Job 4 Ė 14 part 4
In Job chapters 4-14 we have the first cycle of speeches made by Jobís friends and after each one takes his turn telling Job how he has to be a sinner, Job defends himself. I hope you read these chapters beforehand because we will not be looking at every verse, instead I will be summarizing these speeches. If you did not read these chapters, then I want you to read them in the next few days.
All of 3 of Jobs friends are in agreement that Job is a sinner and that he needs to acknowledge it. Each friend approaches Job in their own way. The first friend to address Job, who is believed to be the oldest, is Eliphaz the Teminite and his speech is found in chapters 4 and 5.
Job 4:2 "If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary? But who can withhold himself from speaking?
Eliphaz is reluctant to tell Job anything because of current condition, but he canít stand it anymore, he has to say something. In verses 2-6 Eliphaz points out how Job has taught others and encouraged them to be strong in their faith, but now that troublesome times have happened to him, his faith has become weak. He encourages Job to remember how his past reverence to God should give him hope for the future.
Job 4:7 "Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?
The traditional position of the day was that the innocent did not suffer nor were they cut off, of course we know this is not always true because sometimes bad things happen to good people.
Job 4:8 †Even as I have seen, Those who plow iniquity And sow trouble reap the same.
In other words, you reap what you sow. In verse 9-11 he illustrates this by comparing the wicked to strong lions and how they will not be able to stand because they will be blasted by the breath of God.
In verses 12 -21 Eliphaz supposedly had a vision that scared him and made the hair on his body stand up. He saw formless spirit and it began to talk to him as we read in:
Job 4:17 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker?† 18 If He puts no trust in His servants, If He charges His angels with error,† 19 How much more those who dwell in houses of clay, Whose foundation is in the dust, Who are crushed before a moth?† 20 They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; They perish forever, with no one regarding.† 21 Does not their own excellence go away? They die, even without wisdom.'
Eliphaz is accusing Job of willfully sinning and wants him to understand that he is not as pure as he thinks because even the angels have sinned.
In chapter 5 Eliphaz says there is no one who can defend Job including the angels. In verses 2 Ė 8, Eliphaz depicts Job as a foolish and silly man whose family and fortune has suffered ruin because of his sin.
Job 5:6 For affliction does not come from the dust, Nor does trouble spring from the ground;† 7 Yet man is born to trouble, As the sparks fly upward.
Eliphaz has no doubt that Job brought his suffering on himself and encourages him to seek God and commit himself to Him. He tries motivating Job to do this by reminding him of the great works God does in verse 9-16.
Job 5:17" Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty.
While is true that we should not despise chastening from Lord (Heb. 12:6), this accusation against Job is simply not true because God is not the one doing the chastening.
In verses 18-26, Eliphaz concludes that if Job would confess his sin to God, God would bless him and his family. He so emphatic about his view that he closes with this statement:
Job 5:27 Behold, this we have searched out; It is true. Hear it, and know for yourself."
Of course Job disagrees with his Eliphaz assessment and begins to tell his friends why he has the right to complain.
Job 6:2 "Oh, that my grief were fully weighed, And my calamity laid with it on the scales!† 3 For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea -- Therefore my words have been rash.† 4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me; My spirit drinks in their poison; The terrors of God are arrayed against me.
Job blames God for his suffering, and since his suffering is so great, he feels that he has the right to complain and speak rash words. It is easy for his friends to chide him because they are not suffering like he is.
In verse 8-13 Job wishes that God would crush him and cut him off so he can die. One reason he ok with dying is because he had not denied the words of the Holy one.
Job 6:14" To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, Even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty. †
Job is rebuking his friends for not showing kindness to him especial while he is suffering so. In verse 15-23 Job compares them to brook that should offering you a refreshing drink, but when you need it the most it dries up. He points out how they are confused and scared and how he did not ask them for any help financially or for help against his enemies.
Job 6:24 †" Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; Cause me to understand wherein I have erred.
Job wants them to tell him how he has sinned, and in the remaining verses of this chapter he pleads with his friends to stop making false accusations with no proof. He wants them to understand that he would not lie to their face, and he wants them to change their opinion of him.
In chapter 7 Job resumes his complaining, but now he more focused on complaining about God. Job says his life is hard like a hired servant and the only way he will find relief is when he dies.
Job 7:3 So I have been allotted months of futility, And wearisome nights have been appointed to me.† 4 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.† 5 My flesh is caked with worms and dust, My skin is cracked and breaks out afresh.† 6 "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, And are spent without hope.† 7 Oh, remember that my life is a breath! My eye will never again see good.
This tells us that Job has been suffering for months with his disease and it makes it to where he canít sleep well and he has worms and dust in his flesh. He feels like has no hope left but to die. He reflects on how short our lives really are. Our lives are swifter than weaverís shuttle, or as short as our breath, and he also compares our life to a cloud.
In verse 11-21 Job begins a bitter tirade against God, which he would later regret and repent of. He states he will not stop complaining and he doesnít understand why God will not stop guarding him and continually harassing him. He even accuses God of causing him to have bad dreams, so that he cannot find comfort when he is asleep or awake.
Job 7:16 †I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, For my days are but a breath.
He wants God to stop making him suffer.
Job 7:17 "What is man, that You should exalt him, That You should set Your heart on him,† 18 That You should visit him every morning, And test him every moment?
This statement is very similar to what is found in Psalm 8, but there is big difference in the meaning. The Psalmist wants to know what there is about man that would cause God to want to bless him or have anything to do with him, but Job wants to know what makes God want to harass us. He even claims that God wonít leave him alone long enough for him to swallow his own spit.
In the last few verses, Job still wants to know how he has sinned and if has sinned, he wants to know why God has not forgiven him yet. Job doesnít feel he has much life left in him and claims that when he dies, God will not be able to torture him any longer because he will be dead.
Now Bildad the Shuhite takes his turn to speak in chapter 8. The first thing he wants to know is how long will Job continue with his windy complaints against God.
Job 8:3 Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice?† 4 If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression.
Bildad wants Job to know that God doesnít punish people for the fun of it, he punishes those that sin, which is why Jobís sons were killed. He goes on to say that if Job would seek God and repent, that God would forgive him and bless him.
In verses 11-19 Bildad reflects upon the wisdom of their forefather who have searched out these matters and he gives Job several arguments that he believes proves that Job has sinned.
First, he says as plant cannot prosper without water, neither can man who forgets God. He says the hope of an ungodly man is as flimsy as spiders web and he has nothing to lean on that will endure.
Second, if a green plant temporarily prospers and sends it roots among the stones, if it is uprooted, it will die and other plants will take it place. Bildad is saying that Job was prosperous, but because of his sin, he was uprooted by God and his wealth was given to others.
In the remaining verses of this chapter Bildad says:
Job 8:20 Behold, God will not cast away the blameless, Nor will He uphold the evildoers.† 21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, And your lips with rejoicing.† 22 Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, And the dwelling place of the wicked will come to nothing."††
Bildad has no doubt in his mind that Jobís sin has brought about his suffering even though that is not the case. If Job will repent, he believes that God will bless him and even fill his mouth with laughter.
Once again Job responds in chapters 9 and 10. Job agrees that God is just, but Job wonders how any man can obtain justice from Him. Since Job feels that he is an upright man, yet God continues to torment him, he doesnít see how anyone can get a fair judgment from God.
In verses 4-12, Job says that no one can contend with God because He is to wise and strong. He can remove mountains, shake the earth, He controls the light of the sun and the stars, he stretches out the heavens and treads on the sea, and he puts the constellations in their place. So, no one can question or analyze what God is doing.
Job continues talking about how futile it is to argue with God in verses 13-21. He says God will not remove His anger and that no one can answer God. Even if he were allowed a trial in court, he doesnít feel like he would stand a chance and would have to beg the judge for mercy because God will not listen. He feels this way about God because of the suffering he is enduring.
Job 9:17 For He crushes me with a tempest, And multiplies my wounds without cause.† 18 He will not allow me to catch my breath, But fills me with bitterness.
Even though Job thinks he is innocent, he doesnít think he stands a chance against God, and he has lost his will to live. Notice how Job speaks out against God in:
Job 9:22 It is all one thing; Therefore I say, 'He destroys the blameless and the wicked.'† 23 If the scourge slays suddenly, He laughs at the plight of the innocent.† 24 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?
We might have hard time understanding why Job would view God like this, but we need to keep in mind that he only had a limited knowledge about God. We are better off today than Job because we have the whole counsel of God and we can know that God is not this way because He is a loving God that we be there for us.
In verse 25-32 Job talks about the shortness of life saying that it faster than a runner, swifter than a reed ship, and faster than eagle diving for his prey. No matter how hard Job tried try to make himself pure, he felt like he was being treated like filth. He feels helpless to contend against God because God is not a man.
In the remaining verses Job wishes that he had a mediator between him and God so He could speak to Him without fear. While Job does not have a mediator, you and I do through Jesus.
As Job continues in chapter 10, we find out that he loathes his life and he wants God to either tell him what his sin is or stop treating him with condemnation.
In verses 3-17, Job wants to know if God finds pleasure in tormenting His creation while favoring the wicked. He accuses God of acting like a human. Job says that he is not a wicked man, yet God continues to persecute him. He believes that God created him, but now God wants to destroy him. At this point, he canít see an advantage of being good instead of bad because God hunts him like a lion, and he accuses God of increasing His indignation against him. Then Job says:
Job 10:18 'Why then have You brought me out of the womb? Oh, that I had perished and no eye had seen me!† 19 I would have been as though I had not been. I would have been carried from the womb to the grave.† 20 Are not my days few? Cease! Leave me alone, that I may take a little comfort,† 21 Before I go to the place from which I shall not return, To the land of darkness and the shadow of death,† 22 A land as dark as darkness itself, As the shadow of death, without any order, Where even the light is like darkness.' "
Once again, Job wishes that he had died in the womb and he asked God to leave him alone. I am sure Job was glad in the end that God did not honor his request and leave him alone to die, but at the moment, his misery is so great that he was ready to go to the grave, which the people during his time thought was land of darkness where there is no light. Jobís feelings about death were depressing, but he did not know what we know about the afterlife because John says we will be in place full of light (Rev. 21:23). Even though Job is struggling with his faith, we need to keep in mind that he has not turned away from God.
In chapter 11 the third friend Zophar the Naamathite responds to Jobís outcry pretty harshly.
Job 11:2 "Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be vindicated?† 3 Should your empty talk make men hold their peace? And when you mock, should no one rebuke you?
Zophar wasnít about to hold his tongue after Jobís speech, and he denies that Job is pure and wishes that God would speak to him and expose his supposed wisdom. Zophar felt like God was being merciful to Job because he believes that Job deserves more suffering than he has now.
Then Zophar gives a great description of God infinite wisdom in,
Job 11:7 "Can you search out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limits of the Almighty?† 8 They are higher than heaven -- what can you do? Deeper than Sheol -- what can you know?† 9 Their measure is longer than the earth And broader than the sea.
Since God has this great wisdom Zophar says God has no problem seeing who is deceitful and wicked. Of course he is talking about Job and he also hurls another insult at Job by saying that only way an empty headed man will be wise is when a donkey can be born of man.
Like Jobís other friends, Zophar encourages Job to repent but he tells him what true repentance is:
First, he must have a change of mind Job 11:13 †If you would prepare your heart.
Second, he must ask for forgiveness Job 11:13 †And stretch out your hands toward Him;
Third, he must change his conduct for the rest of his life Job 11:14 If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, And would not let wickedness dwell in your tents;
In verse 15-19 he tells Job how he we be blessed and be able to move on from his suffering if he repents, but he give one final warning of what will happen if he does not.
Job 11:20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And they shall not escape, And their hope -- loss of life!"
Jobís final response to this first cycle of speeches spans 3 chapters. First, he rebukes his friends and then he turns his speech toward God challenging Him to meet him in court.
Job 12:2 "No doubt you are the people, And wisdom will die with you!† 3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Indeed, who does not know such things as these?† 4 "I am one mocked by his friends, Who called on God, and He answered him, The just and blameless who is ridiculed.
Job is being sarcastic about them being the only wise people alive because Job had just as much wisdom as they did, yet he is being mocked by his friends and being ridiculed even though he believes he is just and blameless. He goes on to claim that God allows robbers to prosper, but He is not allowing the righteous to prosper.
In verse 7-10 Job lets Zophar know that he is not the only one that can attest to Godís wisdom because all of Godís creation can show His handy work and God is the one who gave us our life and breath.
In verses 11-25 seems to be comparing the wisdom of the aged man to that of the wisdom of God. Of course there no comparison between what we know and what God knows, not even Solomon who was blessed with wisdom from God could even come close to Godís wisdom, which is why he wrote,
Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding;† 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths.† 7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; Fear the LORD and depart from evil.
After Job compares the wisdom of man to God he says in chapter 13:
Job 13:1 "Behold, my eye has seen all this, My ear has heard and understood it.† 2 What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you.† 3 But I would speak to the Almighty, And I desire to reason with God.† 4 But you forgers of lies, You are all worthless physicians.† 5 Oh, that you would be silent, And it would be your wisdom!
Again, Job says his wisdom is just as good as their wisdom, but he accuses them of making up lies and not helping at all. In fact, he says the best wisdom they can share with him is by being silent.
In verses 6-12 Job points out that their attempt to know what God is doing and to speak for Him is ridiculous, and he wants to know how they would fare if God shines his spotlight on them. Basically, he tell them that there arguments to defend Godís actions are worthless. We know that Jobís friends were not speaking for God because God will point out their foolishness later. Jobís desire is to reason with God.
In verse 13-19 Job asked his friends to be quite so he can speak, and he is willing to risk his life to speak to God.
Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.† 16 He also shall be my salvation, For a hypocrite could not come before Him.
Again, Job has not turned away from God, but he will defend himself because he feels that he is righteous and does not deserve this suffering, and he believes that he has strong case to bring about his salvation 17-19.
Next, Job turns his speech toward God. Staring in verse 20, he wants to defend himself before God, but he wants God to do two things. First, he wants Him withdraw his hand from him, which means to remove the punishment he experiencing right now. It would be hard for him to defend himself if he is suffering. Second, he says ďlet not the dread of You make me afraid.Ē If Job is scared, he will not be able to properly defend himself.
Job pleads with God to reveal his sins and to stop treating him as enemy. He wants God to stop writing bitter things about him and holding him accountable to the sins of his youth. Then he accuses God of treating him harshly in the last 2 verses:
Job 13:27 You put my feet in the stocks, And watch closely all my paths. You set a limit for the soles of my feet.† 28 " Man decays like a rotten thing, Like a garment that is moth-eaten.
As we look at our last chapter for tonight, I want us to look at all the verses, and I will just a make few comments along the way. First, Job talks about the brevity of life:
Job 14:1"Man who is born of woman Is of few days and full of trouble.† 2 He comes forth like a flower and fades away; He flees like a shadow and does not continue.† 3 And do You open Your eyes on such a one, And bring me to judgment with Yourself?† 4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one!† 5 Since his days are determined, The number of his months is with You; You have appointed his limits, so that he cannot pass.† 6 Look away from him that he may rest, Till like a hired man he finishes his day.† 7 "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.† 8 Though its root may grow old in the earth, And its stump may die in the ground,† 9 Yet at the scent of water it will bud And bring forth branches like a plant.† 10 But man dies and is laid away; Indeed he breathes his last And where is he? 11 As water disappears from the sea, And a river becomes parched and dries up,† 12 So man lies down and does not rise. Till the heavens are no more, They will not awake Nor be roused from their sleep.
Job points out that God has put a limit on our life and since or days are short and we are weak, why does God want to punish us. He wants God to look away and give man rest while he labors on the earth because he only has one life to live then he is dead unlike a tree that can be cut down and then grown back.
Job 14:13 " 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!† 14 If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait, Till my change comes.† 15 You shall call, and I will answer You; You shall desire the work of Your hands.† 16 For now You number my steps, But do not watch over my sin.† 17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, And You cover my iniquity.† 18 "But as a mountain falls and crumbles away, And as a rock is moved from its place;† 19 As water wears away stones, And as torrents wash away the soil of the earth; So You destroy the hope of man.† 20 You prevail forever against him, and he passes on; You change his countenance and send him away.† 21 His sons come to honor, and he does not know it; They are brought low, and he does not perceive it.† 22 But his flesh will be in pain over it, And his soul will mourn over it."
Job wishes that God would keep Job in the grave until His wrath has passed, so he would not have experience the pain of his suffering. Job asked if man dies shall he live again. Of course we will not live again physically on this earth, but our soul never dies. When the Day of Judgment happens we will be given an eternal body that will last forever and we with either spend eternity in heaven or hell.
He believes that God is watching every one of his sins and he accuses God of destroying the hope of man as mountain falls and crumbles away, as a rock is moved from its place, as water and torrents wear away a stone and the soil of the earth.
Job accuses God of constantly prevailing against man and causing him to change his countenance. He points out that when you die, you do not know if your sons are honoring you or if they are brought low, which means to become insignificant because you no longer have a connection or see what is going on in this earth. Overall, Job doesnít have a great outlook on death or life after death.
This concludes the first cycle of speeches and all can say is if Job had known what we know today through Jesus, I believe that he would have had a different outlook on life and death because Jesus said,
John 11:25 "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.
Also the comforting words of Paul would have helped as well:
1 Thessalonians 4:13 But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.† 14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.† 15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.† 16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.† 17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.† 18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
A great lesson that we can learn from this is that we should be thankful that we have the whole council of God and we can know that God does not destroy the hope of man. Instead, he offers him eternal life in heaven through His Son Jesus. I have another homework assignment for you. I want you to read 15 Ė 21 as we will examine the second cycle of speeches two Sundays from now.