Simple Studies in the Scriptures

 

The Book of Job

A Biblical Drama Illuminating the Problem of the Ages

 

 

Rev. Francis N. Peloubet, D.D.

 

New York

Charles Scribner's Sons

1906

 

Revised And Edited

 

Dr. Stanford E. Murrell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Job

A Biblical Drama Illuminating the Problem of the Ages

 

Foreword

Perhaps an appropriate introduction to the study of this suffering saint named Job is to provide some background information.  Consider then, the location of the book, the author of the narrative, and the time period in which the book was written.

First, the location of the book. Job is placed before Psalms and Proverbs.  There is a good reason for this. In Job the believer learns something about the majesty of Almighty God. Over thirty times the term Shaddai (the Mighty God) is used in speaking of the Lord.  The soul learns that our God is an awesome God.

 

·       He speaks and the universe springs into existence.

 

·       He looks in a certain direction and the mountains melt.

 

·       He raises His hand and the hearts of kings are changed.

 

·       He is answerable to no one and does all things according to the counsel of His own good pleasure.

 

With proper respect, with holy fear and flesh that trembles, the believer is invited by the Psalmist to worship the One known as El Shaddai. The saints are invited to sing the songs of Zion. And, with wonder in the heart and a song upon the lips, the believer is instructed by the Proverbs how to walk before the One who is exalted above all things and worshipped.

There is a logical progression reflecting life itself from Job to Psalms to the Proverbs.  The proper plan of life is to know God, to enjoy Him forever and to walk before Him in righteousness.

Consider the human author of this sublime poem. Tennyson said that Job was "the greatest poem of ancient or modern times." And yet its author remains anonymous.

Perhaps it was Moses who caught the words of faith from the lips of the suffering saint and wrote, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the Name of the Lord” (1:21). Certainly the ancient rabbis, according to Talmudic tradition, attributed the authorship of Job to Moses.  It was said of Moses that, "God spoke mouth to mouth, even apparently" (Num. 12:8 cf. Deut. 34:10).

If Moses did not write this book of the Bible, perhaps David did.  According to 2 Samuel 23:2 (Acts 2:29.30) David was authorized to pick up the pen of a prophet and write down those things, which will live and abide forever. “The spirit of the Lord spake by me, and His word was in my tongue.” The tongue of David was at times touched by poetry of the highest order.  His imagination could soar to places beyond the sun and moon and stars even into the very throne room of God. His heart could beat with the hope of seeing the Messiah.

It is not hard to believe that a David with the skill of a scribe could remember a man saying, “I know that my Redeemer liveth, and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.  And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another” (Job 19:25ff).

Carlyle was right.  The Book of Job is grand in its sincerity, majestic in its simplicity, melodic in its epic narrative and repose of reconcilement.  The book of Job expresses sublime sorrow and sublime reconciliation which is the oldest choral music as of the heart of mankind; so soft, and great; as the summer midnight, as the world with its seas and stars!

“David, are you the author of Job?” If not, “Elihu did you write it?” Matthew Henry believes that he sees in Job 32:15-16 the words of a historian being mixed with the rhetoric of a self- righteous hysterical assault upon the holy man who is at the mercy of God. Elihu may have come to comfort Job but perhaps he went away to record the contest of ideas he had with the suffering saint who would not concede a vital point.  Job would not admit to a wrong doing to the point that he deserved his dilemma. Elihu was convinced that Job had done something to merit misery or else he would not be going through such a terrible ordeal, and Elihu was a Wise Man. It is not being facetious to say that Elihu was a Wise Man for others called him that in society.

In the ancient world The Wise, as a special group, were highly honored in the community.  In Jeremiah 18:18 they stand beside the priest and the prophet. Then said they, “Come, and let us devise against Jeremiah; for the Law shall not perish from the Priest, nor counsel from the Wise, nor the word from the Prophet.”

The Wise in society were the schoolmasters and the court counselors of the ancient world (Revelation In Jewish Wisdom Literature). The Wise could lay down the general method of God's workings, if they were humble.

People would listen to them. The Wise were asked to write down the lessons of life they had learned much like Solomon wrote the Proverbs and the Ecclesiastics. When trouble came to individuals counsel would be sought from The Wise.  They would come and they would sit. Then they would speak and give their opinion.

Elihu was among The Wise. “Elihu, did you write down the conversations you and your friends had with Job?” The answer is silence. It is not known.  And it does not matter for the lesson is remembered once more in respect to holy things that the message is always more important than the man.

The great evangelist George Whitefield once said, “Let the name of Whitefield perish from the earth but let the name of Jesus be proclaimed.” It is the gospel which is most important and, as we shall see, the message of the gospel shall shine forth from the Divine narrative. In this manner a movement is made from the author to the message so that, by the grace of God, we read of a man named Job.

 

The Book of Job

 

Human Author: Job

Date of Writing: Before the days of Moses

Divine Author: God the Holy Spirit

Key Concept: The Problem of Pain

Key Verse: Job 19:25

 

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth.”

 

~*~

 

Introduction

 

The Book of Job

 

“This is the cry

That echoes through

 the wilderness of earth,

Through song and sorrow,

day of death and birth:

 ‘Why?’”

 

It is the high Wail of the child with all his life to face, Man's last dumb question as he reaches space: Why?”

 

What People Have Said

Men like Tennyson and Daniel Webster regarded Job as the greatest poem in all literature. Carlyle said that Job is "one of the grandest things ever written with pen”. “There is nothing written, I think, in the Bible or out of it, of equal literary merit."

 

The Objectives of a Study of Job

·       To provide new interest in the book itself.

·       To present its greatness and glory as literature.

·       To preserve comforting truths.

·       To bring consolation to the perplexed and suffering.

 

·       To promote its character-forming elements and power.

 

The Great Problem: There is a Mystery to the Suffering

There is a mystery to the suffering in this world in relation to God and in relation to man.  The first mystery lies in the difficulty, especially for one who is suffering, of believing that the God who rules this world of tragedies, of wars, of oppressions, of unspeakable cruelties,

and intolerable agonies, is good and wise, and is a loving Father in heaven.

Can it be that a good and loving God rules this seemingly misgoverned world,  where evil comes upon the evil and good alike;  where the fire burns equally the martyr and the villain;  and the storm overwhelms in the same ruin the pirate ship and the Morning Star freighted with  missionaries and the Gospel; where the life of the best men seems to be a tragedy, and its crown a crown of thorns,  while the wicked sometimes roll in wealth and sit on thrones?

Is God a mere Relentless Fate, imprisoned in His own laws? Is life a true picture, which is described by Zola, as that of a railway train dragged by an engine whose driver has been killed, dashing at headlong speed into the midnight? 

 

"The train is the world,

we are the freight,

fate is the track,

death is the darkness,

God is the engineer—who is dead."

 

La Bete Huamine

~*~

 

 

Or, can we find an explanation of this world of mingled good and evil in the Zoroastrian religion "dating more than twelve centuries before Christ, where in order to escape from making God responsible for evil, a dual principle was conceived, giving birth to the two brothers, Aurasmazda, the power for good, and Ahriman, the power of evil" (Raymond, The Book of Job). The soul cries out for a good God, not a mere "bright Essence Incarnate," not a mere "Power that makes for

Righteousness," but a Loving Father. The soul needs faith in God, and love to God.

Rubaiyat

 

"There was the Door

to which I found no Key,

There was the Veil

through which I might not see."

~*~

Omar Khayyam

 

 Job's friends try in a wrong way to find a solution. "For the theologian, next to the existence of a good God, the most fundamental question is the presence of pain and evil in a world he has ordered" (R. G. Moulton, Modern Reader's Bible). The man-ward aspect of this problem is full of perplexity, conflict, and despair. The fact of such seemingly indiscriminate suffering throws a pall of darkness over the soul. It is the Sphinx's riddle, which it is death not to solve. Who has not asked as the heathen did of the missionary, "Why God not kill Devil?"

 

 

When Sojourner Truth was seeking to free her children from slavery, and in direct extremity knew not where to turn for money or aid, she prayed, "O God, if I was rich as you be, and you as poor as I be, I'd help you, you know I would. Now help me."

If God is so rich, why am I, his child, so poor? If God is so strong, why does he permit my enemies—sin, temptation, disease, pain, death of my dearest, to overwhelm me, so that I must exclaim:

“All thy waves and thy billows have gone over me?”  If God is so wise and good, why does he let disaster, disappointment, losses, heartbreak, come

upon us till it would seem as if the tempest would never be over, or the sun shine again?

 

This Problem is Universal

It confronts every individual at some time in his life. It belongs to every age. It belongs to different periods of that history, to the Egyptian bondage, to the Exile, to the Maccabean period, and to the history of the Church.

 

The Book of Job

The Book of Job is the divine light shining on this problem giving all the lines of solution possible in the twilight of the early ages, to be seen at last in the full blaze following the dayspring Jesus brought from on high.  The Book of Revelation furnishes a most interesting parallel to the Book of Job, and aids in its understanding. In both cases the beginning is happy and peaceful; then follows a long period of conflict; and in both the ending is a great and glorious success both in character and in the outward expression.

 

 

The Literary Form

 The basis of the Book of Job was an historical fact. Job was a real man who underwent such severe trials and disasters that they made a lasting

impression upon his age, and the ages following. Ezekiel (14:14), and James (5:11) both mention Job. The Book of Job is a divinely inspired poem, drama, or epic, founded on fact, and true to fact,

and to God, the whole book is lifted to a higher sphere, and given more effective power.

 

The Epic of the Inner Life

John F. Genung in his work, "The Epic of the Inner Life," comments on the Book of Job.  "The poem centers in a hero, whose spiritual achievements it makes known to us...It is a record of a sublime epic action, whose scene is not the tumultuous battle-field, nor the arena of rash adventure, but the solitary soul of a righteous man...Under these discourses we are to trace not the building of a system, but the progress of a character, tried, developed, victorious” Goethe said, "I have never had an affliction which did not turn into a poem."

 

The Age and Date of the Book

The period when Job lived, to which his personal story belongs, the scene of the drama, is best understood to be the age of the Patriarchs some two thousand years before God.

 

The Structure of the Book of Job

It consists of five divisions.

 

·       Division One. Chapter 1 and 2, the prologue, in prose, the story on which the rest of the book is founded. It consists of five scenes, some on earth and some in heaven. The speakers are Jehovah, Job, Satan, four Messengers, and Job’s wife. 

 

·       Division Two. Chapters 3-31, in poetic form, the colloquy [conversation] between Job and his three friends, continued through three rounds. Besides these there was an audience of neighbors, citizens, children, visitors, rabble.

 

 

 

·       Division Three. Chapters 32-37. The oration of Elihu. Poetry. Job, his three friends and citizens form the audience. The oration was cut short by the storm.

 

·       Division Four. Chapters 38-41. God speaks from the whirlwind. Poetry. Job, his three fiends, Elihu, and citizens form the audience.

 

·       Division Five. Chapters 42:1-6. Poetry. Brief conversation between the Lord and Job. Prose, verses 7-17. The complete restoration of Job is told. His spiritual and material prosperity is recorded.

 

These five divisions provide five solutions to the problem of the mystery of suffering.

 

 

The Mystery of Suffering, God’s Word in its Twofold Aspect—Its Relation to God and its Relation to Man

 

·       Suffering is a test

·       Suffering is a punishment

·       Suffering is a discipline

·       Suffering is sometimes an insoluble mystery 

·       Suffering that comes to a good man always leads to true success at last The life of a righteous man is never a tragedy.

Persons and Scenes

Persons

·       Jehovah

·       Sons of God

·       Satan

·       Job, a wealthy sheik

·       Job's wife

·       A field hand

 

·       A shepherd

·       A drover

·       A house servant

·       Eliphaz, a venerable sheik from Teman

·       Bilhad, a scholar from Shuah

·       Zophar, a prince of Naamah

·       Elihu, a young chief from Buz

·       Job's brothers

·       Job's sisters

·       Neighbors

·       Citizens

·       Boys

·       Crowd

 

Scenes

·       Job's home at Uz, a walled town surrounded by broad fields

·       A council in the throne room of God in heaven

·       A hugh ash heap outside the walls

·       A great storm

·       A sacrifice and prayer

·       Job's home at Uz

 

PART I

 

THE HISTORICAL BASIS OF JOB

 

Chapters 1-2

 

Prose

 

A Series of Five Scenes

Changing from earth to heaven and back again

 

TIME: Several weeks or months

 

SCENES: Job's home at Uz. The council in heaven.

 

CHARACTERS: Jehovah. The Sons of God. Satan. Job. The Four Messengers. Job's wife.

FIRST SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING: SOMETIMES

AFFLICTIONS ARE ALLOWED AS A TEST OF CHARACTER

 

FIVE SCENES IN THE BOOK OF JOB

 

SCENE I. Earth: Job at home, prosperous, peaceful

 

SCENE II. Heaven:  The council of the Sons of God. Jehovah. Satan. Satan goes on his mission.

 

SCENE III. Earth: The herder reports on the Sabeans Job's Home The shepherd reports on lightning at Uz. Thee drover reports on the Chaldeans. The report on the cyclone from the house servant

 

SCENE IV. Heaven: The Sons of God hold a council. Jehovah Satan. Second meeting Report of Satan

 

SCENE V. Earth: An ash heap. Job a leper. Friends, relatives, citizens.

 

THE LAND OF JOB

 

SCENE I. JOB AT HOME

 

Job lived in the walled town of Uz, with broad pastures and cultivated lands extending in every direction. He was very wealthy, with great herds and flocks, and a vast retinue of officers and servants. He was a prince, "the greatest of all the children of the East."

 

His sons and daughters settled not far from him and enjoyed his posterity.

 

 

Job 1

 

1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

 

1:1 Uz, Huz (Heb. wooded), is traditionally located on the E or SE of Palestine (Lam. 4:21; Job 1:15,17) in the vicinity of the Sabaeans and the Chaldeans, and of Edom. The Sea of Galilee and the upper Jordan are west of Uz. The Syrian Desert extending toward the Euphrates forms its eastern boundary. The Syrian mountains are on the north. On the south are Moab, Arabia, and Edom. The description of the people is characteristic of the nomadic tribes of the Arabian Desert.

 

1:1 Job. The Character of Job

 

·       The Testimony of the Lord. Job was "a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and escheweth [tuned away from] evil” (Job 1:8; 2:3). Evil was repulsive to him. "There is none like him in all the earth." "He holdeth fast his integrity" in spite of his sufferings. "In all this did not Job sin with his lips" (Job 2:10 cf. James 3:2). It was not mere innocence that Job manifested but true character which was manifested in the presence of trial.

Wealth and power often provide the severest moments of temptation to pride, worldliness, selfishness, abuse of power, and fleshly lust. "Satan now is wiser than of yore And tempts by making rich,

 not making poor." (Pope, "Moral Essays," iii. 351)

 

·       The Testimony He Gives Under Oath (chapter 31). "His life was gentle; and the elements So mixed in him, that Nature might stand up And say to all the world, This was a Man." (Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, v. 5)

 

 

2 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters.

3 His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she asses, and a very great household; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.

4 And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them.

5 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.

 

1:3-5 Job was a rich man. He could have been richer for money begets money. But what did Job do? Every day he sacrificed animals to the Lord. He slaughtered expensive and innocent animals in order to seek after

righteousness before God, make an atonement for sin and lay up treasures in heaven. When the gospel touches the heart it touches the pocketbook as well. There is a natural and joyful giving to advance the gospel.

 

SCENE II.

 

IN THE UNSEEN WORLD. THE SONS OF GOD ASSEMBLED IN THE HEAVENLY COUNCIL (Job 1:6-12)

 

Enter Satan, the Adversary

 

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them.

 

 JEHOVAH (to Satan).

 

7 And the LORD said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the LORD, and said,

 

THE ADVERSARY.

 

From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

 

 

 

JEHOVAH. 

 

8And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?

 

THE ADVERSARY.

 

9 Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought?

 

1:9 Though he may never have realized it clearly, Job became part of a great angelic conflict.  At one point it seemed that the Old Serpent would win the cosmic contest. The battle was fierce. The warfare was prolonged. The flesh of Job grew weak and his spirit sagged.

 

10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.

11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

12 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the LORD.

 

SATAN, THE ADVERSARY

 

Satan is the Adversary of good both in God and man.

 

·       He went to and fro in the earth.

·       He did not believe in the existence of good, for he found none in his own heart and experience.

·       He loved to do evil, to tempt, to injure men, to bring ruin, and to destroy men's faith in goodness.

 

·       The nature of Satan is revealed.

 

Old Testament. Gen. 3:1; 1 Chron. 21:1; Zech. 3:1

 

New Testament. Matt. 4:1-11; 13:19,39; Luke 4:6; 13:16; 22:31; John 8:38-44; 12:31; 13:2; Eph. 6:11,12; 2 Tim. 2:26

 

 

SCENE III.

 

A SUDDEN CHANGE TO JOB'S HOUSE (Job 1:13-22).

 

JOB is found sitting quietly in the magnificence of a great Oriental chief. "The messengers in this scene enter in great excitement, and drenched with rain through which they came. The fire from heaven which consumed the sheep and the wind from the wilderness which smote the four corners of the house, were perhaps the lightning and the cyclone of one storm" (Walls, "The Oldest Drama In The World" p. 22).

 

13 And there was a day when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:

 

Enter FIRST MESSENGER, in great hast

 

14 And there came a messenger unto Job, and said, The oxen were plowing, and the asses feeding beside them:

15 And the Sabeans fell upon them, and took them away; yea, they have slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. [Enter SECOND MESSENGER]

 

1:14-15 The horrible words were now spoken.  The deed was done and God's servant was silent.  He was stunned.  In this state came a second servant looking distraught.  No doubt, there was more bad news.

 

SECOND MESSENGER, a shepherd from the fields

 

16 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The fire of God is fallen from heaven, and hath burned up the sheep, and the servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. [Enter THIRD MESSENGER]

 

1:16 Job bowed his head once more and continued to be silent. What could he say?  What could anyone say?  It was apparent that his whole economic basis of support was being destroyed. In a moment of time Job had ceased to be the riches man in the land of Uz.  When Job lifted up his eyes again, there was a third messenger appearing and demanding to see him.  Let him speak,” said Job sensing again that what was to be said would not be good.

THIRD MESSENGER, from the edge of the desert

 

17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans made out three bands, and fell upon the camels, and have carried them away, yea, and slain the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. [Enter FOURTH MESSENGER]

 

1:17 With these words the worst had been realized.  Or so it seem.  The greatest financial fears of a rich man had been realized.  In an instant, it was all gone.  Job  was suddenly a very poor man in material resources.  But at least he had his family!  Or did he? 

 

FOURTH MESSENGER, a house servant from town

 

18 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house:

19 And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.

 

1:18-19 What would you do if, one dark day, in four successive waves, news came of economic ruin, faithful friends being slaughtered, live stock perishing and all your children being killed in a sudden windstorm?

I know that some people would lose their minds in sorrow and grief. The sorrow and grief is compounded when there is a vivid imagination to relive the fate of loved one.  As Job reflected upon the situation, his sensitive soul probably saw the marauding Sabeans with their drawn swords glistening in the sun.

Terrible arms were raised in violence to strike down the innocent.

Then there was the fire falling from heaven starting fires that burned the flesh of frantic servants in the fiery flames. Cries for mercy, screams of terror echoed across the plains. And the children. “Dear God, Why did all the children have to die? Lord, they were not hurting anyone. Brothers and sisters loved each other and displayed their affection in a rare show of unity.” Again, I do not know how you would react to all of this; I do not know how I would react.  But the Bible records what Job did.

 

20 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped,

 

1:19-20 The effect on Job. Job stood the test. He tore his mantle and shaved his head which was appropriate forms of expressing his deep sense of his losses. He fell down in worship as he appealed to his one true source of comfort. Clouds and darkness surrounded the Providence of God but he knew there was a silver lining on the other side and that in spite of all God is good.

 

Job crushed at first, and lying prone in the dust

 

21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither:

 

1:20-21 Job arose.  He had been sitting, numbed with silence.  Now, something compelled him to express actions of grief.  In the ancient world, this took two forms: a tearing of the garments, and the shaving of the head.  It has been observed in western culture that people are far too emotionless in the face of death.  There is an emphasis in our culture on being stoic.  For whatever reasons, the person who does not weep loudly or express outward sorrow is commended.  That may or may not be right.  What is certain is that grief is normal and needful whatever form it takes, and Job mourned.

Then second, Job began to worship the Lord.  He fell on the ground prostrate and he began to pray.  What caused Job to be able to worship at such a time was a theology that submitted all things to the sovereignty of God.  In summary form, Job expressed his own beliefs saying, “Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

The first part of Job's theology states a singular fact. He was born with nothing and he will die with nothing. Someone has observed that they never saw a U-Haul following a hearse to the graveside. Everyone will return to the Lord without anything which is why Billy Graham likes to tell people when the world is coming to an end.  "I can tell you," he says, "when the world is coming to an end.  The day you die.  In the hour of death this world, for you, has come to an end." 

It is a simple and profound point. If the heart learns to believe this, it will not hold too tightly to anything in time.

The heart will not hold onto money but use it to advance the cause of Christ.

The heart will not hold onto power.

The heart will not hold onto reputation.

The heart will not hold onto family.

There will be a Divine releasing of all things back to God. The alternative to this philosophy is to try and possess what is impossible to keep.

Many years ago, a young person named Jim Elliot realized this truth while training to become a missionary and he wrote these words, “A man is no fool to give up what he cannot keep, in order to gain what he cannot lose.” Job gave up what he could not keep in order to gain what he could not lose.  He gave up everything to his sovereign God so that he could continue to worship the Lord.

 

After a pause Job regains his faith, and rises up

 

the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

 

1:21 If the first part of Job's words express a fact, the second part expresses faith. “The Lord gave, and the Lord taketh away.”  “Job, what do you mean that the Lord gives everything that a person has.  Job, Don't you believe in the self-made man?  Don't you believe that if you look out for number one, you can get ahead in this life by will, determination, and creating your own opportunities?”

 

 

Perhaps you have heard that every person can be healthy, wealthy, and wise.  But if that is true, who needs God to give anything?  If the world is there for the taking and all a person has to do

 is to work hard, then who needs God?  For Christians, the philosophy of the world runs counter to the theology of faith.  Christians need for God to give salvation (John 3:16), salvation, and sustenance for life.  For Job, the Lord was behind everything in life, both good and bad.  The LORD gives and the LORD takes away. So says a theology of faith.  And if we listen, we can hear the voice of faith praying as it cries, “Blessed by the name of the Lord.”  That was all Job said at this time, but it was enough.

 

It was enough to comfort his heart.

It was enough to help his endure this ordeal.

It was enough to give him victory over self and Satan.

It was enough to have him receive the hand-clap of heaven.

Those on earth who saw Job that one dark day, saw a broken man, down in the dust, with torn clothes and a shaven head, muttering an astonishing prayer.

But those in heaven who saw Job, saw a faithful servant who did not charge God with acting in an unworthy manner. Even when Job perceived that the Lord was behind his adversities, he did not believe that God was acting in an inappropriate way.

 

22 In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

 

Then, "The morning stars sang together And all the sons of God shouted for joy." (Job 38:7)

SCENE IV. THE UNSEEN WORLD (Job 2:1-6)

 

 The SONS OF GOD again assembled in council.

 

 THE ADVERSARY returning from his experimental test of Job.

 

Job 2

 

1 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.

 

JEHOVAH to THE ADVERSARY

 

2 And the LORD said unto Satan, From whence comest thou?

 

2:2 Satan. While some mock at the concept of a Devil, the Bible presents Satan as a viable presence (Note Zech.  3:1-2 and 1 Chron. 21:1).  Since the Scriptures speak of a real devil, there are two extremes that must be avoided. The first danger is to fly in the face of revelation and doubt, deny, or downplay his existence.  The comedian Flip Wilson once reflected the doubt the world has of the devil by using comedy.  "The devil made me do it," he would say.  And the world laughed.

While the world doubts the existence of Satan liberal ministers deny or downplay his existence.  Theologian Dr. Reinhold Niebur once wrote, "It is unwise for Christians to claim any knowledge of either the furniture of heaven or the temperature of hell."  In the 1950's a national secular magazine revealed that 75% of 5,000 ministers

surveyed did not believe in a literal devil. It is possible that Satan does not mind the doubting and the denials of his presence.  In an article entitled "If I Were the Devil" the author makes an excellent point.

“If I were the Devil, the first thing I would do is to deny my own existence!”  This strange approach is, of course, the absolute opposite of that used by God Who desires, perhaps above all else, to be fully believed in!  (Heb. 4:6). But this is not so with Satan. This disciple of doubt seems to throne best when he is either underestimated, ignored, or denied.

Suppose there is a Bible-believing church which is going through a spiritual crisis.  For some months no soul has walked its aisles.  The attendance and offerings are down and the members are becoming restless.  Finally, in desperation, a special committee is appointed by the congregation to discover the source of this coldness and lifelessness.  After considerable prayer and probing, the committee submits its report.

What are its findings?  I believe it may be safely assumed that the average committee would lay the blame on one or more of the following: the pastor, certain officials, and a cold congregation not to mention a difficult neighborhood.

But what fact-finding group would return the following indictment?  'We believe the main source of our heartaches for the past few months is Satanic!  We believe the reason no souls have been saved recently is due to an all out attack on our church by the devil!  We close our report with a strong recommendation that the congregation call a special meeting, rebuke Satan, plead the blood of Christ and claim the

victory! If I were the devil I would deny my existence in the world and downplay it in the local church, thus freeing me to go about my business unheeded, unhindered and unchecked! (The Baptist Bulletin, Dec., 1971).

 

THE ADVERSARY

 

And Satan answered the LORD, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.

 

JEHOVAH

 

3 And the LORD said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause.

 

THE ADVERSARY

 

4 And Satan answered the LORD, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life.

 

2:4 Skin for skin. The sense of this phrase suggests that a person will give a portion of his skin to save the rest but he will give all to save his life. Satan recognizes no good motive in the heart of man. He believes that Job would make a bargain with God and by giving up his property would save his life, which includes health and whatever makes life worth living.

5 But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.

 

JEHOVAH

 

6 And the LORD said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

 

2:6 But save his life. If there is danger in doubting, denying, and downplaying the reality of the Devil, there is equal danger in attributing to Satan more power, and more authority than he really has.  There are some very popular books on the market today such as This Present Darkness that tends to magnify satanic power.

What is being overlooked in certain religious circles is the fact that from Genesis to Revelation, the consistent teaching of the Bible is that Satan remains under the authority of God.  In all things he is subject to the Sovereign. This means that the universe is not governed by two evil forces; one Good—called God, and the other Evil—called Satan.  That is Dualism.  That is the teaching of eastern mysticism. 

No, no!  Satan has no authority or permission to act against anyone unless God gives it.  Even his rebellion (Isa. 14:12-14) has not gotten Satan any more power than what God chooses to give him. The proof of Satan being under the Lord's authority is reflected by the Divine limitation imposed according to the narrative (Job 1:12) and by the fact that in the epilogue, Satan is not even mentioned.  He is no longer important.  He has served his purpose and is dismissed from the story.

SCENE V. ACT I. THE CITY OF UZ. JOB'S HOUSE

Job 2:7-10

 

7 So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

 

2:7 Satan comes from the council of the SONS OF GOD and brings upon JOB, in some natural way, the most distressing disease possible, including not only pain, but depression of soul, separation from all that he loves, disfigurement and disgrace in the eyes of all around him.

 

2:7 Job’s Disease. The disease of Job may be the leprosy called Elephantiasis, so named because the swollen limbs and the black and corrugated skin of those afflicted by it resemble those of the elephant. It is said to attack the limbs first, breaking out below the knees and gradually spreading over the whole body. The ulcers that the disease produces were accompanied by an itching so intolerable that a piece of potsherd was taken to scrape the sores and remove the feculent discharge (Job 2:8). The form and countenance were so disfigured by the disease that the sufferer's friends could not recognize him (2:12). The ulcers seized the whole body both without and inwardly (19:20) making the breath fetid, and emitting a loathsome smell that drove every one from the sufferer's presence (19:17) and made him seek refuge outside the village upon the heap of ashes (2:8). The sores, which bred worms (7:5) alternately closed, having the appearance of clods of earth, and opened and ran, so that the body was alternately swollen and emaciated (16:8).

The patient was haunted with horrible dreams (7:14) and unearthly terrors (3:25) and harassed by a sensation of choking (7:15) which made his nights restless and frightful (7:4), as his incessant pains made his days weary (7:1-4). His bones were filled with gnawing pain, as if a fire burned in them (30:30), or as if his limbs were tortured in the stocks (13:27), or wrenched off (30:17). He was helpless, and his futile attempts to rise from the ground provoked the merriment of the children who played about the heap where he lay (19:8). The disease was held incurable, though the patient might linger many years, and his hopelessness of recovery made him long for death (3:20) and death (A.B. Davidson, Cambridge Bible).

 

SCENE V. ACT II. OUTSIDE THE CITY WALLS

 

8 And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.

 

2:7 Among the ashes. Job departs from his house and goes outside the city walls, because persons with this loathsome and infectious disease were not allowed within. We next see JOB lying on the city ash-mound, called a MEZBELE. Dung is heaped upon the Mezbele. Time and weather reduce the Mezbele into a compact mass so that it becomes a solid hill of earth. If the village has been inhabited for centuries the Mezbele grows to a great height and can serve as a watchtower. Children would come to the Mezbele to play. There the outcast of the city who had been stricken with a

loathsome disease had to dwell for they were not longer allowed to enter the dwellings of men but was reduced to the life of a beggar. The village dogs along came to the Mezbele, perhaps to gnaw a fallen carcass which was often flung there (Modern Reader's Bible, p. 149).

 

JOB'S WIFE (to JOB)

 

9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die.

 

2:9 The voice of the wife of Job was only a hollow echo of the voice of Satan from hell. But Job did not curse God. Though all of life's circumstances sought to destroy his faith, Job delighted in El Shaddai.  Job stood steadfast. He was bowed, but not broken. He was beaten and he was bruised by a Fallen Angel named Lucifer. His body became bloody with running sores, But his heart remained strong in the Sovereign.

 

JOB

 

 

10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2:10 A historical parallel. The prophet Habakkuk, a contemporary of Jeremiah, prophesied in the last years of the kingdom of Judah. When the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar were about to come and overwhelm the land, and sweep away the city, the temple, and the nation itself, sang a hymn of prayer (Hab. 3:17,18):  "Though the fig-tree shall not blossom, Neither shall fruit be in the vine; The labor of the olive shall fail, And the fields shall yield no meat; The flock shall be cut off from the field, And there shall be no herd in the stalls; Yet will I rejoice in the Lord I will joy in the God of my salvation." Job stood the test of time in the hardest kind of trial.

 

2:10 Job’s wife added to his monumental suffering for now he must "tread the wine-press alone."  One by one the others had failed him; his children were dead, his friends kept away, and now, his wife, who had endured the other trials with him, yields when she sees her husband incurably diseased, and takes part against his conscience and his duty to God. In the midst of such suffering it is nice to have friends. Father Taylor, the famous minister of Boston who preached to sailor's, was greatly depressed in his last illness. When someone tried to comfort him by the assurance that he would soon

be with the angels, he replied, "I don't want angels, I want folks." 

Job responded to his wife's comments with great restraint. He did not call her foolish but told her she had uttered a foolish thing. It must not be forgotten that she too suffered the loss of all things as Job did without murmur. The Lord did not judge her as harshly as commentators have. She too was raised to share in Job's sevenfold splendors and

glory and to bear him sons and daughters.

 

11 Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

 

2:11 It is possible that the three friends were nomadic princes, the sheiks of wandering clans, with whom Job had become acquainted in his travels or in his dealings with the world.  From their meeting place at Teman or at Maan, they would have to make a journey of some 200 miles across one of the most barren and dangerous deserts of Arabia which is an indication of their great esteem for Job and their deep sympathy for him.

 

12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.

 

 

THEIR MEETING WITH JOB

 

Job 2:11-13

 

 They did not recognize Job when they saw him, so disfigured and unnatural did he appear. They expressed their grief in the usual Oriental manner, by weeping aloud, tearing their clothes, and sprinkling ashes upon their heads.

Then, for seven days and seven nights they were silent, not a word was spoken, "for they saw that his grief was very great."

 

13 So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.

 

2: 11-13 One more trial was to come to Job which was to intensify the bitter anguish of all his other calamities as his friends misinterpreted the basis for his misfortunes. "No moral," says Homer of his Ulysses, "ever suffered such pain and such affliction." "The fearful dangers through which Ulysses goes exalt his fame and glorify him." The same could be said of Job.

 

The Lessons of Life

 

1.     IT IS A FACT that in all ages trouble comes upon good men which cannot be explained by any connection with evil doing on their part.

 

2.     NOTE THE BEARING OF THIS ON THE JUSTICE OF GOD. In many cases men will willingly, even gladly endure suffering, because they can see great blessings to come to the

world through them. The experience

of Christ on the cross offers one example. The death of Steven and the other apostles offer another.

 

3.     DOES GOD SEND TROUBLE? It can be said that:

 

·       Trouble comes from Satan and from wicked persons as robbers, wars etc.

 

·       Trouble comes from the actions of the laws of God, as the lightning and the storm.

 

·       Trouble comes by the permission of God who limits and controls the actions of evil beings.

 

4. THE RELATION OF GOD TO TROUBLE

 

·       God works by laws. His laws are unchanged, inexorable. There are no new laws, no changed laws, and no unjust laws. A lawless universe would be the worst possible.

 

·       God has given man a will, the power of choice, with all its possibilities of good and evil. All the evils, the wars, the crimes, the cruelties, the horrors in the history of the world has been made possible by this gift. But all virtue, all character, nobleness, heroism, all that makes man in the image of God, heaven itself--were also made possible by the same gift. The story is told of a writer who has imagined the Creator, when before creation he was  alone in the spaces of the universe, considering whether he should create or not. He thought the question through to the end. He saw the sins and evils, devils and bad

men, which would come. He saw the good, the saints, and angels, the virtues as many and as bright as the stars, the new heavens and the new earth enduring through eternal ages. And He saw it was wise and good to create.

 

·       Whatever God does Himself is to help, to uplift, to make good, to restore, to save, and to help men to conform to the good laws He has made. "God sent not the Son into the world to judge the world; but that the world should be saved through Him" (John 3:17).

 

·       God permits evil for wise reasons or else evil could not exist. Evil comes upon us from two sources as they came to Job.

 

·       Some evils come to us through our breaking of the good laws of God, so that we suffer the natural consequences of sin.

 

·       Some evils come to us through the action of God's natural laws without any connection with the character or conduct of the sufferer as by lightening and earthquakes and storms which will smite the good and the bad, the missionary and the pirate.

 

·       Some evils come to us through the action of other beings, from inheritance, from carelessness bringing accidents and disease; from ungodly men who bring wars, oppressions, murders, crimes, and devastation.

 

·       Some evils are of Satan in origin. There are demons who seek to control the bodies of men and some of them are successful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

·       God controls and limits and uses the power of evil men to harm or else He would not be the Sovereign God. God is in history. God is guiding the modern nations of the world as surely as He guided the ancient nations. "Moab is my washpot," said the Lord, by means of which He cleansed Israel. Assyria is the "rod of His anger," by which He punished Israel's sins, to make the nation better. Cyrus was His instrument of returning Israel to their own land.

In all that God does in the affairs of men it is to make them better and to save them.

 

·       God uses the laws of nature. They do not imprison Him. He does not change the laws of nature in order to help men, but uses them. He makes the lightning to go where His laws would guide it. Without changing a single law, the Lord can fulfill His promise that "all things shall work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28).

 

Personal Application

First, when we as Christians are faced with inexplicable hardships, the hand of God must be discerned.  It is the Lord, not a man, not a woman and ultimately not even Satan who is behind it all. It is the Lord who gives and the Lord who takes away whatever we hold dear: money, family, power, position, reputation, joy, good health.

Second, to accept evil that is beyond human control is the will of God.      There are times when something can be done about disease and death.  There are times when bad behavior can be challenged and corrected. 

But there are other times      when events will overwhelm the heart and the situation is hopeless.  At that point, all that can be done is to say with Job, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

Jesus acted in this manner as did His apostles.  For example.  Not once, but twice the Lord went into the Temple and cleansed it.  But the time came when evil was to know an hour of triumph and Jesus was led away to be crucified.  Since we are not greater than our Lord, let us learn to submit to the cross that God has ordained for our souls and His

pleasure as heaven watches and the elect angels wonder at those who are to be the heirs of salvation. I do not say this is easy to do.  I just say, it is far better in the end to say, "Blessed be the name of the Lord."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE FIRST SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM

 

TROUBLE IS SOMETIMES SENT AS A

TEST OF THE REALITY OF GOODNESS

 

THE TEST OF SELF

 

The individual must suffer to test if he is good. No person knows himself until he has been tested. Peter did not really know his own heart and character until the time of Christ's trial. He thought he would be good and remain loyal to Christ but he failed the first test. His heart was changed. He was humbled and in his humility was tested again and was found to be as good as gold.

 

"Tis a point I long to know,

Oft it causes anxious thought,

Do I love the Lord or no,

Am I His, or am I not?"

 

John Newton

 

~*~

 

 

The story is told of a certain Lydian shepherd (about 600 BC) who found a gold ring with unusual powers. Coming with this ring on his finger into the meeting of the shepherds making their monthly report of their flock to the king, he happened to turn the stone of the ring toward himself into the inner part of his hand; and when this was done he became invisible to those who sat beside him, and they talked of him as absent; and astonished at this he again handled his ring, turned the stone

outward, and on turning it, became visible (Plato, Republic).

He made trial of this several times, and found that it always had the same power. Using this power of invisibility, he entered the palace, killed the king, and took possession of the queen and of the kingdom. This shepherd thought he was a very good man, but the ring tested the reality of his goodness. A truly just man would be just even when no one would know his wrongs if he committed them. The man who was only seemingly and outwardly just, would commit crimes if he could do it without discovery. I can know whether I am good, or wise or honest, or loving, or truthful, only after I have been tempted and tried.

 

"My God, I love thee, not because

I hope for heaven thereby;

Nor yet because if I love not

I must forever die.

 

Not with the hope of gaining aught,

Nor seeking a reward,

But as thyself hast loved me,

O ever-loving Lord."

 

Xavier's hymn

~*~

 

THE TEST OF OTHERS

 

There is a tendency to join in Satan's sneers at the reality goodness. It forms an excuse for themselves not being good. One does not know if another has courage until that courage has been tested. One does not know if another person is good until that goodness has been tested. Christ's victory over temptation, and His going to the cross,

were proofs to the world of His courage and His goodness.

D. L. Moody was accused of doing his evangelizing work for money. The truth was that he and Mr. Sankey, his song leader, had refused to accept for themselves the copyright on their singing

book lest anyone should think they were 

working for money. This decision cost them several hundred thousand dollars.  

The way a man meets temptation, and endures trials, shows the world what sort of man he is, the quality of his piety, and the reality of his virtue. Abraham, Noah, Moses, and many others (Hebrews 11) demonstrate that there is goodness discovered through the pain of suffering. 

In John 9 we learn that the man blind man of Jerusalem was born blind not on account of any sin of his own or his parents, "but that the works of God should be made manifest in him." The work of God in healing the blind man has been shining down the centuries for two thousand years. Hellen Keller is another instance of God's marvelous work of sustain grace. Job, by his sufferings, has demonstrated God's glory to the world.

 

PART II A DISCUSSION BETWEEN JOB AND HIS THREE FRIENDS ON THE PROBLEM OF HIS SUFFERING Poetry Chapters 3-31

 

THREE CYCLES OF SPEECHES

 

 

SOLUTION: SOMETIMES SUFFERING IS A CONSEQUENCE

AND PUNISHMENT OF SIN

THE GREAT DEBATE

 

Silence, 7 days

 

First Cycle of Speeches

 

Eliphaz            Chapters 4, 5

            Job                  Chapters 6, 7

Bildad             Chapter 8

Job                  Chapters 9,10

            Zophar             Chapter 11

Job                  Chapters 12,13,14

Eliphaz            Chapter 15

Job                  Chapter 16,17

 

 

Second Cycle of Speeches

 

Bildad             Chapter 18

Job                  Chapter 19

Zophar             Chapter 20

Job                  Chapter 21

Eliphaz            Chapter 22

 

Third Cycle of Speeches

 

Job                  Chapter 23,24

Bildad             Chapter 25

Job                  Chapter 26-28

 

Job's Review of his life

                                     Chapter 29, 30

 

Job's Oath of Clearance

                                     Chapter 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SCENE

 

On the city ash heap outside the walls of Uz, Job is sitting apart, groaning and sighing with pain, covered with boils, scraping himself with a piece of broken pottery to alleviate the intolerable itching, disfigured so that his friends could not recognize him. He loathed his own life. His disease clung to him like a garment, so that his very clothes loathed him. His bones are burned with fever. They clung to his skin. He had become a skeleton, a brother of jackals. His roarings poured out like water. The terrors of God set in array against him like a hostile army haunted his weary nights, as he tossed to and fro through the long restless hours.  His brothers, his familiar friends, his neighbors, kept far away and forgot him. The boys despised him. His enemies gaped at him. His servants refused to obey him. He was mocked by the children of those so base that in his prosperity he would have scourged them out of the land. Ragamuffins whose fathers he would have deemed unworthy to keep company with his dogs made him their song and byword.  He was a poor, prematurely old man, a failure, seemingly under the curse of God, stripped of his glory, and seeing nothing before him but the land of darkness and the shadow of death.

 

THE ARRIVAL OF THE THREE FRIENDLY SHEIKS

 

 The news of Job's misfortune came to the ears of three sheiks who were friends. They had come to comfort him. They probably came on camels with a retinue and met at Uz by an appointment together.

 

SEVEN DAYS OF SILENCE

 

 The long silence indicates the great courtesy and true feeling of the friends.

 

The Comforter

 

"And my comforter knows a lesson Wiser, truer than the rest:

That to help and heal a sorrow

Love and silence are always best."

 

Miss Proctor

~*~

 

 

CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MAIN SPEAKERS

 

·       The character of Job. Job was "a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and escheweth [tuned away from] evil” (Job 1:8; 2:3).

 

·       The character of Eliphaz. He was the oldest and wisest of the three friends of Job. He was more brilliant than learned. His opinions were firmly rooted in common sense.

 

·       The character of Bildad. He was a wise man, full of literary culture, of the priceless wisdom of the ancients. He quotes the proverbs of the sages and bases his opinions on the traditions of the fathers whom he frequently cites.

 

·       The character of Zophar. He was an ordinary man of his day with all the bigotry and common thoughts of his era. He calls Job "a windbag," "a babbler," "an empty plate,"

"a wild ass's colt." He speaks with the air of authority.

 

JOB'S LAMENTATION

 

Job 3

 

1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.

 

THE GREAT DEBATE BEGINS

 

2 And Job spake, and said,

3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man-child conceived.

4 Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it.

5 Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it.

6 As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.

7 Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.

8 Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning.

9 Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:

 

 

 

 

 

 

3:9 “the dawning of the day" (Heb. the eyelids of the morning). The morning rays streaming through the opening clouds seem like the light of the eyes of  day pouring through its opening lids and lashes.

 

10 Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.

11 Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

12 Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?

13 For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest,

14 With kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves;

15 Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:

16 Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.

17 There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.

18 There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.

19 The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.

20 Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;

21 Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures;

22 Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?

23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?

24 For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters.

25 For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me.

26 I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.

 

The Purpose of Pain and Suffering

 

The sufferings of this saint are designed by God to teach many things only a few of which can now be mentioned.

First, there are exceptional experiences in life.  While man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards, not all of life is suffering.  Hopefully, there are good days.  But there are exceptional experiences that the soul must endure and the book of Job tells us how. The Psalms teach us to think in a worshipful manner. The Proverbs teach us to consider the general principles of life. Ecclesiastes teaches us to think soberly.

Only Job has the clearest word for the exceptional, traumatic experiences of life when our world falls apart. At such times, a second lesson the saint learns is that no-one can dictate to God whether or not these Exceptional Experiences shall be endured.  The heart may try.  The natural mind of man may start to seek every way to avoid the deprivation of good health, the agitation of losing a

job, the termination of income, the slander of a solid reputation or the destruction of a secure future.

However, when God decides that an exceptional experience is to take place, He may allow a sudden blast from the abyss to destroy everything of human value and leave the soul astonished in the ashes of agony. When these exceptional experiences arise a third lesson is learned, wisdom is worthless unless it is linked to true godliness. In simple language, it is one thing to pray like a true Christian and to profess faith, but it is something else to live out the ethics of the Christian faith.  El

Shaddai wants to know if there is a vital godliness to accompany the understanding of wisdom.

Solomon was a wise man.  The king possessed so much wisdom that he was able to impress the Queen of Sheba but there came a time when his wisdom was no longer linked to godliness.  The Bible is very clear in stating that the many foreign wives of Solomon turned his heart away from the Lord.

In the end Solomon lost his vital godliness.  How many people do you know that, in the end will have no vital godliness?  They will have a lot of Bible knowledge but it will avail nothing.

Having said this, caution should be taken with this point because it is possible to consider that some excessive sin is the cause of an Exceptional Experience--when just the opposite is true.  It was because Job was righteous that he had to endure a great spiritual ordeal-and the thought is established.

In the mist of untold misery, the true value of the soul shall be made manifest.

Those who are cast into the furnace will come forth as gold in the nobility of the

soul. And wisdom will be justified of her children.

In the days to come, you are encouraged to read as often as possible in the book of Job.  There may be things hard to understand, but other thoughts will be a source of spiritual strength.  Remember that Job has been written to help those who are struggling with the mystery of affliction.  It has been written especially for the righteous.

If the heart remains open, the Christian will discover afresh two great themes throughout the Divine narrative: The manifestation of God's care.  El Shaddai still cares even when it seems He has turned away His ear from the cries of His people. The majesty of the Messiah.  Christ will be seen for there are many parallels between Job and Jesus.

 

·       Job suffered greatly and Christ went to Calvary.

 

·       Job was humbled and Christ made Himself of no reputation.

 

·       Job was pressed down by circumstances and His enemies pursued Jesus unto death.

 

·       Job's friends falsely accused him and Jesus was called the child of Beelzebub.

 

·       Job's wife railed against him and the brothers of Jesus did not believe in Him until after His resurrection.

 

·       Job had to learn patience and Jesus endured the Cross for the joy that was on the other side

 

 

Look for the love of El Shaddai behind the world, the flesh, and the Devil as you read the book of Job.  And most of all look for Christ.

John and Betty Stam had finished years of preparation in college and Bible school.  God had brought them together to complement each other in a work which seemed to lie before them for years in China, where they had learned the language and were prepared for an unusual service for the Lord.  Their first baby was in their arms as they were captured by a band of teenage Communists in the mid-thirties.  How could it happen to such a lady as Betty Stam who wrote the poem with the title,

 

““Afraid? Of What?

Afraid?  Of  What?

To feel the spirit's glad release?

To pass from pain to perfect peace,

The strife and strain of life to cease?

Afraid--of that?

 

Afraid?  Of What?

Afraid to see the Savior’s face,

To hear His welcome, and to trace

The glory gleam from wounds of grace

Afraid—of that?

 

Afraid? Of What?

A flash, a crash, a pierced heart;

Darkness, light, O Heaven's art!

A wound of His a counterpart!

Afraid—of that?

 

Afraid?  Of What?

To do by death what life could not—

Baptize with blood a stony plot,

Till souls shall blossom from the spot?

Afraid—of that?”

 

 

 

Only with such deep understanding could Betty Stam endure being led through the streets almost unclothed, along with her young husband, hands tied behind their backs.  Their baby was left in her "snuggle bunny" on the bed in the room where they had been imprisoned for the night.

How could it be that this well prepared missionary couple, with so many praying for them, have their heads placed on a chopping block with a sharp knife at the back of their necks?  Suddenly they were absent from the body and present with the Lord as their heads were severed and rolled in the dust!  How could it be that an old Chinese Christian willingly offered to take the baby's place and placed his own head where the baby's head would otherwise have been?  A life for a life—and two others snapped off.  Martyrdom.  How could it be possible? Why? That is part of the mystery of suffering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST CYCLE OF SPEECHES

Chapters 4-14

 

ELIPHAZ

 

Chapters 4-5

 

Job 4

 

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,

 

4:1 Eliphaz came from Teman, in Edom, the home of the descendants of Esau, near the southern part of the Dead Sea, perhaps 150 to 200 miles SW of Uz.

 

 2 If we assay to commune with thee, wilt thou be grieved? but who can withhold himself from speaking?

3 Behold, thou hast instructed many, and thou hast strengthened the weak hands.

4 Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.

5 But now it is come upon thee, and thou faintest; it toucheth thee, and thou art troubled.

6 Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, thy hope, and the uprightness of thy ways?

7 Remember, I pray thee, who ever perished, being innocent? Or where were the righteous cut off?

8 Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same.

9 By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of his nostrils are they consumed.

10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.

11 The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps

are scattered abroad.

12 Now a thing was secretly brought to me, and mine ear received a little thereof.

13 In thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falleth on men,

14 Fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones to shake.

15 Then a spirit passed before my face; the hair of my flesh stood up:

16 It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,

17 Shall mortal man be more just than God? Shall a man be more pure than his maker?

 

Job 4:17 contains the essence of the argument which is that a good man would not inflict punishment on one who had done right. Much more is such injustice impossible with God. Therefore, Job must have done some great wrong. The flaw in this argument is that he takes for granted that all suffering is a punishment, which is a false assumption. This false argument Eliphaz states in several ways in this speech--either God is unjust, and therefore not God, or Job is a sinner.

18 Behold, he put no trust in his servants; and his angels he charged with folly:

19 How much less in them that dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, which are crushed before the moth?

20 They are destroyed from morning to evening: they perish for ever without any regarding it.

21 Doth not their excellency which is in them go away? They die, even without wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 5

 

1 Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn?

2 For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.

3 I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation.

4 His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them.

5 Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance.

6 Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;

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

8 I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:

9 Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:

10 Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:

11 To set up on high those that be low; that those which mourn may be exalted to safety.

12 He disappointeth the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot perform their enterprise.

13 He taketh the wise in their own craftiness: and the counsel of the froward is carried headlong.

14 They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope in the noonday as in the night.

15 But he saveth the poor from the sword, from their mouth, and from the hand of the mighty.

16 So the poor hath hope, and iniquity stoppeth her mouth.

17 Behold, happy is the man whom God correcteth: therefore despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty:

18 For he maketh sore, and bindeth up: he woundeth, and his hands make whole.

19 He shall deliver thee in six troubles: yea, in seven there shall no evil touch thee.

20 In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword.

21 Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.

22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

23 For thou shalt be in league with the stones of the field: and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with thee.

24 And thou shalt know that thy tabernacle shall be in peace; and thou shalt visit thy habitation, and shalt not sin.

25 Thou shalt know also that thy seed shall be great, and thine offspring as the grass of the earth.

26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age, like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season.

27 Lo this, we have searched it, so it is; hear it, and know thou it for thy good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 6

 

1 But Job answered and said,

2 Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!

3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.

4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.

5 Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? Or loweth the ox over his fodder?

6 Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.

8 Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!

9 Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!

10 Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.

11 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?

12 Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh of brass?

13 Is not my help in me? And is wisdom driven quite from me?

14 To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend;

but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty.

15 My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away;

16 Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:

17 What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place.

18 The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish.

19 The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.

20 They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed.

21 For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid.

22 Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance?

23 Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? Or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty?

24 Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred.

25 How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove?

26 Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind?

27 Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.

 

The FRIENDS, vexed at the reproof,

rise and consult together

 

28 Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie.

 

The FRIENDS are turning to go away

 

29 Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it.

 

The FRIENDS sit down again

 

30 Is there iniquity in my tongue? Cannot my taste discern perverse things?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 7

 

1 Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? Are not his days also like the days of an hireling?

2 As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work:

3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me.

4 When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? And I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day.

5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome.

6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope.

 

To GOD

 

7 O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good.

8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not.

9 As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more.

10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.

11 Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 

12 Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?

 

7:12 The sea itself is sometimes likened to one of its monsters twisting about the land and at times invading and destroying and requiring transcendent power to tame and restrain it with God's "Hitherto shalt thou come and no further, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed”  (Job 38:11).

 

13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint;

14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:

15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.

16 I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity.

17 What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him?

18 And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?

 

7:18 The Oriental brooks running through the rocky ravines become suddenly torrents after a rain, because there are no forests to hold the water back. In the hot, dry season, the bed of the brook is dry, when water is most desired by travelers. So swiftly, so disappointingly the human sympathy and

 

love Job longed for. "O the pity of it, the pity of it!"

 

 

19 How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle?

20 I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? Why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself?

21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 8

 

1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,

 

BILDAD came from Shuah, East of Uz, toward the Euphrates.

 

2 How long wilt thou speak these things? And how long shall the words of thy mouth be like a strong wind?

3 Doth God pervert judgment? or doth the Almighty pervert justice?  4 If thy children have sinned against him, and he have cast them away for their transgression;

5 If thou wouldest seek unto God betimes, and make thy supplication to the Almighty;

6 If thou wert pure and upright; surely now he would awake for thee, and make the habitation of thy righteousness prosperous.

7 Though thy beginning was small, yet thy latter end should greatly increase.

8 For inquire, I pray thee, of the former age, and prepare thyself to the search of their fathers:

9 (For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:)

10 Shall not they teach thee, and tell thee, and utter words out of their heart?

11 Can the rush grow up without mire? Can the flag grow without water?

12 Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not cut down, it withereth before any other herb.

13 So are the paths of all that forget God; and the hypocrite's hope shall perish:

14 Whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall be a spider's web.

15 He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure.

16 He is green before the sun, and his branch shooteth forth in his garden.

17 His roots are wrapped about the heap, and seeth the place of stones.

18 If he destroy him from his place, then it shall deny him, saying, I have not seen thee.

19 Behold, this is the joy of his way, and out of the earth shall others grow.

20 Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, neither will he help the evil doers:

 

8:20 In Bildad's speech the doctrine of Eliphaz is reasserted with more force based upon appeals to nature and tradition. Bildad appeals to three proverbs:

·       the "Reed and the Rush     8:11-13

·       "the Spider’s Web"           8:14-15

·       "the Gourd,"                     8:16-18.

 

21 Till he fill thy mouth with laughing, and thy lips with rejoicing.

22 They that hate thee shall be clothed with shame; and the dwelling place of the wicked shall come to nought.

 

 

Job 9

 

1 Then Job answered and said,

2 I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God? 

3 If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.

4 He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?

5 Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.

6 Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.

7 Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.

8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.

9 Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.

 

9:9 The reference is to the vast starry groups of the southern hemisphere.

 

10 Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.

11 Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.

12 Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?

13 If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.

14 How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him?

15 Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge.

16 If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.

17 For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.

18 He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.

19 If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?

20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.

21 Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.

22 This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.

23 If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.

24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?

25 Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.

26 They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.

27 If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:

28 I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.

29 If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?

30 If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;

 

9:30 Wash myself with snow water (Psalms 51:7)

 

Beautiful Snow

 

Once I was pure as the snow, but I fell,

Fell like the snowflake, from heaven to hell;

Fell to be trampled as filth in the street;

Fell to be scoffed at, derided, and bead.

Pleading,

Cursing,

Dreading to die,

Selling my soul to whoever would buy.

 

Merciful God! Have I fallen so low?

And yet I was once like the beautiful snow

Father, mother, sister, all—

God and myself I have lost by my fall.

Helpless and foul as the trampled snow,

 

Sinner, despair not! Christ stoopeth low

To rescue the soul that is lost in its sin,

And raise it to life and enjoyment again.

Groaning,

Bleeding,

Dying for thee,

The crucified hung on the accursed tree.

His accents of pity fall soft on thine ear.

 

‘'Is there mercy for me?

 

Will He heed my weak prayer”?

 

O God, in the stream that for sinners did flow,

 

Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow!

~*~

 

31 Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.

32 For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.

33 Neither is there any daysman betwixt us,  that might lay his hand upon us both.

 

9:33 A daysman is a mediator, an umpire, so named as having the appointment of a day for hearing the case. Here is expressed the human need of a Saviour who should be both God and man.

 

34 Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:

35 Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 10

 

1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

2 I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.

3 Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?

4 Hast thou eyes of flesh? Or seest thou as man seeth?

5 Are thy days as the days of man? Are thy years as man's days,

6 That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?

7 Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.

8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.

9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?

10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?

11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.

12 Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.

13 And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.

 

To GOD

 

14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.

15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;

16 For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me.

17 Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.

18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!

 

To the FRIENDS

 

19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.

20 Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,

21 Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;

22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.

 

 

 

Job 11

 

1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,

 

11:1 Zophar came from Naamah, perhaps Maan near Petra, 60 miles south of the Dead Sea, half way between the Dead Sea and the eastern brand of the Red Sea. He would pass through Teman on his way.

 

2 Should not the multitude of words be answered? And should a man full of talk be justified?

3 Should thy lies make men hold their peace? And when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?

4 For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.

5 But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee;

6 And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.

7 Canst thou by searching find out God? Canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?

8 It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? Deeper than hell; what canst thou know?

9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.

10 If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him?

 

 

11 For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?

12 For vain man would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt.

13 If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;

14 If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.

15 For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear:

16 Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:

17 And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.

18 And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.

19 Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.

20 But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 12

 

1 And Job answered and said,

2 No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you. 

3 But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?

4 I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.

5 He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.

6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.

7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:

8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.

9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?

 

12:9 The only time that the name JEHOVAH occurs in the poetical part of the book of Job is 9:12.

 

10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.

11 Doth not the ear try words? And the mouth taste his meat?

12 With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.

13 With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.

14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.

15 Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.

16 With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.

17 He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.

18 He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.

19 He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. 

20 He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.

21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.

22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.

23 He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.

24 He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.

25 They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.

Job 13

 

1 Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.

2 What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.

3 Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.

4 But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.

5 O that ye would altogether hold your peace! And it should be your wisdom.

6 Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.  7 Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?  8 Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?

9 Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?

10 He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons. 

11 Shall not his excellency make you afraid? And his dread fall upon you?

12 Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.

13 Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.

14 Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?

15 Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.

16 He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.

17 Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears. 

18 Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.

19 Who is he that will plead with me? For now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.

20 Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee.

21 Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.

22 Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me.

23 How many are mine iniquities and sins? Make me to know my transgression and my sin.

24 Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy? 

25 Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? And wilt thou pursue the dry stubble?

26 For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.

27 Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet. 

28 And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.

 

 

 

 

Job 14

 

1 Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble.

2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

3 And dost thou open thine eyes upon such an one, and bringest me into judgment with thee?

4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one.

5 Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass;

6 Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day.

7 For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.  8 Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground;

9 Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

10 But man dieth, and wasteth away: yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where is he?

11 As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decayeth and drieth up:

12 So man lieth down, and riseth not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep.

13 O that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that thou wouldest appoint me a set time, and remember me!

14 If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come.

15 Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands.

16 For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin?

17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity.

18 And surely the mountain falling cometh to nought, and the rock is removed out of his place.

19 The waters wear the stones: thou washest away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and thou destroyest the hope of man.

20 Thou prevailest forever against him, and he passeth: thou changest his countenance, and sendest him away.

21 His sons come to honour, and he knoweth it not; and they are brought low, but he perceiveth it not of them.

22 But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE RESULT OF THE FIRST ROUND OF THE DEBATE

 

Job won a logical victory over his friends. They had little points to make except that the heavens are just, and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us. But Job was conscious that he was innocent of the secret vices with which they charged him.

Job had refuted and conquered the great Adversary Satan, the Accuser. He had not renounced God. He was enabled to trust God and preserve his allegiance to him.

 

“Had it pleased Heaven

To try me with affliction; had he rained All kinds of sores and shames on my bare head,

Steeped me in poverty to the very lips,

Given to captivity me and my utmost hopes;

I should have found in some place of my soul

A drop of patience; but, alas, to make me

 

The fixed figure of the time for scorn

To point his slow and moving finger at!

 

Yet could I bear that too; well, very well."

 

Besides his victory over the friends, and his far greater victory over the Adversary, Job carries off, as the spoils of victory, at least an inkling or two of the greatest truths even now revealed to man—a presentiment both of the Incarnation and of the Resurrection from the dead.

 

 

 

 

THE SECOND CYCLE OF SPEECHES

 

 It is probable that an interval of time lies between the different cycles of speaking, a time for meditation, and settling of opinions. But there is no change in the argument, except more intense and passionate utterances, and a firmer conviction on the part of each one that he is right, while JOB grows more calm and self-possessed.

 

 

 

THE SCENE

is the same as before.

 

THE STARTING POINT

is the claim on both sides of a pre-eminent acquaintance with Divine Wisdom.

 

Job 15

 

1 Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,

2 Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?

 

15:1 A wise man. Eliphaz was older than Job, came from Teman, a place noted for its wisdom, and, evidently prides himself on belonging to the guild of wise men.

 

15:1 East wind, refers to speaking many barren words.

 

 

 

 

 

3 Should he reason with unprofitable talk? Or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?

4 Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.

5 For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.

6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.

7 Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?

8 Hast thou heard the secret of God? And dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?

9 What knowest thou, that we know not? What understandest thou, which is not in us?

10 With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.

11 Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?

12 Why doth thine heart carry thee away? And what do thy eyes wink at,

13 That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?

14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?

15 Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.

16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?

17 I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare;

18 Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it:

 

15:18 From their fathers. A string of maxims and oracles are now presented from the fathers. The maxims are true, but evidently Eliphaz applies them to Job.

 

19 Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.

20 The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.

21 A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.

22 He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.

23 He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.

24 Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.

25 For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.

26 He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:

 

 

 

15:26 On his neck. A wicked man is a person with a stiff neck and like a bull, rushes blindly against whatever arouses its wrath.

 

15:26 Bosses are the knobs on the convex part of the shield, facing the foe.

 

15:26 Buckler, a shield fastened with a buckle.

 

27 Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.

28 And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.

29 He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.  30 He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.

31 Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

32 It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.

33 He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.

 

15:33 The vine when its fruits is very open to various forms of disease in which its unripened grapes fall like leaves in the autumn. The Syrian olive bears very copiously every other year. But even in the years when it rests from bearing its blossoms, the blossoms

falling off before the berry is found. "In the spring one may see the bloom, on the slightest breath of wind shed like snowflakes and perishing by millions.

 

 

34 For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.

35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOB SPEAKS

 

Job 16

 

1 Then Job answered and said,

2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all. 

3 Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?

4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul's stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.

5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.

6 Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?

7 But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.

8 And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.

9 He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.

10 They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.

11 God hath delivered me to the ugodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.

12 I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.

13 His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.

14 He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.

15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.

16 My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;

17 Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure. 

18 O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place. 

19 Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.

20 My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.

21 O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!

22 When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 17

 

1 My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.

2 Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?

3 Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?

4 For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.

5 He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.

6 He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret.

7 Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow.

8 Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.

9 The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.

10 But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.

11 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

12 They change the night into day: the light is short because of darkness.

13 If I wait, the grave is mine house: I have made my bed in the darkness.

14 I have said to corruption, Thou art my father: to the worm, Thou art my mother, and my sister.

15 And where is now my hope? as for my hope, who shall see it?

16 They shall go down to the bars of the pit, when our rest together is in the dust.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BILDAD SPEAKS

 

Job 18

 

1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,

2 How long will it be ere ye make an end of words? Mark, and afterwards we will speak.

3 Wherefore are we counted as beasts, and reputed vile in your sight?

4 He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? And shall the rock be removed out of his place?

5 Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.

6 The light shall be dark in his tabernacle, and his candle shall be put out with him.

7 The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.

8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, and he walketh upon a snare.

9 The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him.

10 The snare is laid for him in the ground, and a trap for him in the way.

 

18:8-10. In these verses the poet brings together many of the various nets and traps. We see the sinner who once strode along the primrose path, now creeping along through dark and pathless shades strewn with traps and snares, starting at the fall of every leaf, peopling the darkness with spectres, often pausing to

listen, in the vain hope of escaping the visible perils to which he is exposed. When all that is within his doth condemn itself for being there.

 

11 Terrors shall make him afraid on every side, and shall drive him to his feet.

12 His strength shall be hunger bitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side.

13 It shall devour the strength of his skin: even the firstborn of death shall devour his strength.

14 His confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors.

15 It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

16 His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.

17 His remembrance shall perish from the earth, and he shall have no name in the street.

18 He shall be driven from light into darkness, and chased out of the world.

19 He shall neither have son nor nephew among his people, nor any remaining in his dwellings.

20 They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted.

21 Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him that knoweth not God.

 

 

 

JOB SPEAKS

 

Job 19

 

1 Then Job answered and said,

2 How long will ye vex my soul, and break me in pieces with words?

3 These ten times have ye reproached me: ye are not ashamed that ye make yourselves strange to me.

4 And be it indeed that I have erred, mine error remaineth with myself.

5 If indeed ye will magnify yourselves against me, and plead against me my reproach:

6 Know now that God hath overthrown me, and hath compassed me with his net.

7 Behold, I cry out of wrong, but I am not heard: I cry aloud, but there is no judgment.

8 He hath fenced up my way that I cannot pass, and he hath set darkness in my paths.

9 He hath stripped me of my glory, and taken the crown from my head.

10 He hath destroyed me on every side, and I am gone: and mine hope hath he removed like a tree.

11 He hath also kindled his wrath against me, and he counteth me unto him as one of his enemies.

12 His troops come together, and raise up their way against me, and encamp round about my tabernacle.

13 He hath put my brethren far from me, and mine acquaintance are verily estranged from me.

14 My kinsfolk have failed, and my familiar friends have forgotten me.

15 They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.

16 I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.

17 My breath is strange to my wife, though I intreated for the children's sake of mine own body.

18 Yea, young children despised me; I arose, and they spake against me.

19 All my inward friends abhorred me: and they whom I loved are turned against me.

20 My bone cleaveth to my skin and to my flesh, and I am escaped with the skin of my teeth.

21 Have pity upon me, have pity upon me, O ye my friends; for the hand of God hath touched me.

22 Why do ye persecute me as God, and are not satisfied with my flesh?

23 Oh that my words were now written! oh that they were printed in a book!

24 That they were graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock for ever!

25 For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth:

 

 

 

19:25. My Redeemer, Hebrew, my "Goel." The word refers to the next of kin, whose duty it was to avenge the blood of a murdered man (Num. 25:19), and to take care of the bereaved and needy (Ruth 3:9-13; 4:1-8). The term redeemer (Heb. goel) is frequently used of God as the deliverer of his people out of captivity (Isa. 40). Job had longed for a Daysman; he hoped for an Advocate; now he knows that his Redeemer, the Vindicator of his innocence, the Deliverer from his troubles, is the Living God.

 

 19:25. He shall stand, arise, appear, come forward as a witness, do a kinsman's part for me.

 

19:25 Upon the earth. The Lord will appear for Job, clad in robes of victory and justice.

 

26 And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God:

27 Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.

28 But ye should say, Why persecute we him, seeing the root of the matter is found in me?

29 Be ye afraid of the sword: for wrath bringeth the punishments of the sword, that ye may know there is a judgment.

 

ZOPHAR SPEAKS

 

(Interrupting)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 20

 

1 Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,

2 Therefore do my thoughts cause me to answer, and for this I make haste.

3 I have heard the check of my reproach, and the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer.

4 Knowest thou not this of old, since man was placed upon earth, 5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, and the joy of the hypocrite but for a moment?

6 Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds;

7 Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?

8 He shall fly away as a dream, and shall not be found: yea, he shall be chased away as a vision of the night.

9 The eye also which saw him shall see him no more; neither shall his place any more behold him.

10 His children shall seek to please the poor, and his hands shall restore their goods.

11 His bones are full of the sin of his youth, which shall lie down with him in the dust.

12 Though wickedness be sweet in his mouth, though he hide it under his tongue;

13 Though he spare it, and forsake it not; but keep it still within his mouth:

 

 

 

14 Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him.

15 He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly.

16 He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him.

17 He shall not see the rivers, the floods, the brooks of honey and butter.

18 That which he laboured for shall he restore, and shall not swallow it down: according to his substance shall the restitution be, and he shall not rejoice therein.

19 Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not;

20 Surely he shall not feel quietness in his belly, he shall not save of that which he desired.

21 There shall none of his meat be left; therefore shall no man look for his goods.

22 In the fullness of his sufficiency he shall be in straits: every hand of the wicked shall come upon him.

23 When he is about to fill his belly, God shall cast the fury of his wrath upon him, and shall rain it upon him while he is eating.  24 He shall flee from the iron weapon, and the bow of steel shall strike him through.

25 It is drawn, and cometh out of

 

the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him.

26 All darkness shall be hid in his secret places: a fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his tabernacle.

27 The heaven shall reveal his iniquity; and the earth shall rise up against him.

28 The increase of his house shall depart, and his goods shall flow away in the day of his wrath.

29 This is the portion of a wicked man from God, and the heritage appointed unto him by God.

 

20:29 Job had rejected Zophar's counsel and refuted his teachings, and threatened him with judgment—though he was a good man. It was intolerable. He therefore returns to his charge, that the triumphing of the wicked was short, even as Job's had been. He declares that the terrible and ignominious end of all Job's greatness was simply the natural and inevitable outcome of his heinous and notorious crimes. Job had worn a golden sorrow, but it was a crown of thorns.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

JOB SPEAKS

 

Job 21

 

1 But Job answered and said,

2 Hear diligently my speech, and let this be your consolations.

3 Suffer me that I may speak; and after that I have spoken, mock on.

4 As for me, is my complaint to man? And if it were so, why should not my spirit be troubled?

5 Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth. 

6 Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh.

7 Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea, are mighty in power?

8 Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes.

9 Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them.

10 Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf.

11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance.

12 They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ.

13 They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave.

14 Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways.

15 What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? And what profit

should we have, if we pray unto him?

 

ELIPHAZ

 

16 Lo, their good is not in their hand: the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

 

JOB

 

17 How oft is the candle of the wicked put out! And how oft cometh their destruction upon them! God distributeth sorrows in his anger.

18 They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away.

19 God layeth up his iniquity for his children: he rewardeth him, and he shall know it.

20 His eyes shall see his destruction, and he shall drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

21 For what pleasure hath he in his house after him, when the number of his months is cut off in the midst?

 

ZOPHAR

 

22 Shall any teach God knowledge? Seeing he judgeth those that are high.

 

 

JOB

 

23 One dieth in his full strength, being wholly at ease and quiet.

24 His breasts are full of milk, and his bones are moistened with marrow.

25 And another dieth in the bitterness of his soul, and never eateth with pleasure.

26 They shall lie down alike in the dust, and the worms shall cover them.

 

The Friends of Job Offer to Interpret

 

27 Behold, I know your thoughts, and the devices which ye wrongfully imagine against me.

28 For ye say, Where is the house of the prince? And where are the dwelling places of the wicked?

29 Have ye not asked them that go by the way? And do ye not know their tokens,

30 That the wicked is reserved to the day of destruction? They shall be brought forth to the day of wrath.

31 Who shall declare his way to his face? And who shall repay him what he hath done?

32 Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.

33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet unto him, and every man shall draw after him, as there are innumerable before him.

34 How then comfort ye me in vain, seeing in your answers there remaineth falsehood?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE THIRD CYCLE OF SPEECHES

 

ELIPHAZ

 

Job 22:1-30

 

Job 22

 

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,

2 Can a man be profitable unto God, as he that is wise may be profitable unto himself?

3 Is it any pleasure to the Almighty, that thou art righteous? or is it gain to him, that thou makest thy ways perfect?

4 Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?

5 Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?

6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.

7 Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry.

8 But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.

9 Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.

10 Therefore snares are round about thee, and sudden fear troubleth thee;

11 Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and abundance of waters cover thee.

12 Is not God in the height of heaven? And behold the height of the stars, how high they are!

13 And thou sayest, How doth God know? Can he judge through the dark cloud?

14 Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.

15 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?

16 Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:

17 Which said unto God, Depart from us: and what can the Almighty do for them?

18 Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

19 The righteous see it, and are glad: and the innocent laugh them to scorn.

20 Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.

21 Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.

22 Receive, I pray thee, the law from his mouth, and lay up his words in thine heart.

23 If thou return to the Almighty, thou shalt be built up, thou shalt put away iniquity far from thy tabernacles.

24 Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.

25 Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence, and thou shalt have plenty of silver.

26 For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God.

27 Thou shalt make thy prayer unto him, and he shall hear thee, and thou shalt pay thy vows.

28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee: and the light shall shine upon thy ways.

29 When men are cast down, then thou shalt say, There is lifting up; and he shall save the humble person.

30 He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 23

 

1 Then Job answered and said,

2 Even to day is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.

3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!

4 I would order my cause 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 unto me.

6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.

7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

8 Behold, I go forward, but he is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive him:

9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

11 My foot hath held his steps, his way have I kept, and not declined.

12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food. 

13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? And what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.

15 Therefore am I troubled at his presence: when I consider, I am afraid of him.

16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 24

 

1 Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?

2 Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.

3 They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow's ox for a pledge.

4 They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together.

5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.

6 They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.

7 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.

8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.

9 They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor.

10 They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;

11 Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.

12 Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.

 

 

13 They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.

14 The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.

15 The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.

16 In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.

17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.

18 He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.

19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.

20 The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.

21 He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.

22 He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.

23 Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.

24 They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops

of the ears of corn.

25 And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BILDAD

 

Job 25

 

1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,

2 Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places.

3 Is there any number of his armies? And upon whom doth not his light arise?

4 How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?

5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.

6 How much less man, that is a worm? And the son of man, which is a worm?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 26

 

1 But Job answered and said,

2 How hast thou helped him that is without power? How savest thou the arm that hath no strength?

3 How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? And how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?

4 To whom hast thou uttered words? And whose spirit came from thee?

5 Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof.

6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.

7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.

8 He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.

9 He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.

10 He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.

11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.

12 He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud.

13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.

14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?

 

 

THE DEBATE ENDS

 

 The great debate is followed by two soliloquies of Job and his Oath Of Clearing (27-31), each beginning with "And Job again took up his parable and said." Job speaks to the mixed audience, the THREE FRIENDS, ELIHU, relatives, neighbors, and citizens.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST SOLILOQU

 

Job first summons God as his witness--"As God liveth." Then he passes on to a general summing up of the facts about the wicked and their suffering.

 

JOB 27:1-23

 

JOB

in monologue

 

Job 27

 

1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,

2 As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;

3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;

4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.

5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.

6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.

7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.

8 For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?

9 Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?

10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? Will he always call upon God?

11 I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal.

12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain?

13 This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.

14 If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.

15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.

16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;

17 He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.

18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.

19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.

20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.

21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.

22 For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.

23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 28

 

1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.

2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.

3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.

4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.

5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.

6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.

7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture's eye hath not seen:

8 The lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.

9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.

10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing.

11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.

12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?

13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.

14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.

15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.

16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.

17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.

18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.

19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.

20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?

21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.

22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.

23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.

24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;

25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.

26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:

27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.

28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECOND SOLILOQUY. JOB'S REVIEW OF HIS LIFE.

 

Chapters 29-30

 

Job 29

 

1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,

2 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;

3 When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;

4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;

5 When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;

6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil;

7 When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!

8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.

9 The princes refrained talking, and laid their hand on their mouth.

10 The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.

11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:

12 Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him.

13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me: and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy.

14 I put on righteousness, and it clothed me: my judgment was as a robe and a diadem.

15 I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame.

16 I was a father to the poor: and the cause which I knew not I searched out.

17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.

18 Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.

19 My root was spread out by the waters, and the dew lay all night upon my branch.

20 My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.  21 Unto me men gave ear, and waited, and kept silence at my counsel.

22 After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.

23 And they waited for me as for the rain; and they opened their mouth wide as for the latter rain.

24 If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.

25 I chose out their way, and sat chief, and dwelt as a king in the army, as one that comforteth the mourners.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 30

 

1 But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.

2 Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished?

3 For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.

4 Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat.

5 They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;)

6 To dwell in the cliffs of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks.

7 Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.

8 They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth.

9 And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword.

10 They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face.

11 Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me.

12 Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction.

13 They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper.

14 They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me.

15 Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud.

16 And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me.

17 My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.

18 By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat.

19 He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes.

20 I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: I stand up, and thou regardest me not.

21 Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.

22 Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance.

23 For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living.

24 Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.

25 Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor?

26 When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness.

27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.

28 I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation.

29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.

30 My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat.

31 My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE OATH OF JUSTIFICATION

 

Chapter 31

 

JOB

rising and lifting his hands

 

 

Job 31

 

1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

2 For what portion of God is there from above? and what inheritance of the Almighty from on high?

3 Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?

4 Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?

5 If I have walked with vanity, or if my foot hath hasted to deceit;

6 Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know mine integrity.

7 If my step hath turned out of the way, and mine heart walked after mine eyes, and if any blot hath cleaved to mine hands;

8 Then let me sow, and let another eat; yea, let my offspring be rooted out.

9 If mine heart have been deceived by a woman, or if I have laid wait at my neighbour's door;

10 Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.

11 For this is an heinous crime; yea, it is an iniquity to be punished by the judges.

12 For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.

13 If I did despise the cause of my manservant or of my maidservant, when they contended with me;

14 What then shall I do when God riseth up? And when he visiteth, what shall I answer him?

15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? And did not one fashion us in the womb?

16 If I have withheld the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail;

17 Or have eaten my morsel myself alone, and the fatherless hath not eaten thereof;

18 (For from my youth he was brought up with me, as with a father, and I have guided her from my mother's womb;)

19 If I have seen any perish for want of clothing, or any poor without covering;

20 If his loins have not blessed me, and if he were not warmed with the fleece of my sheep;

21 If I have lifted up my hand against the fatherless, when I saw my help in the gate:

22 Then let mine arm fall from my shoulder blade, and mine arm be broken from the bone.

23 For destruction from God was a terror to me, and by reason of his highness I could not endure.

24 If I have made gold my hope, or have said to the fine gold, Thou art my confidence;

25 If I rejoiced because my wealth was great, and because mine hand had gotten much;

26 If I beheld the sun when it shined, or the moon walking in brightness;

27 And my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand:

28 This also were an iniquity to be punished by the judge: for I should have denied the God that is above.

29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me, or lifted up myself when evil found him:

30 Neither have I suffered my mouth to sin by wishing a curse to his soul.

31 If the men of my tabernacle said not, Oh that we had of his flesh! we cannot be satisfied.

32 The stranger did not lodge in the street: but I opened my doors to the traveller.

33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:

34 Did I fear a great multitude, or did the contempt of families terrify me, that I kept silence, and went not out of the door?

35 Oh that one would hear me! behold, my desire is, that the Almighty would answer me, and that mine adversary had written a book.

36 Surely I would take it upon my shoulder, and bind it as a crown to me.

37 I would declare unto him the number of my steps; as a prince would I go near unto him.

38 If my land cry against me, or that the furrows likewise thereof complain;

39 If I have eaten the fruits thereof without money, or have caused the owners thereof to lose their life:

40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

 

 

THE OUTCOME OF THE DISCUSSION

 

·       Job had come to believe that God is good and just in spite of the evil in the world although he could not see how that truth could be reconciled with the fact of his sufferings. He had not rebelled against the true God, but against the false picture of God the three Friends had presented.

 

·       Job held also to the fact that he was innocent of any conduct which could justly result in his suffering so much more than other men. He did not know that his sufferings were sent because he was good, as in the case of martyrs and reformers. By his faith in God in spite of these sufferings, while he felt that he did not deserve them, he shows that he stood Satan's test. He was right in denying the accusations of his friends. For if they had been true he would have failed in the test.

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE SECOND SOLUTION OF THE PROBLEM OF SUFFERING

 

THE TENDENCY AMONG MEN IS TO JUDGE OTHERS

John 9; Luke 13:1-5

 

THE TENDENCY OF SOME TO MISJUDGE THEMSELVES.

 

SUFFERING IS SOMETIMES THE FRUIT AND PUNISHMENT OF SIN.

 

The natural outcome of sin is suffering. The natural fruit of wrongdoing is pain and woe. This is true as a general principle and tendency. It is true of nations and of communion.

 

Uplands of God

 

“I sat alone with my conscience

In a place where time had ceased,

And we talked of my former living

In the land where the years increased.

The ghosts of forgotten actions

Came floating before my sight,

And things that I thought were dead things,

Were alive with a terrible might;

The vision of all my past life

Was an awful thing to face,

In that silently solemn place."

 

Anonymous

 

~*~

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PART III

 

THE INTERVENTION OF ELIHU

 

Chapters 32-37

 

THIRD SOLUTION

 

THAT SUFFERING IS A MEANS OF

DISCIPLINE EVEN WHEN SENT OR PERMITTED ALSO FOR

OTHER ENDS, AS FOR A TEST OR A PUNISHMENT

 

INTRODUCTION OF ELIHU

Job 32:1-5

 

AUDIENCE

 

Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, neighbors, citizens.

 

SCENE

 

A mound of ashes, outside the walls.

 

PRELUDE:

 

Of Elihu's speech. 32:6-22

 

To the Friends

 

FIRST DIVISION

Chapter 33

To Job

 

Job makes no sign. Elihu turns

to the Friends

 

SECOND DIVISION

Chapter 34

To the three Friends

They give no sign

 

 

 

THIRD DIVISION

Chapter 35

To Job and the Friends

 

FOURTH DIVISION

Chapter 36-37

General Application

 

During this part of Elihu's speech, there are signs of the coming of a storm, with increasing violence; preparing for the Voice from the Whirlwind (36:27-37:24).

 

Job 32

 

1 So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

2 Then was kindled the wrath of Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram: against Job was his wrath kindled, because he justified himself rather than God.

 

32:2 Elihu was a young man who had been present during the previous discussion. His name means "He is my God." He belonged to the family of Buz, a brother of Uz, a descendant of Nahor, the brother of Abraham (Gen. 22:21,22 with Jer. 25:23), dwelling near Dedan in Arabia. He was an Aramean (Syrian) of the family or tribe of Ram (Aram) (Syria) (2 Chron. 23:5). He was a worshipper of one God, not an Israelite.

It is interesting that the Buzites are said to have the corners of their hair polled [i.e., cut short] all around the temples because they thought it was a shame for a man to have long hair.

Elihu was filled with youthful self-confidence and dogmatism of one who has never been tried   with great afflictions. He was much like a sea captain who has studied navigation, but has not been in the stormy seas. He is like a cadet who has gone through the military academy but has not let any soldiers into battle. Because of his great respect for the elderly who he is now to challenge, Elihu takes fifty-two lines to complete his apology for speaking at all in venerable a presence. Elihu emphasizes the fact that God is disciplining his children and leading them upward to a higher, sweeter, and nobler life.

 

3 Also against his three friends was his wrath kindled, because they had found no answer, and yet had condemned Job.

4 Now Elihu had waited till Job had spoken, because they were elder than he.

5 When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, then his wrath was kindled.

 

Opening remarks to the audience, especially the three FRIENDS

 

6 And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion.

7 I said, Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom.

8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

9 Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment.

10 Therefore I said, Hearken to me; I also will shew mine opinion.

11 Behold, I waited for your words; I gave ear to your reasons, whilst ye searched out what to say.

12 Yea, I attended unto you, and, behold, there was none of you that convinced Job, or that answered his words:

13 Lest ye should say, We have found out wisdom: God thrusteth him down, not man.

14 Now he hath not directed his words against me: neither will I answer him with your speeches.

15 They were amazed, they answered no more: they left off speaking.

16 When I had waited, (for they spake not, but stood still, and answered no more;)

17 I said, I will answer also my part, I also will shew mine opinion.

18 For I am full of matter, the spirit within me constraineth me.  19 Behold, my belly is as wine which hath no vent; it is ready to burst like new bottles.

20 I will speak, that I may be refreshed: I will open my lips and answer.

21 Let me not, I pray you, accept any man's person, neither let me give flattering titles unto man.

22 For I know not to give flattering titles; in so doing my maker would soon take me away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FIRST DIVISION

 

JOB 33:1-33

 

TURNING TO JOB

 

Job 33

 

1 Wherefore, Job, I pray thee, hear my speeches, and hearken to all my words.

2 Behold, now I have opened my mouth, my tongue hath spoken in my mouth.

3 My words shall be of the uprightness of my heart: and my lips shall utter knowledge clearly.

4 The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.

5 If thou canst answer me, set thy words in order before me, stand up.

6 Behold, I am according to thy wish in God's stead: I also am formed out of the clay.

7 Behold, my terror shall not make thee afraid, neither shall my hand be heavy upon thee.

8 Surely thou hast spoken in mine hearing, and I have heard the voice of thy words, saying,

9 I am clean without transgression, I am innocent; neither is there iniquity in me.

10 Behold, he findeth occasions against me, he counteth me for his enemy,

11 He putteth my feet in the stocks, he marketh all my paths.

12 Behold, in this thou art not just: I will answer thee, that God is greater than man.

13 Why dost thou strive against him? for he giveth not account of any of his matters.

14 For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. 

 

15 In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed;

16 Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, 17 That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.

18 He keepeth back his soul from the pit, and his life from perishing by the sword.

19 He is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain:

20 So that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat.

21 His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones that were not seen stick out.

22 Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers.

23 If there be a messenger with him, an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness:

24 Then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom.

25 His flesh shall be fresher than a child's: he shall return to the days of his youth:

26 He shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him: and he shall see his face with joy: for he will render unto man his righteousness.

27 He looketh upon men, and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profited me not;

28 He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light.

29 Lo, all these things worketh God oftentimes with man,

30 To bring back his soul from the pit, to be enlightened with the light of the living.

31 Mark well, O Job, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I will speak.

32 If thou hast any thing to say, answer me: speak, for I desire to justify thee.

33 If not, hearken unto me: hold thy peace, and I shall teach thee wisdom.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SECOND DIVISION

 

JOB 34:1-37

 

He turns to the three FRIENDS

 

Job 34

 

1 Furthermore Elihu answered and said,

2 Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge.

3 For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat.

4 Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good.

5 For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment.

6 Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression.

7 What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water?

8 Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men.

9 For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.

10 Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity.

11 For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways.

12 Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment.

13 Who hath given him a charge over the earth? Or who hath disposed the whole world?

 

14 If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath;

15 All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

16 If now thou hast understanding, hear this: hearken to the voice of my words.

17 Shall even he that hateth right govern? And wilt thou condemn him that is most just?

18 Is it fit to say to a king, Thou art wicked? And to princes, Ye are ungodly?

19 How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? For they all are the work of his hands.

20 In a moment shall they die, and the people shall be troubled at midnight, and pass away: and the mighty shall be taken away without hand.

21 For his eyes are upon the ways of man, and he seeth all his goings.

22 There is no darkness, nor shadow of death, where the workers of iniquity may hide themselves.

23 For he will not lay upon man more than right; that he should enter into judgment with God.

24 He shall break in pieces mighty men without number, and set others in their stead.

25 Therefore he knoweth their works, and he overturneth them in the night, so that they are destroyed.

26 He striketh them as wicked men in the open sight of others;

27 Because they turned back from him, and would not consider any of his ways:

28 So that they cause the cry of the poor to come unto him, and he heareth the cry of the afflicted.

29 When he giveth quietness, who then can make trouble? and when he hideth his face, who then can behold him? whether it be done against a nation, or against a man only:

30 That the hypocrite reign not, lest the people be ensnared.

31 Surely it is meet to be said unto God, I have borne chastisement, I will not offend any more:

32 That which I see not teach thou me: if I have done iniquity, I will do no more.

33 Should it be according to thy mind? He will recompense it, whether thou refuse, or whether thou choose; and not I: therefore speak what thou knowest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ELIHU looks to the three FRIENDS: they give no sign

 

34 Let men of understanding tell me, and let a wise man hearken unto me.

35 Job hath spoken without knowledge, and his words were without wisdom.

36 My desire is that Job may be tried unto the end because of his answers for wicked men.

37 For he addeth rebellion unto his sin, he clappeth his hands among us, and multiplieth his words against God.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THIRD DIVISION

 

JOB 35:1-16

 

To JOB and his three FRIENDS

 

 

Job 35

 

1 Elihu spake moreover, and said,

2 Thinkest thou this to be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than God's?

3 For thou saidst, What advantage will it be unto thee? and, What profit shall I have, if I be cleansed from my sin?

4 I will answer thee, and thy companions with thee.

5 Look unto the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds which are higher than thou.

6 If thou sinnest, what doest thou against him? or if thy transgressions be multiplied, what doest thou unto him?

7 If thou be righteous, what givest thou him? or what receiveth he of thine hand?

8 Thy wickedness may hurt a man as thou art; and thy righteousness may profit the son of man.

9 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. 

10 But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night;

11 Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven?

12 There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men.

13 Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.

14 Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him.

15 But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity:

16 Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FOURTH DIVISION

 

JOB 36:1-33

 

General expressions of his thoughts

 

 

Job 36

 

1 Elihu also proceeded, and said,

2 Suffer me a little, and I will shew thee that I have yet to speak on God's behalf.

3 I will fetch my knowledge from afar, and will ascribe righteousness to my Maker.

4 For truly my words shall not be false: he that is perfect in knowledge is with thee.

5 Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom.

6 He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor.

7 He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted.

8 And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction;

9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded.

10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.

11 If they obey and serve him, they shall spend their days in prosperity, and their years in pleasures.

12 But if they obey not, they shall perish by the sword, and they shall die without knowledge.

13 But the hypocrites in heart heap up wrath: they cry not when he bindeth them.

 

14 They die in youth, and their life is among the unclean.

15 He delivereth the poor in his affliction, and openeth their ears in oppression.

16 Even so would he have removed thee out of the strait into a broad place, where there is no straitness; and that which should be set on thy table should be full of fatness.

17 But thou hast fulfilled the judgment of the wicked: judgment and justice take hold on thee.

18 Because there is wrath, beware lest he take thee away with his stroke: then a great ransom cannot deliver thee.

19 Will he esteem thy riches? no, not gold, nor all the forces of strength.

20 Desire not the night, when people are cut off in their place.

21 Take heed, regard not iniquity: for this hast thou chosen rather than affliction.

22 Behold, God exalteth by his power: who teacheth like him?

23 Who hath enjoined him his way? Or who can say, Thou hast wrought iniquity?

24 Remember that thou magnify his work, which men behold.

25 Every man may see it; man may behold it afar off.

 

PREPARATIONS FOR THE VOICE OF GOD

 

 Beginning at Job 36:26, at which point signs of an approaching storm appear in the sky, which gradually increase in intensity during the remainder of ELIHU'S speech, which seems to have been cut short by the overwhelming force of the storm.

 

SCENE

 

JOB, his FRIENDS, ELIHU, and bystanders, are all upon or around the great ash mound outside of the city, exposed to the full force of the storm. ELIHU was probably speaking from the top of the mound where he could see the skies in every direction.

 

 

26 Behold, God is great, and we know him not, neither can the number of his years be searched out.

 

The sun drawing water

 

27 For he maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapour thereof:

 

There is a shower in the distance

 

28 Which the clouds do drop and distil upon man abundantly.

 

Distant thunder

 

29 Also can any understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his tabernacle?

30 Behold, he spreadeth his light upon it, and covereth the bottom of the sea.

31 For by them judgeth he the people; he giveth meat in abundance. 

 

Lightning bolt from clouds to earth

 

32 With clouds he covereth the light; and commandeth it not to shine by the cloud that cometh betwixt.

33 The noise thereof sheweth concerning it, the cattle also concerning the vapour.

 

A loud peal of thunder, close at hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Job 37

 

1 At this also my heart trembleth, and is moved out of his place. 

2 Hear attentively the noise of his voice, and the sound that goeth out of his mouth.

 

Thunder and lightning all around the horizon

 

3 He directeth it under the whole heaven, and his lightning unto the ends of the earth.

4 After it a voice roareth: he thundereth with the voice of his excellency; and he will not stay them when his voice is heard.

 

The storm increases

 

5 God thundereth marvellously with his voice; great things doeth he, which we cannot comprehend.

 

Hail and snow

 

6 For he saith to the snow, Be thou on the earth; likewise to the small rain, and to the great rain of his strength.

 

The storm increases in violence

 

7 He sealeth up the hand of every man; that all men may know his work.

8 Then the beasts go into dens, and remain in their places.

 

 

 

The warm storm from the south meets the cold one from the north

 

9 Out of the south cometh the whirlwind: and cold out of the north.

10 By the breath of God frost is given: and the breadth of the waters is straitened.

 

The storm has become a whirlwind; the whole scene is wrapped in thick darkness, broken by flashes of lightening

 

 

11 Also by watering he wearieth the thick cloud: he scattereth his bright cloud:

12 And it is turned round about by his counsels: that they may do whatsoever he commandeth them upon the face of the world in the earth.

13 He causeth it to come, whether for correction, or for his land, or for mercy.

14 Hearken unto this, O Job: stand still, and consider the wondrous works of God.

15 Dost thou know when God disposed them, and caused the light of his cloud to shine?

16 Dost thou know the balancings of the clouds, the wondrous works of him which is perfect in knowledge?

 

A change to sultry heat which precedes the coming of the cyclone

 

 

 

17 How thy garments are warm, when he quieteth the earth by the south wind?

18 Hast thou with him spread out the sky, which is strong, and as a molten looking glass?

19 Teach us what we shall say unto him; for we cannot order our speech by reason of darkness.

 

The storm cloud has now plunged them in its thickest darkness, filling ELIHU with terror

 

 

20 Shall it be told him that I speak? If a man speak, surely he shall be swallowed up.

 

Supernatural brightness too vivid to gaze upon mingles strangely with the darkness of the storm

 

21 And now men see not the bright light which is in the clouds: but the wind passeth, and cleanseth them.

 

 

The Shekinah, the manifestation of Jehovah's visible presence, shining upon the dark background of the storm cloud

 

22 Fair weather cometh out of the north: with God is terrible majesty.

23 Touching the Almighty, we cannot find him out: he is excellent in power, and in judgment, and in plenty of justice: he will not afflict.

24 Men do therefore fear him: he respecteth not any that are wise of heart.

 

The roar of the whirlwind gives

place to a VOICE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction to Job 38-40

 

When the curtain came down on the dramatic narrative of the life of Job in chapter 3, he was in the midst of a monologue cursing the day of his birth. “For the thing that I fear came upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest; but trouble comes” (Job 3:26). Job feared what all people fear to one degree or another and that is loss of loved ones, loss of income, and loss of health.  The troubles of life came to Job, not in stages, but in crashing waves of overwhelming disorder.

Even his friends turned against him in their language if not in their love.  Believing Job to be guilty of secret sins, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, set out to expose the inward corruption of the suffering saint.  They would argue passionately and at times persuasively for their point of view.

However, the main problem in the debate to follow was that the pre-suppositional thinking of Job's friends was wrong.  The friends of Job argued from the concept that, “prosperity was the result and reward of god-fearing goodness, and disaster and suffering of wrong-doing” (H. L. Ellison).

But what happens when the truth is that Job was a perfect man before the Lord?  "All sides of his life and character were harmoniously developed" (Ellison).  What is to be done with a theology that has not considered the angelic conflict or the attack of Satan upon the soul?

One irony of this situation is that there was a time when Job would have agreed with his friends and the adversarial judgment they held.  But now, since he is the victim of his own

theology, what is he to do?  Job realizes that he does not deserve the suffering he is forced to endure.  Job understands that prosperity is not the result and reward of god-fearing goodness, and disaster and suffering of wrong-doing for bad things do happen to good people.  Job realizes that an adjustment has to be made in his religious thinking.

In this matter, Job is not alone.  There are modern day parallels.  Consider, for example, the person who has grown up in a church that teaches salvation by good works.  Then, they come under the sound of the gospel which teaches that good works actually condemns man if used as a means of salvation, for by the works of the Law shall no flesh be justified in the sight of God.

On a Wednesday morning, a small group of ladies met for prayer and Bible study.  Though they all come from different denominational backgrounds there is a common element:  they have all been taught many things contrary to sound doctrine and contrary to the historic faith of the Church.  What can be done?

There is only one thing for all people to do when confronted with the reality that present doctrinal thinking is unacceptable in the presence of spiritual truth.  There must be a return to God.  Most people do not need another book, another seminar, another sermon or another counseling session. But they do need God.  They need to go to God. That is what Job had to do and it what his three companions will have to do as well

 before the situation is concluded. “[Meanwhile] Though they have no understanding for the plight of their friend, it is the three [Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar] who really help Job back to

peace. [They do this in a negative way] for they so increase his anguish that they drive him back to God” (H.L. Ellison ).

Ah, to go back to God!  That is the ultimate solution to all of life's problems.  Job will have to return to the Lord. He will have to speak of God and search for Him until Elohim is pleased to reveal Himself to His servant.  And, according to chapter 38 that is what happened.

The curtain now rises for the last time on the closing narrative.  The audience is introduced to something sensational. God has come to speak to His suffering servant. He has come to end the religious debate. He has come to set the record straight. He has come to vindicate Job.

The means the Lord used to manifest His presence was a whirlwind.  It was while Elihu was speaking that storm clouds had covered the sky and blotted out the sun.  The sound of thunder roared in the background (Job 36:29-37:5).  Now he full thunder roll was heard overhead.  The gloom of the darkened day was illuminated by flashes of lightening.

Four men couched in fear as they turned their faces towards the sky.  Three of the men started to flee into the city until they noticed the look on the face of Job.  He was not afraid anymore.  There was a joyous and humble calmness about his composure.  The Almighty God of the Universe had cone to him.  Clothed in the dread of Divine majesty of nature, God had come to speak to Job, and Job was speaking back to—Someone?

It is possible that Job's friends found themselves in the same position as Paul's traveling companions on the Damascus Road in that they heard the sound of something but saw no man (Acts 9:7). For Job, the storm became the voice of

God speaking directly to him though his friends could make out no distinguishing sound.  It did not matter.  What God had to say to Job was something very personal and very simple. “Job, I want you to hush.  And I want your friends to be silent as well.  There has been a lot of debate about the subject of suffering.  I want the discussion to end and the affirmation of faith to begin again.”

 

THIRD SOLUTION

 

 Another reason for suffering lies in the fact that it is one of the disciplines in life by which we receive spiritual character and usefulness.

Almost everyone who has grown in grace has learned the truth that the things we have experienced, our burdens, our difficulties, our struggles, our sufferings, are the things that teach us.

 

Ladder Of St. Augustine

 

“All thoughts of ill; all evil deeds,

That have their root in thoughts of ill;

Whatever hinders or impedes

The action of the nobler will--

 

All these must first be trampled down

Beneath our feet, if we would gain

In the bright fields of fair renown

The right of eminent domain.”

 

Longfellow

 

~*~

All the fruits of the Spirit are ripened by conflict with the works of the flesh and victory over them. We learn joy by conquering the false joys of the world, by triumph over sorrow. We learn love by victory over the enemies that hate us. We learn peace by clinging to Christ in

the storm. We learn faithfulness by duties done when to do them means hardship and loss. We learn kindness by doing good to them that hate us and despitefully use us. We learn temperance by victory over our strong appetites and passions. We learn meekness and patience in an evil world, full of wrongs.

 

 

THE VOICE OF GOD FROM THE WHIRLWIND

 

Chapters 38:1-42:6