Job 38-42 – God

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Job-restoredSo after 37 chapters of listening to the inaccurate words of Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elijuh; God has heard enough – and interjects into the conversation out of a whirlwind.  Many of the inconsistencies which are still propagated by Christians today can be cleared up by simply paying attention to what God says in these final chapters.  In fact – right out of the gate He reveals that Job has NOT been completely sinless and right in what he has been spouting during this trial.

Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said, Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge? – Job 38:1-2 AMP

According to God, it was Job who spoke out of turn and “without knowledge”.   In fact – most of what God says is in correction towards Job himself.  Why Christians continue to quote statements from this unfortunate sufferer as Truth is beyond me????

Over the next couple of chapters (38-41), God enlightens Job into just who He is and what He does.  While it is true that Job was righteous and had not “sinned with his lips” in the beginning (Job 2:10) – by now (36 chapters later) Job had done quite a bit of sinning with his lips.  He had wrongfully accused God on several accounts – attributing these calamities as coming from Him – and cursing all parts of his life.  God quickly corrects Job by pointing out how much Job did not really know (“words without knowledge”).

Job’s reaction to this revelation from God was a complete turnaround from what he had been saying just a few chapters earlier.  In chapter 42 we see Job answer God with complete repentance.  Therefore [I now see] I have [rashly] uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.” – Job 42:3.  Then a few verses later; “Therefore I loathe [my words] and abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes. – Job 42:6.  (Unlike many Christians today), Job realized that he was wrong in accusing God and attributing this evil as coming from the hand of God.  It was Satan who attacked Job – not God.  God is not attacking His children nor is He a destroyer of His people – and once Job became aware of that, he correctly repented for his words.

Next God addresses the three friends (ignoring Elijuh completely).  God informs the three friends that they are in a much worse situation then Job.  While God had rebuked Job for contending with Him, reproving Him (40:2), disannulling His judgment and condemning Him (40:6); God still referred to Job as His “servant” and that compared to the three friends – Job was more right in what he had spoken.  As we have already seen numerous times before – God is looking at the heart here.  While Job had indeed spoken in error, it was in the midst of intense suffering, pain, and satanic pressure that he had done so.  God knew the heart of His servant, that he would not have said those things about God under normal circumstances and so administered grace toward him.  On the contrary, the three friends had no such excuse.  They had assumed the role of Satan by accusing their brother (Rev 12:10).  That is why they are told to offer a sacrifice for their sin and present it to Job “whom I accept” (Job 42:8).

In the end, after Job had repented, God restored back to Job twice what he originally had.  This is the true heart of God!  He is not stealing from, destroying, nor killing His people… that is the role of Satan.  It was Satan who attacked Job – and when Job and his friends (out of their ignorance) attributed these attacks to God, they were rebuked and repented.

In the same way – we as Christians need to not only understand who the real culprit of calamity is – but also avoid blaming God for the things which happen in our lives (no matter how “spiritual” we want to make it sound).  God is not inflicting His people with sickness, storms, or the like to teach us any lessons – nor is He punishing us in this way as discipline.  Instead He is looking to bless us and bring Glory to Himself through our obedience.

Job repented for his error and the Lord “turned the captivity of Job” (42:10).  Everything was restored to Job – and one has to wonder if this outcome could have happened 40 chapters earlier had Job known the true revelatory nature of God which we enjoy today.  Job lived 140 more years after this attack and died a man “full of days” (42:17).  The Septuagint (original Greek version of the OT) includes at the end of vs 17 “And it is written that he shall rise again with those whom the Lord raises up.”

A nice ending to this story.

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Job 32-37 – Elihu

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ElihuAs Job continues to suffer – his three “friends” have exhausted all their words of condemnation.  In their perspective, Job is haughty and self-righteous; unwilling to accept his sin and repent.  They feel that this calamity has been administered by God unto Job because of his sin – and as long as he continues to deny that sin he will not be healed.

But we know that this calamity came from Satan (1:12; 2:7).

At the silence of the three friends – a young man who has been sitting and listening clears his throat and begins to speak.  Due to his youth, he has remained silent during the entire discussion – allowing the older and “wiser” fellows to speak to Job.  Yet, after hearing them speak such nonsense – and having no answers for Job’s questions, Elihu – the son of Barachel the Buzite , has had enough.  After making it quite clear that he speaks out of respect – yet also that he is quite upset that so little wisdom has been spoken thus far, Elihu begins to share his own perspective.

Unlike the previous gentlemen, young Elihu is correct about a few matters.  He comes right out and informs Job that he is wrong in attributing this calamity to God – and for saying that God is his enemy (33:8-13).  Elihu rebukes Job for his many incorrect statements about God and His dealings with men, defending God both as Just (34:1-35:16); and as Great (36:1-37:24).  He makes it quite clear that although Job has erred in what he has spoken about God during this time of suffering – it isn’t his sin which brought these things upon Job.

But I would like to focus on something Elihu said which is often times overlooked in his speech.  In Job 33:14-28 Elihu sheds some light on just how God does speak and instruct His people.  (Being as this was all before Jesus and the indwelling Holy Spirit, it is quite remarkable that Elihu had this insight).

In vs 14-18 Elihu reveals that God first will speak to a man in dreams and visions as he sleeps.  The goal is to reveal His purposes to man, as well as save him from destruction (which God always wants to do).

Then in vs 19-22 we see the next phase of how God instructs man (after the 1st step is rejected).  It is at this time that God will allow calamity to come into someone’s life – in the form of sickness or devastation – in an effort to save them.  Since the dreams/visions were ignored – God will resort to allowing other things to do the teaching.

Finally in vs 23-28 Elihu speaks of God sending a Messenger who will speak the Truth – saving the now broken & bruised rebel from the pit.  It is through this Messenger that the individual will return back to God for deliverance and healing – “because I have found a ransom” (33:24).  This is a beautiful foreshadowing of Jesus – who would one day come as a Messenger and pay the “ransom” against us – atoning for our sin and providing deliverance and healing for us all!

In the end, there is much debate over the position Elihu holds in this conversation; some attributing him as another antagonist due to his various inaccurate statements about God and His work in the world.  Others compare Elihu as the Christ-like figure who stands as a mediator between God and man (33:6) – bridging the gap in the conversation between the three friends and God Himself.  Either way – as we shall see next – God decides to come upon the scene and set things right.  He will rebuke Job and his friends, ignore Elihu, and (upon Job’s repentance) restore all that Job has lost!

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Insights on Job

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Book of JobAs we continue through the (sometimes quite depressing) arguments between Job and his 3 “friends” – I thought I would take a moment to share some great insights on this book from a pastor friend of mine out of Rhode Island – Pastor Troy Edwards from Victorious Word Christian Fellowship, Pawtucket, RI:

 

Why Job Was Unable To Do Anything About The Devil
(and why that is not true of us today)

 Some have taught that Job is not a literal person. They say this book is allegorical or simply a book of poetry. Some have even gone as far as to say that this book does not belong in the Bible.  Other Bible books show that Job is a literal and real historical figure just as Daniel and Noah were.

 Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD … Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, as I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness. (Ezek. 14:14, 20)

Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.       (James 5:11)

 Job’s Dilemma is often blamed on the Sovereignty of God. Even worse, Job is made out to be a pattern of how Christians are supposed to react to the devil.  Today’s lessons will debunk this false teaching and help Christians to understand the New Testament Pattern for dealing with Satan’s strategies against us.

 

Insight From Others

     Tony Evans: By accusing Job of serving God for gain, Satan was slandering both Job’s character and God’s character. Remember, everything our enemy does is ultimately directed at God. The devil hates God and wants to anything He can to injure God’s reputation so that He does not get the glory due Him.  The devil can’t touch God, so he seeks to destroy God’s glory by attacking His people. This is why the devil is regularly in God’s presence, accusing and slandering the saints to hinder God’s glory and keep us from being blessed. (The Battle is the Lord’s, p. 175)

 

Lessons We Learn From Job

Satan (not God) is the accuser who is always looking for a reason to slander both us and God.

Satan (not God) is the initiator of the problems of life. It was HIS suggestion that God inflict him (though God allowed Satan to do it).

God is the one who desires to deliver people from captivity to sickness and poverty (Job 42:7)

Job had no High Priest/Intercessor as we have today in Jesus (Heb. 4:14, 15; 7:25; Rom. 8:34). Job complained about this (Job 9:33)

Job shows us that no matter what we are going through, we should never become bitter with God, but praise Him and watch for the OUTCOME (James 5:11)

 

James 5:11

(ALT)  Indeed, we consider the ones enduring to be fortunate. You heard of the patient endurance of Job and the outcome [brought about by the] Lord; observe that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.

(GNB)  We call them happy because they endured. You have heard of Job’s patience, and you know how the Lord provided for him in the end. For the Lord is full of mercy and compassion.

(GW)  We consider those who endure to be blessed. You have heard about Job’s endurance. You saw that the Lord ended Job’s suffering because the Lord is compassionate and merciful.

(WE) God blesses those who take their troubles quietly and keep on believing. You have heard about Job’s troubles and how he took them. And you have seen what the Lord did for him at the end. The Lord is very kind and helps people.

 

Job 1:8

Some seem to interpret this passage as if God had intentionally brought Job to Satan’s attention. We believe a different understanding is in order:

And Jehovah saith unto the Adversary, `Hast thou set thy heart against My servant Job because there is none like him in the land, a man perfect and upright, fearing God, and turning aside from evil?’ (Young’s Literal Translation)

And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you set your heart against My servant Job, because there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and upright man, one who fears God and turns away from evil? (Modern King James)

 

Job 1:8 – Commentary

A number of scholars, commentators, and translations point out that the literal meaning is “set your heart on.”

Barnes: Margin, “Set thine heart on.” The margin is a literal translation of the Hebrew. Schultens remarks on this, that it means more than merely to observe or to look at – since it is abundantly manifest from the following verses that Satan “had” attentively considered Job, and had been desirous of injuring him. It means, according to him, to set himself against Job, to fix the heart on him with an intention to injure him, and Yahweh means to ask whether Satan had done this.

Though the Calvinist author (and Hebrew Scholar) John Gill believes (in my opinion, wrongly) that God was bringing Job to Satan’s attention, he concedes that the literal Hebrew states:

     Or, “hast thou put thine heart on my servant” (p); not in a way of love and affection to him, to do him any good or service, there being an original and implacable enmity in this old serpent to the seed of the woman; but rather his heart was set upon him in a way of desire to have him in his hands, to do him all the mischief he could, as the desire of his heart was toward Peter (Luke 22:31)

     “Considered” is a very strong word. It means, Hast thou been watching him? Hast thou been examining him? Hast thou been going round and round the citadel of this man’s soul, trying to find some way to break in?” – G. Campbell Morgan

      …. God enquired of Satan further: “Have you noticed my servant Job?” Of course Satan had noticed him! And God knew this too. He knew that Job had been the target of Satan’s intense observation. The latter must have thought many times to attack him – Stephen Kaung (associate of Watchmen Nee)

 

God Giving Satan Permission to Inflict Job – Job 1:12

There is no doubt that there are times that Satan is not allowed to act without express permission from God, however, we should not teach this as some universal rule concerning Satan’s acts – Job 1:7; 2:2; 1 Pet. 5:9, 10

Michael L. Brown, A Semitic scholar wrote: That he [Satan] receives divine permission to carry out his nefarious schemes …. Cannot …. Be interpreted as broadly indicative of either the nature of God or His general plans for His people …. (Israel’s Divine Healer, p. 169)

 

Job 1:12 compared to Job 3:25

Could Job have opened the door for Satan to attack through his fear? Some seem to think so.

Christian Psychologist David Stoop, Ph.D comments on Job 3:25: Imagine the scene in heaven as described in the opening chapters of the book. Satan goes to God, and God comments on his servant Job. Job is a man who fears God, and God points that out. But Satan reminds God of the hedge he has built around Job. But the hedge isn’t there! His protection is gone! Job has been busy trimming the hedge with his worries.

Each day he has gone out and tried to make the hedge a little straighter, a little neater. But he has never been satisfied with his work, and he has trimmed until the hedge is gone! His worried Self-Talk has trimmed the hedge, giving Satan an opportunity to attack, Job’s Self-Talk is irrational! (You Are What You Think, p. 40)

 

Albert B. Simpson, founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance:

Fear is dangerous. It turns into fact the things we fear. It creates the evil just as faith creates the good, “What I feared has come upon me” (Job 3:25), is the solemn warning of Job. Let us therefore be afraid of our fears lest they should become our worst foes (Christ In The Bible Commentary, Vol. 3, p. 485)

 

Some believe and teach that Job only began to fear AFTER the initial trials. Other scholars and commentators believe that Job was in constant fear long before the trials:

Matthew Henry: Even in his former prosperous state troubles were continually feared; so that then he was never easy, (Job 3:25,26) … He was afraid for his children when they were feasting, lest they should offend God (Job 1:5), afraid for his servants lest they should offend his neighbors

Adam Clarke: Literally, the fear that I feared; or, I feared a fear, as in the margin. While I was in prosperity I thought adversity might come, and I had a dread of it. I feared the loss of my family and my property; and both have occurred.

Stephen Kaung (associate of Watchman Nee): Job had attained somewhat and had gotten somewhere, but hidden deep within him was a secret fear. And this fear he finally though unwittingly revealed much later on …. Does this secret apprehension disclose that the knowledge of God in Job was imperfect? …. He was afraid as to how long this blessed state could continue. (The Splendor of His Ways, pp. 33, 34)

David Wolfers (A medical doctor who spent 20 years studying Job): I feared a horror and it came to me, and that which I dreaded is upon me. Is this perhaps related to Job’s Prologue fear that his sons may have cursed God in their hearts? Or is it simply the insecurity which so often accompanies great happiness and prosperity? …. Job is thus seen clearly to be in a continuing state of fear. (Deep Things Out of the Darkness: the Book of Job, p. 97)

 

Job is seen to have actually MEDITATED on this fear:

(Brenton)  For the terror of which I meditated has come upon me, and that which I had feared has befallen me.

(AB) For the terror of which I meditated has come upon me, and that which I had feared has befallen

(ERV) I was afraid that something terrible might happen to me. And that is what happened! The things I feared most happened to me.

 

Job 1:21

Many cite this passage to make a case for a meticulous sovereignty teaching in spite of reading chapters 1 and 2 and seeing Satan behind it.

Job is to be commended for proving the devil wrong by praising God in spite of what happened to him, but this does not mean that his theology of God was correct.

 Beautiful as this is, it is only partly true; because it assumes that all our evils and losses are ruled by the Lord. It is true that He rules; but, He also over-rules. He rules our good, and over-rules our evil. Job’s words manifest wonderful resignation, but it is only religion. Such sentiments can be expressed, and yet the speaker may not know either God or himself; and he may be wholly destitute of a broken heart …. E.W. Bullinger

 In some passages of Scripture Job actually makes statements about God that most would not endorse today (Job 9:23, 24; Job 24:1, 12; Job 10:8, 16, 20; Job 30:18, 21; 16:7-9)

…. I suggest we ought not to take Job’s sentiment that the Lord gives and takes away (Job 1:21) any more authoritatively than we take his sentiment that “God pays no attention to [the] prayer of wounded victims (Job 24:12) …. To discover the proper attitude that believers should take in the face of unjust suffering, we need to center our attention on the person and work of Christ. He never encouraged accepting evil as coming from God. He rather taught us to revolt against it as coming (ultimately) from satan ….” – Dr. Greg Boyd

Why Job Could Not Do Anything About The Devil

Job knew nothing about the devil’s existence:

Job did not have a Bible (like we do today) giving him knowledge of spiritual warfare.

There is no excuse for Christians to be ignorant of the devil’s existence or his strategies today (Hosea 4:6; 2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6:11)

 

Jesus had not yet won a decisive victory over the devil during the time of Job:

We can declare Satan a defeated foe today because of Jesus’ victory over him (John 16:33; Heb. 2:14; 1 John 3:8; Col. 1:12-14; 2:15; etc.)

(WE) Anyone who does what is wrong belongs to the devil. The devil has done what is wrong from the beginning. That is why God’s Son came. He came to stop what the devil does.

Since the world is under Satan’s control (1 John 5:19), he had access to Job. Jesus now has all authority in Heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18)

 

There are no promises of authority over the devil given to Job (or any other Old Testament Saint) as is given to New Testament Believers:

Aside from Job’s ignorance of Satan’s existence, Job had no promise of delegated authority given to him as we do today.

New Testament believers are given a number of promises of authority over Satan and demons that Job never had (Mark 16:15-20; Luke 10:17-20; etc.)

 

Job 11-14 – Friend #3 (and foreshadowing)

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RedeemerSo far two of Job’s associates, Eliphaz and Bildad, have attempted to help Job understand what is happening to him.  Eliphaz began by accusing Job according to human experience – utilizing his own flawed perspective to explain Job’s situation.  Next Bildad came at Job from the position of human tradition – attempting to unravel this mystery from what has gone on in the past.  Both failed to shed any light at all upon Job’s plight – instead making him more miserable in the process.

Finally, after the first two failed, Zophar the Naamathite felt it was time for him to step into the conversation and attempt to accomplish what the others had failed up to this point.  All three friends were attempting to convince Job of his sinfulness and hypocrisy, and show him that he was reaping what he had sowed.  Zophar began by accusing Job  of sin (11:1-4); an proceeded by reasoning  that he, in fact, was not reaping enough for all that he had done! (11:5-6). He went on to explain that man was helpless before God (11:7-12), and that if Job would only stop sinning and pray, he would be blessed.  He reasoned that Job must be wicked because he was obviously suffering the judgments of the wicked (11:20).  Through all of this, Zophar’s arguments were centered on the standpoint of human merit.

As before, Job speaks in his own defense – refusing the own sin in this matter and rejecting what Zophar accused him of.   By now, Job is clearly frustrated with the poor counsel of these “friends” and even petitions to speak directly to God Almighty Himself (12:3).  Job felt his friends were totally lacking in understanding what he was going through (or the “why” behind it).  He could see by now that they possessed no sympathy for his feelings – nor could clearly see his heart.  So far all they had accomplished was heaping false accusations upon him and making him feel worse.  He refers to them as “physicians of no value” (12:4) and (as we have seen) they are actually provoking Job to say things he normally would not say.

For example, next (in chapter 13) Job launches into another tirade of wrong statements about God:

  1. You hide Your face from me (vs 24)
  2. You count me as an enemy
  3. You harass me like a leaf driven to and fro (vs 25)
  4. You pursue me as dry stubble
  5. You write bitter things against me
  6. You hold me accountable for the iniquities of my youth (vs 26)
  7. You put my feet in stocks (vs 27)
  8. You look critically upon all my paths
  9. You set a circle around the soles of my feet
  10. You cause me to waste away like a rotten thing or a moth-eaten garment (vs 28)

Three friends – three levels of accusation and condemnation – all spoken out of a limited revelation of God.  Without the Word to guide them, nor the Holy Spirit to counsel them – Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar all use their own experience, tradition and merit to try to explain to Job what is happening to him.  They spread the blame from God to Job – all the while never even hinting to who we know is the real culprit behind what is happening… Satan.  Because of this – Job has digressed from a “righteous man” who did not “sin with his lips” into a man who speaks in bitterness, falsely accusing God of wrong over and over again.

One could hardly blame Job – with no Scripture to teach him, nor Spirit to guide him – coupled with an ungodly wife and “friends” such as these.  It is almost as if he is powerless to prevent what is happening to him… and can only guess and stumble his way through circumstances.  If only he had someone who could speak to God on his behalf… a Mediator who could stand up for him and present him clean before the Lord Almighty (Job 9:33).

As we continue reading – the three friends will stand up again and each try to explain to Job what is happening to him, who is responsible and why it is so.  Take time to notice, not only the empty defense of the companions, as well as Job’s further accusations against God as the suffering continues – but the subtle foreshadowing of what Job is really lacking… a Mediator, a Redeemer, a Savior – as best described in the following verse:

“For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, and at last He [the Last One] will stand upon the earth.  And after my skin, even this body, has been destroyed, then from my flesh or without it I shall see God, Whom I, even I, shall see for myself and on my side! And my eyes shall behold Him, and not as a stranger! My heart pines away and is consumed within me.” – Job 19:25-27

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Job 8-10 – Friend #2

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blaming GodAfter Job ends his rebuttal back at Eliphaz, Bildad the Shuhite steps into the fray.  Unlike Eliphaz, who spoke from human experience, Bildad comes at Job from human tradition.   He accused Job of speaking words of no more value that a strong wind, capable of destroying everything in its path (Job 8:1-2).  Bildad then takes the typically easy route to take when someone is in a crisis – blaming all that is happening on sin and punishment from God.  He says Job’s children were destroyed (by God) because of their sins, and that Job himself would not be suffering if he were righteous and prayed to God (8:3-7).  His defense to Job for his arguments was that this is obvious from human tradition and nature all around them (8:8-12).  To wrap this wonderful speech up, Bildad accuses Job of being a hypocrite who had forgotten God, since God would not destroy a perfect man, but the wicked shall be destroyed (8:13-22).

The problem with Bildad’s conclusions are basically the same as Eliphaz (and many people today)… an incomplete understanding of the character of God.  While the premise of God being fair and not wrongly punishing a righteous man is true, Bildad’s error was in his assumption that God was the One punishing Job to begin with.  Instead of seeking the real root of the attacks, Bildad jumped straight into condemning Job for sin and heaping guilt upon him.

In response – Job continues to prove that fact that he knew very little about God as well.  He states that although it was true that man could be justified before God, he had no earthly idea how that happens (9:1-12).   Either way, Job concluded that he would indeed pray and ask God for this seemingly unattainable pardon, yet next reveals that he was even doubtful that God would answer him (9:13-15).

If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.  Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting). For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.  For truly, let not such a person imagine that he will receive anything [he asks for] from the Lord, – James 1:5-7 AMP

According to James, when we ask from a position of doubting it is impossible to receive what we ask for from the Lord.  So Job’s situation is not only explained, but probably made worse by his weak stance on praying in faith.  All of this points back to his limited revelation (as stated from the start).

After this – Job then opens his mouth and continues his downward spiral by accusing God of a whole list of  things – none of which the Lord had done.

  1. He breaks me with tempest. (9:17)
  2. Multiplies my wounds without cause. (9:17)
  3. Will not permit me to catch my breath. (9:18)
  4. Fills me with bitterness. (9:18)
  5. Destroys the blameless with the wicked – (insinuating that he is blameless and God is unfair). (9:22)
  6. Laughs at the trial and calamity of the innocent. (9:23)
  7. Gives the earth into the hands of the wicked. (9:24)
  8. Blinds the judges. (9:24)
  9. There is no negotiator between God and man – (since God is unfair). (9:33)
  10. He threatens me with His rod. (9:34)
  11. Terrifies me with fear. (9:34)
  12. Condemns and contends with me, and does not show me the cause. (10:2)
  13. Oppresses me. (10:3)
  14. Despises & rejects the work of His hands. (10:3)
  15. Shines upon the counsel of the wicked. (10:3)
  16. Destroys me. (10:8)
  17. Has poured me out like milk. (10:10)
  18. Curdled me as cheese – (hate it when that happens!). (10:10)
  19. He hunts me like a fierce lion. (10:16)
  20. Renews witnesses against me. (10:17)
  21. Torments me until I cannot even take a little comfort. (10:20)

As we have seen – it was Satan who did all of this to Job… not God. (Job 1:12-19; 2:6-7). 

PLEASE DO NOT GET YOUR DOCTRINE FROM JOB OR HIS FRIENDS!

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Job 4-7 – Friend #1

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Three FriendsSo Job has had quite an ordeal… seeing Satan literally steal everything from him. His three friends hear about what Job is going through and come to offer “assistance”.  Eliphaz the Temanite; Bildad the Shuhite; and Zophar the Naamathite – all get word and set a time together to come and help their friend in any way they can (Job 2:11).  The text then tells us that “when they lifted up their eyes from afar off, they knew him not” and this caused them to weep for Job (2:12).  Perhaps they could not recognize Job due to the swelling from the boils and the mourning process – but either way it was obviously a tragic sight, causing them to simply sit down by his side – without a word.

Job sits for 7 days and 7 nights in silence – mourning this loss and trying to figure out what in the world was going on.  Then, out of the silence, Job begins to speak – not praising God – not any words of faith at all… but to “curse the day of his birth”.  Obviously, there is grace for Job in his current situation – but it is at this time where Job’s limited understanding of his situation comes to fruit and we see the “logic” only get worse.

After listening to Job curse himself, Eliphaz clears his throat and speaks up.  For two chapters, (4-5) we hear this friend do his best to explain the situation to Job.  Unfortunately, it becomes evident rather quickly that Eliphaz knows even less about God then Job does!

Eliphaz had heard enough to convince him that regardless of Job’s past outward goodness in helping the poor, instructing the needy, and upholding the weak (4:3-4), he was a wicked man who had committed many sinful acts in secret and now he was reaping what he had sowed.  This “friend” argued that all of Job’s past public and private acts of goodness were for show and to cover up his real self (4:5-6).  He called attention to the fact that by observing what had happened to other wicked men, one could see that Job’s reaping was only normal and something to be expected.  His questions were provoking – Who ever perished, being innocent?  Where are there examples of the righteous being cut off?  His incorrect reasoning was that God is the one who causes wicked men to perish, so if Job was reaping the results of wickedness, it was proof of his great sinfulness and hypocrisy (4:7-11).   He argued that God was justified in punishing Job for his wickedness (4:12-21), that if he were a righteous man God would hear his prayers and deliver him (5:1-2), that trouble is bound to come, but not the fullness of it upon the righteous (5:6-7), that if Job would seek the Lord, He was able to deliver him (5:8-16), and that the evidence of God’s chastening upon him was proof that he was being chastened by God (5:17-27).

From first glance it may appear that Eliphaz spoke truth.  Many things he said were partially correct, yet the problem is that he spoke completely out of his experience.   Like many ill-informed Christians today, Eliphaz completely attributed the attacks from Satan as “chastening from the Lord” – and then proceeded to move from that faulty premise – into condemning Job.

The opening statement from Eliphaz is recorded for us in Scripture in order to teach us the error of attempting to define any situation by our own limited experience.  Eliphaz made the assumption (as do many today) that Job was being afflicted by God – completely unaware of what we know transpired in chapters 1-2… and that Satan was the real culprit.  The lack of tact by Eliphaz toward Job is repeated over and over again by well-meaning Christians who do not possess the knowledge of the Word in their hearts, and instead seek to interpret circumstances by what they “think” they know.

The result of this ignorance on Eliphaz’ part was to only stir Job into deeper troubles.  For, in his response/rebuke of Eliphaz, Job moved from simply blaming God for his plight – to actually accusing God of wrong doing (which he had not done up to that point).  Out of the frustration brought on by Eliphaz’ lack of sympathy, Job accused God of shooting poisoned arrows at him and terrorizing him.   That is not what God does with His children and only continues to reflect Job’s unfortunate downward spiral due to a lack of revelation.

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

Job 3 – Fear

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fearSo far we have determined a few major points in the story of Job that, if we give heed to them, will prevent us from falling into the same trap as he did.  We have seen that Job is a very successful man – who loves God and is living out that love to the best of his ability.  We also understand that Job is dealing with partial revelation when it comes to the character of God.  (You and I DO NOT have that same excuse!).  Next we watch as Satan comes before God and attempts to entice Him (“thou movedst Me against him” Job 2:3); a bait which God does not take – instead He reveals that Satan already has access to Job.

Satan accuses – God defends – it never changes.

Obviously something in the life of Job has caused a change in his situation.  Satan’s first accusation against him is that he only loves God due to the blessing in his life.  This blessing (as pointed out by Satan) is due to a hedge of protection that God has erected around him and his belongings (1:9-10).  (This appears to be the normal state of those under the Blessings of God – protection and provision).   Then God (ignoring Satan’s attempt to get Him to strike Job) points out that this “hedge” is no longer doing its job (something Satan failed to notice).  Immediately, Satan goes out of the Lord’s Presence and attacks Job (2:6-7).

So what caused this change in the hedge?  All we can really do is speculate – since Scripture does not give us this answer.  But, we can get a pretty good idea based on what the rest of the Bible teaches us regarding God, Satan and our human situation.

Let’s take a look at a few clues regarding Job and how he is operating.

And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered 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 did Job continually.” – Job 1:5.

It is apparent that Job lived in a state of fear for his children’s sake.  He constantly was afraid that they would sin while gathering together – and incur the wrath of God upon them.   To counter this – Job would continuously offer sacrifices for them.  This is done out of Job’s partial revelation of who God is… not based on a solid relationship with Him.

Next notice what Job says in chapter 3…

“For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.” – Job 3:25

It is quite clear from these two verses early on in the story of Job, that he lived in great fear.  At first glance it is easy to dismiss this as “just being human”, but Jesus would later point out to us that fear is a deadly culprit.

It is what caused Peter to sink…

“And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.  And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.  But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.  And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” – Matt 14:28-31

As well – when Jesus heard the report that Jarius’ daughter had died, He immediately linked fear with doubt and unbelief.  “But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.” Luke 8:50

Jesus made a point to contrast fear and belief.  The natural process of fear is to lead to doubt and unbelief.  If left unchecked – it causes people to sink and hedges of protection to come down.

Again – while many like to point out that this is conjecture – it seems to make much more sense (in light of the whole counsel of Scripture) then to place blame on God for the calamity Job has found himself in.  It was Satan who came and accused Job – and it was Satan who “stretched forth his hand” against Job – all God did was point out the fact that the hedge of protection He had set up around Job was not an issue any longer.  Scripture repeatedly teaches that it isn’t God who removes these hedges – but ourselves.

With all that Job has gone through by the end of chapter 3 – it is a wonder that he is still holding it together.  Had he been aware, I’m certain that he would have repented and had that hedge set right back up – but unfortunately he didn’t see it.  So far he has done a good job keeping his lips from sin (1:22; 2:10), but, as we shall next see, at the message of doubt and discouragement handed down by Job’s wives and his friends, Job does eventually crumble and step into sin – which only exacerbates the situation.

 

Be Fruitful & Multiply,

PK

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