Job 1:8 “My Servant Job”
We will spend our time in this book “considering” God’s servant Job. It is certainly a unique book of the Bible. First because it is thought to be the oldest of the sixty-six books since it is generally believed that Moses is the next earliest writer and that he probably compiled the material in Genesis. Commentators believe that intrinsic evidence indicates that Job predated the revelation of the Mosaic law since Job was the priest of his family (v.5), offering sacrifice as did Noah (Gen.8:20).
Secondly, it is its subject matter that sets the book of Job apart from all the rest. What a story! And apparently, what a man! It is Jehovah Himself that calls our attention (along with Satan’s) to the consideration of this God - fearing man and since every page is by him or about him we must assume this to be the theme.
There is no evidence anywhere to indicate that Job ever did know what was going on behind the scenes. To begin with, of course, to have known would have ruined the text but it does seem a bit surprising that he apparently never did know this side of the grave unless, of course, he was the author. It is a great reminder to all of us that we must not be surprised with whatever comes our way, for how do we know but that we might be undergoing similar tests.
What has struck me at this reading are these words, “Hast thou considered my servant Job...” (V.8). To think that the Sovereign ruler of the universe would even know that Job existed is mind-boggling to say the least. That He considered him to be His servant is too wonderful for words. By what marvelous stupendous acts did Job qualify for such recognition? I think we will find him to be quite an ordinary all right guy. Perhaps he was a bit extraordinary for the times in which he lived, but I think I know a lot of people who are mature and upright, who are God-fearing and turned off on all that is evil. Christ living in His people has had a profound effect. Might He be eyeing one of us for a similar type of experience?
Job 2:9 Retained Integrity
I think we have discussed before the meaning of the word “evil” in the Scriptures. It is a very general word meaning bad and can be translated adversity. In Jeremiah 24:8 it is the word used to speak of bad figs. It is clear from James 1:13 that God does not tempt anyone with moral evil.
What is clear from the book of Job is that God does allow the most morally evil being in the universe to tempt men to moral evil. There can be no greater moral evil than to curse God which is what Job’s wife urged him to do. Certainly, Satan was behind that! I can’t think of anything more difficult to face than in the midst of physical pain and the sorrow of the loss of all of one’s children to have one’s wife “desert to the foe.”
It is refreshing to read that Job did retain his integrity and “ in all this did not Job sin with his lips.”
I have often heard of people becoming angry at God and it makes me wonder what kind of a concept they have of Him. There are times when we may wonder at His ways and tell Him how hard it is to understand them, but are we not told right from the start that His judgements are unsearchable and “His ways past finding out.” We might imagine how comforting that verse would have been to poor Job had he the blessing of being able to turn to Romans 11:33.
As we shall see, it would probably have been better if Job’s three “friends” had continued to keep quiet for all the help they were to him.
Over this chapter I have the following note by George Parsons, pastor of the Middletown Bible Church in CT, “Job, I want you to see the absolute necessity for my involvement with man, that’s why you are brought so low.”
Though the testing continues for a season, Satan is seen no more. Perhaps he withdraws to watch and see where it all will end. So may we stand in the evil day when the enemy roars against us. “Ye have heard of the patience of Job” and soon we shall see “the end of the Lord” (Js.5:11), meanwhile let us see what we can learn.
Job 3: 1 Job Curses His Day
As we read in 1:22, Job did not charge God foolishly and as in 2:10 it is obvious that he had a healthy respect (fear) for Jehovah and he did not sin with his lips in this way as his wife urged him to do. This is what we do when we attempt to blame God for our circumstances which is very wrong.
On the other hand, we have chapter three to deal with in which Job does foolishly curse the day of his birth. We can sympathize with him in that he was undergoing great suffering having lost all of his children in a tragic accident, all his wealth in overnight reverses and now is in excruciating pain from sore boils. One sore boil is enough to try one’s perseverance let alone having them all over the whole body. If under these conditions he gave vent to statements of self-pity, we can understand why. But while that explains his outburst it doesn’t justify it.
First, what he says here is ridiculous. The day of his birth was long past and nothing could reasonably be done about it, of that we are certain. To wish he had not been born is the most he can do but in doing it he is wrong, and this is one of the reasons, in all probability, that God eventually rebuked him (38:1&2).
Before we hasten to judge poor Job, we must, if we do, pour the same criticism on the great prophet Jeremiah (20: 14-18). Perhaps this is some kind of a Hebrew litany of humility – but I tend to think not.
Moses, Elijah and Jonah each at some point in their life expressed a death wish but obviously this is wrong. Sometimes even David disappoints us in his lack of understanding about existence beyond the grave. It is like some misguided souls whom we hear saying, “well, it’s a blessing that he (or she) has passed out of their suffering and is at rest.” That, of course, is absolutely true of the saved person but one hears it frequently being spoken of those who had no testimony of a salvation experience. In death, the servant may be free from his master (v.19) only to find in hell a greater more demanding one from which he can never be free.
Especially in the light of this book of wisdom it is best for us to accept what comes our way and never wish it to be other wise. Lord, give us grace for this.
Job 4:15 Eliphaz, You Make Our Hair Stand Up!
Here begins the main body of this book of Job. It consists of a long and tedious controversy between him and his three visitors. The pitiful lamentation seen in the previous chapter stirs these to speak. Eliphaz and Bildad speak thrice and to each Job answers. Zophar speaks twice, again rebutted by Job.
If you have never read this book carefully, you should go at this point and read chapter 42 verses 7 and 8. It is really helpful to know the end from the beginning. If only poor old Job could have had such a privilege! But, we can, and what we find out is helpful, yea, essential in evaluating the dissertations of these “friends.” We see that God’s wrath is kindled against them. He accuses them of not speaking what is right “as my servant Job hath.” He underscores this by repeating it a second time and commands them to accentuate their repentance by offering up to Him seven bullocks and seven rams and “my servant Job” (repeated four times) shall pray for you lest I deal with you after your folly.
The great mistake that these well intentioned friends made was concluding that Job’s
suffering was due to God’s punishment for sin. God calls this folly! So, one of the first things we must be careful of is that we distinguish who is speaking throughout these twenty-eight chapters. If it is Job we must listen more carefully, if it is one of these other three, we must try to see where they are wrong, but we can’t discount their words altogether for some times they come up with something helpful as in 5:17.
Jumping to conclusions about what God is doing in other peoples lives is folly indeed for as we see here, we don’t always know ourselves what He is doing in our own lives!
This man Eliphaz scares us almost as bad as he was frightened by the occult experience he claimed to have (v.15). It makes me wonder how much demonic influence has sometimes been behind those who sought to be my judge. Let us be very careful of this business of sitting in judgement of God’s servants - and remember Job was God’s servant and he wasn’t even a pastor or missionary!
Job 5:17 Fallacious Reasoning
I find it extremely difficult to know how to handle much of the content of the book of Job. We already know what Jehovah thinks of the reasoning of these three men and He classifies it as folly. As we study for ourselves and as we read what commentators have written, we discover that, indeed, some of what we find in these dissertations is right thinking, but wrongly applied. On the other hand, we already know (by checking the end of the story) that Jehovah credits Job with speaking right at least some of the time (42:7) and yet he obviously was also wrong in his attitude toward God at times.
So, we have to be very careful not to misrepresent what is being said. For example, Eliphaz says in verse seven that “man is born unto trouble as the sparks fly upward.” Now, we must first ask the question as to whether what he is saying is true or not. It is certainly true of some men but is it generally true? Up until this point it apparently was not true of Job. He had had a pretty good life so far as we can tell and other than this interlude with the devil, he had a good life at the end. And this is before the age of grace. To translate the word trouble as labor as suggested by the center reference changes the thought, but most people who quote this verse from the KJV do not do this. My main point is that we must be very careful to rightly divide the Word of God (II Tim.2:15).
Someone may counter that we don’t hesitate to quote Balaam, but the difference is that the context of Numbers 22-24 indicates that God was controlling his tongue. We cannot have that confidence here.
In closing, however, we have the case where some of what Eliphaz says is quoted in the New Testament. Verse seventeen we know is true not only because it seems right to us, but the Holy Spirit authenticates it in Hebrews 12:5. We are not to despise the chastening of the Lord.
This does not alter the fact that Eliphaz was convinced that Job was just getting what he deserved because of his sin. That was his folly.
Job 6:8 A Prayer Not Answered, Thankfully
It certainly is a good thing that Job didn’t get what he asked God to grant him, the thing he longed for (v.8). What he would have missed if He had done so! Picture Job coming into God’s presence after his prayer was answered and God showing him what, by this time, it seems, he must know. The whole scenario involving his conversation with the devil and then a glimpse of what He had planned at the end of the trial. There is no question but that when we meet Job some day, as surely we will, he will tell us, in no uncertain terms, that he is exceedingly glad that God did not answer his prayer!
I guess we should all be thankful that God has turned a deaf ear to some of our prayers. “Thank you Lord for those prayers of mine which You have chosen not to answer.” If it is important to the making of our plans that we add the proviso Lord willing (James 4:15), how much more should the same be added to many of our prayers. Are we not very thankful that our Lord Jesus made sure of His Father’s good pleasure by adding to His prayer in Gethesemane “Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done”(Matt.26:39)? Had He not thus qualified His request that the cup of suffering which He faced might pass from Him, we would yet be in our sins with no hope of escaping our eternal and just dessert.
To answer your question truthfully Job (v.12), yes, your strength is the strength of stones, for God is our strength and He is often referred to as a Stone. And yes, Job, you were certainly justified when you said in verse fourteen “To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend.” Surely his brethren dealt deceitfully as a brook that dries up when the heat of summer comes into season (v.15). In some things you are right and in others you are wrong. So it is with all of us and we can at least learn that from our dear brother Job!
Job 7:17 “What is Man?”
As we behold God’s servant Job in this chapter, we hear him asking the question “what is man?” Here, of course, differently than in Psalm 8:4, it would seem it is in the form of a complaint and it comes immediately after his plaintiff request, “let me alone.”
It is not a worthy complaint but it is one I fear God often hears from His created beings. To put it in modern vernacular we might hear “would you please quit messing with me, God!”
I like the fact that Job says as part of his question, “What is man that thou shouldest magnify him?” We might think about the fact that man is such a tiny spec in God’s universe that the only way He could possibly see us is as if He put us under a powerful magnifying glass. The thing that is such an amazingly great and wonderful truth is the fact that He even pays any attention to us at all! I think that is the thought is the mind of the Psalmist, “ You are such a great and Sovereign Creator of all the wonders of the universe, how is it that You are interested in the particles of dust so infinitesimally small and insignificant?” But, wonder of wonders, He is interested in us, so interested that the triune God took some of this dust to envelop His glorious Being (Heb.2:14) and stepping off the precipice of glory descended from outer space to the inner space of Mary’s womb and thus, in a split second of time was begun in terms of man’s experience that great plan of salvation, rooted in eternity past and resultant in such eternal glory for man that only a glorified shell commensurate in resurrection power to that of His at the Father’s right hand, could possibly contain it.
Oh, my friend Job, if I could only have slipped in among your other friends to share with you a peep into the future, you would have begun in earnest to thank Him for His visits every morning, no matter what form they took, and as He tried you every moment you would have learned sooner to treasure those moments as gold (v.18; 23:10).
Job 8:6 “He Would Awake for Thee”
If we could speak to our brother Bildad we might say that as his name implies (it means to sink) we have a sinking feeling that he has sunk to a new low in his accusations of the LORD’s servant Job. We have inside information that he speaks “folly” (42:8) and that very soon he is going to be required by Jehovah to humble himself before Job and acknowledge his error. (The verb from which his name comes implies the concept of humbling oneself.)
The fact is that he was wrong on a number of counts. What happened to Job’s children was not due to their having sinned (v.4). God considered that Job was “pure and upright” apparently so Bildad was wrong to think that he was suffering due to his own sin (v.6). Furthermore what was happening to him was not due to his hypocrisy or because he had forgotten God (v.13). it was expressly because he was considered to be a “perfect man” that he was going through such suffering (v.20) and not because he was an “evildoer” as Bildad suspected.
I like what F.B. Meyer says in his Daily Homily on this chapter.
“God’s arrangements for us are not governed by the superficial philosophy which would make material prosperity a sign of his favour, and adversity of his displeasure. There are many considerations beside. Our privations in the outward strengthen and ripen the inward. As the outward man decays, the inward is renewed day by day. We have to learn and manifest those passive virtues which can only mature in silence and sorrow. We must be taught to be largely independent of circumstances, and to find in God Himself the springs of unfailing supply. We must learn to carry the sentence of death in ourselves, that we may not trust in ourselves, but in the living God. We have to suffer with and for others. All these things worketh God with us to make us partakers of His holiness. But amid all our sorrows, He is always awake for us.”
Job 9:2 Just With God
As we behold God’s servant Job, we are painfully aware of how human he was and so very much like most of us. In this chapter he is making good sense, but look out for chapter 10 - what will we do with that!
Don’t forget, we must put the best construction possible on what Job is saying, for obviously that is what God must have done according to 42:7. Here in verse 2 he is asking, not to be too trite, a very good question. If only we could get more people thinking deeply enough to be asking it these days here where we live, “how should a man be just with God?” We might ask him a question, “what were your thoughts when you were offering (1:5) burnt offerings on behalf of your children? If you thought they might have sinned was not the purpose of the sacrifice to atone for that sin? If their sin was thus covered, were they not righteous in their standing before a holy God?”
It must be that Job was somehow not satisfied that the blood of animals was a sufficient sacrifice. We hope his thoughts these days, as he sat among the ashes and scraped his boils with a shard of a broken pot, were running deep and so he was questioning these matters of the soul.
As he meditated on the “mighty strength” of Jehovah, of His power to create the stars of the constellations, yea, of all the great things that He did which were “past finding out”he wondered what would happen if he called upon Him (v.16), would he be convinced that God actually heard him? He was soon to find out!
As he pondered these great thoughts, his heart longed for a face to face with a Being more like himself or at least for Someone who could be a mediator between him and God. And now he knows that there could only be one such Person and with bloody hands outstretched on a rugged cross He reached to touch Jehovah on the one hand and Job on the other. And such a touch it was that made a man “just with God.”
Job 10:8 Thine Hands Have Made Me
As we sit here with you, Job, we must say that sometimes we are quite disappointed with hearing all of your complaints. Job, if only you lived in our dispensation of grace you would never find anything to complain about. We have it so good. We even have a Bible that really helps us understand some of the mysteries of God like, why the righteous suffer. Thank you so much Job for all you went through so that we would learn never to complain about anything. Ha!
Well, while we are here listening to you we will try real hard to think positively. For example, we are glad that you do recognize that men are the work of God’s hands (vs.3,8 &9). There so many people around us that don’t accept that view at all.
I will try to remember the next time I feel that I am being curdled like cheese that it is God doing it and it is you, Job that reminded me to think like that. To everything there is a process!
Wow, Job, though there are some things in this chapter that I am going to forget that you ever said them, I will underline in red what you said in verse 12!
You know Job, I am really glad that my mother didn’t choose to abort me when she found she was pregnant and unmarried. How ashamed she must have felt coming back home to family and friends, from the city, after her husband left her for another woman. They probably said, “we could have told you he was no good.” She must have felt a lot like Job. She suffered but endured, and Job, I am glad you did too even though there were those times when you wished you had been carried from the womb to the grave. I, for one, am glad you persevered, as tough as it was, because you and your story have been a blessing and a help to so many, who now know, like my mother, it was good that she didn’t take the easy way out.
Job 11:7 By Searching
Having spent hours mediating upon Zophar’s words and fighting drowsiness I turned for the first time in this book to an old friend, A Commentary Critical, Experimental and Practical on the Old and New Testament by Rev. Robert Jamieson, D.D., Rev. A.R. Fausset, A.M. and the Rev. David Brown, D.D., Volume III, Job – Isaiah (by Fausset) published by Moody Press in 1945.
In the preface he states (among other things) his “unhesitating conviction of the plenary and verbal inspiration of all Scripture and of the Holy Scripture alone.”
I wish I could reproduce for you his Introduction to the Poetical Books as well as to the Book of Job, about 10,000 words which I have just read myself for the first time. Good stuff! All of this material I believe is in the public domain, that is, not copyrighted.
After the exposition of each chapter the author produces a series of numbered remarks upon the text. I reproduce the first of 4 of these which are profoundly devotional in nature.
1. If we desire the good of him whom we would reprove, we must speak meekly and lovingly, not with exaggeration, harshness and injustice. If Job used, as he had done, a “multitude of words,” love might have suggested that it was not without some palliation: his sufferings were many and acute. To have recognized this in the first instance, as well as his past integrity of character, would have prepared the way for reproving him in those respects wherein his present temper and words were really reprehensible. 2. Not “the multitude of words” but the power of the Holy Ghost, can assure any man of his justification (I Thess.1:5). Man’s protestations of his own purity and cleanness (v.4) only ensure his condemnation. His true wisdom is to hasten before the throne of mercy with full acknowledgment of his guilt and uncleanness. 3. However severe our trials be, we may take one thing as sure, namely, that God always “exacteth less of” us than our “iniquity deserveth” (v.6). 4. We are too apt to form our estimate of sin in general, and of our own sin in particular, by low standard of our own intellectual and moral comprehensions. The antidote to this tendency is that we should call to mind the infinitude of God’s wisdom (v.7,&c.), and the far-searching ken of His omniscience, which sees sin in man where man himself suspects none. Our wisdom is to cry to God, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my thoughts; and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Ps. 139: 23, 24).
Job 12:12 Wisdom and Strength
Yea, Job, at last you are making sense! As it reads here, he was also being a bit sarcastic. “No doubt ye are the people and wisdom will die with you”(v.2). He is confronted with a 3-man team of know it alls and this day he must have been feeling better so he gives them both barrels, as they say, and doesn’t leave them a leg to stand on. His shotgun blast from the first barrel asks them in so many words, “don’t you think I know anything, come on now, give me some credit.” And with the second, he accuses them of not being as smart as even the birds, the beasts and the fish.
Job then proceeds in a wonderful dissertation to extol Jehovah’s wisdom and strength (v.11) saying also, “he hath counsel and understanding.” How clearly Job sees the truth that in God’s “hand is the soul of every living thing” and especially the very “breath of all mankind” (v.10). Certainly Job could not possibly make such a statement and omit himself! So, he is leading up to his great statement of faith in the next chapter, verse 15, which we will look at in our next writing.
Job contends here that Jehovah reveals deep things – that is, He brings hidden things to light. Certainly He is putting the thinking of Job’s three friends under the microscope and it is very revealing how little they understand God’s ways. They indeed are like those who are wandering in the wilderness or as those “who grope in the darkness without light and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.” One might surely think the Psalmist was quoting Job here as he pens almost these very words in Psalm 107:1,14 and 27. Job was certainly doing business with God in great waters and He was causing him to see His works and His wonders in the deep (v.24).
We would like to admonish Job at this point, “ Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness and for his wonderful works to the children of men” (107: 8,15, 21 and 31) but hold on to the end and there will be even more reason to do so – when he really sees His goodness!
Job 13:4 Physicians of No Value
As we consider God’s servant Job in this chapter and the next at least we feel a bit more confident that we may learn something helpful than when we are reading what one of his three friends had to say. I know that it changes my attitude considerably. With all of the idiom it is hard enough just understanding what they are talking about without having to be on the watch for error in their thinking. Then too, if one only had such a gifted memory so as to be able to remember all that has been said so as to put it all together, or the hours for study that it would take, but alas most of us are lacking in both time and ability so please forgive us Lord if we often just don’t get it.
One thing here that comes through loud and clear is the fact that Job considered that he was not inferior to these “comforters” for here he says it a second time (13:2 and 12:3). When we speak to others, especially our loved ones, we need not only to be careful to avoid not talking down to them, but aware also that some may feel you are doing so even if you are not conscious of it yourself. In other words it is how we are perceived that is important. Obviously Job perceived that these men were talking to him as though he was inferior to them and it would seem that Jehovah confirmed that fact (42:7).
On the other hand apparently Job was justified in his assessment of their speeches. He said that they were forgers of lies. It is one of life’s most difficult trials to have your good be evil spoken of and to be totally misunderstood. I think Job was fortunate, however, in that at least he could face his accusers and defend himself. When forgers of lies do so behind our back, that is a sad case indeed. If we have something against a brother, we should tell him to his face and at least listen to his side of the story. How unfair not to do so and than to pass it on to someone else.
God’s servant Job says in this case it would be wise to hold your peace. This is a nice way to say “shut up.” Again, he says this twice (vv.5 & 13). How many times have we heard it said, “If you can’t say something good about a person, don’t say anything?” If you don’t have the courage and sense of fairness to say it to their face, please oh please, hold your peace, i.e. SHUT UP!
Job 14:14 My Appointed Time
As you who have been reading these devotional thoughts on this book of Job are probably aware, they are pitifully slender in their scope. My sense is that a real in-depth study of these chapters would produce some very rich fare, an exercise of which it is not possible to do in an effort of this nature. I have heard that someone has done a thorough commentary on Job but I do not yet possess it. It would especially be helpful if it has been done by someone who is proficient in Hebrew idiom. If you know of such a work, please tell me.
This chapter has several interesting questions which I would like us to think about. The first to consider is in verse four. “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” This is rhetorical and he answers, “not me” or no one. The subject is total depravity and it is not intended to reflect negatively upon motherhood nor is its companion verse by David when he states in Psalm 51:5 “Behold I was shapen in iniquity and in sin did my mother conceive me.” These are merely profound statements on the basic Bible doctrine that the whole human race was affected by Adam’s sin. As school age children were early taught via the so-called shorter catechism, “In Adam’s fall we sinned all.” Job has said it in a way we can all understand. Whether we believe it or not is another matter. I think he was saying, “listen guys, we are in the same boat so if there is some failure here, don’t say too much without including yourselves.”
I really like what he says next. “God has given each man an allotted number of months and when his time is up, that’s it! Just leave me alone to get on with it.” Physically, if you chop him down like a tree he doesn’t come right back up like a tree. He is put in the ground for a while until God’s wrath is past but in the end there is appointed a set time when He will remember him (v.13). Again, he answers the rhetorical question. “If a man die will he live again?” He speaks once more of an “appointed time” when his change will come. This seems to correlate with what he says in 19:26 (take a little peek, it won’t cost anymore.)
God desires to finish the work of His hands (v.15). Having begun a good work in us He will complete it (in the day of Jesus Christ-- Phil.1:6).
Job 15:10 Grey Heads Aren’t Always Wisest
Eliphaz thought that because these “comforters” were old and grey-headed they were therefore wiser than Job, in fact he said we are even older than your father – implying that for this reason he should listen to them. Ordinarily this is true, but in the case before us, obviously it was not. Have you beheld my servant Job who as a younger man could say with the Psalmist, “I understand more than the ancients?” In fact, in Ps.119: 98-99 the indication is that by knowing God’s word it is often true that one may be found to be wiser than their teachers and certainly than their enemies.
We do not know exactly why Job was wiser than these men but it will not be far “off the money” to assume that it was because somehow he knew Jehovah better. And how could that be apart from knowing His word better? The Psalmist in verse 97 (where else but Psalm 119) states what must be the secret to knowing God better when he says, “O how love I thy law, it is my meditation all the day.”
Possibly as an even younger man Job had learned about a clean life from taking heed to God’s word (v.9) and had hidden it in his heart so as not to sin against Him (v.11). Certainly God saw Job as His servant and we think probably it was because Job was established in the Word of God and devoted to His fear (v.38).
As to his afflictions Job could probably have agreed wholeheartedly with verses 67, 71 and 75 (again in Psalm 119) and we sincerely wish that he might have had access to them, though he probably did not. Thankfully we do!
I just “happened” to be reading this morning in Psalm 119 and as I began putting pen to paper, the thoughts began to tie in, especially with Eliphaz’s remarks about age and wisdom. After I got saved I led my Mom towards the Lord. Usually she knew much more that I, but here was once that I knew more than she did. Be sure and listen to your kids, you know “out of the mouths of babes...”
Job 16:5 I Would Strengthen You
As we behold God’s servant Job today we observe him addressing his “miserable comforters.” He asks them whether they will ever run out of vain words. He reminds them that if the situation were reversed he could do to them what they are doing to do him which in his opinion was simply the heaping up of these vain words and he could shake his head at them as they were apparently doing while remonstrating with him, “Oh, Job what a hard case you are, why will you not listen to us, we are older than you and wiser.” They were coming at him, gnashing at him with their teeth, smiting him on the cheek (vv.9 &10), being, as it were, “enemies.”
Whether these were literal abuses that Job was suffering from these “miserable comforters” or whether it only seemed they were taking him by the neck and shaking him, he felt it all the same and it was how he handled it that it is our lesson for today.
Job said, that though he felt he might like to treat them as they were treating him, he would not do so but rather would turn the other cheek and would use his words to strengthen them and his lips to assuage their grief.
We often think that the Old Testament teaches “an eye for an eye”etc., but here God’s servant, as one of the oldest of the old, speaks of turning the other cheek and I, for one, will write Matthew 6:39 next to Job 16:5 & 10 in my Bible. The principle of returning good for evil was taught by the Lord Jesus and He was simply teaching what a good God wanted His children to do from the beginning, for it is what He does.
We know how we should treat those who might even be justly called our enemies from the stories of the Good Samaritan. This story came from the lips of our Savior in response to the question, “And who is our neighbor?” Job would say that it is the one who needs our prayers. He needed the prayers of his neighbors not their scorn (vv.20 &21).
Job 17:9 How the Righteous Grow Strong in the Way
As we consider God’s servant Job in this chapter, we are not very encouraged, for he certainly is not. He feels that God Himself has hidden the hearts of his friends from understanding. To them he has become a byword and search as he might he cannot find one wise man among them. Under these circumstances all he can do is await death. That is the only friend that he feels he has in this stage of his life. The grave is ready for him as he sees it and he thinks that his days are over, “extinct” as he puts it.
It certainly is a hard place to be in with no one to “strike hands” with him, no one to say, “yes Job we understand, we love you and will pray for you and stand by you to the end.” We could all hope that in similar circumstances we might at least have that comfort, but Job did not.
Let us be thankful not to be in Job’s shoes, but what if we were? Knowing what we know hopefully, we would not question “where is now my hope?” As James says (5:11) we “have seen the end of the Lord.” Here in God’s Book we have only to turn a few more pages and we will see that even in the end of Job’s life he had enough blessings to make him forget all of his trials, and that is but the beginning. Concerning eternal blessings, Paul writes (Rom.8:18) “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.”
Going back for a moment to the passage in James, we are struck with God’s assessment of Job’s overall attitude when He, lumping him with the prophets who suffered affliction patiently, reminds us of “the patience of Job!” Wow!
Perhaps a familiarity with this story will help us do right as we are admonished in the one real positive verse in this chapter. As the “righteous” may we hold to the way firmly to the end and keeping our hands clean (Ps.24:4) as we ascend “the hill of the LORD,” may we just grow “stronger and stronger.” Amen
Job 18:21 “Him That Knoweth Not God”
It certainly would seem from the context that Bildad is classifying Job as being wicked (v.5) and if so the remainder of the chapter is leveled against him and he is being accused of not knowing God (v.21). This would be borne out by the nature of Job’s response in chapter nineteen where he speaks of the vexation of his soul as these “friends” reproach him. God does not agree with this classification of His servant Job (v.42:7).
It is remarkable how one can be so wrong and yet be right! It seems that this is true of Bildad here. He is wrong about Job, but right about the wicked. We can apply this passage by realizing that what he is saying is true regarding most of the people we know, including perhaps some of our dearest friends and loved ones. If it has not already happened, it soon will. The spark of life that animates them, that kindles the light in their eyes, that motivates and energizes them in their varied pursuits will go out (vv. 5 & 6). That clever rascal death has dug a pit and disguised it, a trap, a snare and into it the smartest, the strongest will tumble with the rest. The king of terror shall wrestle them to defeat as confidence is thrown down and strength fails. Root and branch shall suffer destruction. Before long the very remembrance of them shall perish from the earth. If their names be spoken in the street, no one will recognize it.
To be driven from light into darkness, to be chased out of this world “such are the dwellings of the wicked.” It will be as though they never had lived there. None of these things will be true of Job for in heaven everyone will know him and you too, my brother or sister, but that unsaved loved one who in his heart despises everything we stand for will have all of eternity to regret that he or she “knoweth not God.”
Job 19: 25 I Know That My Redeemer Liveth
If, as is supposed, Job is the human author of this book, thus is must have been written in retrospect which might account for the statement about ten reproaches at this time. There certainly could have been more than he recorded at this point or possibly he was exaggerating and used the round number to simply express the extremity of the situation. And they weren’t done yet! Cheer up Job there’s more to come, we are only about half way through this test. There is another round with each of these guys and we have yet to be introduced to Elihu who will take six of our chapters to tell us what he thinks about the situation.
We will not linger long reflecting upon this latest outbreak leveled against God. It is this attitude surely about which he later repents saying, “Behold I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” We do pity him, however, as he laments the very real unfair treatment that he was receiving from everyone even his wife (vv.13-17). That young children should treat him so was unconscionable (v.18). Those he loved “turned against” him. Poor man!
But, let us turn now, before we reach the bottom of our sheet, to what without question are the most wonderful words Job uttered throughout the entire trial. In verse 23 he wished for his words to be printed in a book and lo, here we read them! Isn’t that special!
How much Job understood about his redeemer we will not know this side of glory, but he sensed that he did indeed have a “daysman” a kinsman redeemer, yet to come forward on his behalf. Handel made much of this in The Messiah and we love to sing of the fact that He lives especially when each spring Resurrection Day comes around. Like Job, we still wait for the latter day when He shall stand upon the earth.
I think verse 26 is absolutely stupendous! “In my flesh shall I see God.”
Though it is a change of subject I want to comment on the last verse. Capital punishment (sword) is for the purpose that we “may know there is a judgement.” This is such a helpful verse on the topic.
Job 20:1 Then Answered Zophar
Job has begged for pity and one might think that a discerning brotherwould recognize a spark of godliness from his latest words (19:25 - 27) and try fanning it. Instead Zophar seems to boil over with invectives against him whom he sees as wicked (vv.5&6) and hypocritical. Again the commentators in the effort to be constructive can say little except that most of what Zophar says would be true of a truly wicked person which, of course, Job, God’s servant, was not.
Perhaps it might be well to think, in contrast, of the magnanimity of David in his dealings with Saul. As a young man he had served Saul faithfully. On his behalf David had battled the Philistines and had triumphed over Goliath. He has sought by his music to comfort his master. He was husband to Saul’s daughter and best friend of his son but in spite of all this, he was the object of Saul’s wrath. Saul sought more than once to kill him yet when David had opportunity to retaliate as in the cave at Engedi, his “heart smote him because he had cut off Saul’s skirt” (I Sam.24:6). His reasoning was that in doing so he was stretching forth his hand against “the anointed of the Lord.” How tender was David’s heart toward a man that was viciously treating him as an enemy.
All of this was in the old dispensation, before the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the church and before there was ever an apostle Paul who taught that we are to be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, etc. (Eph.4:32).
The point is this. We might be tempted to excuse Zophar for being so unbrotherly because he lived in so early a time, but God did not, and shows us through David’s attitude how He expected people to behave even in those days. Since God is love and love suffereth long and is kind, such was it so in Job’s day and certainly in ours. Live it!
Job 21:30 Reserved to the Day of Destruction
God’s servant Job is a pretty smart guy and is more than a match for his accusers. In this chapter his thinking is sharp and shows that in spite of all of his extreme suffering, there is nothing wrong with his mind. Humorously he says, “please give me a chance to make my case, and you can go home at least being consoled that you did that much. Other than the fact that you are wrong, my problem is not you, but God; it is He that I do not understand. When I am through you can go on mocking me as you have been doing.”
At this point Job brings out his big guns. He reasons that since these men think God is punishing him for being wicked, how is it that most of the time the wicked get by so easily? In fact it is one of the big questions in life and comes up in Scripture not only here but also in one of Asaph’s psalms (73) where he questions their prosperity (v.3).
Here Job reasons, their kids are well established in life (mine are all dead) and there is no evidence of any problems. They have a good time and have plenty of money and in a moment they drop into Sheol never having suffered at all. Job knew, and God had backed him up before Satan, that he had sought to live a godly life and look where it has gotten him. (We hasten to add – so far!)
We can all verify that there is no doubt that the majority of the unsaved people we know here in our affluent society are much like these whom Job describes. In fact, some of us who are well below the so-called poverty level just can’t imagine what it would be like to have money to buy the yachts that we see in Camden harbor.
But, as Job points out, their good is not in their hand, they are like the chaff (stubble) before the wind (Ps.1:4). Some die young, and others cannot even enjoy their food. As he says, they shall be brought to the grave and to paraphrase what Asaph said, “They already have one foot in the grave and the other on a banana peel.” Those of us who are in fellowship with God understand their end (Ps.73:17&18).
Job 22:3 Pleasure to The Almighty
Eliphaz here in the third round displays his utter lack of understanding and compassion. I read this morning in Proverbs, “there is that speaketh like the piercings of a sword, but the tongue of the wise is health” (12:18). It is as if these men can’t hear a thing Job, God’s servant, is saying. They have one theme, one all-encompassing avowal of Job’s guilt, they have imagined a case against him and in this Eliphaz’s last attack he drives his piercing accusations at him as one sword thrust after another and not a bit of truth in any of them. It is as if Satan has taken on the body of this attacker and like a mad dog is furiously gnashing upon him with bared teeth. How awful it is when unreasonable people become his weapon against the saints. We read about Stephen’s accusers running upon him with one accord and “gnashing on him with their teeth,” (Acts 7:54). And he God’s choice servant!
Note how wrong is his premise. “Is it any pleasure to the Almighty that thou art righteous?” Why, on the contrary, this is the very basis of the whole contest. It apparently was a matter of greatest pleasure as He considered His servant Job, “that there was none like him in the earth,” etc. (1:8). Ah yes, Job if only you could know that this is exactly what this whole thing is about. God loves you, you bring Him much pleasure by your “perfect ways.”
Oh beloved, may it somehow be true of us, that we pleasure the heart of the Almighty. There is certainly not much on this old earth that brings Him anything but grief “at His heart” (Gen.6:6). When He looked to His vineyard to bring forth grapes, it brought forth wild grapes (Is.5:2).
Only in His Son and those who are “accepted in the beloved” does He get the glory due Him (Eph.1:6). It is no wonder that Satan is such a slanderous, yea murderous enemy of the Church. He hates us for that very reason that we who put on Christ (Rom.13:14) do indeed pleasure the heart of the Almighty. Let us evermore long to be such!
Job 23:10 As Gold
God’s servant Job has the floor for these two chapters and in this one he scores several points and from the sidelines we shout “hooray for our team.” We have pulled into the lead and are headed down the home stretch. We can smell victory and we knew all along that things would turn out okay. With God on our side, how could we lose?
First Job has to complain a bit. He is so much like the most of us. How easy it is for us to be on the mountain top one day and in the pits the next – so for some of us our key verse from this chapter might be verse two “Even today is my complaint bitter: my stroke is heavier than my groaning.” I sincerely hope not! And one good reason why it should not be is the fact that there is no way that the next verse would be a follow-up. We do know where to find Him and that “His seat” is indeed a throne of grace, or as the hymn writer calls it, “the mercy seat.”
I have to admit, however, that there are many times when I do wish I could carry on a conversation with the LORD, asking Him specific questions and getting some specific answers (v.5). That opportunity will be mine soon enough so in the meantime I, like Job, will content myself with knowing that though I cannot see Him, I know He is working (v.9) and that He with His great power is on my side ready to strengthen me (Phil.4:13).
Much better it is that we be positive like Job here in verse 10. This is a three pointer, a touchdown, a triple play and we love him for these words which ever since he uttered them, have been repeated by believers under trial. Because they come from such a source, they are the more powerful. We can now treat his words as God’s Word and thus esteem “the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” It is certainly the case that a great many of our dear brothers and sisters are experiencing conditions in which these wonderful words of Job, “when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold,” are found and eaten and satisfy a spiritual hunger when, unfortunately, the physical goes wanting. Let us remember them in prayer today.
Job 24:24 Only For a Little While
I gather from what I read that Job’s question at the opening of this portion is this: We know that God certainly sees and knows what is going on, i.e. the wicked ways of the world in which we live, so why is it that we who know Him never see Him doing anything about it? Job then proceeds to list many of the injustices of his day (and we could do the same in our day) finally ending with a challenge, “now who will prove me wrong!”
The compassionate believer is often tempted to try to right some of the many wrongs he sees occurring around him. Certainly, the Bible tells us that when we can help people, we should, but a serious mistake is made when it is supposed that our task is to make the world a better place. We are not called upon in this dispensation to rid the world of evil and, in that way, bring in the kingdom. The only way that we can really make a difference that brings glory to our God is for us to preach the gospel to the poor (as well as to all– Matt. 11:5).
The fact that man is totally depraved necessitates a change of heart rather than environment. In most social programs the evolutionary concept of change is dominant and unregenerate man is determined to bring about social betterment without God’s involvement. If religion is involved it is that which is entirely based on works rather than grace. There is no room for the supernatural.
If we are not fully immersed in the principles of God’s Word we might be tempted to wonder as Job did, why evil seems to triumph and God does nothing about it. It is very important that we understand the prophetic picture. God is storing up His wrath until the time appointed, when it will be poured out in the most awful judgements such as have never been seen in this world before (Rom.2:5). Eternity in the lake of fire awaits every lost soul. It will come soon enough!
Today we are in the age of grace, let us use our time and energy to snatch souls as brands from the burning. Preaching the gospel is our main business but even a cup of water given to a thirsty person in God’s name will not lack God’s blessing (Mk. 9:41).
Job 25:6 From One Worm to Another
Bildad in his swan song adds nothing new to the mix, though commentators find no fault with the content of his speech. It is short and we are glad. Frankly, we have had quite enough from these three and apparently, from what He said at the close of the book, so had Jehovah.
Since this is a short chapter, I decided to read everything I could easily come by that has been written on it. Gaebelein is also short, J.F.B. not much longer. Gill, Barnes, Poole, Trapp, Keil and Delitzsch all commented favorably on Bildad’s basic message. I especially liked what Adam Clark had to say on the subject of man being justified with God and I quote it here for you.
As one of the above mentioned, it was at least admirable that these three men all obeyed the LORD in the end and did as He required (42:7-9).
In discussing this text with brother George Zeller, one of the pastors of the Middletown Bible Church, he agreed that interpreting these chapters where Eliphaz, Zophar and Bildad are philosophizing, we sometimes find it difficult to separate the chaff from the wheat, so to speak. So very much of what they said, especially in describing God, was accurate and usually edifying.
What they said about self-righteousness and hypocrisy was mostly good and I, for one, have not attempted to search out their various speeches to try to nail down any errors. There is no doubt, however, but that while they were mostly right, there were mostly wrong in their assessment of Job, God’s servant’s character.
How Bildad concluded that “the stars are not pure in his sight” I would certainly like to know (v.5). What do you think? They are under the curse so there must be something wrong with them for they were good when God made them (Gen.1:18). What will be the extent of their salvation? It will be exciting to find out. Also, when we worms become butterflies!
Job 26:14 The Thunder of His Power
God’s servant Job answered Bildad’s hollow conclusion by saying, in effect, “yes, but tell me, how does all this relate to my needs?” The fact is, it just didn’t! It was good medicine and there are multitudes whose sickness it might have helped, but it was like trying to ease the pain of an earache by amputating the great toe on the left foot and it isn’t even the left ear that aches. That’s how close these guys were coming to poor Job’s problems.
You laugh, but how often we try to help people by giving the wrong advice. So many times I have heard people say that the way to godliness is by trying harder. “You must die to self” say they, but, “how hast thou helped him that is without power?” Where does the power come from? It is like the moralist who says, “God helps those who help themselves.” Is this true? Of course not and we do absolutely no good to tell someone this. But how much better is it to tell someone that they must die to self. I remember Dr. Ferrin at P.B.I. in the Romans class describing the process of self-crucifixion. He said, “you might get one hand nailed to the cross, but let’s see you get the other one done!” You cannot, by any stretch of the imagination crucify yourself, and telling someone to die
to self is just as ridiculous. What then is the answer?
How about believing God’s Word? Paul (God) said, to reckon yourself dead to sin (Rom.6:11) and when Paul applied this truth to his own life he spoke of it this way, “I am crucified with Christ” etc. (Gal.2:20). So what is the difference? It is as different as light and dark, as black and white, as flesh and spirit, as works and grace.
Look at it this way, to tell someone to die to self is like telling the flesh to accomplish a spiritual act. If it were to succeed it would congratulate itself and where would God’s glory be? If it be works than it is no more grace!
Here’s the problem. Self doesn’t want to die. How can self make self die when it doesn’t want to die? The solution, Romans 12:1. Only those who are sick of trying and are really willing to surrender unconditionally to God’s absolute control will see it work. The rest will keep on trying.
Now think how we teach children to be good. The devil must be laughing up his sleeve!
Job 27:8 The Hope of the Soul
God’s servant Job reminds us in this chapter about the solemn moment that must come in everyone’s life. It is seldom that we think of it while our breath is yet in our nostrils. This daily moment by moment expression of physical life so subconsciously indulged in by each one of us, Job speaks of as the spirit of God, i.e. that evidence of life breathed into us when Adam lay on his back as a useless lump of clay. What was bound up in that spark from the eternal Flint and Steel we do not fully grasp except suddenly there was a gasp, a quiver, a quiet quickening of the heart-pump, the gurgle of liquid life, a flutter of the eyelids beyond which a newborn soul looked into the face of his Creator-God. It is not unlikely that one might have perceived a smile on that face of the Almighty as He fashioned His masterpiece.
So, what must there be but a frown upon the face of God, a sad momentary, repentant (Gen.6:6) reflection when God taketh away the soul (v.8) of the lost man or woman and seals their fate forever. Created with such promise, redeemed at such a price, when “he openeth his eyes and his is not,” when “terrors take hold on him”(vs.19-21) and “the east wind carrieth him away,” what consternation, what weeping and wailing when the lost are told of their fate, they may cry for the rocks and the mountains, they may pray but their prayer is too late!
In contrast, to this helpless horrible scene Job depicts for us here, is the sentiment I found on a tombstone of one of my ancestors in a cemetery at Black Point in Scarboro across from the Congregational church near Prout’s Neck. It was that of 20 year old Isabelle Abigail Hurlburt, daughter of Josiah and Abigail Libby who died Oct.10,1846 and reads, “she met the summons in calm reliance on the Savior as her reconciled Judge, not by works but the gift of God through the application of the atoning sacrifice.” It is with joy I share this testimony of over 150 years ago and expectation as I look forward to meeting her one day soon. Hallelujah!
Job 28:12 Where?
God’s servant Job must have had his good days and his bad – today was a good day. It was a day for positive thinking, a day for doing some good. From what we are going to read in chapter 29, it was obvious that Job was a much respected man in the community, perhaps a teacher and today he feels like expounding on what must have been one of his favorite subjects.
He is a very eloquent speaker. He appears to be much at home speaking about the mining of numerous ores. F.B. Meyer calls this “a marvelous description of mining operations which would arrest any company of miners in the world.” What is more exciting or fulfilling than exploring the depths of the earth for the things that are precious (v.10). Where no vultures with his piercing eye hath seen, where no fierce lion has ever trodden following the veins of silver and gold bringing hidden treasure to light.
Yet, Job is not leading us toward the mere treasures of earth. He has something in mind that cannot be equaled with the topaz of Ethiopia, with the precious onyx or with sapphires and rubies, even with the pure gold of Ophir!
One might think that on this particular morning Job had been reading Proverbs for his devotions. Or was it Solomon studying Job 28! Perhaps they both had the same Teacher (Proverbs 3:13-20).
At any rate, the question is finally brought forward. Where shall wisdom be found and where is the place of understanding?
Quaintly Job declares, “the depth saith, it is not in me” - the sea says, don’t look at me, I don’t have it either! Where then shall it be found (v.20)?
The answer, of course, is God. He knows exactly where it is to be found. While He was making the wind, weighing out the water, decreeing the way for the “lightening of the thunder,” He thought of it, He searched it out and said unto man, “the fear of the LORD that is wisdom and to depart from evil is understanding.”
Job 29:3 Walking Through Darkness
I think we might conclude from this chapter why it was that God’s servant Job was a man
with whom He was pleased and thus one who was held up before Satan as special. Since he is spoken of as being “perfect,” we might suppose that one of his attributes would be humility especially since it was said that he feared God. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, of this Job was very aware (28:28) and so we assume that in his wisdom, he credited God with the glory due Him for giving him what he possessed and making him what he had been in terms of greatness. I happened to be reading Ecclesiastes this morning and noted that Solomon said, “So I was great, etc. also my wisdom remained with me.” So too with Job.
It was the loss of some elements of greatness which he lamented here particularly the respect he had enjoyed among all classes. Being reduced to poverty through loss of his flocks and herds and suffering the loss of his health should not have made any difference in the deference paid him by his peers but, as we shall see particularly in the next chapter, it very much did so. He was still the same person, but it shows how fickle the people around us can often be.
As we shall see, Job was becoming a better person than he ever was before his sufferings. The imperfections of his character were being challenged as he grew enriched through difficult experiences. Sadly this is usually not recognized by those who are quick to judge us for our weakness when if they truly loved us as they ought, they would rather pray for us and thus become helpers of our faith seeing that in these trials God is indeed helping us. So it was with David (I Chr.12:17&18), “Thy God helpeth thee.”
Where Job was wrong here was thinking that God no longer “preserved” him, that His candle still shined upon his head. True, he was walking through darkness temporarily but soon it would be light again and since he received double of his substance and his progeny, he probably received double honor and respect.
Job 30:11 Afflicted
Poor old Job was having a real bad day when he underwent the experiences about which he wrote in this chapter. On such days it would have been difficult for him to believe that there was any advantage to being God’s servant. When you are sick and hurting it is hard to be positive, as we all know.
The language here is not easy for us to understand. Dr. Fausset, speaking of the opening verses says, “Orientals feel keenly any indignity shown by the young.” From verse two to eight Job is describing those who now are treating him as dirt under their feet when they themselves are vile, base and foolish youths. Again, to one in Job’s class to have someone spit in his presence was contemptible but to spit (before) in his face was to express, in the East, absolute abhorrence (v.10).
When Job uses the pronoun “he” in verses 11 and 24 it is no doubt a reference to Jehovah Whom he feels is the One afflicting him. Of course, we know that the afflictions are coming from Satan but are being allowed of God. Had Job realized that this was a test his attitude would have been entirely difference but these things were happening in the earliest stage of man’s understanding of the ways of our Heavenly Father. If he could have only read Romans 11:33 what a help it would have been for him and if he could have known that he was being tested what a difference it would have made. Add to these the indwelling presence of the Comforter and the truth of II Cor.1:4-6 where Paul is explaining how we are often comforted in our afflictions in order that we may be able to minister to others and the completed picture looks totally different. Finally, had poor old Job realized that this whole deal would be written in a Book and that it would bring blessing and encouragement to millions of people for thousand of years, we can hardly imagine the difference it would have made in Job’s thinking.
Our understanding of these things helps us to be the more sympathetic toward him doesn’t it? This book surely is a great help to any of us who may be undergoing trials of our own. Thank you Job for writing it, and even for writing this chapter. It must not have been easy!
Job 31:1 Eye Problem
God’s servant Job, as he begins his final defense, makes reference to having a covenant with his eyes regarding the opposite sex. Let us think on this subject for a bit.
I think women who have not read up on this subject may be quite mistaken in their thinking -
I would like to be a help and here is a good place to try. I heard an excellent presentation by a speaker, Coach Wells, at Brooks Bible Camp. I wish every young person could have heard it. He explained clearly the fact that the male and female of the human species are wired very differently with regard to sexual stimulation. I suppose there maybe exceptions , but basically, the female is stimulated primarily by touch and the male by sight. Touch for the male is the second step in the process. Of course, women who intellectually understand this may use this fact to entrap (Prov.6:25) but I think often they do not really know how serious a problem it can be or what harm can be done by carelessness and inappropriate behavior. Godly mothers may fail to give proper instruction to their daughters simply because they are ignorant of what difficulties this can cause a man who wishes to be pure. Hopefully there are still a few of this variety. Concerned fathers may be helpful but they too are often not up on the subject and for multiple reasons may renege on their responsibilities.
To a healthy male, a pretty girl is like a melody and there is nothing wrong with appreciating beauty even if it is only skin deep sometimes, but it is dangerous territory and Job had it right! Some say look but don’t touch but this doesn’t go far enough. Even the looking must be controlled and men know that imagination can run amuck (II Cor. 10:). Thoughts must be brought to Christ the moment they go beyond what is pure. The Lord said to look with lust is as sinfully wrong as to commit an unlawful sexual act (Matt.5:28).
No real man can watch suggestive scenes on television and not violate this law. Wives need to be good help mates in this area and understand that a man can appreciate the attractiveness of other women without violating his conscience but if he is not careful he can sin against his wife, his God, the woman he looks at and his own soul if he looks with lust. Most men have decency enough to not keep looking beyond a certain point knowing that it would make the object of his attentions uncomfortable and it would be ungentlemanly to do that. With television men can look too long too easily. That plus the nakedness which gives him more to look at makes T.V. especially dangerous and Satan knows it.
All of these are reasons why what Job said is the answer.
I apologize for the extended length of this article, but I have tried to be brief and yet cover the subject. It is an extremely important one. Few men qualify for leadership in the local church because of this problem. Let us pray for one another.
Job 32:8 The Inspiration of the Almighty Gave Them Understanding
Enter Elihu! His name meant “God is Jehovah” or possibly “My God is He.” Perhaps he is the “daysman” that Job had hoped for. Certainly he appears to stand in the breach and in this position, some commentators see him as a type of Christ. The name suggests the “I Am” who reveals Jehovah. His father’s name means “God blesses.” Some have suggested that he is the author of this book.
This chapter is really an introduction and runs thru to verse seven in the next chapter where Elihu’s speech begins. He is a young man and apparently humble having held back, giving deference to age but all the while “just bursting to speak.”
He is certainly right when he says that just because they are all older than he, they didn’t necessarily know more. As he indicates, it is not particularly age but the fulness of the Spirit that is important.
Recently I had occasion to view some early pictures of myself back at the beginning of the work in Bucksport. Just out of college, “wet behind the ears” as they say, so why would anyone want to follow such a young “whipper snapper?” Talk about a miracle!
We came to Bucksport as young kids with no experience and jumped into a situation where angels might have feared to tread. A community that, so far as we knew, had never had a Baptist church. Rev. Bennett told us in no uncertain terms that “this is Methodist territory” and if we intended to build a church here, he would “fight us all the way.”
Would anyone listen to us? A few women and children perhaps, but would any men be so foolish as to put any stock in our invasion into territory that was not only a Methodist and Congregational stronghold, but one that Satan himself surely claimed was his more than anyone’s.
But, like Elihu maintained, there was a Spirit to be reckoned with and the inspiration for the project was certainly from the Almighty (v.8). Before long, through a visiting speaker, Otis Powers got saved and not long after Walter Rogers was converted at his kitchen table. They with Wendell Perkins, were willing to mortgage their homes to follow us in buying property for the fledgling church. These men were following a couple of kids. Was God in it? Time has shown He was!
Job 33:23 A Messenger
It is certainly a mystery where Elihu comes from, something like Melchizedek without a beginning or an end, at least none recorded! Could he be a type of Christ? Some commentators say yes. They say he is somewhat of a mediator appearing to “soften up “ Job before his momentous interview with the Almighty. Whether or not this is true, he certainly saw himself as such an one, in fact, as he said, one in a thousand (v.23), a mediator, one who was made of the same stuff (v.6) and who would not be “heavy handed” in dealing with him (v.7).
Though a young man, he addressed God’s servant Job forthrightly, with dignity and authority.
Gaebelein says of verse 23 that the interpreting messenger is seen as showing man His (that is, God’s) righteousness. Who but Christ can do that? I will quote an interesting paraphrasic translation he gives of this text:
Then, then, He speaks to him by Messenger
Who can interpret; One ‘mong thousands chief,
Who will reveal to man His righteousness.
Then He doth show him Grace (Divine and saith:)
“Deliver him from going down to death;
A Ransom I have found – Redemption’s price.”
“Here”, he says, “we have the Gospel in the book of Job”!
Of course, the verses to follow certainly could be looked at as referring to a new beginning. “Flesh ..fresher than a child’s” (v.25). This sounds like Naaman, doesn’t it? He will pray, he will joyfully behold God’s face, etc.
Job has nothing to say to Elihu when he finishes this chapter when given the opportunity and if there is any doubt about the effect of his words, one has only to contrast Job’s previous declaration as evaluated by his friends, (32:1) with the next words from his lips (40:4), “Behold, I am vile...”.
Job 34:3 Meat Tough to Chew
Elihu makes it clear in this chapter that God’s servant Job has not been right to blame God for being unjust toward him. He begins (v.5) and ends (v.35) with this condemnation of which Job certainly had been guilty . Later, when he repents, Jehovah forgives him, but Elihu believes, at this point, that Job’s trials had not yet produced the desired outcome. Chastisement should produce the effect of humility and repentance. “Teach me, show me, my iniquity and I promise that I will not continue in my offence” (verses 31 and 32).
On the other hand, Elihu elequently defends the righteousness of Jehovah. He contends that evidence reveals a caring God Who could withdraw the same breath by which He created man and turn all flesh to mere dust (v.15), yet instead, “His eyes are upon the ways of man and he seeth all his goings” (v.21). Such is His omniscience and by His omnipotence He “overturns” the wicked who cannot hide from Him but “heareth the cry of the afflicted”.
What a precious picture he gives us of our wonderful Heavenly Father in these words, “When he giveth quietness, who can then make trouble?” and conversely, “when he hideth his face who can then behold him?”
Elihu sets forth in no uncertain terms that Jehovah is in absolute charge on His green earth! In two very powerful verses (10 & 12) he states that by the essential law of His nature, God can do no wrong! As Fausset so eloquently puts it, “We should lay down as a fixed principle” that no matter how much injustice may now be suffered in our present dispensation, “the coming day of retribution will rectify all seeming anomalies and show that His government has always throughout been perfectly righteous and just (v.11)”. (Remarks on ch. 34)
Job seems awed and chastened by these words that his ears are “tasting” as he wisely lets this young man point out to him his flaws. He is definitely being softened up for the master strokes of the Almighty, yet to come. Who might God be using to soften us up for the same?
Job 35:10 “Who Giveth Songs in the Night”
Elihu seems bent on giving God’s Servant Job a real going over which he evidently rightly deserved if what he said as the basis of it in the opening verses was true and there is no reason to say it isn’t, but I, for one, am not going back over what Job said to find out. Personally, I have heard enough to be quite convinced and I don’t need any more evidence, thank you just the same. Besides, I have sneaked a peek at the way the story ends and it seems that Jehovah was pretty good at vindicating Himself! He had kind words for Job, not such kind words for his three friends and not a single word about Elihu! Now, I find that strange indeed, don’t you? Until I know more about him, I am reluctant to praise him too highly or criticize him too severely. I think we will all have to wait and see!
In the meantime, let’s take a brief walk down memory lane for just a little change of scenery. I am prompted by a few of Elihu’s words which I may possibly be taking out of context. I refer to verse ten which speaks about God giving songs in the night. These words brought to mind a great song and a great songster, Carleton Booth. Dr. Booth was one of my teachers at Providence Bible Institute. He was a tenor solist and was featured on The Mountaintop Hour which aired on Sunday mornings over a Boston radio station. Every week a team traveled from Providence, RI to participate in the program and I too enjoyed that privilege on one occasion.
Carleton Booth was from Vermont and he always reminded his students of the need for evangelism in his home state. What I remember most about him was his great tenor voice and the blessing of the gospel songs he sang so vibrantly. The one that came to mind as I read this chapter of Job was entitled, I believe, Jesus Gives Me a Song, and the words went something like this: Songs in the daytime, songs in the night, songs of devotion, songs of delight, melodies ringing, in my heart singing, Jesus gives me a song”. The chorus speaks about being given a song as we travel along on life’s glory road and ends with the line, “and songs in the darkest night”. That Job had a lot of them, we can be certain and we can only hope that he also had some songs to sing at that time. Psalm 42:8 speaks on this subject, but the scene that more often comes to our minds is that of Paul and Silas with their “feet fast in the stocks” in the Philippian jail singing and praying at midnight (Acts 16:24). God certainly put a new song in the heart of Carleton Booth when He saved him and I never think of him apart from the wonderful old songs of Zion that he sang so joyously.
Job 36:7 Established Forever!
What a mighty God we serve! In fact, what a mighty God Job served! That we know this as fact is well established from the very beginning of this book; “My servant Job” (1:8). And we have to agree with Elihu and conclude that from the moment He said this to Satan until this moment when Elihu reminds us, Jehovah has never taken His eyes from him (v. 7).
Even when Job was crying out to Him for help and accusing Him of being unrighteous in not responding (35:2) or thinking it if he were not then framing the very words of accusation with his lips, God’s eyes were upon him and His ears were open unto his cry. Certainly it did not seem that way to Job, but, in fact, God doesn’t really have eyelids though the anthropomorphism says He does (Ps. 11:4), for He is not a man. He does not even blink His eyes, nor is His ear ever “heavy” (Isaiah 59:1) that He cannot hear us.
Oh, you say, but my sins can get in the way and mar the fellowship. Yes, this is true and we cannot deny that this was the case with Job. God does not deny it, it is only that His grace wins through and if nothing else, this book shows us that this is also true!
We must agree with Elihu in ascribing righteousness to our Maker (v.3), but the question comes, is Job righteous? It depends on whether we are talking about positional or practical righteousness. Interestingly, in the fourth chapter of Romans where this subject is being discussed, Abraham is spoken of as having righteousness imputed unto him (v.22) and you can look in vain in the New Testament for any condemnation of his involvement with Hagar. So too with Lot who is called “just” in II Peter 2:7 which is derived from the same root in the Greek as the word “righteous”. In Rom. 8:30, the predestinated are called justified and glorified. I guess we can say of Job that with
God’s eye on him, he must be predestinated, declared righteous and is positionally a king enthroned! And so are we!
Job 37:14 O Job, Stand Still and Consider
It may be helpful to mention that Gaebelein believes that the last twelve verses of the previous chapter (36) go with our present chapter to make up Elihu’s concluding remarks and that the division is an unfortunate one. From that point begins a wonderful portrayal of nature’s testimony to our magnificent Creator-God as seen particularly in reference to the hydrologic cycle and electrical storms. It is conjectured that use of natural wonders to draw attention to God’s power supports belief in the antiquity of the book of Job.
Gaebelein says, “Unspeakably great in every way, in diction and reverence, is this man’s witness to the ways of God in Creation’s work. They show that he speaks not of himself, but the One who is perfect in knowledge speaks through him. God’s power is displayed in nature and man should extol His work and gaze in wonder upon it.” The Annotated Bible, Vol. 3, p.187.
In this closing statement, Elihu sets forth God as the great Teacher (36:22) yet he says that we really do not know Him. He says again in 37:23 that as touching the Almighty, we cannot find Him out but what we do see of His marvelous works convinces us of His “terrible majesty” (v. 22). He says that there are things that God does that we cannot comprehend (v.5) as he speaks of the snow and rain, of the heat of summer and the cold of winter. In all of these this God, Whose years we cannot number, demonstrates that He is in absolute control.
In the very next chapter Jehovah begins to reveal Himself in a new way and though we know somewhat of Job’s reaction, we cannot but wish that we might know Elihu’s as well. He must have been quite astounded!
For us in this dispensation, since the Lord Jesus Christ has been revealed, there is so much for which to be thankful. Elihu knew nothing about justification by faith or of the exceeding love and grace of God or he certainly would have spoken of such things. Now that the Word has been made flesh and has dwelt among us, we can behold so much more of God’s glory (John 1:14). Let us praise Him for it.
Job 38:3 Answer Thou Me
Reading through the book of Job is one thing, to write on it, quite another. What a difference it has made in my thinking, especially with regard to Elihu. I had made a note in my Bible to the effect that Jehovah was rebuking this young man in these opening verses of this chapter (38), but upon examining the text more carefully I have found that it was probably Job whom He was addressing. Of Course, it states in verse one that he was speaking to Job, but I thought that when He spoke about someone who was darkening “counsel by words without knowledge” (v. 2) God was speaking to Job about Elihu. The commentaries that I respect are agreed, however, that one could find little fault with what he was saying and, rather, Jehovah had Job in His sights.
The only problem I find with this conclusion is the fact that if God was not speaking of Elihu, then He is absolutely silent about him one way or the other which seems strange to me. What do you think?
At any rate, it is wonderful to have Someone finally speaking with authority. Up ‘til now, one had to weigh what was being said, especially knowing what He had to say about most of what has gone before. Here God is speaking, through a series of questions, about His wonderful creative acts. He “laid the foundations of the earth” (v. 4) to a tune being sung by the angel choirs! He set the boundaries for the seven seas (ultimately). He provided the correct balance between day and night and controls (when He wishes) the winds, the hail, the snow and the lightening.
A vivid demonstration of these facts was enacted the day our Lord Jesus stood up in the little fishing boat on the Sea of Galilee and commanded the elements which instantly obeyed.
In 1703 my ancestors were defending a garrison in Scarborough, Maine, 8 fighting men versus 500 French and Indians under Beaubasin. Sappers were undermining the well built little fortress and my 6th great grandfather, Henry Libby, along with the others seemed doomed. A heavy two day rain saved their lives as the foe abandoned the assault for easier prey. I imagine they thanked God for their deliverance. I would have, wouldn’t you?
Job 39:1 Knowest Thou?
In a series of eighteen questions Jehovah seeks to confound Job in this chapter by reminding him that nature is full of examples that tend to illustrate his profound ignorance in comparison to God’s omnicient sovereignty. He implies that there is no living creature on earth that escapes His attention and what is true of the animal kingdom is more certainly true in all that pertains to man for is it not the case that each of these animals were brought to Adam to be named by him as their master? “If these wild creatures were intended to be subordinate to man, surely you, as the highest of all created beings, having your authority delegated by Me, must understand that I, in turn, am in complete control of you! Man lost control but I haven’t!” One might think from 42:2 that Job got it!
It seems that the wildness of the creatures in this chapter is being accentuated, again, a result of the fall of man. Would the goat or hind hide their young from man’s eye in a perfect world, would the ass be so unrestricted, the unicorn (rhino) so unmanageable, the ostrich, so calloused, the horse so anxious for battle and the eagle for blood?
Yet, even in such conditions, God sees , knows and seems to care. And so it is, as we have already been reminded (36:7), nothing escapes His attention. “If He peeps into the craggy lairs to attend the birth of goats, if He sends out the wild ass, gives the feathers to the peacock, deprives the ostrich of wisdom, gives strength to the horse, wisdom to the eagle - and this chapter specifically says He does these things, then be fully assured, O Job, you have nothing to worry about, for how can it be but that His care of you is infinitely greater?”
We may grow a bit weary of it, but perhaps it is more essential that we hear it than we realize, this message that nature teaches here. That quite probably nothing escapes His interest and care, even in our more complex world of today.
Job 40:4 Now That’s a Really Great Question
When Jehovah spoke to Elijah there was a wind so terrible that it “rent the mountains and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD,” but He was not in the wind, nor the earthquake, nor the fire, but rather, apparently He spoke to him in “a still small voice”. The center reference refers to it as “a delicate whispering as of the breeze among the leaves”.
Not so with Job, His servant, but rather Jehovah addresses him out of a whirlwind (v.6 and 38:1) in a graphic display of His power.
Demanding an answer (38:3) as He did, it seems imperative that Job say something as finally he gets what he has been asking for throughout his discourses. In fact the last time he spoke Job had specifically said, “Oh that one would hear me! behold my desire is that the Almighty would answer me ...” (31:35).
There is no doubt that Job had dared to “contend with the Almighty” and that he had held numerous one sided arguments with Him. Have we not done as much for sure and would we have been surprised if He had ever called us on the carpet for our audacity. It would have shut us up as quickly as it did him! Like him we would question, “what shall I answer thee?”
When Daniel saw the LORD (10:7) his strength drained from his body and his vigor turned into corruption. Perhaps this is how Job felt and possibly like Isaiah (6:5) he sensed the need to cover his mouth as he repents (42:6) lest he further offend. “Behold, I am vile”; is all he can say, but it was enough, it seems and there is obvious pardon for Jehovah does not dwell upon the subject.
If we feel we can take anything positive away from learning of David’s great sin, it is these rich thoughts, “a broken and a contrite heart, O God thou wilt not despise” (Psalm 51:17). We know this is true.
Job 41:10 “Who Then is Able to Stand Before Me ?”
With a grand flourish of rhetoric and describing creatures that He feels embody the boldest of His talented design, Jehovah brings to a close His argument with Job. The obvious purpose in all of this is seemingly to impress His servant with such examples of ferocity and insuperable strength in the animal kingdom so as to render him speechless and totally submissive. The Septuagint version has chapter 41 starting with verse eleven (KJV), which seems to make a lot of sense for it gives an application for all of this. It reads, “Dost thou not fear because preparation has been made by me? For who is there that resists me? Or who will resist me and abide since the whole world under heaven is mine?” (We know that chapter divisions are not inspired and while the LXX is not always trustworthy, the constant use of it by our Lord Jesus certainly gives us warrant to consult it as a commentary.)
It is humorous to read what some of the older commentators have said about these weird species. Behemoth (40:15) was thought to be an elephant (with a tail like a cedar tree!) Or a crocodile, but of course much of the description doesn’t fit. Fausset thinks this latter is a conglomerate name that symbolically represents numerous creatures. To me this falls short of the purpose of the passage. I think the reason it did not occur to the older scholars that these might be dinosaurs is because the predominant theory at the time was that they were all prehistoric and did not coexist on earth with man. Creation Research and similar ministries have helped us to see that this was not the case, for example, through the case of human footprints being discovered in Texas intermingled with dinosaur tracks. Most fundamental Bible scholars now believe that all of these creatures whose bones are being found by paleontologists existed on earth between Genesis chapter one and the Noahic flood and have probably become extinct due to post-flood conditions.
Some believe that sightings of a Loch Ness Monster in Scotland may have been one of the last such sea creatures left on earth. It is possible that the dragons of Chinese pageantry once had their counterparts in reality. We can be certain that when Jehovah was speaking here with Job, He was not exaggerating the description He gave. As to exactly why He went into such detail we can only speculate. I did find two most interesting references in the LXX (40:14 and 41:24) stating that “this is the chief of the creation of the Lord; made to be played with by his angels”. And, “There is nothing upon the earth like to him, formed to be sported with by my angels.” Who would have thought of such a thing!
There is no doubt that we would never forget an encounter with one of these, and Job would never forget his with God!
Job 42:8 “ My Servant Job Shall Pray for You”
This is the chapter we have been waiting for. What an ending! We have anticipated it many times as we have slogged our way through, so that now not much remains to be said except, hallelujah, Job made it and so have we!
Of course, we are happy for Job seeing as how everything for him has turned out so well. This has not been the case for many of the LORD’s servants who have suffered in the trials of life as seen in Hebrews 11:35 - 38. But the good thing is that heaven awaits us all and there, along with Job we will receive eternal blessings and rewards.
Let us not fail, however, to note Job’s concluding statement concerning God’s sovereignty in verse two. On behalf of His omnipotence Job states, “I know that thou canst do everything” and with regard to His omniscience, “no thought can be withholden from thee”.
And furthermore may we ever emulate Job’s humbling of himself before Jehovah. “I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes.” As we have said, with such an attitude He is ever well pleased.
In saying farewell to our friend and companion of these many days we are reminded very forcibly in verses seven and eight that this man was greatly beloved by Jehovah and in these two verses He makes this abundantly clear using the term “my servant Job” four times. He was not a great leader like Moses or a prophet like Elijah. He was not a king like David. He did no great exploits nor did he exhibit surpassing traits of character yet he is classified by Jehovah as “my servant”. I hope the Lord thinks of me that way, don’t you?