

      I go forward … backward … left hand … right hand…

       

      Job insisted that he had sought God in the midst of his crisis. He looked in every direction he could.

       

      SPURGEON says it well, “This is one of the marks of a true child of God, - that, even when God smites him, he still longs for his presence."

       

      MORGAN reminds us, "An old Puritan writer quaintly observed, in commenting on this, 'Job, you have gone forward and backward, and you have looked to the left and you have looked to the right. Why don't you try looking up?'"

       

      But He is not there … I cannot perceive Him…

       

      No matter how sincerely and how diligently Job looked, he could not find God. God remained hidden through a barrier that was impossible to pierce.

       

       

       

      Verses 10-12 tells us Job's confidence in God and in his own integrity even in the midst of despair..

       

      But He knows the way that I take;

      When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.

      My foot has held fast to His steps;

      I have kept His way and not turned aside.

      I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;

      I have treasured the words of His mouth

      More than my necessary food."

       

      He knows the way that I take; when He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold…

       

      Here is another bright flash of faith upon a generally black background. Job admitted that he could not get through to God, yet clung to the confidence that God was still over this crisis.

       

      This scripture should be highlighted in our Bible, it should be placed on our refrigerator, in our car, at our bedside table and seared into our hearts for and during dark times, trials, sorrows, needs, and petitions made to God.

       

      WHY?

       

      With wonderful faith, Job seemed at this fleeting instant to understand what he could and should do in his present crisis. He understood FIVE THINGS:

       

      1. God still observed Job carefully and had not forgotten him (He knows the way that I take).

       

      2. God had a purpose in the crisis, and the purpose was not to punish Job (when He has tested me)

       

      3. God would one day bring the trial to an end (I shall come forth)

       

      4. God would bring something good would from it all (I shall come forth as gold)

       

      5. God still valued Job; only precious metal is put through the fire (as gold)

       

       

      MORGAN adds, "Suddenly, in the midst of this bitter complaining, there flamed out a most remarkable evidence of the tenacity of his faith. He declared with conviction that God knew the way he was taking. He even affirmed his confidence that it was God Who was trying him, and that presently he would come forth from the process as gold."

       

      SPURGEON reminds, "It looks very hard to believe that a child of God should be tried by the loss of his Father's presence, and yet should come forth uninjured by the trial. Yet no gold is ever injured in the fire. Stoke the furnace as much as you may, let the blast be as strong as you will, thrust the ingot into the very center of the white heat, let it lie in the very heart of the flame; pile on more fuel, let another blast torment the coals till they become most vehement with heat, yet the gold is losing nothing, it may even be gaining."

       

       

      ANDERSEN adds, "Now he accepts the testing, because he knows: I shall come forth as gold. This image, drawn from metallurgy, does not necessarily imply purification. It could mean simply that the test proves that Job had been pure gold all along."

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "I shall ask four questions of every man within reach of my voice. God knoweth the way that you take. I will ask you first: Do you know your own way? Secondly: Is it a comfort to you that God knows your way? Thirdly: Are you tried in the way? And, if so, fourthly: Have you confidence in God as to the result of that trial? Can you say with Job, 'When he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold'?"

       

      My foot has held fast to His steps…

       

      This was a dramatic defense of his integrity before his accusing friends. Job declared that he still followed God (I have kept His way) and loved His word (I have treasured the words of His mouth).

       

       

      SPURGEON reminds, “Then note, that what God had spoken to him he treasured up. He says in the Hebrew that he had hid God's word more than ever he had hidden his necessary food. They had to hide grain away in those days to guard it from wandering Arabs. Job had been more careful to store up God's word than to store up his wheat and his barley; more anxious to preserve the memory of what God had spoken than to garner his harvests. Do you treasure up what God has spoken?"

       

       

      Verses 13-17 tells us Job wonders at God's power and sovereignty.

       

      "But He is unique, and who can make Him change?

      And whatever His soul desires, that He does.

      For He performs what is appointed for me,

      And many such things are with Him.

      Therefore I am terrified at His presence;

      When I consider this, I am afraid of Him.

      For God made my heart weak,

      And the Almighty terrifies me;

      Because I was not cut off from the presence of darkness,

      And He did not hide deep darkness from my face."

       

      But He is unique, and who can make Him change? Job here argued back with himself against his previous great declaration of faith. He understood though he did deeply and sincerely trust in God, at the same time he could not make God do anything.

       

       

      SPURGEON adds, “The older King James Version translates who can make Him change as who can turn Him? "But oh! The text itself is music to my ears. It seems to sound like the martial trumpet of the battle, and my soul is ready for the fray. It seems now that if trials and troubles should come, if I could but hold my hand upon this precious text, I would laugh at them all. 'Who can turn him?' - I would shout - 'Who can turn him?' Come on, earth and hell, come on, for 'who can turn him?'"

       

      He performs what is appointed for me, and many such things are with Him…

       

      Job had to admit that God would do as He pleased in Job's life and would not be held hostage to Job's demands. He understood that the reasons and wisdom of God's work are ultimately with Him and not known to Job or others (such as Job's friends).

       

       

      Job here seemed to come closer and closer to the place God wanted him to be in his crisis. He comes closer and closer to realizing that God can be trusted, that God does in fact love and care for him; but at the same time He is sovereign and at least some of His ways are beyond our knowing.

       

       

      Therefore I was terrified at His presence … God has made my heart weak...

       

      Knowing what he could not know about God made Job appreciate the distance between himself and God. It made him feel a good and righteous awe of God, though it felt like deep darkness because it was little comfort to him in his crisis.

       

       

      Job's strongest assertions of faith seem always to be coupled with equally strong assertions of fear and pain. In this chapter his confidence in his own righteousness is more unassailable than ever, yet at the same time 'thick darkness covers' his face and he is filled with dread. Somehow Job's faith is elastic enough to embrace simultaneously both terror and confidence.

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:47 PM EDT
    • JOB 24

       

      OPENS WITH THE PROBLEM OF THE SEEMING SECURITY OF THE WICKED

       

       

      Verses 1-8 tells us The conduct of the wicked.

       

      "Since times are not hidden from the Almighty,

      Why do those who know Him see not His days?"

       

      "Some remove landmarks;

      They seize flocks violently and feed on them;

      They drive away the donkey of the fatherless;

      They take the widow's ox as a pledge.

      They push the needy off the road;

      All the poor of the land are forced to hide.

      Indeed, like wild donkeys in the desert,

      They go out to their work, searching for food.

      The wilderness yields food for them and for their children.

      They gather their fodder in the field

      And glean in the vineyard of the wicked.

      They spend the night naked, without clothing,

      And have no covering in the cold.

      They are wet with the showers of the mountains,

      And huddle around the rock for want of shelter."

       

       

      Since times are NOT hidden from the Almighty, why do those who know Him see NOT His days?

       

      The sense of this difficult verse seems to be, "Since God knows and will judge everything, why are the godly kept in the dark about His ways?" This had special application to the question of why God allows the seeming prosperity of the wicked, discussed in the following verses.

       

       

      The first verse of this chapter is NOT the only difficult portion. "In chapter 24 we run into all kinds of problems.

       

      FIRST, there are textual difficulties, which render many lines almost unintelligible.

       

      SECOND, the speech as a whole seems incoherent to many readers.

       

      THIRD, chapter 24 is said to express sentiments that Job could never have uttered. They would sound better on the lips of his friends, so we believe Job was repeating what his friends said.

       

       

      Some remove landmarks … they take the widow's ox as a pledge … all the poor of the land are forced to hide…

       

      Here Job described the mostly financial sins of the wicked, rooted in greed and cruelty. And so far, we know that Job was a godly defender and leader in the town. He was quick to help, expose, bring to justice, and champion those who were abused, cheated, and stolen from by the wicked, be they prominent, wealthy, or poor.

       

      In Job 22:5-11 Eliphaz said that Job's calamity came upon him because he acted this way towards others, and his riches were therefore gained by greed and wickedness. Job agreed with Eliphaz that this is how wicked people act, without agreeing with him that he himself acted this way. And since Almighty God told us the truth of Job and his godly walk and his godly wisdom, we KNOW that Job was NOT wicked, greedy, nor evil at all.

       

      Deuteronomy 19:14; 27:17. Moses law speaks out against landowners doing this.

       

      Here you see the rich landowner removing his neighbor's landmark, curtailing by fraud, in a hedgeless unfenced land, the narrow possessions of his poorer countrymen. Cursed, you remember the solemn words, cursed be he that removes his neighbor's landmark.

       

       

      Verses 9-12 Job tells us the wicked oppress the weak.

       

      "Some ****** the fatherless from the breast,

      And take a pledge from the poor.

      They cause the poor to go naked, without clothing;

      And they take away the sheaves from the hungry.

      They press out oil within their walls,

      And tread winepresses, yet suffer thirst.

      The dying groan in the city,

      And the souls of the wounded cry out;

      Yet God does not charge them with wrong."

       

       

      Some ****** the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge from the poor: In a vivid description, Job described the heartless oppression inflicted upon the poor by the godless. We can KNOW that Job would not condemn this so strongly if he were guilty of the same (as accused by Eliphaz in Job 22:5-11).

       

      The touching pathos of these word-pictures should be felt by the reader, for Almighty God records this for us to give us some TRUE insight into Job's contempt for wickedness and his ability to empathize with those in distress.

       

       

      Yet God does not charge them with wrong…

       

      This was the part that was difficult for Job to understand and accept. He knew how wicked the wicked were; what he could not comprehend was why God did not judge them as SWIFTLY as they deserved.

       

       

      Job felt God should demonstrate his justice by openly punishing the wicked. In the divine speeches God would LATER teach him a tremendous lesson about this, which he did not now understand.

       

      And here we see Job’s awareness and concern for those oppressed, left hungry, homeless, their children and family taken, and left naked by the wicked and evil among them.

       

       

      Verses 13-17 tells us The deeds done in darkness.

       

      "There are those who rebel against the light;

      They do not know its ways

      Nor abide in its paths.

      The murderer rises with the light;

      He kills the poor and needy;

      And in the night he is like a thief.

      The eye of the adulterer waits for the twilight,

      Saying, 'No eye will see me';

      And he disguises his face.

      In the dark they break into houses

      Which they marked for themselves in the daytime;

      They do not know the light.

      For the morning is the same to them as the shadow of death;

      If someone recognizes them,

      They are in the terrors of the shadow of death."

       

       

      There are those who rebel against the light…

       

      In powerful poetic images, Job describes the kind of sin that happens under the cover of darkness. Darkness is used as a cloak for the murderer, the thief, and the adulterer.

       

       

      It was almost as if Job anticipated the later instruction from the Apostle Paul:

       

       

      ROMANS 13:12-14, “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

       

       

      For the morning is the same to them as the shadow of death…

       

      One should regard the morning as something good; the coming of light after the dark night. Yet for these wicked people, morning is the same to them as the shadow of death. It is a bad thing, not a good thing to them.

       

       

       

      Verses 18-21 Job tells us what SHOULD happen to the wicked.

       

      "They should be swift on the face of the waters,

      Their portion should be cursed in the earth,

      So that no one would turn into the way of their vineyards.

      As drought and heat consume the snow waters,

      So the grave consumes those who have sinned.

      The womb should forget him,

      The worm should feed sweetly on him;

      He should be remembered no more,

      And wickedness should be broken like a tree.

      For he preys on the barren who do not bear,

      And does no good for the widow."

       

       

      Their portion should be cursed in the earth…

       

      Job wondered why God did not judge the wicked as He should (Job 24:1).

       

      Here, it is as if Job gave God advice on how He should judge the wicked; mainly, He should do it in this life and not wait until the life beyond (cursed in the earth).

       

       

      The worm should feed sweetly on him; he should be remembered no more…

       

      Job was NOT against the idea of the wicked being punished after death; he simply did NOT want the punishment to begin there. He thought it should begin in this life and be continued afterwards.

       

      He preys on the barren who do not bear…

       

      The barren wife was considered more helpless than the widow, as the latter might have sons to help her, but the barren wife had no one to help her if her husband died before her.

       

       

      Verses 22-25 Job tells us the seeming security of the wicked.

       

      "But God draws the mighty away with His power;

      He rises up, but no man is sure of life.

      He gives them security, and they rely on it;

      Yet His eyes are on their ways.

      They are exalted for a little while,

      Then they are gone.

      They are brought low;

      They are taken out of the way like all others;

      They dry out like the heads of grain."

       

      "Now if it is not so, who will prove me a liar,

      And make my speech worth nothing?"

       

       

      But God draws the mighty away with His power…

       

      Job here considered that perhaps the fate of the wicked in the world beyond was retribution enough for the scales of divine justice. Yes, the wicked seem to prosper in this life (he rises up); yet at the same time no man is sure of life.

       

       

      In these verses Job sounds almost like Asaph in Psalm 73, who was troubled at the prosperity of the wicked until he went into the house of God, and understood their end.

       

      Job does not claim that God is hostile to the upright and an accomplice of the crooked. His position is more balanced, but more baffled. He simply cannot see how God's justice works out in his own case.

       

       

      He gives them security, and they rely on it; yet His eyes are on their ways…

       

      Job reminded himself that God was not blind to the sins of the wicked, and even if they did seem to prosper well enough in this life, soon enough then they are gone and they are brought low and end up as dry … heads of grain.

       

       

      Now if it is not so, who will prove me a liar?

       

      Job challenges all men to contradict what he affirms, - that the righteous may be greater sufferers, and the wicked may for awhile prosper, but that God will, in the end, overthrow the ungodly, and establish the righteous.

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:46 PM EDT
    • JOB 25

       

      OPENS WITH BILDAD'S FINAL SPEECH

       

      Verse 1 Bildad muses about God

       

      Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:”

       

       

      Then Bildad the Shuhite answered…

       

      This is the final word from Job's three friends. The shortness of this statement of Bildad leads some to wrongly think that the text is simply confused beyond recovery.

       

       

      Answered and said…

       

      It is better to simply see the brevity of this final statement from Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar to reflect the fact that the debate is running out of fuel and starts a transition to a different stage of the book.

       

      Also, what Bildad says here has basically been said before.

       

      The brevity of this speech of Bildad is in itself suggestive, as it shows that even though Job has NOT convinced these friends of his, that their worldy philosophy does NOT include his case, he has succeeded in silencing them.

       

      "Beginning at Chapter 25, the formal structure of the book would dictate two more chapter-long rebuttals, one from Bildad and one from Zophar, to complete the third round of the dialogue. But this is not what happens.

       

      Instead Zophar has NO final speech at all, and Bildad's speech is drastically cut short. So the formal debate is NEVER finished.

       

      At Chapter 26 the dialogue grinds to a halt, and from there to the end of Chapter 31 Job holds forth alone in a long and loose-jointed presentation.

       

      Finally, there is the odd case of Elihu, the brand-new character introduced near the end of the book, who delivers what many readers feel to be the most long-winded, boring, and irrelevant discourse of all of all these “supposed, godly and wise friends of Job.

       

      Verses 2-3 Bildad speaks to the greatness of God.

       

      "Dominion and fear belong to Him;

      He makes peace in His high places.

      Is there any number to His armies?

      Upon whom does His light not rise?”

       

      Dominion and fear belong to Him…

       

      In exasperation, Bildad can only repeat what has already been agreed to by Job and all three of his friends; they have already expressed agreement on the greatness of God.

       

      Is there any number to His armies…

       

      Bildad also wanted Job to know that God was an impossible foe, and that he should simply surrender to this great God who is so mighty in armies.

       

       

      Verse 4 Bildad’s question stated.

       

      How then can man be righteous before God?

      Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?”

       

      How then can man be righteous before God?

       

      Bildad is again stating matters that are NOT in controversy. Job said the same thing in (Job 9:2) in response to Bildad's first speech.

       

      CHAMBERS says it well of Bildad, "Bildad is in touch with nothing, he is courageously heartless; he never thinks when he talks, but simply pours it out. The 'Bildad' type is often met with in the pulpit; men roll out phrases and talk the most ponderous stuff with nothing in it."

       

      Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman?

       

      The purpose of these questions seems to be to cause Job to understand that he is a sinner just like all, making it easier for him to confess and repent.

       

      TRAPP adds, "Our whole nativity is impure. Hence in the law it is commanded, that the woman should be unclean seven days, that the child should be circumcised on the eighth day; and that the mother should remain three and thirty days in the blood of her purification, Leviticus 13."

       

       

      Verses 5-6 tells us Man's relative greatness compared to creation.

       

      If even the moon does not shine,

      And the stars are not pure in His sight,

      How much less man, who is a maggot,

      And a son of man, who is a worm?"

       

      If even the moon does not shine, and the stars are not pure in His sight…

       

      Bildad considered that even some of the glorious aspects of creation still fall short of the glory of the Creator.

       

      How much less man, who is a maggot…

      If the moon and the stars cannot reflect the glory of God as they should, then it stands to reason that man cannot either.

       

      MORGAN adds, “Bildad's final argument was based upon a misunderstanding of Job previous words. He seemed to think that Job wanted to convince God that He was wrong, and therefore Bildad wanted to emphasize the proper relation between the glory of God and the humility of man. "Without argument, Bildad made it perfectly clear that, in his mind, the guilt of Job was established."

       

      MASON says, "We may observe the irony that being maggots themselves has not in the least discouraged Bildad and his colleagues from presuming to pass judgment on their fellow maggot Job. But who are mere maggots to exercise judgment?"

       

      SMICK reminds, "Unlike the apostle Paul who developed the doctrine of total depravity in Romans 1-3 to prepare the way for grace, we know from the rest of Bildad's remarks that he left no room for mercy or forgiveness."

       

      ANDERSEN says, "On this disgusting and hopeless note the words of Job's friends end."

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:45 PM EDT
    • JOB 26

       

      OPENS WITH JOB'S RESPONSE TO BILDAD

       

       

      Verses 1-2 Job says have you practically helped me or anyone else?

       

      But Job answered and said:

       

      "How have you helped him who is without power?

      How have you saved the arm that has no strength?”

       

      But Job answered and said…

       

      This begins a long discourse of Job, which first answered the brief speech of Bildad (Job 25) and then became a speech on wisdom and a final defense, ending in Job 31.

       

       

      SMICK says, "Bildad has struck a most sensitive nerve. Job could not restrain himself. He leveled a sarcastic reply directly at the speaker. He had nothing but contempt for Bildad's wisdom."

       

      How have you helped him who is without power?

       

      Job considered all the worldly wisdom from Bildad and his two friends (Eliphaz and Zophar), and wondered where the help or strength was in any of it.

       

      At the end of it all, Job's friends got to the point where they were so concerned about being right that they forgot to be concerned about helping Job.

       

      Verses 3-4 tells us Have you helped me or anyone else with your wisdom?

       

      How have you counseled one who has no wisdom?

      And how have you declared sound advice to many?

      To whom have you uttered words?

      And whose spirit came from you?"

       

      How have you counseled one who has no wisdom?

       

      Job made these statements broad enough to include not only himself, but also anyone else that Bildad and his friends failed to help.

       

      To whom have you uttered words?

       

      Job wondered who else had been damaged by the insensitivity and misapplied worldly wisdom, yet lacking Godly wisdom of his friends.

       

      Whose spirit came from you?

       

      AND WE REMEMBER...In the very first speech of Job's friends (Job 4), Eliphaz said that a MYSTERIOUS SPIRIT revealed to him his principles. The message from the shadowy spirit began, Can a mortal be more righteous than his God? (Job 4:17). Bildad then repeated the same idea to Job in Job 25:4, as well as other recycled arguments in that brief chapter. Therefore, Job wanted to know from Bildad: Whose spirit came from you? Or, Whose spirit spoke from your mouth?

       

      Job basically advised as Paul did, to test the spirits. But these three friends of Job simply opened their mouths and spouted whatever came out of it. They instinctly trusted “mysterious spirits”, without any real Godly knowledge, caution or understanding of evil and satan and his demons abilities to speak lies.

       

       

      Job praises God and His awesome power in creation. Then, to show the poverty of Bildad's argument, he spoke of the greatness of God to prove that he knew it, and even more perfectly than his friends."

       

       

      Verses 5-13 tells us Job’s description of the power of God.

       

      "The dead tremble,

      Those under the waters and those inhabiting them.

      Sheol is naked before Him,

      And Destruction has no covering.

      He stretches out the north over empty space;

      He hangs the earth on nothing.

      He binds up the water in His thick clouds,

      Yet the clouds are not broken under it.

      He covers the face of His throne,

      And spreads His cloud over it.

      He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters,

      At the boundary of light and darkness.

      The pillars of heaven tremble,

      And are astonished at His rebuke.

      He stirs up the sea with His power,

      And by His understanding He breaks up the storm.

      By His Spirit He adorned the heavens;

      His hand pierced the fleeing serpent.”

       

      The dead tremble, those under the waters and those inhabiting them: Many suggestions have been offered for the identity of these "watery dead."

       

      Some think that Job believed that Sheol was a watery abyss, connected it with an idea suggested by 2 Samuel 22:5. Others think it is just a poetical way of describing those who are buried in the lowest pit, in the depths (Psalm 88:6). Some even believe those inhabiting the waters are actually fishes and sea creatures. It seems BEST to regard it as a poetic and non-technical description of the uncertainty, darkness, and gloom of the world beyond.

       

      AND we remember Job used similar imagery in Job 10:21-22: The land of darkness and the shadow of death, a land as dark as darkness itself.

       

      Yet, the point in context should not be missed. Job's idea is that there is NO PLACE HIDDEN from God; everything (including the realm of the dead and the depths of the sea) is naked before Him.

       

      Destruction has no covering: "That is, hell, the place of destruction, the palace of King Abaddon (so the devil is called, Revelation 9:11), and so hell is called in this text, because there into are thrust all that are destined to destruction, all the brats of fathomless perdition.

       

      He hangs the earth on nothing…

       

      Job remarkably understood this. In contrast to ancient mythologies that said the earth was held up on the backs of elephants or giant turtles, Job knew that He hangs the earth on nothing.

       

       

      He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness…

       

      Job also understood the principles of the curvature of the earth and the curved nature of the horizon.

       

      The fact that God can spread out the heavens over empty space, hang the earth on nothing, and fill the clouds with water without their bursting is intended to make us stand in awe.

       

      He stirs up the sea with His power…

       

      Job knew the mighty energy displayed in storms that stirred up the sea, and he knew that this was from the power of God.

       

      His hand pierced the fleeing serpent…

       

      This is another obscure reference to an ancient serpent defeated by God. Isaiah 51:9 and Psalm 89:8-10 also speak of a serpent associated with the sea that God defeated as a demonstration of His great strength, and identifies this serpent with the name Rahab, meaning proud one.

       

      Satan is often represented as a dragon or a serpent (Genesis 3; Revelation 12 and 13) and the sea is thought of as a dangerous or threatening place in the Jewish mind (Isaiah 57:20; Mark 4:39; Revelation 21:1). Therefore, Leviathan may be another serpent-like manifestation of Satan, who was the original "Rahab" (proud one).

       

      DID YOU KNOW...In the ancient times of Job, there were many popular legends about the gods who combated different hostile deities in order to create the earth. Job took some of these stories and made the Lord GOD the hero of them. Therefore, it is the Lord God who stirs up the sea by His power, when ancient legends said that Tiamat (the Deep) was the chaotic goddess defeated by the hero god Marduk (Bel), or Yam (the Sea) who was defeated by Baal.

       

      SMICK explains further...”Here the sea that God subdues is not the deity Yam. Job depersonalized Yam by using the definite article (the sea), thus expressing his innate monotheistic theology. Marduk employed seven winds to overthrow Tiamat; here God's own breath clears the heavens. All the power of the wind is his breath. Further, by his own wisdom, skill, and power he 'cut Rahab to pieces' and 'pierced the gliding serpent,' unlike Marduk who depended on the enablement of the father-gods. . . . Job, then, demonstrated God's authority over the domain of Mot (the god of death) in Job 26:5-6 and over the domain of Baal (the cosmic storm god in Job 26:7-10). And in Job 26:12-13 Job drew attention to God's awe-inspiring power over the domain of Yam (the stormy sea-god)."

       

      "A study of the Old Testament names for the well-known Canaanite mythological sea monsters like Rahab shows how purposefully the Old Testament authors used the language to enrich their own poetic conceptions of the supremacy of the one and only true God."

       

       

      Verse 14 tells us Man in light of the power of God.

       

      Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways,

      And how small a whisper we hear of Him!

      But the thunder of His power who can understand?"

       

      Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways…

       

      Job's description of the power of God in Job 26:5-13 is amazing and impressive; yet Job knew that this description did not begin to fully describe God.

       

      When God finally speaks to Job later in the book, He will speak to Job more about His ways, upon which Job has only touched the edges of. He will bring some of the thunder of His power to Job.

       

      But the thunder of His power who can understand?

       

      Job understood a lot about God; but He understood enough to know there was far more than he did not understand.

       

      Once again, God shows us the heart of Job. Job KNEW he did NOT understand God perfectly, as his supposed religiously pious and worldly wise friends believed they knew all there was to know of God. They fully believed they did not NEED to pray, they did NOT need to seek God’s wisdom in His word. They believed Job proved his wicked, evil secret sin filled life exposed because Job continued to cry out to God, continued to pray to His God, continued to seek God’s aid, and continued to reject their own self-perceived amazing wisdom.

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:43 PM EDT
    • JOB 27

       

      OPENS WITH JOB DECLARES HE WILL MAINTAIN HIS INTEGRITY

       

       

      Verses 1-6 tells us Job's commitment to the truth.

       

      Moreover Job continued his discourse, and said:

      "As God lives, who has taken away my justice,

      And the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter,

      As long as my breath is in me,

      And the breath of God in my nostrils,

      My lips will not speak wickedness,

      Nor my tongue utter deceit.

      Far be it from me

      That I should say you are right;

      Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.

      My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go;

      My heart shall not reproach me as long as I live."

       

       

      It seems that Job waited for his friends to reply - it was, after all, Zophar's turn. But they were silent, either out of weariness or frustration with Job; so Job continued.

       

      As God lives, who has taken away my justice…

       

      In the previous chapter Job praised the power of God, but he also recognized that he needed something more than the might of God. He needed rescue from the one who has made my soul bitter.

       

       

      Spurgeon preached a sermon on this text title A Vexed Soul Comforted, speaking to the child of God who felt that God had made their soul bitter. "Child of God, are you vexed and embittered in soul? Then, bravely accept the trial as coming from your Father, and say, 'The cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?' 'Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?' Press on through the cloud which now lowers directly in your pathway; it may be with you as it was with the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration, 'they feared as they entered the cloud,' yet in the cloud they saw their Master's glory, and they found it good to be there."

       

      "If it be the Almighty who has troubled us, surely he can also comfort us. He that is strong to sink is also strong to save. If he be almighty to embitter, he must also be almighty to sweeten. Oh, yes, that word 'Almighty' cuts both ways! It makes us tremble, and so it kills our pride; but it also makes us hope, and so it slays our despair."

       

      My lips will not speak wickedness…

      In his bold and plain speaking to this point before his God and his friends, one might think that Job had spoken wickedness. Yet Job did not think that he had, and he insisted that he would not.

       

       

      Far be it from me that I should say you are right…

       

      When Job protested that he would not speak wickedness, he meant it especially in the context of saying that he would not agree that his friends were right in their accusations against him.

       

       

      Verses 7-10 tells us The vain hope of the hypocrite.

       

      "May my enemy be like the wicked,

      And he who rises up against me like the unrighteous.

      For what is the hope of the hypocrite,

      Though he may gain much, If God takes away his life?

      Will God hear his cry

      When trouble comes upon him?

      Will he delight himself in the Almighty?

      Will he always call on God?"

       

       

      May my enemy be like the wicked…

       

      Here Job, in rather strong terms, is asking for the same punishment his friends think he deserves to be put upon their own heads, because of their false accusations.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW…"In Israelite law the penalty for malicious prosecution of the innocent was the punishment attached to the crime wrongly charged. Hence Job's repudiation of the charges with the oath, 'Let my hater be treated as the wicked person he untruthfully says I am.'"

       

      For what is the hope of the hypocrite…

       

      Job was accused by his friends of being a hypocrite; of clinging to hidden sin instead of confessing and repenting. Here Job agreed that the hope of the hypocrite was vain.

       

      Will God hear his cry … Will he always call on God?

       

      Job was in a difficult situation before his friends. He agreed that God did not hear the cry of the hypocrite, but he had to endure his own season of silence from God. Job could comfort himself in the understanding that he did in fact call on God as a hypocrite would not.

       

      A sure sign of the hypocrite is that he will NOT always call on God. He may by his afflictions be driven to prayer; but if God does not speedily answer him, he falls into despair, and neglect of God and of prayer.

       

       

      Verses 11-12 tells us A short rebuke of Job's friends.

       

      "I will teach you about the hand of God;

      What is with the Almighty I will not conceal.

      Surely all of you have seen it;

      Why then do you behave with complete nonsense?"

       

       

      I will teach you about the hand of God…

       

      Job was deeply frustrated at the lack of understanding from his friends. They knew certain principles about God and His way in the world, but they misapplied those principles to Job's situation.

       

       

      Why then do you behave with complete nonsense?

       

      Job's friends claimed to know God and his ways, yet they analyzed Job's crisis in a nonsensical way.

       

      Summoning all the strength of his faith, and his failing physical strength, he declared that he would teach his opponents 'concerning the hand of God,' and he now practically took hold of all that they had said about God's visitation on the wicked, and hurled it back on them as an anathema.

       

       

      Verses 13-23 tells us the portion of the wicked man.

       

      "This is the portion of a wicked man with God,

      And the heritage of oppressors, received from the Almighty:

      If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword;

      And his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

      Those who survive him shall be buried in death,

      And their widows shall not weep,

      Though he heaps up silver like dust,

      And piles up clothing like clay;

      He may pile it up, but the just will wear it,

      And the innocent will divide the silver.

      He builds his house like a moth,

      Like a booth which a watchman makes.

      The rich man will lie down,

      But not be gathered up;

      He opens his eyes,

      And he is no more.

      Terrors overtake him like a flood;

      A tempest steals him away in the night.

      The east wind carries him away, and he is gone;

      It sweeps him out of his place.

      It hurls against him and does not spare;

      He flees desperately from its power.

      Men shall clap their hands at him,

      And shall hiss him out of his place."

       

      This is the portion of the wicked man with God: In this section Job argued strongly - as strongly as any of his three friends - that judgment awaits the wicked man, and that he will not be ultimately blessed. This was an important argument for Job to make in front of his friends, because they accused him of overturning God's moral order in the world. Job insists that he agreed (in general) with the idea that wickedness is rewarded with judgment from God (received from the Almighty).

       

       

      If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword … Terrors overtake him like a flood … The east wind carries him away … Me shall clap their hands at him…

       

      This description of the bitter portion of the wicked man includes many aspects that applied to Job and his own crisis. It should not be taken as an admission of guilt; instead Job's idea was "I know that my situation looks like the judgment of God on the wicked, yet I assure you that it is not."

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW... "It was an ancient method to clap the hands against and hiss a man from any public office, who had acted improperly in it. The populace, in European countries, express their disapprobation of public characters who have not pleased them in the same manner to the present day, by hisses, groans, and the like."

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:42 PM EDT
    • JOB 28

       

      OPENS WITH JOB'S DISCOURSE ON WISDOM

       

       

      Verses 1-4 tells us Man seeks after MATERIAL treasure in the earth.

       

      "Surely there is a mine for silver,

      And a place where gold is refined.

      Iron is taken from the earth,

      And copper is smelted from ore.

      Man puts an end to darkness,

      And searches every recess

      For ore in the darkness and the shadow of death.

      He breaks open a shaft away from people;

      In places forgotten by feet

      They hang far away from men;

      They swing to and fro.”

       

       

      Surely there is a mine for silver…

       

      Job considered the way men search for precious and useful metals (such as silver, gold, iron, and copper).

       

      Searches every recess…

       

      Job explained how men diligently sought after these precious and useful metals. They light up dark places (Man puts an end to darkness), they search every recess, they dig to break open a shaft away from people, and even personally endanger themselves (they hang far away from men; they swing to and fro).

       

       

      SMICK says it well, "The point is that man's intelligence and determination enable him to accomplish amazing feats of technological ingenuity, but left to himself he cannot find wisdom. Wisdom is a treasure rarer than any other."

       

       

      Verses 5-11 tells us The hidden nature of earth's treasure.

       

      As for the earth, from it comes bread,

      But underneath it is turned up as by fire;

      Its stones are the source of sapphires,

      And it contains gold dust.

      That path no bird knows,

      Nor has the falcon's eye seen it.

      The proud lions have not trodden it,

      Nor has the fierce lion passed over it.

      He puts his hand on the flint;

      He overturns the mountains at the roots.

      He cuts out channels in the rocks,

      And his eye sees every precious thing.

      He dams up the streams from trickling;

      What is hidden he brings forth to light."

       

       

      As for the earth, from it comes bread … its stones are the source of sapphires…

       

      Job continued to paint the picture of the earth as treasure house of value and riches for those who are willing to work hard and search diligently for these riches.

       

      He puts his hand on the flint; he overturns the mountains … he cuts out channels in the rocks … He dams up the streams…

       

      Job here explained how hard men are willing to work to gain the treasure and wealth that is hidden in the earth.

       

       

       

      Verses 12-19 tells us True wisdom is rare.

       

      "But where can wisdom be found?

      And where is the place of understanding?

      Man does not know its value,

      Nor is it found in the land of the living.

      The deep says, 'It is not in me';

      And the sea says, 'It is not with me.'

      It cannot be purchased for gold,

      Nor can silver be weighed for its price.

      It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir,

      In precious onyx or sapphire.

      Neither gold nor crystal can equal it,

      Nor can it be exchanged for jewelry of fine gold.

      No mention shall be made of coral or quartz,

      For the price of wisdom is above rubies.

      The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it,

      Nor can it be valued in pure gold."

       

       

      But where can wisdom be found?

       

      Job here made the point he had built up to in the previous verses. Men search hard and are willing to endure danger for the sake of the riches of this earth; but all of that is easy compared to the search for wisdom.

       

      The deep says, "It is not in me"…

       

      Job spoke here of how rare wisdom is, making it all the more valuable among men. Indeed, it cannot be purchased for gold and is therefore worth more than all of those precious metals.

       

       

      Verses 20-28 tells us the source and summary of wisdom.

       

      "From where then does wisdom come?

      And where is the place of understanding?

      It is hidden from the eyes of all living,

      And concealed from the birds of the air.

      Destruction and Death say,

      'We have heard a report about it with our ears.'

      God understands its way,

      And He knows its place.

      For He looks to the ends of the earth,

      And sees under the whole heavens,

      To establish a weight for the wind,

      And apportion the waters by measure.

      When He made a law for the rain,

      And a path for the thunderbolt,

      Then He saw wisdom and declared it;

      He prepared it, indeed,

      He searched it out.

      And to man He said,

      'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom,

      And to depart from evil is understanding.'"

       

       

      From where then does wisdom come?

       

      Job explained how hard it was to find wisdom, and then asked the logical question. Job knew that he needed this precious wisdom, and he certainly knew that his friends needed this wisdom.

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "He seems to say that, though men should explore the deep places of the earth with all the diligence of miners seeking gold and silver, though they should exert all their mental force, as miners use all their muscular vigor, and though they should employ all the machinery within their reach, as men do who pierce through the rocks in search of precious treasure yet it is not within the range of human labor and skill to attain unto wisdom. That can only be found by another and a higher method; it must come to us by revelation from God, for we cannot find it by our own efforts."

       

       

      God understands its way, and He knows its place…

       

      Job knew the answer to his own question; he knew that God understood wisdom and its source.

       

       

      To establish a weight for the wind, and apportion the waters by measure. He made a law for the rain, and a path for the thunderbolt…

       

      The same God who masters the natural world has the riches of wisdom at his disposal. He has demonstrated His own wisdom and power through the design of the natural world.

       

      Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding…

       

      Job concluded this great speech by coming back to the touchstone of revelation. Since true wisdom comes from God, it is found by being in right relation to Him (the fear of the Lord), and it is shown by a life that does depart from evil.

       

      Job understood what the later psalmist also understood…

       

      Psalm 111:10, “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom.”

       

      This same idea also repeated in Proverbs 9:10 and 15:33.

       

      If true wisdom can be simply gained by human effort, energy, and ingenuity (like the rare and precious metals of the earth), then the fear of the Lord is not essential to obtaining wisdom. But if it comes from God's revelation, then right relationship with Him is THE KEY to wisdom.

       

       

      CLARKE says it well, "This probably refers to the revelation of his will which God gave to Adam after his fall. He had before sought for wisdom in a forbidden way. When he and Eve saw that the tree was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, they took and did eat, Genesis 3:6. Thus they lost all the wisdom that they had, by not setting the fear of the Lord before their eyes, and became foolish, wicked, and miserable. Hear, then, what God prescribes as a proper remedy for this dire disease: The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; it is thy only wisdom now to set God always before thy eyes, that thou mayest not again transgress."

       

      MASON sums up this introspective of Job’s well, "The gaining of wisdom requires the total sacrifice of our single most precious possession: ourselves. More specifically, what is required is the surrender of our wills to God’s will for us."

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:36 PM EDT
    • JOB 29

       

      OPENS WITH…JOB REMEMBERS BETTER DAYS

       

       

      Verses 1-6 tells us Job was blessed in his relationship with God.

       

      Job further continued his discourse, and said:

      "Oh, that I were as in months past,

      As in the days when God watched over me;

      When His lamp shone upon my head,

      And when by His light I walked through darkness;

      Just as I was in the days of my prime,

      When the friendly counsel of God was over my tent;

      When the Almighty was yet with me,

      When my children were around me;

      When my steps were bathed with cream,

      And the rock poured out rivers of oil for me!"

       

       

      Oh, that I were as in months past, as in the days when God watched over me…

       

      Job longed NOT only for the days before he lost his children and health and wealth; he ESPECIALLY longed for the days before he lost his sense of God's closeness. There was a time when he felt that God watched over him; and he FELT those days were gone.

      When His lamp shone upon my head … when the friendly counsel of God was over my tent … when the Almighty was yet with me…

       

      Job fondly remembered the days when it seemed that God was FOR him rather than against him. It reminds us of the fact that Job's great crisis after his catastrophic losses was primarily spiritual, in that he did NOT sense the support and succor of God in the aftermath of his loss.

       

       

      Spurgeon describes THE WAYS that Job sensed this great loss from God.

       

      1. Job FEELS he had lost the consciousness of divine preservation" (as in the days when God watched over me).

       

      2. Job had also lost divine consolation, for he looks back with lamentation to the time when God's candle shone upon his head" (when His lamp shone upon my head).

       

      3. Job deplored the loss of divine illumination. 'By his light,' he says, 'I walked through darkness.

       

      4. Job had lost divine communion: so it seems, for he mourned the days of his youth, when the secret of God was upon his tabernacle" (when the friendly counsel of God was over my tent).

       

       

      When my children were around me; when my steps were bathed with cream, and the rock poured out rivers of oil for me…

       

      Job painted a beautiful (if exaggerated) picture of his former happy life. He genuinely felt that he was in fellowship with God and the blessing flowed in to every area of his life.

       

       

      Verses 7-17 tells us Job was blessed in the relationships with people.

       

      "When I went out to the gate by the city,

      When I took my seat in the open square,

      The young men saw me and hid,

      And the aged arose and stood;

      The princes refrained from talking,

      And put their hand on their mouth;

      The voice of nobles was hushed,

      And their tongue stuck to the roof of their mouth.

      When the ear heard, then it blessed me,

      And when the eye saw, then it approved me;

      Because I delivered the poor who cried out,

      The fatherless and the one who had no helper.

      The blessing of a perishing man came upon me,

      And I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.

      I put on righteousness, and it clothed me;

      My justice was like a robe and a turban.

      I was eyes to the blind,

      And I was feet to the lame.

      I was a father to the poor,

      And I searched out the case that I did not know.

      I broke the fangs of the wicked,

      And plucked the victim from his teeth."

       

       

      I went out the gate … I took my seat in the open square…

       

      In this and the following verses Job remembered how greatly he was respected in the community. He had a position of community leadership and was feared by the young men and honored by the aged. Even princes and nobles stopped talking and listened to his Godly counsel.

       

       

      SMICK clarifies for us, "We have no idea what this city was, but any city that had a gate and a public square was a major urban center."

       

       

      When the ear heard, then it blessed me, and when the eye saw, then it approved me…

       

      Not only did Job gain the attention of the people and leaders of the city in days past; they also liked him and what he had to say. He was blessed and approved by those who heard him.

       

       

      Because I delivered the poor who cried out … I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy … I was eyes to the blind, and I was feet to the lame…

       

       

      Job described how his reputation for wisdom and goodness was deserved. He was a man full of good and noble works, especially to the poor and disadvantaged as God expected of a leader.

       

       

      It reminds us that though Job was a man of great wealth and influence (Job 1:1-3), he used his wealth and influence to do good instead of simply being greedy and selfish with his wealth.

       

       

      In Job's conscience, sins are not just wrong things people do, disobeying known laws of God or society; to omit to do good to any fellow human being, of whatever rank or class, would be a grievous offense to God.

       

       

      It was NOT ambition, popularity, or self-interest that put Job upon these and the following good practices and proceedings, but the care he had of discharging his trust, and the pure love he had for God’s teaching and God’s ideas of justice and upright dealing on a daily basis.

       

       

      MASON reminds us well, "Not once before this has he pointed to any of his good deeds as evidence of his faith, but rather he has taken his stand squarely upon faith alone and not upon works. The fact that Job waited so long to introduce any hard evidence into this debate with his friends shows enormous restraint on his part."

       

       

      Verses 18-20 tells us Job's former sense of security and confidence.

       

      "Then I said, 'I shall die in my nest,

      And multiply my days as the sand.

      My root is spread out to the waters,

      And the dew lies all night on my branch.

      My glory is fresh within me,

      And my bow is renewed in my hand.' "

       

       

      I shall die in my nest, and multiply my days as the sand…

       

      In his former confidence, Job felt that he would die happy and secure in his nest, after a good long life.

       

       

      My root is spread out to the waters … My glory is fresh within me…

       

       

      We can sense Job's prior sense of blessing and abundance of life. His former blessed life made his present crisis all the more unbearable and seemingly unjust.

       

      Root is spread out to the waters…

       

      Is a metaphor taken from a healthy tree growing beside a rivulet where there is plenty of water; which in consequence flourishes in all seasons, its leaf does not wither, nor its fruit fall off.

       

       

       

      Verses 21-25 tells us Job's FORMER authority and leadership in the community.

       

      "Men listened to me and waited,

      And kept silence for my counsel.

      After my words they did not speak again,

      And my speech settled on them as dew.

      They waited for me as for the rain,

      And they opened their mouth wide as for the spring rain.

      If I mocked at them, they did not believe it,

      And the light of my countenance they did not cast down.

      I chose the way for them, and sat as chief;

      So I dwelt as a king in the army,

      As one who comforts mourners."

       

       

      Men listened to me and waited … After my words they did not speak again…

       

      Job again remembered how greatly he was respected and esteemed in the community. He was a man honored for his wise God led words.

       

       

      I chose the way for them, and sat as chief…

       

       

      This highlights the tremendous contrast between the former esteem Job enjoyed and the terrible criticism he had endured from his friends, his servants, the town and the people he had always so faithfully served. There was a time when no one would have criticized Job the way his friends and the people now did.

       

       

      CLARKE says it well, “Job is also a tremendous example of how a wealthy and powerful man should live his life; not in selfish indulgence, but in care and concern for the less fortunate. "Noble Job! Look at him, ye nobles of the earth, ye lieutenants of counties, ye generals of armies, and ye lords of provinces. Look at JOB! Imitate his active benevolence, and be healthy and happy. Be as guardian angels in your particular districts, blessing all by your example and your bounty."

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:34 PM EDT
    • JOB 30

       

      OPENS WITH...JOB REFLECTS ON HIS CURRENT MISERY

       

       

      Verses 1-8 tells us The low character of the men who now mock Job.

       

      "But now they mock at me, men younger than I,

      Whose fathers I disdained to put with the dogs of my flock.

      Indeed, what profit is the strength of their hands to me?

      Their vigor has perished.

      They are gaunt from want and famine,

      Fleeing late to the wilderness, desolate and waste,

      Who pluck mallow by the bushes,

      And broom tree roots for their food.

      They were driven out from among men,

      They shouted at them as at a thief.

      They had to live in the clefts of the valleys,

      In caves of the earth and the rocks.

      Among the bushes they brayed,

      Under the nettles they nestled.

      They were sons of fools,

      Yes, sons of vile men;

      They were scourged from the land."

       

       

      Now they mock at me, men younger than I, whose fathers I disdained to put with the dogs of my flock…

       

      Job was tortured by the irony of it all. The sons of men whom Job would not even put with the dogs of his flock were now his mockers and critics.

       

       

      "Dogs are everywhere mentioned with contempt, as filthy, unprofitable, and accursed creatures; as 2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Kings 8:13; Philippians 3:2; Revelation 22:15."

       

       

      They are gaunt from want and famine … They had to live in the clefts of the valleys … They were the sons of fools…

       

       

      Job thought of what worthless men were now his loudest critics, and how unjust it all was. In other words, the worst of the worst in their towns, who would not have been approached, much less listened to, because of their depraved lifestyles and opinions, were now lauded over and encouraged and supported to denigrate Job.

       

       

       

      Verses 9-15 tells us the mocking Job must endure.

       

      "And now I am their taunting song;

      Yes, I am their byword.

      They abhor me, they keep far from me;

      They do not hesitate to spit in my face.

      Because He has loosed my bowstring and afflicted me,

      They have cast off restraint before me.

      At my right hand the rabble arises;

      They push away my feet,

      And they raise against me their ways of destruction.

      They break up my path,

      They promote my calamity;

      They have no helper.

      They come as broad breakers;

      Under the ruinous storm they roll along.

      Terrors are turned upon me;

      They pursue my honor as the wind,

      And my prosperity has passed like a cloud."

       

       

      I am their taunting song; yes I am their byword…

       

      Job was now low in the eyes of these worthless men.

       

       

      Terrors are turned upon me; they pursue my honor as the wind, and my prosperity has passed like a cloud…

       

      Job mourned the agony of his present state of being despised among men, when before he was respected and honored. His God led honor and God given prosperity had vanished.

       

       

       

      Verses 16-23 tells us the misery of his present pain, both spiritual and physical.

       

      "And now my soul is poured out because of my plight;

      The days of affliction take hold of me.

      My bones are pierced in me at night,

      And my gnawing pains take no rest.

      By great force my garment is disfigured;

      It binds me about as the collar of my coat.

      He has cast me into the mire,

      And I have become like dust and ashes."

       

      "I cry out to You, but You do not answer me;

      I stand up, and You regard me.

      But You have become cruel to me;

      With the strength of Your hand You oppose me.

      You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride on it;

      You spoil my success.

      For I know that You will bring me to death,

      And to the house appointed for all living."

       

       

      And now my soul is poured out because of my plight…

       

      Job again described his present crisis. He described the persistent, gnawing pains that were ever with him; but for him it was first and foremost an unbearable crisis of the soul.

       

       

      My bones are pierced … my gnawing pains take no rest … my garment is disfigured…

       

      With poetic power and eloquence, Job described the PHYSICAL agony of his diseases and the suffering it causes him without relief.

       

       

      I cry out to You, but You do not answer me…

       

       

      ABOVE IT ALL...This was the WORST aspect of Job's suffering, the sense that God had forsaken him. He undeniably felt that God was against him (with the strength of Your hand You oppose me … You spoil my success). Indeed, Job felt that God wanted to and would destroy him (I know that You will bring me to death).

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "Under depression of spirit he felt sure that he must very soon die; he feared that God would not relax the blows of his hand until his body became a ruin, and then he would have rest. But he did not die at that time. He was fully recovered, and God gave him twice as much as he had before. A life of usefulness, and happiness, and honor lay before him; and yet he had set up his own tombstone, and reckoned himself a dead man."

       

       

      Verses 24-31 tells us the misery of the injustice done to Job.

       

      "Surely He would not stretch out His hand against a heap of ruins,

      If they cry out when He destroys it.

      Have I not wept for him who was in trouble?

      Has not my soul grieved for the poor?

      But when I looked for good, evil came to me;

      And when I waited for light, then came darkness.

      My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest;

      Days of affliction confront me.

      I go about mourning, but not in the sun;

      I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help.

      I am a brother of jackals,

      And a companion of ostriches.

      My skin grows black and falls from me;

      My bones burn with fever.

      My harp is turned to mourning,

      And my flute to the voice of those who weep."

       

       

      Surely He would not stretch out His hand against a heap of ruins…

       

      Job felt, "God, you are more merciful than this. You would not afflict a pitiful heap of ruins if only it would cry out to You." Job wondered why God did not respond to his cries.

       

      Job’s SUPREME, UNENDING, DEEPEST SORROW was that when he cried to God, there was NO answer. He claimed that in such suffering as he endured, there was ample justification for all his complaining.

       

       

      LAWSON reminds us well, "As is our natural tendency, Job misinterprets God's silence as lack of concern and indifference. Job assumes that God's silence means God's displeasure."

       

       

      Have I not wept for him who was in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? Job wondered why God did not treat him with the same kindness Job had often shown to others.

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, “The sensitive soul of Job was another demonstration of his godliness and appropriate for any servant of God. "I know that a man in the ministry who can NOT feel had much better resign his office. We have heard some hold forth the doctrines of grace, as if they were a nauseous medicine, and men were to be forced to drink thereof by hard words and violent abuse. We have always thought that such men did more hurt than good, for while seeking to vindicate the letter, they evidently missed the spirit of the faith once delivered unto the saints. Cold and impassive are some of our divines; they utter truth as though it were no concern of theirs whether men received it or no. To such men heaven and hell, death and eternity, are mere themes for oratory, but not subjects for emotion."

       

      AMAZINGLY...JOB HAS GIVEN UP TRYING TO REASON WITH HIS UNGODLY FRIENDS AND SPEAK WISDOM AND TRUTH TO THE TOWN OF PEOPLE, FAMILY, FRIENDS, AND SERVANTS HE HAS SO HONORABLY DEALT WITH AS GOD EXPECTED….BUT JOB NEVER GIVES UP ON GOD...AND HE DOES NOT GIVE GOD ANY PEACE. HE CONTINUES TO CRY OUT...EVEN IN THE SILENCE OF GOD...JOB CONTINUES TO CRY OUT TO AND CLING TO HIS GOD.

       

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:31 PM EDT
    • JOB 31

       

      OPENS WITH..JOB PROCLAIMS HIS PURITY AND INNOCENCE

       

      This whole chapter is occupied with Job's solemn oath of innocence. It was his final and explicit answer to the line of argument adopted by his three friends.

       

       

      Verses 1-4 Job tells us He was NOT guilty of LUST.

       

      "I have made a covenant with my eyes;

      Why then should I look upon a young woman?

      For what is the allotment of God from above,

      And the inheritance of the Almighty from on high?

      Is it not destruction for the wicked,

      And disaster for the workers of iniquity?

      Does He not see my ways,

      And count all my steps?"

       

      I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman?...

       

      In this section, Job protested that he was a godly and blameless man, at least on a human scale. His larger context was to explain the sense of injustice he felt at his suffering and humiliation, and to make a final defense before his friends who accused him of special sin deserving of special judgment.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...This chapter has an interesting similarity to ancient "defense documents. It is an oath of clearance in the form of a negative confession. The procedure was well known in ancient jurisprudence. A crime could be disowned by calling down a curse on oneself if one had committed it.

       

      Yet it ALSO has a clear connection to the Sermon on the Mount. Chapter 31 is Job's Sermon on the Mount, for in it he touches on many of the same issues of spiritual ethics that Jesus covers in Matthew 5-7, including the relationship between lust and adultery (Job 31:1, 9-12), loving one's neighbor as oneself (Job 31:13-15), almsgiving and social justice (Job 31:16-23), and the love of money and other idolatries (Job 31:24-28).

       

      AND WE REMEMBER we are clearly told in Job 1 by ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF that Job was a blameless and upright man; this is the chapter that most clearly explains what that godly life looked like. The chapter that we now open breathes, almost or quite throughout, a spirit that belongs rather to the New than to the Old Covenant. It is a practical anticipation of much of the teaching that was to come from Him Who 'sat down and taught' His disciples on the mountain. It is the picture of one perfect and upright, who feared God, and eschewed evil.

       

      I have made a covenant with my eyes; why then should I look upon a young woman? In defending his righteous life, Job began with explaining that he was a morally pure man who did NOT look upon a young woman in impure and inappropriate ways.

       

      It is significant that in this long section where Job explained his righteous life, he began with noting that he GUARDED his eyes from lustful looks upon a young woman. This rightly suggests that a man's ability to NOT look upon lustful images is an important indicator of his general righteousness and blamelessness.

       

      This also suggests that THE EYES are a GATEWAY for lust, especially for men. This is demonstrated over and over again by both personal experience and empirical study. When a man places enticing, sensual, lust-inducing images before his eyes, it is a form of foreplay, especially considering that it often or frequently causes some level of sexual arousal in the man.

       

       

      A covenant with my eyes…

      Job's ability to control himself was connected with a covenant he made. He made a vow, a promise, a commitment with his own eyes that he would not look upon a young woman in a sinful way.

       

       

      BULLINGER says that the Hebrew does not literally say that Job made a covenant with his eyes. "Not 'made with' … The covenant here was made with God, against his eyes, which are regarded as an enemy likely to lead him astray.

       

      MASON ADDS, "When Job says the he has made a covenant with his eyes to abstain from lust, he does not mean that he has stopped experiencing lust altogether. What he means is that he refuses to dwell upon the lustful feelings which, as the normal red-blooded male he is, come to him very naturally."

       

      Job insisted that he would not look upon a young woman - a maiden in this way. This was especially meaningful, because in that culture it would be somewhat accepted for a rich and powerful man like Job to seduce or ravish a maiden, and then add her as either a wife or a concubine. Job restrained himself from women that others in his same circumstances would not restrain themselves from.

       

      For what is the allotment of God from above:

       

      In the context of Job's self-control when it came to lust, he considered what the allotment of God from above was. He understood that the young woman he would be enticed to look upon was not the allotment of God for him; she and her nakedness did not belong to Job in any sense.

       

      Leviticus 18:1-18 reinforces this Biblical principle. It relates how the nakedness of an individual "belongs" to that individual and to their spouse, and it does not "belong" to anyone else. Therefore, when a man looks upon the nakedness of woman who is not his wife, he takes something that does not belong to him.

       

      There certainly existed some type of pornography in Job's day; some of the earliest artistic images are of women and men in highly sexualized motifs. Nevertheless, Job certainly did not have to contend with the sophisticated, gigantic, and far-reaching modern pornography industry. The availability of modern pornography has made it a significantly greater challenge for men to confine their visual arousal to the allotment of God from above for them.

       

      In this context, it is helpful for a man to ask himself: "Whose nakedness belongs to me, and whose does not?" Only a proud and depraved man would think that every woman's nakedness belongs to him. A moment of thought reinforces the clear principle: only the nakedness of his own wife is the allotment of God from above for a man; only his own wife is the inheritance of the Almighty from on high for his visual arousal.

       

       

      Is it not destruction for the wicked, and disaster for the workers of iniquity? In the context of Job's self-control when it came to lust, he also considered the destructive nature of allowing one's self to be aroused by alluring images. He perhaps considered the lives of others that had been destroyed by lust and sexual sin that began with visual arousal.

       

       

      The potential for destruction is all the more real in the modern world because the challenges to Biblical purity are all the more formidable. By some research, comparing the world of a man in the year A.D. 1500 to the world A.D. 2000:

       

      - In 1500 the average age of a man's economic independence was 16; today it is 26.

      - In 1500 the average age of marriage for a man was 18; today it is 28.

      - In 1500 the average age of male puberty was 20; today it is 12.

       

      This means that there are many biological, cultural, economic, social, and technological factors that make it much more difficult for a man today to make a covenant with his eyes, to not look upon a young woman in the sense meant here by Job. It is much more difficult for a man to choose satisfaction with the allotment of God from above and to avoid the destruction and disaster Job spoke of.

       

      Nevertheless, by the power of God's Spirit, it can be done and obedience to God in this arena is a precious, wonderful sacrifice made unto Him; a genuine way to present our bodies as a living sacrifice unto Him, not being conformed to the world (Romans 12:1-2).

       

      Does He not see all my ways, and count all my steps?

       

      In the context of Job's self-control when it came to lust, it was helpful for him to consider that God's eye was upon him all the time. Most men indulge in ungodly visual arousal with the (at least temporary) delusion that their conduct is unseen by God. It helped Job to know that God DID see all his ways.

       

      Verses 5-8 Job tells us he was NOT GUILTY OF LYING.

       

      "If I have walked with falsehood,

      Or if my foot has hastened to deceit,

      Let me be weighed on honest scales,

      That God may know my integrity.

      If my step has turned from the way,

      Or my heart walked after my eyes,

      Or if any spot adheres to my hands,

      Then let me sow, and another eat;

      Yes, let my harvest be rooted out."

       

      If I have walked with falsehood…

       

      Job also proclaimed his blameless life because he lived an essentially truthful life. He was not afraid to be weighed on honest scales, and have his life examined in an honest way.

       

      If my step has turned from the way … Then let me sow, and another eat…

       

      Job was not afraid to call a curse upon himself, if he indeed was not an honest man. He was willing to be deprived of the fruit of his own labor if it was true that he was found lacking on the honest scales of God's judgment.

       

      The confidence Job hand in calling curses upon himself if he were not truthful is impressive. It is as if he said to his friends, "Do you think that I am trying to make out before God that I am what I have not been? Would I talk to God with what would be blatant insolence if I had not the facts to back me up?"

       

      Verses 9-12 Job tells us he was NOT AN ADULTERER.

       

      "If my heart has been enticed by a woman,

      Or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door,

      Then let my wife grind for another,

      And let others bow down over her.

      For that would be wickedness;

      Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment.

      For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction,

      And would root out all my increase."

       

      If my heart has been enticed by a woman…

       

      The next area of integrity Job proclaimed had to do with faithfulness to his wife within the marriage. He understood that this had more than a sexual aspect (perhaps first mentioned in Job 31:1-4), but also included the heart being enticed.

       

      Job touched upon a significant truth; that it is entirely possible to allow one's heart to be enticed by another. These things happen because of choices one makes, not merely because one has been acted upon by the mystical or magical power of romantic love.

       

      Instead, Job insisted that for him to have his heart enticed by another would be wickedness, and indeed it would be iniquity deserving of judgment. He understood that he had control over whom he would allow his heart to be enticed by.

       

      The phrase is very emphatical, taking from himself and others the vain excuses wherewith men use to palliate their sins, by pretending that they did not design the wickedness, but were merely drawn in and seduced by the strong enticements and provocations of others.

       

       

      Then let my wife grind for another…

       

      Job insisted that if he had been unfaithful in heart or in action towards his wife, then he would deserve to have his wife taken from him and given to another.

       

       

      For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction…

       

      Job also understood that allowing his heart to be enticed by a woman other than his wife would bring a destructive, burned-over result.

       

      And root out all my increase…

       

      Many men who feel themselves under oppressive alimony or child support payments because they allowed their heart to be enticed by another woman have lived this statement by Job, and have seen all their increase rooted out.

       

       

      Verses 13-15 Job tells us he did NOT MISTREAT his servants.

       

      "If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant

      When they complained against me,

      What then shall I do when God rises up?

      When He punishes, how shall I answer Him?

      Did not He who made me in the womb make them?

      Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?"

       

      If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant…

       

      Job continued the presentation of his own righteousness by noting the good and compassionate treatment of his servants. The goodness of a man or a woman is often best indicated by how they treat those thought to be INFERIOR to them, not how they treat their peers or those thought to be SUPERIOR to them.

       

      What then shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him?

       

      One reason Job treated his servants well was because he understood that he would have to answer to God for his actions towards others, including his servants. He understood that God cared about his servants and would avenge ill-treatment of them.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...This section embodies a human ethic unmatched in the ancient world.

       

      Job again breathed much the same heart as later clearly explained in the New Testament.

       

      Paul gave much the same idea in Ephesians 6:9, where he told masters to treat their servants well: “And you, masters, do the same things to them, giving up threatening, knowing that your own Master also is in heaven, and there is no partiality with Him.”

       

      Did not He who made me in the womb make them?

       

      Another reason Job treated his servants well was because he recognized their essential humanity. This was both remarkable and admirable in a time when it was almost universally understood that servants and slaves were SUB-HUMAN next to those whom they served.

       

       

      Verses 16-23 Job tells us he did NOT VICTIMIZE the poor or the weak.

       

      "If I have kept the poor from their desire,

      Or caused the eyes of the widow to fail,

      Or eaten my morsel by myself,

      So that the fatherless could not eat of it

      (But from my youth I reared him as a father,

      And from my mother's womb I guided the widow);

      If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing,

      Or any poor man without covering;

      If his heart has not blessed me,

      And if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;

      If I have raised my hand against the fatherless,

      When I saw I had help in the gate;

      Then let my arm fall from my shoulder,

      Let my arm be torn from the socket.

      For destruction from God is a terror to me,

      And because of His magnificence I cannot endure."

       

       

       

      If I have kept the poor from their desire, or caused the eyes of the widow to fail…

       

      As a further testimony to his righteousness, Job insisted that he had been good and kind to the poor and to the helpless (such as the widow and the fatherless).

       

      If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing … Then let my arm fall from my shoulder…

       

      In the same manner as before, Job called for a curse upon himself it if was true that he had not cared for the poor and helpless as he claimed he had. He knew that if he had been cruel and oppressive to the poor and needy, he knew that he would indeed deserve punishment, and this was part of his motivation to care the way that he did (for destruction from God is a terror to me).

       

      MASON says it very well,"Most of the good deeds that Job presents as evidence of his righteousness are simple, ordinary things … More than any one of these acts alone, it is the accumulation of them that is impressive."

       

       

       

      Verses 24-28 Job tells us he was NOT GREEDY or a SEEKER OF FALSE GODS.

       

      "If I have made gold my hope,

      Or said to fine gold, 'You are my confidence';

      If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great,

      And because my hand had gained much;

      If I have observed the sun when it shines,

      Or the moon moving in brightness,

      So that my heart has been secretly enticed,

      And my mouth has kissed my hand;

      This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment,

      For I would have denied God who is above."

       

      If I have made gold my hope…

       

      Job knew that wealthy men often found it easy to trust in riches. Therefore he again insisted that he had not made riches his hope or his confidence, and also had not rejoiced because his wealth was great.

       

       

      If I have observed the sun when it shines…

      Job meant that he had not engaged in the common practice of sun-worship. His heart was not secretly enticed to idolatry, which was apparently sometimes worshipped with the kissing of the hand.

       

      INTERESTINGLY ENOUGH...DO YOU KNOW THIS IS WHERE BLOWING KISSES CAME FROM?

       

      And when the idols were out of the reach of idolaters, that they could not kiss them, they used to kiss their hands, and, as it were, to throw kisses at them; of which we have many examples in heathen writers."

       

       

      This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment, for I would have denied God who is above…

       

      It is probable (though not certain) that Job wrote this before any of the other received books of Scripture were given. Therefore, he knew that idolatry was wrong by both natural revelation and by conscience. He knew that since there was a true, living God enthroned in the heavens, it was an iniquity deserving of judgment to deny the God who is above and to worship any other.

       

      Verses 29-34 Job tells us he was generally WITHOUT blame.

       

      "If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me,

      Or lifted myself up when evil found him

      (Indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin

      By asking for a curse on his soul);

      If the men of my tent have not said,

      'Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?'

      (But no sojourner had to lodge in the street,

      For I have opened my doors to the traveler);

      If I have covered my transgressions as Adam,

      By hiding my iniquity in my bosom,

      Because I feared the great multitude,

      And dreaded the contempt of families,

      So that I kept silence

      And did not go out of the door;”

       

      If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me…

       

      As further testimony to his personal righteousness, Job claimed that he had not been happy when his enemies had suffered and been destroyed. This is certainly one mark of a man after God's heart, who also takes no pleasure in the destruction of the wicked (Ezekiel 33:11)

       

      By asking for a curse on his soul…

       

      Job did not even curse his enemies. He kept himself from this most natural reaction.

       

      No sojourner had to lodge in the street…

       

      Job was also a diligent man when it came to hospitality. He would not allow a visitor to sleep on the street and instead he opened his doors to the traveler.

       

      If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding iniquity in my bosom…

       

      The basic and consistent argument of Job's friends against him was that though he appeared to be righteous, he really must be covering some serious sin that made sense of the calamity that came against him. Therefore, Job insisted that he was not covering his sins as Adam, who blamed Eve and vainly tried to cover his sin.

       

       

      Because I feared the great multitude…

       

      Here Job answered the accusation that he was motivated to hide his sin because of the fear of how it would appear before the public. Job's friends had probably known many seemingly righteous people who had hidden their sins and were destroyed when they were eventually exposed, and they assumed Job was like them. Job here rightly protested that he was not like such men who hide their sin out of fear of public humiliation and contempt.

       

       

      Verses 35-37 tells us Job DEMANDS an audience with God.

       

      Oh, that I had one to hear me!

      Here is my mark.

      Oh, that the Almighty would answer me,

      That my Prosecutor had written a book!

      Surely I would carry it on my shoulder,

      And bind it on me like a crown;

      I would declare to Him the number of my steps;

      Like a prince I would approach Him."

       

      Oh, that I had one to hear me!

       

      It seems that Job interrupted his defense of the morality and righteousness of his life. He probably had much more he could say to defend himself, but broke off that line of reasoning and made a final, dramatic appeal to be heard before the throne of God.

       

      "Job strategically brought his oration to its climax with a sudden change in tone. . . . He was now sure of his innocence, so confident of the truthfulness of these oaths that he affixed his signature and presented them as his defense with a challenge to God for a corresponding written indictment." (Smick)

       

      MASON GIVES US SOMETHING INTERESTING ABOUT HISTORY, “The finality of his words are demonstrated by the phrase, "Here is my mark." "Job's statement means literally, 'Here is my taw.' Some versions translate this, 'Here is my signature,' since taw, the last letter of the Hebrew alphabet, could be used like our letter 'X' to denote a person's 'mark' or 'signature.' Yet even more interesting is the fact that in the ancient Hebrew script used by the author of Job, this letter taw was a cross-shaped mark. In a sense, therefore, what Job was saying is, 'Here is my cross.'"

       

      Oh, that the Almighty would answer me…

       

      Job was absolutely convinced that what he needed was vindication (or at least an answer) from God. His friends thoroughly analyzed his situation and came to completely wrong conclusions. Job could NOT make sense of it himself. Here he called God out to answer for what He had done.

       

      This is the demand that Job would later repent of in Job 42:5-6.

       

      Job would come to find that he had NO right to demand an answer from God, and indeed had to be content when God seemed to refuse an answer.

       

      That my Prosecutor had written a book! This shows the profound (yet understandable) spiritual confusion of Job. He felt that God was his accuser (my Prosecutor), when really it was Satan. We sympathize with Job, knowing that he could NOT see behind that mysterious curtain that separated earth from heaven; yet we learn from what Job should have known.

       

      "There is the consummate irony of Job's daring his 'accuser' (whom he believes to be God) to put something in writing. . . . Of course all along the reader knows that Job's real accuser is not God but Satan. But Job does not know this." (Mason)

       

      Surely I would carry it on my shoulder…

       

      Here Job, stepping over bound he would later repent of, longed to have the accusation of God against him written out so he could refute it as he had so effectively refuted his friends. He IS so confident in what he knew of himself that he said he would approach God like a prince.

       

      Job was indeed confident in what he did know; that he was a blameless and upright man who did not bring the catastrophe upon himself by his own special sin. What he was much too confident about were the things he could not see; the things that happened in the spiritual realm, known to the reader of Job 1-2 but unknown to Job in the story. Somewhat like his friends, Job thought he had it all figured out, but he did NOT.

       

       

      Verses 38-40 The conclusion of Job's words.

       

      "If my land cries out against me,

      And its furrows weep together;

      If I have eaten its fruit without money,

      Or caused its owners to lose their lives;

      Then let thistles grow instead of wheat,

      And weeds instead of barley."

      The words of Job are ended.

       

      If my land cries out against me…

       

      In this chapter Job testified to his own integrity in the most solemn of terms, calling repeated curses upon himself if his friends could indeed demonstrate that he was a conspicuous sinner worthy of conspicuous judgment or discipline from God. Now, he called one more witness on his behalf: his own land and property.

       

      This was not unusual in the ancient thinking. "The land is personified as the chief witness of the crimes committed on it. . . . Job is prepared to accept the primaeval curses on Adam (Genesis 3:17) and Cain (Genesis 4:11).

       

      The words of Job are ended…

       

      It is NOT that there are no more words from Job in this Book of Job; he will speak again briefly in later chapters. Yet Job is definitely done arguing his case. He is finished; one more man will try in vain to fix the problem; and then God will appear. We might rightly say that God - silent to this point - could not (or would not) appear and speak until all the arguments of man were exhausted.

       

      BULLINGER adds, "This is not a mere epigraph of a writer, or editor. They are the concluding words which Job uttered: by which he informed his friends that he did not intend to carry the controversy any further; but that he had now said all he meant to say. So far as he was concerned, the controversy was ended."

       

      MORGAN adds, "At this point, then, we have reached the end of Job's expressions of pain. The end is silence. That is God's opportunity for speech. He often waits until we have said everything: and then, in the silence prepared for such speech, He answers."

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:09 PM EDT
    • JOB 32

       

      OPENS WITH…HEARING FROM ELIHU

       

       

      Verses 1-5 tells us Elihu and his dissatisfaction with the answers of Job's friends.

       

      So these three men ceased answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then the wrath of Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, was aroused against Job; his wrath was aroused because he justified himself rather than God. Also against his three friends his wrath was aroused, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job. Now because they were years older than he, Elihu had waited to speak to Job. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, his wrath was aroused.”

       

       

      At the end of Job's persuasive arguments in Job 28-30, his friends had nothing more to say. They still thought that Job was completely wrong, but they felt he was so confirmed in his own opinions (he was righteous in his own eyes) that it was useless to keep the discussion going.

       

       

      This is the FIRST mention of Elihu in the Book of Job. Because he appears, dominates all discussion and then abruptly leaves, some modern commentators WRONGLY think that he was NOT really part of the story and was inserted into the account later by the author or another editor.

       

      BUT WE KNOW, ALMIGHTY GOD, WAS THE ORIGINATOR OF THE BOOK OF JOB. HE SPOKE JOB’S STORY, NOT JOB HIMSELF, SO I TRUST ALMIGHTY GOD.

       

      SO WHO WAS ELIHU?

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Of all the friends of Job, Elihu is the ONLY one with a genealogy. "The Buzite he is called, either from his progenitor Buz, the son of Nahor, who was the brother of Abraham, and had by Milchah, Huz, his firstborn (of whom some think Job came), and Buz, his brother, Genesis 22:21; or else from his country, the city of Buz, a city of Idumea, Jeremiah 25:23.

       

      The mention of his genealogy is important, because it reminds us that Elihu was NOT a fictional character AS SOME WRONGLY TEACH AND BELIEVE. His pedigree is this particularly described, principally to evidence the truth of this history, which otherwise might seem to be but a poetical fiction.

       

       

      Elihu appears and disappears suddenly; yet he does belong and his speech makes sense here. "It is true Elihu is not mentioned elsewhere in the book; so his speeches could be left out. But at the beginning (Job 32) and at the end (Job 37), they are skillfully woven into the fabric of the book and made to play a legitimate role that Almighty God himself deemed necessary.

       

       

      This is all we know of him. But this Scriptural answer will not satisfy those who are determined to find out mysteries where there are none.

       

       

      Apparently, Elihu was a silent listener at the whole dialogue up this point. He was angry against Job because he felt that Job justified himself rather than God. Elihu felt that Job was more concerned about being right himself than God being right.

       

       

      We can easily understand how Elihu felt this. Yet what he did NOT understand was the both Job and God were right. The friends had forced themselves and Job into a false dilemma: either Job is right or God is right. They could not see or understand how BOTH were right.

       

       

      Elihu will speak, but Job will not answer him. Job NEVER had opportunity to answer him. God took no notice of him except to interrupt Elihu.

       

       

      Also against his three friends his wrath was aroused…

       

      Elihu was also angry at Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar because they had failed to solve the controversy (they had found no answer) while at the same time they were (in Elihu's opinion) too harsh against Job (and yet had condemned Job).

       

       

      MASON says it well, "Elihu is angry with everybody. He is the classic angry young man, and from the outset what we need to notice about this kind of anger is that it puts him in a class by himself. The fact that he is angry at both sides of the debate separates him from Job, on the one hand, but also from the other three friends."

       

       

      Because they were years older than he, Elihu had waited to speak to Job…

       

      Out of respect for those older than he, Elihu held back for as long as he felt he could. Now, he felt that he simply had to speak.

       

       

      Verses 6-9 tells us WHY Elihu overcame his hesitancy to speak.

       

      So Elihu, the son of Barachel the Buzite, answered and said:

      "I am young in years, and you are very old;

      Therefore I was afraid,

      And dared not declare my opinion to you.

      I said, 'Age should speak,

      And multitude of years should teach wisdom.'

      But there is a spirit in man,

      And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding.

      Great men are not always wise,

      Nor do the aged always understand justice."

       

       

      Elihu came as a young man among older men, and because of this was willing to hold his words for a long time.

       

       

      But there is a spirit in man, and the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding…

       

      WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?

       

      Elihu believed that just because Job and his three friends were older, it did NOT mean that they were the only ones with a spirit in a man, and the only one who had received understanding from the Almighty.

       

       

      MEYER adds, "We have been trying to know God by the intellect, by reading the Bible intellectually, by endeavoring to apprehend human systems. There is, however, a deeper and truer method. 'There is a spirit in man!' Open your spirit to the divine Spirit as you open a window to the sunny air."

       

       

      Great men are not always wise, nor do the aged always understand justice…

       

       

      We can only imagine the reaction from Job’s three friends at these words of Elihu. They were probably united together for the first time in a long time; they might not agree with each other, but they certainly all would disagree that this young upstart could be wiser or have more understanding than they did.

       

      This is a perfect example of the hubris of youth...self-importance, ego, and over-confidence. What we call today the immortality complex and the impetuosity of youth.

       

      Elihu believed that the older men - for all of their supposed wisdom – did NOT understand the matter at all; he thought that the old men were wrong and that the young men (in particular, himself) were right.

       

       

      Verses 10-14 tells us Elihu criticizes Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar as ineffective.

       

      "Therefore I say, 'Listen to me,

      I also will declare my opinion.'

      Indeed I waited for your words,

      I listened to your reasonings, while you searched out what to say.

      I paid close attention to you;

      And surely not one of you convinced Job,

      Or answered his words;

      Lest you say, 'We have found wisdom';

      God will vanquish him, not man.

      Now he has not directed his words against me;

      So I will not answer him with your words."

       

       

      Therefore I say, "Listen to me, I also will declare my opinion": From this request for the attention and ear of Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, we can assume that there were sour and disdainful faces on the older men. Yet Elihu pressed forward, asking for this audience.

       

       

      Surely not one of you convinced Job, or answered his words…

       

      Elihu was frustrated because Job's friends did NOT put him in his place the way he thought they should. We can imagine Elihu following the debate, thinking of what he would say in response to Job, and being frustrated that the answers of Job's friends were NOT as brilliant as the answers in Elihu's mind.

       

       

      Verses 15-22 tells us Elihu's inner compulsion to speak.

       

      "They are dismayed and answer no more;

      Words escape them.

      And I have waited, because they did not speak,

      Because they stood still and answered no more.

      I also will answer my part,

      I too will declare my opinion.

      For I am full of words;

      The spirit within me compels me.

      Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent;

      It is ready to burst like new wineskins.

      I will speak, that I may find relief;

      I must open my lips and answer.

      Let me not, I pray, show partiality to anyone;

      Nor let me flatter any man.

      For I do not know how to flatter,

      Else my Maker would soon take me away."

       

       

      They are dismayed and answer no more; words escape them…

      Elihu noted that Job's friends were exhausted by the debate. In the mind of Elihu, it was fortunate that he had much energy and so many words, because now he could start where the three friends had left off.

       

       

      For I am full of words; the spirit within me compels me…

       

      Elihu certainly was full of words; for this and the NEXT FIVE chapters he will drone on and on, unable to shut up and unable to let anyone else speak. It is by far the longest single speech in the Book of Job, longer than even God's speech in later chapters.

       

       

      Elihu was determined to flatter NO man, except himself. In this obviously self-flattering introduction to the speech, Elihu has clearly presented himself as smarter, wiser, and having more understanding than any of the four other men with him. Elihu seems painfully unaware of how he sounded and looked.

       

    • November 1, 2016 7:01 PM EDT
    • JOB 33

       

      OPENS WITH...ELIHU TRIES TO TEACH & CHALLENGES JOB

       

       

      Verses 1-7 tells us Elihu to Job: "I am your spokesman before God."

       

      "But please, Job, hear my speech,

      And listen to all my words.

      Now, I open my mouth;

      My tongue speaks in my mouth.

      My words come from my upright heart;

      My lips utter pure knowledge.

      The Spirit of God has made me,

      And the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

      If you can answer me,

      Set your words in order before me;

      Take your stand.

      Truly I am as your spokesman before God;

      I also have been formed out of clay.

      Surely no fear of me will terrify you,

      Nor will my hand be heavy on you."

       

       

      But please, Job, hear my speech, and listen to all my words…

       

      Elihu again demonstrated his gift for speaking without saying much. These first seven verses of the chapter are mainly a wordy, windy introduction.

       

       

      The Spirit of God has made me … Truly I am as your spokesman before God…

       

      We see here also the touches of pride that marked Elihu and many young men since him. He was anxious to demonstrate to Job and to the three friends of Job that he was just as good, just as spiritual, and just as wise as they were.

       

       

      Indeed, we can say that Elihu thought of himself as just a little more good, spiritual, and wise as Job and his three friends. He believed that he could be an effective spokesman for Job before God, even as Job had cried out for before (Job 9:32-33).

       

       

      MASON says it well, "It is obvious that Elihu does have some glaring faults: he talks too much; he repeats himself; he is enormously conceited. Worst of all, like the other friends, he seriously misreads Job's problem as being one of unrepented sin, and as a result he condemns a righteous man. Despite all the good that might be said of Elihu, the fact remains that he really is an astonishingly pompous little windbag. He takes the entire first chapter, for example, plus portions of the second, simply to clear his throat and announce that he has something to say."

       

       

      Surely no fear of me will terrify you, nor will my hand be heavy on you…

       

      Elihu wanted to assure Job that he had nothing to fear from his offer to be Job's spokesman before God.

       

       

      Verses 8-11 tells us Elihu says of Job: "You think you are without sin."

       

      "Surely you have spoken in my hearing,

      And I have heard the sound of your words, saying,

      'I am pure, without transgression;

      I am innocent, and there is no iniquity in me.

      Yet He finds occasions against me,

      He counts me as His enemy;

      He puts my feet in the stocks,

      He watches all my paths.'"

       

      Elihu claimed to have listened to Job carefully, and now reported what he says he heard. He said that Job claimed to be pure, to be without transgression, to be innocent, and sinless (there is no iniquity in me).

       

       

      This means that young Elihu had not heard Job carefully. Though Job did strongly (and rightly) argue that he was a generally godly man who was blameless and upright, he did NOT claim to be sinless or without transgression. Job certainly knew that he was a sinner in a general sense and could NOT be considered righteous compared to God.

       

       

      He also did not understand why Job protested his general innocence. "In reality Job's defense of his righteousness is a defense of God. It is a defense of God's faithfulness, and in the end this is the only leg a believer has to stand on.

       

       

      Verses 12-18 tells us Elihu to Job: "Perhaps God spoke to you in a dream."

       

      "Look, in this you are not righteous.

      I will answer you,

      For God is greater than man.

      Why do you contend with Him?

      For He does not give an accounting of any of His words.

      For God may speak in one way, or in another,

      Yet man does not perceive it.

      In a dream, in a vision of the night,

      When deep sleep falls upon men,

      While slumbering on their beds,

      Then He opens the ears of men,

      And seals their instruction.

      In order to turn man from his deed,

      And conceal pride from man,

      He keeps back his soul from the Pit,

      And his life from perishing by the sword."

       

       

      Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give an accounting of any of His words…

       

      Here Elihu spoke the truth on some points. He was correcting in telling Job that God did not owe him (or anyone else) an explanation for what He does, and that Job was wrong to demand such.

       

       

      For God may speak in one way, or in another…

       

      Elihu's thought is here is that perhaps God had spoken to Job already but Job did not perceive it. It could have been through a dream or through a vision of the night that God warned Job to repent (He keeps back his soul from the Pit), but Job was NOT paying attention.

       

       

      Verses 19-28 tells us Elihu to Job: "God spoke to you in your sufferings, to save your soul from death."

       

      "Man is also chastened with pain on his bed,

      And with strong pain in many of his bones,

      So that his life abhors bread,

      And his soul succulent food.

      His flesh wastes away from sight,

      And his bones stick out which once were not seen.

      Yes, his soul draws near the Pit,

      And his life to the executioners."

       

      "If there is a messenger for him,

      A mediator, one among a thousand,

      To show man His uprightness,

      Then He is gracious to him, and says,

      'Deliver him from going down to the Pit;

      I have found a ransom';

      His flesh shall be young like a child's,

      He shall return to the days of his youth.

      He shall pray to God, and He will delight in him,

      He shall see His face with joy,

      For He restores to man His righteousness.

      Then he looks at men and says,

      'I have sinned, and perverted what was right,

      And it did not profit me.'

      He will redeem his soul from going down to the Pit,

      And his life shall see the light."

       

       

      Elihu had just suggested that God spoke to Job in a dream; now he suggests that perhaps God spoke to him through his physical suffering. Again, Elihu (in is overly wordy way) told Job that God did send a messenger of some sort; Job's problem was that he did not receive it. The message is: "Job, the problem is that you are a sinner and are blaming God. If you would give glory to God and repent, everything would get better."

       

       

      Though this section could NOT rightly be applied to Job and his situation, it is still a powerful and beautiful description of how God speaks to man, and what God does in the life of the converted man or woman.

       

       

      - Man condemned and being drawn down to the Pit (Job 33:22)

      - Man's need for a messenger (Job 33:23)

      - Man's need for a mediator (Job 33:23)

      - Man's need to see God's justice and uprightness (Job 33:23)

      - God being gracious to man (Job 33:24)

      - God calling for man to be delivered from the Pit (Job 33:24)

      - God finding a ransom for man (Job 33:24)

      - God restoring man to youth, as if born again (Job 33:25)

      - Man's heart to pray to God once converted (Job 33:26)

      - God's delight in converted man (Job 33:26)

      - Man's confession and public repentance (Job 33:27)

      - Man once redeemed, now seeing and living in the light (Job 33:28)

       

       

      Verses 29-33 tells us Elihu pleads with Job to listen to him.

       

      "Behold, God works all these things,

      Twice, in fact, three times with a man,

      To bring back his soul from the Pit,

      That he may be enlightened with the light of life."

       

      "Give ear, Job, listen to me;

      Hold your peace, and I will speak.

      If you have anything to say, answer me;

      Speak, for I desire to justify you.

      If not, listen to me;

      Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom."

       

       

      Hold your peace, and I will teach you wisdom…

       

      Perhaps Job stirred to respond to young Elihu; perhaps the older suffering Job simply rolled his eyes at the younger man. Whatever Job's reaction, Elihu felt the need to tell Job to "Hold your peace" and felt he had to assure Job that he would teach him wisdom - as if Job could NOT judge for himself whether Elihu's words were wise.

       

      Since Job was NOT interested in CONFESSING AND REPENTING the way Elihu and his friends thought he should, Elihu would continue.

       

    • November 1, 2016 6:58 PM EDT
    • JOB 34

       

      OPENS WITH...ELIHU DENOUNCES JOB FOR LOSING FAITH AND DENYING GOD’S JUSTICE

       

       

      Verses 1-9 tells us Elihu AGAIN inaccurately summarizes Job's argument.

       

      Elihu further answered and said:

      "Hear my words, you wise men;

      Give ear to me, you who have knowledge.

      For the ear tests words

      As the palate tastes food.

      Let us choose justice for ourselves;

      Let us know among ourselves what is good."

       

      "For Job has said, 'I am righteous,

      But God has taken away my justice;

      Should I lie concerning my right?

      My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression.'

      What man is like Job,

      Who drinks scorn like water,

      Who goes in company with the workers of iniquity,

      And walks with wicked men?

      For he has said, 'It profits a man nothing

      That he should delight in God.'"

       

       

      Here Elihu again gave a wordy introduction to his point. In this speech he would PARAPHRASE AND SUMMARIZE THE words of Job, the ones he felt accused God and justified himself.

       

       

      My wound is incurable, though I am without transgression…

       

      This was another slight mischaracterization of what Job said. Job certainly did claim to be wounded so severely by his trials that it might seem incurable; yet again he NEVER claimed to be sinless. He only claimed that there was NOT some special sin that made him the target of this special catastrophe.

       

      Elihu tried to quote specific statements of Job to rebuke, but he quoted selectively and unfairly. "Elihu picked out only those words of Job that he needed in order to prove his point.

       

       

      What man is like Job … who goes in company with the workers of iniquity…

       

      It seems unthinkable that Elihu believed that Job actually was companion of wicked men.

       

      BRADLEY says it well, "In language even stronger than that of his elders, the youthful speaker attacks Job, not for some concealed guilt in his past life - of this, unlike his three elders, the youthful speaker says nothing - but as uttering blasphemy with delight, as drinking up scorning, as one athirst beneath an Eastern sun drinks water, and by so doing throwing himself on the side of the wicked."

       

       

      Job certainly said nothing like this. Job DID claim to delight in God.

       

       

      Verses 10-15 tells us The righteousness of God and His moral order.

       

      "Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding:

      Far be it from God to do wickedness,

      And from the Almighty to commit iniquity.

      For He repays man according to his work,

      And makes man to find a reward according to his way.

      Surely God will never do wickedly,

      Nor will the Almighty pervert justice.

      Who gave Him charge over the earth?

      Or who appointed Him over the whole world?

      If He should set His heart on it,

      If He should gather to Himself His Spirit and His breath,

      All flesh would perish together,

      And man would return to dust."

       

       

      For he repays man according to his work…

       

      Elihu followed the worldly man’s wisdom that said, "you always reap what you sow" equation earlier promoted by Eliphaz in the very first speech of Job's friends (Job 4:7-11).

       

       

      Many people today WRONGLY TEACH AND BELIEVE the idea of Elihu (and Eliphaz), and believe it as an ABSOLUTE spiritual law instead of a general principle.

       

      Some take the passage from Galatians 6:7: “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

       

      Yet it is important to understand THE FULL CONTEXT of Paul's statement, which was encouragement and exhortation for Christians to give materially for the support of their ministers. It is true that the principle of Galatians 6:7 has application beyond giving and supporting teachers and ministers. It has a general application in life; what we get out is often what we put in.

       

      Yet Paul did NOT promote some law of spiritual karma that ensures we will get good when we do good things or always get bad when we do bad things.

       

      If there WERE such an absolute spiritual law it would surely **** US ALL.

       

      Instead, Paul simply related the principle of sowing and reaping to the way we manage our resources before the Lord. He used the same picture in 1 Corinthians 9:11 and 2 Corinthians 9:6-10.

       

      Surely God will never do wickedly, nor will the Almighty pervert justice…

       

      Yet the problem was that Elihu and Job three friends also seemed to assume that God would never do mysteriously, and were too confident in their ability to understand God and His ways.

       

      ONCE AGAIN, THE YOUNG AND THE OLD SELF-POSSESSED AND SELF-PROCLAIMED WORLDLY WISE AND GODLY WISE DID NOT NEED TO PRAY, TO CRY OUT TO GOD, ELIHU, LIKE ELIPHAZ, BILDAD, AND ZOPHAR THOUGHT THAT HE KNEW ALL THERE WAS TO KNOW ABOUT GOD.

       

       

      I HAVE SAID IT MANY TIMES THROUGH THE STUDY OF JOB, BUT WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE, WHO NEEDS ENEMIES.

       

       

      Verses 16-20 tells us God preserves His moral order.

       

      "If you have understanding, hear this;

      Listen to the sound of my words:

      Should one who hates justice govern?

      Will you condemn Him who is most just?

      Is it fitting to say to a king, 'You are worthless,'

      And to nobles, 'You are wicked'?

      Yet He is not partial to princes,

      Nor does He regard the rich more than the poor;

      For they are all the work of His hands.

      In a moment they die, in the middle of the night;

      The people are shaken and pass away;

      The mighty are taken away without a hand."

       

       

      Elihu took Job's agonized cries to God as Job condemning God. It was an unfair assumption; Job's agony was deeply rooted in the sense that he did love God and respect His justice and sought His face, His will, and His answers INSTEAD OF ACCEPTING THESE FOUR MEN THEIR LIMITED WORLDLY WISDOM AND ANSWERS.

       

       

      Verses 21-30 tells us The perfection of God's judgments.

       

      "For His eyes are on the ways of man,

      And He sees all his steps.

      There is no darkness nor shadow of death

      Where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

      For He need not further consider a man,

      That he should go before God in judgment.

      He breaks in pieces mighty men without inquiry,

      And sets others in their place.

      Therefore he knows their works;

      He overthrows them in the night,

      And they are crushed.

      He strikes them as wicked men

      In the open sight of others,

      Because they turned back from Him,

      And would not consider any of His ways,

      So that they caused the cry of the poor to come to Him;

      For He hears the cry of the afflicted.

      When He gives quietness, who then can make trouble?

      And when He hides His face, who then can see Him,

      Whether it is against a nation or a man alone?;

      That the hypocrite should not reign,

      Lest the people be ensnared."

       

       

      Elihu continued on the theme of God's perfect justice. Here he emphasized the idea that nothing man does is hidden from the eyes of God.

       

       

      He strikes them as wicked men in the open sight of others, because they turned back from Him, and would not consider any of His ways…

       

      Elihu meant this as a warning for Job. If Job did not repent of the sin that prompted his crisis and his sinful response to it, he could be certain God would judge him as one who turned back from Him.

       

      That the hypocrite should not reign, lest the people be ensnared…

       

      ANDERSEN says it well, “The message of Elihu to Job was clear. God always does right. Yet the way he developed and applied that thought to Job's situation was wrong and even dangerous. "If everything God does is right, by definition, and if, because He is Sovereign, God does everything that happens, it follows that everything that happens is right, and the category of evil disappears."

       

       

      Verses 31-33 tells us Elihu states What Job should have said.

       

      "For has anyone said to God,

      'I have borne chastening;

      I will offend no more;

      Teach me what I do not see;

      If I have done iniquity, I will do no more'?

      Should He repay it according to your terms,

      Just because you disavow it?

      You must choose, and not I;

      Therefore speak what you know."

       

      Elihu spoke the words of humble repentance that he thought Job should have said. Job was the “anyone” that Elihu had in mind.

       

       

      JUST LIKE THE OTHERS...Elihu is locked in to the inevitable conclusion: Job is to blame. And his guilt is measured by the scale of his sufferings.

       

       

      It is painful to see this young, brash Elihu speak to the godly Job in this manner. Yet we remember that there is little doubt that Elihu had the best of intentions. He really thought he was helping Job.

       

       

      Verses 34-37 tells us Job's multiplied sins invite God's judgment.

       

      "Men of understanding say to me,

      Wise men who listen to me:

      'Job speaks without knowledge,

      His words are without wisdom.'

      Oh, that Job were tried to the utmost,

      Because his answers are like those of wicked men!

      For he adds rebellion to his sin;

      He claps his hands among us,

      And multiplies his words against God."

       

       

      Job speaks without knowledge, his words are without wisdom…

       

      This, according to Elihu, was the common opinion of the men of understanding and the worldly wise men who looked at Job's situation. They all agreed that Job had no real wisdom or knowledge in his situation.

       

      Young Elihu thought that Job had NOT suffered enough. He thought that a little more suffering (tried to the utmost) might bring Job to repentance.

       

      We know from Job 1 and 2 that ALMIGHTY GOD HIMSELF CALLED Job a blameless and upright man.

       

      Elihu thought that Job's problems began with his sin, and got worse as he adds rebellion to his sin, as he scorned the good advice of his friends (claps his hands among us) and as he multiplies his words against God.

       

    • November 1, 2016 6:57 PM EDT
    • JOB 35

       

      OPENS WITH...ELIHU ACCUSES JOB OF SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS

       

       

      Verses 1-3 tells us Elihu says to Job: "Are you more righteous than God?"

       

      Moreover Elihu answered and said:

      "Do you think this is right?

      Do you say,

      'My righteousness is more than God's'?

      For you say,

      'What advantage will it be to You?

      What profit shall I have, more than if I had sinned?'"

       

       

      Elihu had just badgered Job severely at the end of his previous discourse. He accused him of adding rebellion to his sin, of ignoring the wise counsel of his friends (he claps his hands among us), and of speaking wrongly against God (multiplies his words against God). So to emphasize the point, he jabbed a finger at Job and said, "Do you think this is right?"

       

       

      For you say … What profit shall I have, more than if I had sinned? Elihu accused Job of a COLD calculation; of saying that he DENIED God's moral order and said that there was NO point to sinning or not sinning.

       

       

      Once again Elihu twists and seeks to put words in Job’s mouth.

      Verses 4-8 tells us Elihu says to Job: "God is farther above you than you can imagine."

       

      "I will answer you,

      And your companions with you.

      Look to the heavens and see;

      And behold the clouds;

      They are higher than you.

      If you sin, what do you accomplish against Him?

      Or, if your transgressions are multiplied, what do you do to Him?

      If you are righteous, what do you give Him?

      Or what does He receive from your hand?

      Your wickedness affects a man such as you,

      And your righteousness a son of man."

       

       

      I will answer you, and your companions with you…

       

      Elihu's arguments and ideas were substantially the same as those of Job's friends. Yet he thought of himself as different, and though that he could correct both Job and Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.

       

       

      Elihu wanted Job (and his friends) to understand an idea that they had already discussed and agreed upon, the idea that God is greater than man and beyond man.

       

      If you are righteous, what do you give Him?

       

      The idea was that God was so far beyond man that there was nothing man could do to God's benefit. Elihu felt that Job had lost his fear and godly appreciation of God.

       

       

      AND WE SEE, Elihu had, in one sense, trapped himself in his own argument. If God is so beyond man, then what use is it for Job to repent at all?

      God is indeed God, but Elihu MISSED how close God comes to man. The whole of Biblical revelation, centred and consummated in Christ, shows that human sin inflicts wounds upon God, and causes sorrow to the Holy One: and that man, living in righteousness, does give glory to God, and causes joy to His heart."

       

       

      Verses 9-12 Elihu believes God does not answer the proud, even if they are oppressed.

       

      "Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out;

      They cry out for help because of the arm of the mighty.

      But no one says,

      'Where is God my Maker,

      Who gives songs in the night,

      Who teaches us more than the beasts of the earth,

      And makes us wiser than the birds of heaven?'

      There they cry out, but He does not answer,

      Because of the pride of evil men.”

       

       

      Because of the multitude of oppressions they cry out…

       

      Elihu understood that men cried out to God when they were oppressed or felt afflicted by the arm of the mighty.

       

       

      But no one says, "Where is God my Maker"…

       

      Elihu noted that men seek God in their time of need, but their seeking often is NOT sincere. They do NOT recognize God as their Maker, they do NOT recognize His comforts (who gives songs in the night), and the wisdom He gave (makes us wiser than the birds of heaven).

       

       

      SPURGEON says it well, "Elihu's reason is right in the majority of cases. The great cause of a Christian's distress, the reason of the depths of sorrow into which many believers are plunged, is simply this - that while they are looking about, on the right hand and on the left, to see how they may escape their troubles, they forget to look to the hills whence all real help cometh; they do not say, 'Where is God my Maker, who giveth songs in the night?'"

       

       

      They cry out, but He does not answer, because of the pride of evil men…

       

      When men cry out to God in such insincerity, Elihu said that God does not answer them, and He does not answer because of the pride of evil men.

       

       

      Elihu said this with full knowledge that Job had complained that God would not answer him. Therefore, Elihu freely associated Job with the insincere, proud, and evil men.

       

       

      Verses 13-16 tells us Elihu to Job: "God does not want to hear your empty talk."

       

      Surely God will not listen to empty talk,

      Nor will the Almighty regard it.

      Although you say you do not see Him,

      Yet justice is before Him, and you must wait for Him.

      And now, because He has not punished in His anger,

      Nor taken much notice of folly,

      Therefore Job opens his mouth in vain;

      He multiplies words without knowledge."

       

       

      Elihu resumed his HARSH approach towards Job. His idea was that God did NOT hear Job because he was a false, empty seeker.

       

      Although you say you do not see Him, yet justice is before Him…

      Elihu wanted Job to see that God was indeed right in front of him, present in the fact of justice. If Job would only be patient (you must wait for Him), he would see the God whom he claimed was hidden from him.

       

       

      Because He has not punished in His anger … therefore Job opens his mouth in vain…

       

      Again, Elihu was very harsh with Job. "Job, if God were to punish you as you deserve, you would not be able to even open your mouth in the vain way that you do. You also speak ignorantly" (he multiplies words without knowledge).

       

      Elihu saw that God had not yet answered Job yet, at least not in any way that Job had hoped. Therefore he said "Job opens his mouth in vain."

       

      The idea was, "Job, if you were really a godly man, then God would have answered you by now. The fact that He hasn't shows your ungodliness."

       

    • November 1, 2016 6:55 PM EDT
    • JOB 36

       

      OPENS WITH...ELIHU TEACHES JOB ABOUT GOD

       

       

      Verses 1-4 tells us Elihu: "There are yet words to speak on God's behalf."

       

      Elihu also proceeded and said:

      "Bear with me a little, and I will show you

      That there are yet words to speak on God's behalf.

      I will fetch my knowledge from afar;

      I will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

      For truly my words are not false;

      One who is perfect in knowledge is with you."

      Bear with me a little, and I will show you that there are yet words to speak on God's behalf…

       

      Apparently young Elihu saw that his listeners were becoming uncomfortable with his condemnation and long-windedness. He begs for them to keep listening, and ELIHU INSISTS that he is speaking on God's behalf.

       

       

      Young Elihu spoke with a directness Job's other friends did NOT use (Job 33:1, 33:31, 34:5, 34:7, and so forth).

       

      Yet he also spoke with an authority that Job's other friends did not. Job's other friends appealed to conventional, ancient wisdom and common knowledge.

       

      Elihu BRASHLY AND ARROGANTLY claimed to speak on God's behalf.

       

       

      I will fetch my knowledge from afar … One who is perfect in knowledge is with you…

       

      Though Elihu was obviously too confident in his knowledge and his words, the One with perfect knowledge was probably a reference to God here.

       

       

      Verses 5-12 tells us God rewards the obedient and the disobedient perish.

       

      "Behold, God is mighty, but despises no one;

      He is mighty in strength of understanding.

      He does not preserve the life of the wicked,

      But gives justice to the oppressed.

      He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous;

      But they are on the throne with kings,

      For He has seated them forever,

      And they are exalted.

      And if they are bound in fetters,

      Held in the cords of affliction,

      Then He tells them their work and their transgressions;

      That they have acted defiantly.

      He also opens their ear to instruction,

      And commands that they turn from iniquity.

      If they obey and serve Him,

      They shall spend their days in prosperity,

      And their years in pleasures.

      But if they do not obey,

      They shall perish by the sword,

      And they shall die without knowledge."

       

       

      Here Elihu again promoted the ideas of God's power and perfect justice. In His perfect justice, God punishes the wicked and works for the oppressed.

       

       

      He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous…

       

      Since Job had often said and felt that God had removed His eyes from Job, Elihu is clearly counting Job among the wicked. In Elihu's mind, the freedom God has for the righteous does NOT belong to Job because Job is NOT among the righteous.

       

       

      In Elihu's mind, the righteous man was marked by many things; things that were conspicuously absent from the life of Job.

       

      1. God's eyes are upon the righteous (He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous)

       

      2. The righteous are exalted (they are on the throne with kings)

       

      3. If the righteous are bound, God convicts them, sets them free, and are restored to prosperity and pleasures (if they are bound in fetters … He tells them their works and their transgressions … if they obey and serve Him, they shall spend their days in prosperity)

       

      If they do not obey, they shall perish by the sword…

       

      This was another one of Elihu's strong warnings to Job. He warned Job to repent and to not be like the disobedient who perish and who die without knowledge.

       

       

      Verses 13-15 tells us The sad fate of the hypocrite.

       

      "But the hypocrites in heart store up wrath;

      They do not cry for help when He binds them.

      They die in youth,

      And their life ends among the perverted persons.

      He delivers the poor in their affliction,

      And opens their ears in oppression."

       

       

      The hypocrites in heart store up wrath…

       

      Elihu thought Job was a hypocrite for continuing to deny his guilt. He felt Job was putting himself under a greater and greater outpouring of God's wrath.

       

      Their life ends among the perverted persons…

       

      Elihu painted a bleak future for an unrepentant Job.

       

       

      Verses 16-21 tells us Elihu to Job: "What God would have done for you."

       

      "Indeed He would have brought you out of dire distress,

      Into a broad place where there is no restraint;

      And what is set on your table would be full of richness.

      But you are filled with the judgment due the wicked;

      Judgment and justice take hold of you.

      Because there is wrath, beware lest He take you away with one blow;

      For a large ransom would not help you avoid it.

      Will your riches,

      Or all the mighty forces,

      Keep you from distress?

      Do not desire the night,

      When people are cut off in their place.

      Take heed, do not turn to iniquity,

      For you have chosen this rather than affliction."

       

       

      Elihu here spoke to Job about what God would have done for Job, if Job would only have repented as he should have (at least in Elihu's persective).

       

       

      If Job would only have repented then God would have:

       

      1. Brought Job out of his dire distress.

      2. Brought Job into a broad place where there is no restraint.

      3. Brought Job to a table … full of richness.

       

       

      But you are filled with the judgment due the wicked…

       

      For Elihu, Job's problems were easy to diagnose. Job did not have the blessings God gives to the obedient and repentant; therefore Job was not obedient and repentant. Instead he was filled with the judgment due the wicked.

       

      In saying "judgment and justice take hold of you," Elihu could not be clearer.

       

      There was ONE AND ONLY ONE reason for Job's crisis and loss; it was that the judgment and justice of God was against him. It is helpful to remind ourselves that Job chapters 1 and 2 make it clear that Elihu was absolutely WRONG in this analysis.

       

       

      Will your riches, or all the mighty forces, keep you from distress?

       

      Elihu assumed what many people assume…

       

      That rich people trust in their riches. This is often true - perhaps almost always true; but it was NOT true in Job's case and it was WRONG for Elihu to assume it.

       

       

      You have chosen this rather than affliction…

       

      "Job, all this suffering and agony is your choice. It could all be different as soon as you repent and turn back to God."

       

      It was this kind of counsel that drove Job crazy, because it demanded that he forsake his integrity and make a show of repentance just to PLEASE his friends.

       

       

      Job had his own faults during this extended dialogue with his friends, sins that he will later repent of (Job 42:1-6); yet he showed amazing strength to hold to his integrity in the face of this constant barrage of accusations against his friends.

       

       

      Verses 22-24 tells us Elihu again remembers the greatness of God.

       

      "Behold, God is exalted by His power;

      Who teaches like Him?

      Who has assigned Him His way,

      Or who has said, 'You have done wrong'?"

       

      "Remember to magnify His work,

      Of which men have sung.

      Everyone has seen it;

      Man looks on it from afar."

       

       

      Elihu here again wanted to exalt God in the eyes of Job, thinking that Job's problem was that he had too low a view of God, and too high a view of himself.

       

       

      This begins a section where a marked change comes over Elihu.

       

      WHY?

       

      NOTICE...As the following verses indicate, he probably spoke with his eye upon a rapidly approaching storm with all of its rain and wind and thunder and dark clouds. A sudden and wonderful inspiration filled Elihu, and he spoke in a very different way than his previous harsh and condemning way towards Job.

       

       

      Remember to magnify His work, of which men have sung…

       

      Job himself had magnified the work of God, and was well aware of the power, majesty, and glory of God.

       

      As the storm approached Job and his friends, and as Elihu continued to describe it, we will recognize in Job 38 that the LORD was in this storm, READY to speak to Job.

       

       

      Verses 25-33 tells us the unsearchable greatness of God is expressed in the storm.

       

      "Behold, God is great, and we do not know Him;

      Nor can the number of His years be discovered.

      For He draws up drops of water,

      Which distill as rain from the mist,

      Which the clouds drop down

      And pour abundantly on man.

      Indeed, can anyone understand the spreading of clouds,

      The thunder from His canopy?

      Look, He scatters his light upon it,

      And covers the depths of the sea.

      For by these He judges the peoples;

      He gives food in abundance.

      He covers His hands with lightning,

      And commands it to strike.

      His thunder declares it,

      The cattle also, concerning the rising storm."

       

      Elihu again promoted the concept of the transcendence of God. He heard and sensed how Job demanded answers from God, and counseled Job to understand that God was beyond Job and beyond explaining things to Job.

       

       

      This was Elihu's most truthful and powerful argument, yet it itself was based on the premise that Job had to do this in light of his great transgression against God. It was a powerful, good principle ONCE AGAIN WRONGLY applied to Job's situation.

       

       

      For He draws up drops of water, which distill as rain from the mist…

      Elihu analyzed the water cycle of evaporation, distillation, and rain and used it as an example of God's brilliance and beauty as a Designer.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW…Elihu's wisdom in analyzing the water cycle has led MANY DOWN THROUGH HISTORY TO WRONGLY conclude that the Book of Job must have been written later than commonly supposed.

       

      "The phenomenon of condensation (Job 36:27b) and precipitation (Job 36:28), while not technically understood, was certainly observable. But evaporation (Job 36:27) is NOT.

       

      Duhm and others FORGET THAT ALMIGHTY GOD IS THE ORIGINATOR OF THE STORY OF JOB AND THAT ALMIGHTY GOD KNOWS ALL THINGS AND GRANTS WISDOM AS HE WILLS IT...TIME, TIDE, AND DISTANCE ARE MAN’S LIMITS, BUT THEY ARE NOT THE ALL-KNOWING, ALL-SEEING, ALL-RULING CREATOR GOD.

       

      THAT BEING SAID, DUHM AND OTHERS therefore considered this proof that the Elihu speeches came a few centuries LATER than the divine speeches since meteorological knowledge would have been obtained from the Greeks.

       

      The cattle also, concerning the rising storm: "Because divers cattle are very sagacious in this matter, and do not only perceive the rain when it is ready to fall, but foresee it at some distance by the vapours, which are drawn up by the sun in great abundance, and by divers motions and actions, give men timely notice of it, as hath been observed not only by husbandmen, but also by learned authors.

       

    • November 1, 2016 6:53 PM EDT
    • JOB 37

       

      OPENS WITH ...ELIHU SEES GOD IN THE STORM

       

       

      Verses 1-5 tells us The thunder of His voice.

       

      "At this also my heart trembles,

      And leaps from its place.

      Hear attentively the thunder of His voice,

      And the rumbling that comes from His mouth.

      He sends it forth under the whole heaven,

      His lightning to the ends of the earth.

      After it a voice roars;

      He thunders with His majestic voice,

      And He does not restrain them when His voice is heard.

      God thunders marvelously with His voice;

      He does great things which we cannot comprehend.”

       

       

      Hear attentively the thunder of His voice: Elihu felt that Job needed a good dose of the greatness of God. It was good advice wrongly applied to Job's situation. Elihu did rightly understand that the mighty sound of thunder seems to man to be the voice of God.

       

       

      The Bible contains some magnificent descriptions of the thunderstorm. Psalm 29 is the best of these, but Elihu's poem comes a close second.

       

      He does great things which we cannot comprehend…

       

      This is a repetition of Elihu's theme that Job had transgressed the line that separates God and man, and that Job presumed to know more than he could or should know from God. In this, Elihu was partially correct.

       

      Verses 6-13 tells us What the voice of God can do.

       

      For He says to the snow,

      'Fall on the earth';

      Likewise to the gentle rain and the heavy rain of His strength.

      He seals the hand of every man,

      That all men may know His work.

      The beasts go into dens,

      And remain in their lairs.

      From the chamber of the south comes the whirlwind,

      And cold from the scattering winds of the north.

      By the breath of God ice is given,

      And the broad waters are frozen.

      Also with moisture He saturates the thick clouds;

      He scatters His bright clouds.

      And they swirl about, being turned by His guidance,

      That they may do whatever He commands them

      On the face of the whole earth.

      He causes it to come,

      Whether for correction,

      Or for His land,

      Or for mercy."

       

       

      Elihu considered that the voice of God commanded the snow, the gentle rain, and the heavy rain; His breath makes ice and freezes the broad waters.

       

       

      He seals the hand of every man, that all men may know His work…

       

      The idea is that when God sends the cold and the snow, the farmer can not do his work. His hand is sealed from further effort, and the time away from work makes him reflect on the work of God.

       

       

      Elihu wanted Job to not only appreciate the greatness of God, but also the submission of creation. The implication was that unrepentant Job should submit to God the way His creation does.

       

       

      Verses 14-18 tells us Elihu says to Job: "You do not know as much as you think you do."

       

      "Listen to this, O Job;

      Stand still and consider the wondrous works of God.

      Do you know when God dispatches them,

      And causes the light of His cloud to shine?

      Do you know how the clouds are balanced,

      Those wondrous works of Him who is perfect in knowledge?

      Why are your garments hot,

      When He quiets the earth by the south wind?

      With Him, have you spread out the skies,

      Strong as a cast metal mirror?"

       

      Young Elihu again appealed to Job in a very direct and personal way, more personal that the three other friends of Job had. Elihu condemns Job sorrowfully, but absolutely; he declares that not only has Job made shipwreck of his faith, but he has become defiant in silencing his friends.

       

       

      Significantly, God WILL address Job among similar lines when God begins to speak starting at Job 38 (Do you know … Do you know). Though Elihu here had many of the right ideas, he presented them with a wrong premise, the premise that Job's whole crisis came from his sin.

       

       

      Verses 19-24 tells us Elihu says to Job: "Stop trying to speak to God, and simply fear Him instead."

       

      "Teach us what we should say to Him,

      For we can prepare nothing because of the darkness.

      Should He be told that I wish to speak?

      If a man were to speak, surely he would be swallowed up.

      Even now men cannot look at the light when it is bright in the skies,

      When the wind has passed and cleared them.

      He comes from the north as golden splendor;

      With God is awesome majesty.

      As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him;

      He is excellent in power,

      In judgment and abundant justice;

      He does not oppress.

      Therefore men fear Him;

      He shows no partiality to any who are wise of heart."

      Here Elihu confronted what he believed to be Job's arrogance in saying that man deserved an audience or a justification from God. "Job, if you insist that God owes us an audience, then please teach us what we should say to Him."

       

      These chapters intensify the sense of the loneliness and solitude of Job. He stands there, silent and alone, with none to sympathize with him, none to enter into his perplexities; condemned as impious, heretical, and even blasphemous, by the concordant voice of friends and bystanders; alike by his own generation, and by that which was growing up to take its place; yet enduring to the end, and awaiting with trust and confidence the verdict of his God.

       

       

      He comes from the north as golden splendor…

       

      The meaning is that man by nature is utterly ignorant. He knows nothing of God in heaven above. All is darkness there to him. Yet God is there in all His wondrous glory. And just as when a storm has dispersed all the dark clouds and cleared the air, so, when God reveals Himself, His light and truth are seen.

       

       

      We can not find him…

       

      Elihu returned to his theme of God's distance and transcendence. He wanted to discourage Job from insisting that God owed him (or anyone else) an audience or an explanation.

       

      Significantly, the God whom Elihu believed to be utterly beyond and unreachable by man (we can not find Him) has come in the storm, and will speak to Job. It seems that God had finally heard enough of the almost-right wisdom of man, and had heard enough of this talk that He was so beyond man that He was beyond reach. God was about to confront not only Job, but his three friends and especially Elihu, with both His words and His presence.

       

      MASON says it well, as a closing of this chapter, “In the story of Job, too, the Lord has apparently been sound asleep until now, peacefully curled up in the stern of the boat while Job has been struggling all alone with the wind and the waves. . . . in the case of Job He let the storm rage for 37 chapters, until finally He calmed not the storm itself, but Job's heart.”

       

    • November 1, 2016 6:51 PM EDT
    • JOB 38

       

      OPENS WITH…GOD SPEAKS TO JOB

       

       

      Verse 1 tells us The Lord speaks to Job from the whirlwind.

       

      Then the LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said:”

       

       

      Then the LORD…

       

      Over the previous 35 chapters (since Job 2), God has been directly absent from the account. We read nothing of God's direct role in comforting, speaking to, or sustaining Job in the midst of his crisis. Over that time, Job has ached repeatedly for a word from God.

       

       

      Yet now we hear God Himself speak to Job.

       

      God will indeed settle this dispute, but He will do it His way.

       

      1. Job wanted God to settle it by proving him right and explaining the reason for all his afflictions.

       

      2. Job's friends wanted God to prove them right and for Job to recognize his error.

       

      God will NOT satisfy either one of these expectations. Significantly, God did NOT obviously answer Job's questions.

       

       

      The LORD answered Job…

       

      Significantly, God did NOT immediately or directly answer Job's friends; NOT the older friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, or Zophar) and NOT the young friend (Elihu).

       

      God ANSWERED Job.

       

      Perhaps this was because Job was the ONE wrongly accused and though he was wrong, he was more right than any of his friends.

       

      Perhaps this was because Job was the ONLY ONE of the group to actively cry out to God and pray through the ordeal. Only Job talked to God; now the LORD will ONLY speak to Job.

       

       

      The LORD answered Job out of the whirlwind…

       

      Elihu saw an approaching storm and described it as an example of the power of God (Job 36:26-37:24). When he described the clearing of the storm, he probably spoke before the storm actually had cleared; now in this same storm God speaks to Job.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Repeatedly IN THE WHIRLWIND is associated with the divine presence. It speaks to us of the powerful, unmanageable nature of God; that He is like a tornado that cannot be controlled or opposed.

       

      WHERE?

       

      1. God brought Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Kings 2:1-11)

      2. God's presence is in the whirlwind (Psalm 77:18; Nahum 1:3)

      3. God's coming is like a whirlwind (Isaiah 66:15; Jeremiah 4:13 and 23:19)

      4. God appeared to Ezekiel in a whirlwind (Ezekiel 1:4)

       

       

      Verses 2-3 tells us God calls Job to account.

       

      "Who is this who darkens counsel

      By words without knowledge?

      Now prepare yourself like a man;

      I will question you, and you shall answer Me."

       

       

      Who is this who darkens counsel by words without knowledge?

       

      We may justly wonder to whom God asked this question. It might have been mainly directed to Elihu, who was the previous speaker interrupted this word from the LORD, and who claimed to speak for God (Job 36:1-4).

       

      Yet we can rightly say that all the characters in this drama did darken counsel by words without knowledge. Each one of them - Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu - spoke without accurate knowledge of what the reader knows from Job chapters 1 and 2.

       

      We shouldn't think that God expected them to know what they could not know; rather, He expected them to appreciate that there were aspects to the matter known to God but hidden to man, and these aspects made sense of what seemed to make no sense.

       

       

      Now prepare yourself like a man…

       

      Job had previously complained that God was battling against him in a great contest (Job 16:7-14 is one example). We might say that Job, without knowing, was really battling against Satan. Now he would indeed wrestle with God, and God challenged him to prepare yourself like a man.

       

      MORGAN says it well, "When a man acts like a man, God can speak to him, and he to God. That is a declaration of dignity."

       

       

      I will question you, and you shall answer Me…

       

      Job had insisted that God bring answers to him. God turned the matter around and told Job that before He would answer questions for Job, Job had some questions to answer before God.

       

       

      The questions God had for Job were simply UNANSWERABLE and were meant to show Job that he really had NO PLACE to demand answers from God.

       

      Yet to see this appearance of God to Job only as a rebuke is a grave mistake. God has now appeared TO Job.

       

      Job's greatest agony was that he felt God had abandoned him, and now he knew he was NOT abandoned. Like any true revelation of God there were plenty of elements that would make Job feel small before the greatness of God; yet it could NOT take away from the MASSIVE comfort Job felt in simply being once again consciously IN the presence of God.

       

      We might imagine a small smile on the face of Job throughout this questioning, though it did appropriately humble him and bring him to repentance. Yet he smiled as a child who longs for his long-gone father might smile upon his father's return, even while being corrected - the child smiles because his father is here again.

       

       

      That God speaks at all is enough for Job. All he needs to know is that everything is still all right between himself and God. . . . To that extent it does not matter much what they talk about. Any topic will do for a satisfying conversation between friends. It is each other they are enjoying.

       

       

      Verses 4-7 tells us Do you know the secrets of the creation of the world?

       

      "Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?

      Tell Me, if you have understanding.

      Who determined its measurements?

      Surely you know!

      Or who stretched the line upon it?

      To what were its foundations fastened?

      Or who laid its cornerstone,

      When the morning stars sang together,

      And all the sons of God shouted for joy?"

       

       

      Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? The intention of this question is obvious. Job was nowhere to be found when God laid the foundations of the earth. God was ancient in His power, wisdom, and might and Job could NEVER be considered to be on the same level as God.

       

      God is essentially saying: "Job, if you can answer these things, then you are fit to question Me. If you cannot answer these things, then you do not have a place to demand answers from Me."

       

      These questions also served the purpose of reminding Job that there were many things that he did not know.

       

      This statement also reminds us that God indeed DID lay the foundations of the earth; He IS the creator of heaven and earth just as the Genesis record states (Genesis 1).

       

       

      Who determined its measurements … To what were its foundations fastened…

       

      Job was not present at the creation of the world, so he had no understanding of the measurements or foundations of the earth. The earth indeed has measurements and foundations; yet Job did NOT know them.

       

       

      When the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy…

      This tells us that angelic beings (here called morning stars and sons of God) did in fact witness the creation of the earth, and the rejoiced at the glory, power, and wisdom of God in the creation.

       

      Since God said that all the sons of God shouted for joy, we can take from this that Lucifer fell from his exalted position as the anointed cherub who covers at sometime AFTER God created the earth.

       

       

      Verses 8-11 tells us Do you know the boundaries of the sea?

       

      "Or who shut in the sea with doors,

      When it burst forth and issued from the womb;

      When I made the clouds its garment,

      And thick darkness its swaddling band;

      When I fixed My limit for it,

      And set bars and doors;

      When I said, 'This far you may come, but no farther,

      And here your proud waves must stop!'"

       

       

      Or who shut in the sea with doors when it burst forth…

       

      This is a reference to God's work on the second day of creation (Genesis 1:6-8) when God divided the waters and separated the land from the sea. Job was NOT around when God did this, and therefore had no idea how it was done.

       

       

      When I said, "This far you may come, but no father, and here your proud waves must stop!"

       

      Job had no understanding of how God set the boundaries for the sea. He knew such boundaries existed, but could not explain how or why exactly they were set.

       

       

      Verses 12-18 tells us Do you understand the nature of the earth?

       

      "Have you commanded the morning since your days began,

      And caused the dawn to know its place,

      That it might take hold of the ends of the earth,

      And the wicked be shaken out of it?

      It takes on form like clay under a seal,

      And stands out like a garment.

      From the wicked their light is withheld,

      And the upraised arm is broken."

       

      "Have you entered the springs of the sea?

      Or have you walked in search of the depths?

      Have the gates of death been revealed to you?

      Or have you seen the doors of the shadow of death?

      Have you comprehended the breadth of the earth?

      Tell Me, if you know all this."

       

       

      Have you commanded the morning since your days began…

       

      This was a wonderful question for God to ask. "Job, have you made morning to come even once all the days of your life? Is this in your power to do?"

       

       

      Have you entered the springs of the sea?

       

      Job probably did NOT even know there were springs of the sea, much less ever enter them. He certainly did NOT know other hidden things, such as the gates of death or the breadth of the earth.

       

       

      Verses 19-24 tells us Do you comprehend the nature of light, darkness, and the sky?

       

      "Where is the way to the dwelling of light?

      And darkness, where is its place,

      That you may take it to its territory,

      That you may know the paths to its home?

      Do you know it, because you were born then,

      Or because the number of your days is great?"

       

      "Have you entered the treasury of snow,

      Or have you seen the treasury of hail,

      Which I have reserved for the time of trouble,

      For the day of battle and war?

      By what way is light diffused,

      Or the east wind scattered over the earth?"

       

       

      Where is the way to the dwelling of light?

       

      It was as if God asked, "Job do you know where light comes from? Do you know its nature and its source?"

       

       

      Do you know it, because you were born then, or because the number of your days is great? Perhaps Job was so old and so wise that he did indeed know these things. If this were the case, God invited Job to speak up at any time.

       

       

      Have you seen the treasury of hail, which I have reserved for the time of trouble, for the day of battle and war?

       

      On several spectacular occasions in the Biblical record, God used and will use hail as bombs and missiles from heaven against those hostile to Him and His people.

       

       

      DID YOU KNOW...Hail is frequently a tool of judgment against God's enemies, as seen against Egypt (Exodus 9:24), the Canaanites (Joshua 10:11), apostate Israel (Isaiah 28:2), and Gog and Magog (Ezekiel 38:22), and against a rebellious earth in the Great Tribulation (Revelation 16:20-21).

       

       

      Verses 25-30 tells us Do you understand the nature of rain and its effects?

       

      "Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water,

      Or a path for the thunderbolt,

      To cause it to rain on a land where there is no one,

      A wilderness in which there is no man;

      To satisfy the desolate waste,

      And cause to spring forth the growth of tender grass?

      Has the rain a father?

      Or who has begotten the drops of dew?

      From whose womb comes the ice?

      And the frost of heaven, who gives it birth?

      The waters harden like stone,

      And the surface of the deep is frozen."

       

       

      Who has divided a channel for the overflowing water…

       

      In the previous section God spoke of His wisdom in the management and use of snow and hail; here He spoke of His ability to engineer drainage systems and a channel for the overflowing water.

       

       

      Has the rain a father? Or who has begotten the drops of dew?

       

      In Job 36:22-37:24 Elihu used the water cycle (as displayed in an approaching storm) as an example of God's greatness. Here God took credit for knowing how these things are designed and maintained, and asked Job if he had similar knowledge.

       

       

       

      Verses 31-33 tells us Do you know the nature of the constellations?

       

      "Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades,

      Or loose the belt of Orion?

      Can you bring out Mazzaroth in its season?

      Or can you guide the Great Bear with its cubs?

      Do you know the ordinances of the heavens?

      Can you set their dominion over the earth?"

       

       

      Can you bind the cluster of the Pleiades…

       

      God did not merely challenge Job on his lack of knowledge; He also exposed Job's lack of might and greatness in comparison to God. Obviously, Job was not able to manage or master or change any of the stars or constellations in the sky; yet God can.

       

      With these high and almost outrageous examples pointing out what Job did not know, we should remember that God's purpose here was NOT to humiliate Job. Instead, God seems almost playful here in making the point that God is omniscient and man is not.

       

       

      Do you know the ordinances of the heavens? Like many in the ancient world, Job probably understood the arrangement and patterns in the starry sky. Yet he could not even begin to explain the natural forces which governed this arrangement (the ordinances of the heavens).

       

       

      Verses 34-38 tells us Do you know the nature of clouds, weather, and the human mind?

       

      "Can you lift up your voice to the clouds,

      That an abundance of water may cover you?

      Can you send out lightnings, that they may go,

      And say to you, 'Here we are!'?

      Who has put wisdom in the mind?

      Or who has given understanding to the heart?

      Who can number the clouds by wisdom?

      Or who can pour out the bottles of heaven,

      When the dust hardens in clumps,

      And the clods cling together?"

       

       

      Can you lift up your voice to the clouds…

       

      Job was not only powerless over the starry sky and constellations, he was also powerless over the clouds and lightnings. He was powerless over natural phenomenon, both far and near to him.

       

       

      Who has put wisdom in the mind? Or who has given understanding to the heart?

       

      Job knew that man had intelligence and wisdom, and that this intelligence must have been given by an Intelligent Designer. Like all men, Job's intellectual capacity was not the product of random chance or mysterious processes; it was designed by a great Designer.

       

       

      It is interesting to consider that modern science has made amazing progress on answering some of the questions God set to Job.

       

      HOW?

       

      1. Modern science understands much more about the measurements of the earth (Job 38:5).

       

      2. Modern science understand much more about the gravitational forces that keep the earth suspended (Job 38:6).

       

      3. Modern science knows much more about the meteorological and hydrological systems of the earth (Job 38:8-11, 38:16, 38:25-30).

       

      4. Modern science knows much more about the nature of light (Job 38:19-20).

       

      This increased knowledge is a wonderful and glorious thing, and scientific inquiry is to be applauded. It is a wonderful fulfillment of our abilities as creatures made in the image of God that we can investigate and better understand the natural world.

       

      PROVERBS 25:2, “Indeed, it is the glory of God to conceal a matter, but the glory of kings is to search out a matter.”

       

       

      Yet with all this increased knowledge - as wonderful and glorious as it is - mankind is really NOT much closer at all to answering these questions that God set to Job. We have filled in small details around the edges, but there is still a vast gap between the knowledge and wisdom of man and that of God.

       

      We might say that God's approach to Job in this section undercuts much of modern thinking.

       

      Enlightenment thinking (emanating from the 18th century) freed man from much superstition, but it also exalted man's reason (wisdom) as the measure of truth.

       

      It can be observed that God eloquently destroyed this overconfidence in human wisdom in this presentation to Job.

       

      It makes us ask the question, "What does man, with all his reason and wisdom, really know about his world?"

       

      THE ANSWER? Man does not know very much, and therefore must pursue knowledge with a humble trust in the God who does know all.

       

      Verses 39-41 tells us Do you understand and master the animal kingdom?

       

      "Can you hunt the prey for the lion,

      Or satisfy the appetite of the young lions,

      When they crouch in their dens,

      Or lurk in their lairs to lie in wait?

      Who provides food for the raven,

      When its young ones cry to God,

      And wander about for lack of food?"

       

       

      Can you hunt prey for the lion…

       

      In his speech to Job, God moved from the distant expanse of the constellations, down to the clouds, down to the human mind, and here still further down to simple animal instinct such as the ability to hunt prey for the lion. Job could not even do this; therefore it was presumptuous for him to demand answers from God the way that he did.

       

       

      Who provides food for the raven…

       

      God provides food for the birds (Matthew 6:26); it would be impossible for Job or any other man to do so. God here is reminding Job of the distance between Himself and Job.

       

      SMICK says it well, "The choice is somewhat random, as if Yahweh is saying, 'Here are only a few specimens of all my creatures, great and small, winged and earthbound, wild and tamed - but all are under my care and dominion.”

       

    • November 1, 2016 6:49 PM EDT
    • JOB 39

       

      OPENS WITH…GOD CONTINUES TO QUESTION JOB

      Verses 1-4 tells us Do you know about or master the wild mountain goat?

       

      "Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young?

      Or can you mark when the deer gives birth?

      Can you number the months that they fulfill?

      Or do you know the time when they bear young?

      They bow down, They bring forth their young,

      They deliver their offspring.

      Their young ones are healthy,

      They grow strong with grain;

      They depart and do not return to them."

       

       

      Do you know the time when the wild mountain goats bear young?

       

      Here God kept bringing the level of knowledge down for Job. He could, quite conceivably, know such facts of nature from simple observation. Yet even this relatively low level of knowledge was beyond Job.

       

       

      Though Job did NOT know these principles of the natural order, at the same time he had to admit that the natural order all seemed to work pretty good.

       

      All these questions brought Job before another truth: "I see that this world made by God operates with remarkable order and wisdom; can I deny His wisdom and government of all things just because there are things in my own life I can't understand? Or, should I simply trust this God who does all these other things so marvelously well?"

       

      They bow down, they bring forth their young…

       

      Here God reminded Job of the arrangement of growth and maturity He had engineered for the natural order. Did Job design this, or even know much about it?

       

       

      Verses 5-8 tells us Do you know about or master the wild donkey?

       

      "Who set the wild donkey free?

      Who loosed the bonds of the onager,

      Whose home I have made the wilderness,

      And the barren land his dwelling?

      He scorns the tumult of the city;

      He does not heed the shouts of the driver.

      The range of the mountains is his pasture,

      And he searches after every green thing."

       

       

      Who set the wild donkey free?

       

      Job had no knowledge of these facts of nature; he had even less power over the animals. These things belonged to God and not to Job.

       

      The onager is another name for a wild donkey. "One of the most admired animals of the Old Testament world was the wild donkey.

       

      The range of the mountains is his pasture, and he searches after every green thing…

       

      God knew how the wild donkey lived and was provided for; Job obviously did not.

       

      Verses 9-12 tells us Do you know about or master the wild ox?

       

      "Will the wild ox be willing to serve you?

      Will he bed by your manger?

      Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes?

      Or will he plow the valleys behind you?

      Will you trust him because his strength is great?

      Or will you leave your labor to him?

      Will you trust him to bring home your grain,

      And gather it to your threshing floor?"

      Will the wild ox be willing to serve you?

       

      No one would doubt that Job was smarter than a wild ox; yet the ox would not serve him. He lacked in both knowledge of and mastery over the natural world.

       

      Wild ox is not a very good translation; nor is the class King James Version translation of "unicorn" here. This animal is actually a fearsome, mighty, extinct animal knows as the aurochs.

       

      DID YOU KNOW...The beast in question is the aurochs, not the fabled 'unicorn'. Extinct since 1627, this enormous animal was the most powerful of all hoofed beasts, exceeded in size only by the hippopotamus and the elephant. It is the standard symbol of strength in the Old Testament, where it is mentioned nine times. And is kin to one horned huge animal such as the Rhinoceros that we have today...not the fairy tale Unicorn Horse of myth and legend.

       

       

      Can you bind the wild ox in the furrow with ropes?

       

      Understanding the fearsome nature of this ancient wild ox, God here made a humorous picture for Job. One might just as easily picture Job using a rhino to plow his field or put into his barn.

       

       

      Verses 13-18 tells us Do you understand the ostrich?

       

      "The wings of the ostrich wave proudly,

      But are her wings and pinions like the kindly stork's?

      For she leaves her eggs on the ground,

      And warms them in the dust;

      She forgets that a foot may crush them,

      Or that a wild beast may break them.

      She treats her young harshly, as though they were not hers;

      Her labor is in vain, without concern,

      Because God deprived her of wisdom,

      And did not endow her with understanding.

      When she lifts herself on high,

      She scorns the horse and its rider."

       

       

      The wings of the ostrich wave proudly…

       

      God here spoke of the proudly waving wings of the flightless ostrich. Perhaps Job could explain why a flightless bird has wings, or why a winged creature is flightless?

       

      This passage is remarkable in that it continues the first and only real humor in the book of Job. Leave it to God to pull a stunt like this, forcing a smile out of Job at a time when the poor fellow has been so intent on his misery.

       

       

      God has deprived her of wisdom…

       

      Here God reminded Job that God is the dispenser of wisdom; He gives or withholds as pleases Him.