Job 22-31 part 6
Tonight we will examine the third cycle of speeches between Job and his friends, but this time only two of his friends will speak. In this final exchange of speeches, Eliphaz and Bildad will accuse Job of committing some specific sins.
Eliphaz speaks first and he asks Job a series of questions:
Job 22:2 "Can a man be profitable to God, Though he who is wise may be profitable to himself? 3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that you are righteous? Or is it gain to Him that you make your ways blameless? 4 "Is it because of your fear of Him that He corrects you, And enters into judgment with you? 5 Is not your wickedness great, And your iniquity without end?
Basically, Eliphaz is telling Job that God is not affected by how profitable a man is to another man or by how much a man claims to be righteous. God doesn’t punish someone just because they fear Him. No, the reason Job is being punished is because of his wickedness, which we know is not true.
Starting in verse 6, Eliphaz accuses Job of several sins.
Job 22:6 For you have taken pledges from your brother for no reason, And stripped the naked of their clothing. 7 You have not given the weary water to drink, And you have withheld bread from the hungry. 8 But the mighty man possessed the land, And the honorable man dwelt in it. 9 You have sent widows away empty, And the strength of the fatherless was crushed.
Since he is guilty of all these sins, Eliphaz says he is surrounded by snares and he is full of fear.
Starting in verse 12 Eliphaz accuses Job of thinking that God stays in His heavenly realm and cannot see what is going on in the earth because the clouds are too thick, but Job never said anything like this. He accuses Job of keeping the way of the wicked like those of Noah’s day that we swept away by the flood.
Job 22:17 They said to God, 'Depart from us! What can the Almighty do to them?' 18 Yet He filled their houses with good things; But the counsel of the wicked is far from me.
Even though these wicked people from the past prospered for a while and they rejected God, they got their punishment. The Eliphaz uses Job’s statement “But the counsel of the wicked is far from me” to take a jab at him since he considered him to be a sinner. He goes on to say how the righteous rejoice when the wicked are punished by God because they get what they deserve.
In verse 21, Eliphaz encourages Job to repent and get back right with God. He wants him to listen to the words of God, and if he does, he knows that God will restore him and will hear his prayers. He finishes his speech by continue to encourage Job to turn away from his sins:
Job 22:28 You will also declare a thing, And it will be established for you; So light will shine on your ways. 29 When they cast you down, and you say, 'Exaltation will come!' Then He will save the humble person. 30 He will even deliver one who is not innocent; Yes, he will be delivered by the purity of your hands."
Even though Eliphaz’s words are misdirected at Job, he does have some good thoughts because we should always be willing to turn away from our sin and listen to the words of God. Eliphaz got one thing right in the last verse about Job because he would end up interceding for his three friends and their foolish words at the end of this event.
Job gives his response in the next two chapters. Job focuses on the injustice of God’s providential workings in his life and in man’s life in general.
Job 23:2 "Even today my complaint is bitter; My hand is listless because of my groaning. 3 Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat! 4 I would present my case before Him, And fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would know the words which He would answer me, And understand what He would say to me. 6 Would He contend with me in His great power? No! But He would take note of me. 7 There the upright could reason with Him, And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.
Job admits that His complaints are bitter, but he feels that if he could stand before God and he could present solid arguments that would prove his innocence, and he would be vindicated, but Job goes on to say that he cannot have that chance because he cannot find God, but he does think that God knows what is going on because he says:
Job 23:10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. 12 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 God is watching Him and he wants God to know that he has always kept His ways, and he makes God’s commands his treasure and considers them more necessary than food. Oh how I wish this were true for everyone that calls themselves a Christian because they would be more focused on what God’s Word says instead of what they feel or think is right.
In verse 13 Job talks about how God is unique and no one can change Him. He feels God does what He wants to and this terrifies Job, and he is concerned because God did not make him die before he suffered nor did He keep him from suffering.
Next Job says:
Job 24:1 "Since times are not hidden from the Almighty, Why do those who know Him see not His days?
Job wants to know why the righteous don’t get to see God punish the wicked of his day and in verses 2-17 Job gives a list of sins that people of his day get away with without any justice being rendered. These people are stealing, taking advantage of the poor and the widows. They are murdering, committing adultery in the dark, and rebelling against God.
Job tells us what he thinks should happen to these people in:
Job 24:18 "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. 19 As drought and heat consume the snow waters, So the grave consumes those who have sinned. 20 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. 21 For he preys on the barren who do not bear, And does no good for the widow.
Contrary to what Eliphaz has taught about the wicked Job has proven again that the wicked to do not always suffer in this life, but Job wishes this was the case, which why he mentions all these things that should happen to these wicked people. Job finishes his speech by saying:
Job 24:22 " But God draws the mighty away with His power; He rises up, but no man is sure of life. 23 He gives them security, and they rely on it; Yet His eyes are on their ways. 24 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. 25 " Now if it is not so, who will prove me a liar, And make my speech worth nothing?"
I looked at 3 different commentaries on these verses and all 3 of them agreed that Job is most likely speaking about what God will do to the wicked, but one of them admitted they were not for sure. Well I have to disagree with them because I believe Job is drawing a contrast between how the wicked are left to prosper sometimes and how the righteous are sometimes brought low.
Job is saying that even though mighty or valiant may rise and feel secure, they can never be sure of their life. I believe he is specifically referring to himself because he was prosperous and felt secure and now he has been brought low. He feels like God eyes were on him and after hearing Job’s previous speeches we know that he feels as good as a dried head of grain. Again, Job is going back to the thought of not being able to see an advantage of being good versus being wicked. Then Job challenges his friends to prove him wrong.
Next, Bildad gives his last speech and is a short one.
Job 25:2 "Dominion and fear belong to Him; He makes peace in His high places. 3 Is there any number to His armies? Upon whom does His light not rise? 4 How then can man be righteous before God? Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? 5 If even the moon does not shine, And the stars are not pure in His sight, 6 How much less man, who is a maggot, And a son of man, who is a worm?"
In Bildad’s final argument, he points out how majestic and powerful God is and how puny and lowly man is in comparison. His message to Job is that he cannot stand before God and be justified, because he is just a man who is like a maggot or a worm. Those that teach that we inherit sin from our parents use Bildad’s question in verse 4 as one of their proof texts. Or how can he be pure who is born of a woman? First of all, we need to remember that Bildad is not speaking for God and his speech is recorded in poetic form, so we cannot make his statement contradict what the rest of the Bible teaches on this topic. For instance:
Ezekiel 18:20 "The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.
In the NT Jesus said that
we must be like the little children if we want to make it into the
So, we can know that babies are not born with inherent sin and all Bildad is saying with his statement is the same thing he is saying with the rest of his statements. God is a superior being and humankind is nothing but a lowly being in His sight.
In all the speeches we have examined so far, Job’s friends’ speeches have always been much shorter than Job’s, with this last speech being the shortest one yet. Next, Job gives his longest speech so far and it starts in chapter 26 and ends in chapter 31.
Job 26:2 "How have you helped him who is without power? How have you saved the arm that has no strength? 3 How have you counseled one who has no wisdom? And how have you declared sound advice to many? 4 To whom have you uttered words? And whose spirit came from you?
With these questions, Job is basically telling Bildad that his wisdom he has given him is absolutely worthless, then Job starts talking about how powerful God is. He says that no one can hide from God, not even those that are in Sheol because they are all naked before Him. He goes on to say that God is in control of His creation, He is the one that stretched out the heavens and He is in control of the Sea and how the rain falls, and the light and darkness. Job concludes with:
Job 26:14 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?"
Even though God is all powerful and we see His handy work ever day, Job is saying that we know very little about God or His power. While we have been blessed with the fully revealed Word of God, there are still many things we do not know about God nor do we fully understand everything about His power.
Next Job declares his integrity:
Job 27:2 "As God lives, who has taken away my justice, And the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter, 3 As long as my breath is in me, And the breath of God in my nostrils, 4 My lips will not speak wickedness, Nor my tongue utter deceit. 5 Far be it from me That I should say you are right; Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. 6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; My heart shall not reproach me as long as I live.
Job wants his friends to understand that he has not sinned and that he will go to his grave proclaiming his innocence. He does not care what God does to Him or how great his suffering becomes; he is still going to follow the righteous path. While Job accusations against God are wrong, he has the right idea in that we should all work hard at following the righteous pathway no matter what may be happening to us in our lives. Unlike Job, we should never blame God for the bad things that are going on in our lives.
In verses 6 – 23 we learn that even though Job doesn’t understand why God allows the wicked to prosper sometimes, he does believe that in the end the wicked will have no hope and they will eventually be punished for their lifestyle. For instance he says:
Job 27:14 If his children are multiplied, it is for the sword; And his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread. 15 Those who survive him shall be buried in death, And their widows shall not weep, 16 Though he heaps up silver like dust, And piles up clothing like clay -- 17 He may pile it up, but the just will wear it, And the innocent will divide the silver.
In chapter 28, Job talks about God’s wisdom. In the first 11 verses Job talks about how man has been able to mine precious metals from the earth by digging deep into the earth where no one has been or seen before. He is able to damn up rivers and make channels in the rock and even dig into mountains, but Job’s question is:
Job 28:12 " But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?
Job goes on to say that man cannot place a value on wisdom and it cannot be found in the land of living. Wisdom cannot be purchased with gold or crystals or any type of jewelry because they cannot equal it value.
Job 28:18 For the price of wisdom is above rubies.
In other words, wisdom cannot be found in any of these things because true wisdom is only found in God, which is the point Job makes through end of this chapter.
Job 28:20 "From where then does wisdom come? And where is the place of understanding? 21 It is hidden from the eyes of all living, And concealed from the birds of the air. 22 Destruction and Death say, 'We have heard a report about it with our ears.' 23 God understands its way, And He knows its place. 24 For He looks to the ends of the earth, And sees under the whole heavens, 25 To establish a weight for the wind, And apportion the waters by measure. 26 When He made a law for the rain, And a path for the thunderbolt, 27 Then He saw wisdom and declared it; He prepared it, indeed, He searched it out. 28 And to man He said, 'Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, And to depart from evil is understanding.' "
As Job points out, God’s power and wisdom, he answers his own questions. Wisdom comes from fearing that is showing reverence to God and understanding is knowing who God is and departing from evil. This same thought is taught in:
Proverbs 9:10 "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
This saying is true because when you fear the Lord and give Him the reverence due Him, you will listen and respect His wisdom, which will cause you to increase knowledge of what God wants you to do. I believe this is one the main problems in the religious world today because people are not fearing the Lord and since they do not respect Him they do not respect His Word, which is why there is so much religious confusion.
In chapter 29, Job begins to reminisce about how great things were when he still had his family and his respectful position among his people. He talks about how all the noble people of his land respected him and his wisdom and how people would come to him for advice. He was a comforter to his people and he could even make the widows rejoice. He fought for righteousness and protected the weak and the poor. For examples he says:
Job 29:17 I broke the fangs of the wicked, And plucked the victim from his teeth.
Job was proud of how he conducted his life before he was made to suffer. He continues on saying:
Job 29:21 "Men listened to me and waited, And kept silence for my counsel. 22 After my words they did not speak again, And my speech settled on them as dew. 23 They waited for me as for the rain, And they opened their mouth wide as for the spring rain. 24 If I mocked at them, they did not believe it, And the light of my countenance they did not cast down. 25 I chose the way for them, and sat as chief; So I dwelt as a king in the army, As one who comforts mourners.
Now that he has recalled what he did for his people and how he has lived a righteous life, he will now focus on how his fellow man and God have turned on him even though he has done nothing wrong.
Job 30:1"But now they mock at me, men younger than I, Whose fathers I disdained to put with the dogs of my flock.
Job is talking about those who have been deemed by their society to be lowest of low people. These men had lost their vigor, were wasted away, were scavengers, outcast and hermits. They even acted like animals.
These lowest of low people considered themselves better than Job now and they afflicted him and spit on him, and they destroyed his reputation. He even became a byword to these outcast of society.
In verses 16-23 Job directs his comments to God.
Job 30:16 "And now my soul is poured out because of my plight; The days of affliction take hold of me. 17 My bones are pierced in me at night, And my gnawing pains take no rest. 18 By great force my garment is disfigured; It binds me about as the collar of my coat. 19 He has cast me into the mire, And I have become like dust and ashes. 20 " I cry out to You, but You do not answer me; I stand up, and You regard me. 21 But You have become cruel to me; With the strength of Your hand You oppose me. 22 You lift me up to the wind and cause me to ride on it; You spoil my success. 23 For I know that You will bring me to death, And to the house appointed for all living.
Job expresses how much he is suffering and he wishes that God would answer his prayers. He still feels like that God is doing all this to Him, but he feels that God will bring him to death and eventually he will end up in the house appointed for all the living, which again shows Job has some knowledge about the afterlife.
Job 30:25 Have I not wept for him who was in trouble? Has not my soul grieved for the poor? 26 But when I looked for good, evil came to me; And when I waited for light, then came darkness. 27 My heart is in turmoil and cannot rest; Days of affliction confront me. 28 I go about mourning, but not in the sun; I stand up in the assembly and cry out for help. 29 I am a brother of jackals, And a companion of ostriches. 30 My skin grows black and falls from me; My bones burn with fever. 31 My harp is turned to mourning, And my flute to the voice of those who weep.
Before all this happened to him, Job had done many great things for the people, and he was there for them when they were hurting and suffering, but no one was returning the favor. Instead, they looked the other way and avoided him like the plague. The only people he has to keep him company is his 3 friends who have not helped him one bit because they have added to his agony. We also learn more about what is happening to him physically. He has fever in his bones and his skin is turning black and it is falling off.
In the last chapter of Job’s speech he proclaims how he has not lived a life of sin, but one of righteousness. We are going to examine this last chapter in its entirety.
Job 31:1 "I have made a covenant with my eyes; Why then should I look upon a young woman? 2 For what is the allotment of God from above, And the inheritance of the Almighty from on high? 3 Is it not destruction for the wicked, And disaster for the workers of iniquity? 4 Does He not see my ways, And count all my steps? 5 "If I have walked with falsehood, Or if my foot has hastened to deceit, 6 Let me be weighed on honest scales, That God may know my integrity. 7 If my step has turned from the way, Or my heart walked after my eyes, Or if any spot adheres to my hands, 8 Then let me sow, and another eat; Yes, let my harvest be rooted out.
Job made a commitment that he would not look at woman with lust in his heart. He knows that God does not approve of the sinful way, and he knows that God watches his every step. He wants God to put him on honest scales because he feels confident that he has walked the pathway of righteousness and not wickedness. If he has been living a life of sin, he is ready to face the consequence of it and let someone take what he has.
Job 31:9 "If my heart has been enticed by a woman, Or if I have lurked at my neighbor's door, 10 Then let my wife grind for another, And let others bow down over her. 11 For that would be wickedness; Yes, it would be iniquity deserving of judgment. 12 For that would be a fire that consumes to destruction, And would root out all my increase.
Unlike many today, Job considered adultery a serious sin and worthy of judgment.
Job 31:13 "If I have despised the cause of my male or female servant When they complained against me, 14 What then shall I do when God rises up? When He punishes, how shall I answer Him? 15 Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
Job was fair with his servants and he realized that we are all alike because God fashions us all in our mother’s womb.
Job 31:16 "If I have kept the poor from their desire, Or caused the eyes of the widow to fail, 17 Or eaten my morsel by myself, So that the fatherless could not eat of it 18 (But from my youth I reared him as a father, And from my mother's womb I guided the widow); 19 If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, Or any poor man without covering; 20 If his heart has not blessed me, And if he was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; 21 If I have raised my hand against the fatherless, When I saw I had help in the gate; 22 Then let my arm fall from my shoulder, Let my arm be torn from the socket. 23 For destruction from God is a terror to me, And because of His magnificence I cannot endure.
Job treated the poor and fatherless with compassion and helped them out. If God can show where he has tried to mistreat them, then he is willing to have his arm torn from its socket.
Job 31:24 "If I have made gold my hope, Or said to fine gold, 'You are my confidence'; 25 If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, And because my hand had gained much; 26 If I have observed the sun when it shines, Or the moon moving in brightness, 27 So that my heart has been secretly enticed, And my mouth has kissed my hand; 28 This also would be an iniquity deserving of judgment, For I would have denied God who is above.
Job has not put his trust in his wealth or in anything else except for God, but if he has, he agrees that it would be sin and he should be judged.
Job 31:29 "If I have rejoiced at the destruction of him who hated me, Or lifted myself up when evil found him 30 (Indeed I have not allowed my mouth to sin By asking for a curse on his soul); 31 If the men of my tent have not said, 'Who is there that has not been satisfied with his meat?' 32 (But no sojourner had to lodge in the street, For I have opened my doors to the traveler);
Job has not rejoiced at the falling of his enemy or called for a curse to be on them. He has taken care of his help and he not turned away a stranger.
Job 31:33 If I have covered my transgressions as Adam, By hiding my iniquity in my bosom, 34 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 –
Job was not even guilty of trying to hide his sin like Adam tried to hide his, and he was not trying to hide a sin out a fear of what his peers might think. Some people are like this today because they are afraid that if they admit to doing wrong that their brothers and sisters in Christ will look down on them, so they try to hide their sin instead of dealing with them. Of course the major problem with doing this is that your sin will find you out and it will continue to grow.
So, we need to be like Job and not worry about what others think about us because it is more important that we get our sin taken care of even if we have to humble ourselves before our brethren and ask them for their encouragement and prayers.
Job concludes his speech by crying out to God:
Job 31:35 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! 36 Surely I would carry it on my shoulder, And bind it on me like a crown; 37 I would declare to Him the number of my steps; Like a prince I would approach Him. 38 "If my land cries out against me, And its furrows weep together; 39 If I have eaten its fruit without money, Or caused its owners to lose their lives; 40 Then let thistles grow instead of wheat, And weeds instead of barley." The words of Job are ended.
Job wishes that God will hear him because he believes with every ounce of his being that he is innocent and doesn’t deserve the punishment he is receiving. Finally, he calls on the land to testify for him that he has not torn it from others or abused it and so ends the words of Job.
He has proven to his friends that he is not suffering because of sin. He has given them a summary of his life and how he lived it. He has feared God and turned away from evil. This brings to the end of the three cycle of speeches and Job’s friends have nothing more to say, but we learn that there was a fourth man there with Job while all these speeches were going on and his name is Elihu. We will look at his speech next time, so be sure to read 32 – 37.