Job 9:1-10:22

Key Verse(s):

Job 9:2 (CSB)
2 Yes, I know what you’ve said is true, but how can a person be justified before God?

 

Reflection/Application:

Job 9:2-13 – This section is, in general, another description of God’s supremacy. Job 9:2b provides a glimpse of where Job is though: the “righteous” man who is not being treated by God as Job and his friends would expect (which happens to be the disagreement between Job and his friends!). There is a theme of detachment though in this section from Job, presumably due to his feeling of being abandoned by God.

Job 9:6 – Job seems to be describing earthquakes, which are under the control of God.

Job 9:7 – Job is possibly attributing the day/night cycle to God? Or certainly eclipses, or other conditions that might block out the light from celestial bodies.

Job 9:11-13 – Job’s description of the power of God turns sour here, as he conveys his detachment from God, and what he sees as some sort of capricious punishment by God.

Job 9:14-15 – This is an interesting thought. The idea that Job ultimately conveys is that there is no greater standard, above God, that God must somehow adhere to, for Job to appeal to. In other words, even though Job may be innocent, and what God has brought upon him may seem to Job (and us) as unfair, there is no argument against the one who is absolutely sovereign and is the very definition of what is “right”. Job revisits the idea in Job 9:19-20.

Job 9:16 – This verse seems to be Job’s frustration speaking, as we know that God does in fact pay attention and is intimately involved with us. In fact, despite the horrific ordeal Job has had to endure, he continues to draw breath, and even dwell upon the mighty God, thus proving the gracious sustaining power and mercy of God that even the most ardent unbeliever enjoys as well.

Job 9:21 – Job states his blamelessness before God., harkening back to what we, the reader, know was said by God in Job 1.

Job 9:22-24 – Job continues to cast God in an unfavorable light here, certainly the result of his despair. This is a dangerous place to be, and there is a definite tension knowing the dire place Job is treading.

Job 9:25-31 – Job turns to lament the brevity of life, and the futility of it. There is obviously an exaggeration in some of this, tainted by his current state, as we know from Job 1 that Job had experienced plenty of “good”. Nonetheless, he finds himself feeling abandoned and hopeless currently, and conveys this to his friends (and also to God?).

Job 9:32-33 – Again Job notes that God stands above the law, he is the law, and there is no other standard he can be held to.

Job 9:33 – Could this be a sort of foreshadowing of the mediator, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ?

Job 10:1-2 – Job now turns his attention to God, addressing him directly. This odd sort of “prayer”, I think, is a great, if not extreme, example of what we should do when we are questioning God, and feeling abandoned by him… we come to him, address him, plead with him.

Job 10:2-7 – Job essentially addresses what he sees as God’s unfair punishment upon him, and sort of asking rhetorical questions that imply God’s behavior is like that of a mere man (possibly a jab at his friends and their inability to discern Job’s honesty).

Job 10:8-12 – We see here that Job has not lost sight of who God truly is, as he confirms the creator status of God, and the implied relational aspect between God and his creatures, characterized by the term “faithful love”.

Job 10:13-17 – This section is not Job returning to a negative view of God. It is just the opposite: it Job’s affirmation that God is a good God, intolerant of sin! Further, Job admits that none are truly, completely, righteous before God. This is not a concession to the accusations of his friends though: both Job and the reader are aware of his status before God, despite his humanity.

Job 10:18-22 – Job’s response concludes with Job issuing another wish for death. It is noteworthy that just because we may have an understanding of who God is, and his nature, that does not mean things will be great and pleasurable. If nothing else, Job shows us that there are no guarantees that the righteous will be happy and content at all times.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for being the sovereign God! I pray that even in our darkest times we would claim your glory and perfection. We can bring to case against you, because you are the standard, the judge and jury. Help us to honor you and bring you glory in all things we do and say, at all times, good and bad. Amen.

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Job 8:1-22

Key Verse(s):

Job 8:3 (CSB)
3 Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?

 

Reflection/Application:

Job 8:2 – Bildad sets the tone for his speech, immediately being confrontational. He continues the position that Job is not admitting his sin, which is the cause for God’s wrath upon him.

Job 8:3 – Bildad speaks an absolute truth here: God does not pervert justice, he is perfectly just! Where we perhaps find issue with his statement is with his application of it in job’s case, a man who is “righteous” before God.

Job 8:4 – Wow, this is a heartless accusation and presumption on the part of someone who is supposed to be a friend. Not only was there nothing in the preceding chapters to suggest the children of Job were sinners (obviously all are sinners, but to the extent we might suspect the retribution of death is not suggested at all), but it was recorded that Job gave sacrifices on behalf of his children “just in case”!

Job 8:5-7 – Again, Bildad provides wise counsel, but in the wrong context since we already know that Job has been described as a man who loves God. Further, the promise that Bildad provides here just feels wrong, like it is promising too much, or more accurately, more than Bildad can “guarantee”. There is every reason to expect God to bless a righteous home, but we see Job as the proof that it is no guarantee.

Job 8:8-10 – Bildad again provides a generally true piece of wisdom: look to, and rely on, the wisdom of the previous generations. After all, they have done much of the “work” that we stand upon and move forward from.

I find this insight especially poignant in the current cultural climate in the west. What would our culture, especially the church, look like if we would heed this wisdom. Would the radical, sweeping, and rapid upheaval of the traditional understanding of marriage, gender, and fundamental questions of origin be as they are today?

Job 8:11-13 – This is sort of an obscure metaphor from Bildad. It would seem that he is suggesting something similar to “you reap what you sow.” And in verse 13 thinly veils his tie back to Job and what he thinks will be Job’s destiny in his unrepentant state.

Job 8:14-19 – Bildad continues with two more metaphorical pictures of where he believes Job is. First comparing Job’s apparent reliance on himself rather than God to looking to a spider web for support. Second he uses the picture of a plant with roots intertwined among rocks, easily uprooted.

Job 8:20 – As Bildad closes his speech, he provides one more truth, yet again out of context, by implying that Job is currently an “evildoer”.

Job 8:21-22 – Bildad provides a picture for job, of what his future could be should he repent. He sees a future where Job is yet again happy and joyful. Ironically, he also sees Job’s enemies “clothed in shame”, without a tent, or home, all the while placing himself in that camp with his inflexible attitude towards Job.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for revealing truths about you, even though they may be misapplied by us. You are perfectly just, and fully sovereign. Help us to trust your judgement, and cling to you no matter if we are drowning in blessings or turmoil brought about by your hand. Amen.

Job 6:1-7:21

Key Verse(s):

Job 6:10 (CSB)
10 It would still bring me comfort, and I would leap for joy in unrelenting pain that I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Reflection/Application:

Job 6:2-4 – Job emphasizes his grief and devastation with a couple word pictures. He reinforces that it is the doing of God, even stating “God’s terrors are arrayed against me.”

Job 6:5-7 – Job seems to continue the food motif he started in v4, suggesting he would not be complaining if what God had given him was satisfactory food. Instead, Job refuses to accept what God has given him, equating it not just to bland and unpalatable food, but “contaminated food.”

Job 6:8 – “If only God would do what I ask…” The desire of man! We cannot accuse Job of this out-of-context thought though, as he uses it in a much different sense, pleading for escape from his pain, as is evidenced by v9.

Job 6:10 – The premise is clear here: Job would be at peace if God were to end his life, even if it meant great pain forever, knowing that he had been faithful to God!

Job 6:11-13 – Job conveys his sense of hopelessness. And we should expect such considering he believes God has aligned himself against Job… what hope is there in such a circumstance?!? Verse 13 subtly gives us an amazing truth: “I cannot help myself.” We are hopeless, without the ability to improve our station, apart from God.

Job 6:14-23 – Job turns his focus upon his so called friends here. He expresses his disappointment in them, comparing them to treacherous and fleeting in their “loyalty”, which a true friend should expect no matter what. He reminds them that he has never asked them to do something unrighteous, or even for help, before.

Job 6:24 – Job appeals to his friends to actually help him understand his circumstances. I believe this is an honest appeal by Job.

Job 6:25-27 – Job’s appeal then turns more accusatory with each verse. Starting by pointing out that his friends have provided nothing useful to explain his situation, to accusing them of selling an orphan, suggesting their lack of compassion.

Job 6:28-30 – Job reiterates his righteousness, and asks his friends to “reconsider” their position against him of having sinned and being the object of God’s retribution.

Job 7:1-10 – Job returns to lamenting his current situation, believing the rest of his days will hold no chance of seeing good, let alone being the object of grace.

Job 7:11-16 – If Job had not already been addressing God, he certainly is within these verses, where he reiterates his desire to die, and have God “leave him alone.”

Job 7:17-19 – Job questions God as to why he seems to be so obsessed with Job specifically, constantly “testing” him. Ironically, one of the reasons we should praise and thank God, the fact that he knows each of us intimately and is omnipresent, is what Job here suggests he would God to stop!

Job 7:20 – Again Job insists on his righteousness, asking God to reveal what sin he has performed. This is obviously a rhetorical question, because Job has consistently maintained his righteousness all along, but conveys the struggle to make sense of his current standing before God appearing to be very bad.

Job 7:21 – Job recognizes that God has the divine power to forgive sin. What Job had not pieced together, but we know, is that God also has the divine power to punish and curse!

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for being in perfect, divine, powerful, control! What amazing faith it is for Job to find comfort in the fact that he followed your law, despite everything around him falling apart… I pray for that faith for us. Help us to not see you through our circumstances, but to see you despite our circumstances, and especially in our circumstances. Amen.

 

Job 4:1-5:27

 

Key Verse(s):

Job 4:8 (CSB)
8 In my experience, those who plow injustice and those who sow trouble reap the same.

Reflection/Application:

Eliphaz at first seems to be giving Job “a pass” on his previous lament and desire for death, chalking it up to Job’s “exhaustion”. But then he immediately counters by suggesting what Job has said is too much to let pass, and must be countered… so the confrontation begins.

Eliphaz recounts the honorable and upstanding nature of Job, reassuring him of his status as a quality man. Again Eliphaz suggests that Job is simply not thinking straight due to the stress and exhaustion brought upon him by the trials he has, and continues to, endured.

Not sure how Eliphaz means to convey Job 4:6: is he suggesting it in a way that should comfort Job because he had been a good man, or is he suggesting Job should return to piety and integrity?

Job 4:7-8 are the sum of Eliphaz’s view: the wicked are cursed, the righteous are blessed. Despite knowing Job’s righteous past, Eliphaz is unable to fathom the curse he endures as anything but the reaping of Job’s sin. This is essentially the theme of the three friends arguments through the rest of the book. Unfortunately it does not describe Job, and actually fails to understand the full and absolute sovereignty of God to use all things to and for his glory and ultimate purposes… even bad things happening to good people.

Job 4:9-11 convey the ultimate power of God to repay sin. The illustration with the lions seems weird, but perhaps the regional setting makes it appropriate and meaningful, at least in the sense that even the powerful are at the mercy of God. The New American Commentary notes the allusion to wind, and even the same use of the word ruah for “breath” as was used for the wind that killed Job’s children.

Eliphaz claims, in Job 4:12-16, to have had some sort of dream revelation, consisting of both audible and visual parts, but the part of greater import of the audible revelation. Who knows if he was telling the truth, as it was a special revelation only experienced by him, and there is no obvious claim that it was from God.

Who knows how much of Job 4:17-21 are the content of the vision versus Eliphaz’s words… if there is any difference at all! The point is that man is nothing compared to God, and is, in fact, extremely fragile and foolish, of no worth before God. and while the ultimate message of it is true in a sense: we are fragile, foolish, and worthless compared to, and apart from, God, the message seems to be an effort to bring Job down, abandon his righteous claim.

Eliphaz continues to support his reasoning of the wicked gaining curses and the righteous being blessed. He charges Job to call out to the angels, and obviously none will respond, presumably due to Job’s unrepentant and foolish heart. In the end it is all humanity that suffers from the curse of sin and foolishness, it is their nature. Again, there is truth here, but it is applied out of context in the case of Job, and Eliphaz does not see that.

Starting in Job 5:8, Eliphaz now offers Job some advice! “Appeal to God” and “present my case” are the two parts that comprise what he thinks Job should do. Eliphaz goes on the provide a picture of the greatness of God and his mercy. He begins with a general statement in v9, then provides a number of more specific examples.

In v17 the examples of God’s mercy and greatness shift to a more personally directed nature. Beginning with a plead to accept God’s discipline, the remainder of the verses are all directed to “you”, presumably meaning Job. Interestingly, they do not outline an avoidance of calamity and turmoil, but instead suggest a sort of protection from the events, ultimately resulting in happiness, presumably coming out of one’s acceptance of God’s discipline.

Eliphaz concludes his speech with the claim that “we” (he and the other two friends we must conclude) know his claims to be true, and that Job should receive it and understand it as truth as well. And although we can certainly find truth in some of what Eliphaz has stated, we are privy to the knowledge that he is wrong as far as Job is concerned, and therefore ultimately has an incomplete theology of God.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for revealing truth about you in so many ways. Even though we can see that Eliphaz was incorrect about Job and his state before you, and the cause of his suffering, we are also able to glean important truths about your nature from his words: your sovereign authority, your absolute power, and our status in relation to yours. I pray that we would all be able to open our minds and allow for you to work in any way you deem fit, even if it goes against what we “know” in our own limited and childlike knowledge. Amen.

 

Job 3:1-26

Key Verse(s):

Job 3:23 (CSB)
23 Why is life given to a man whose path is hidden, whom God has hedged in?

Reflection/Application:

This passage, which encompasses all of chapter 3, is Job’s opening speech following the arrival of his friends and the week long silent comradery.

The text, at least in the CSB translation, is broken into three main parts, which, it seems to me, constitute three, related, massages of Job.

  1. Job 3:3-10 comprise Job’s cursing of the day he was born. There is a consistent contrast of light versus dark, or day versus night, throughout this section, clearly along the lines of light being life, and dark being death, or at least a non-existence, or inactivity of some sort. This is the start of Job’s lament that he would rather never have been born, than to be in his current condition.
  2. Job 3:11-19 relays Job’s wish that he had died and never been born. This is a rough section, with raw emotion. Unlike the kind of metaphorical verses previous, these verses are description and scream Job’s suffering state. Job laments why he was not stillborn or miscarried, or why he was not left without nourishment as a newborn, to die. Interleaved, he fondly describes what seems to be a cemetery, or some sort of burial plot, and how it brings rest to the inhabitants. The wicked are freed from their troublesome ways, the slaves are free from their taskmasters. This “rest” is what Job longs for in the midst of hi current misery.
  3. Job 3:20-26 concludes with Job’s wish that he would now die. Finally he questions why someone, referring to himself, who wants to die, continues to receive “light”, or life. Job is clear that death is his desire, he longs for it, more than one would seek “hidden treasure”. In Job 3:23 we see an interesting line: Job is troubled by the hedge which God has put around him, as it brings uncertainty, lack of clarity, a fear, since what is beyond is hidden, and Job is trapped. It is curious that back in Job 1:10, the Satan accused God of just that: placing a hedge around Job. It is curious how that hedge, placed by God, is contrasted in the two verses. The section completes with Job’s expression of his current state: one of fear and dread, and restlessness and turmoil.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for Job! Not a thankfulness for what Job had to endure, the pain and suffering, but thank you for the real example of a man enduring great suffering that we might relate to. We can trust that you are in control, you place the hedges. Amen.

Job 2:11-13

 

Key Verse(s):

Job 2:13 (CSB)
13 Then they sat on the ground with him seven days and nights, but no one spoke a word to him because they saw that his suffering was very intense.

Reflection/Application:

Here in the closing of chapter 2, we are introduced to three of Job’s friends, who, along with Job and one more character yet to be introduced, comprise the main persons in the rest of the book. Much more will be revealed about these friends in the chapters to come, but we will look specifically what has been revealed here in these three verses.

The three men are referred to as Job’s “friends,” and we have no reason to doubt that they truly were his friends. The same title may not be in effect at the end of the book, but for now it would seem there is some sort of genuine comradery between these men and Job, which is supported by the fact that they each came to Job when they heard of his trials, with the agenda to “sympathize” and “comfort” him, and end up spending a significant amount of time with Job (just here we see an investment of a week to start with).

Job 2:12 reinforces two thoughts for us:

  • Job has been transformed by the trials he has endured, and is hard to recognize by his friends as a result. At this point Job has been decimated physically, psychologically, and emotionally, and therefore is hard to even identify as the same person he was. And isn’t it interesting that God has selected Job as his representative, allowing Satan to inflict this damage to Job, and we have no doubt that Job is just as easily recognized by God as he was prior to all this happening! It is man that is so easily confused by appearances.
  • The reactions of the friends seem to be signs of genuine care for their friend. They tear their robes, just as we saw Job do back in Job 1:20, after receiving the news of the deaths of his children. When their reaction is similar to that of the one who was actually impacted, Job, should we question their sincerity at this point?

Finally, we see these three men enter into Job’s presence, come alongside him, and simply be there, share in his pain for a time. There is not an immediate attempt to fix, to reassure, to judge, to suggest, to do anything but be present, sympathize, and, we can imagine, listen. Often times we need to take stock of a situation and, rather than view people as “things” to fix, or their circumstances as hurdles to overcome, be present, in sympathy, but silent. And they did this for a week, while Job suffered, modeling true friendship in this passage.

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for a glimpse of what it looks like to be both the sufferer, and the comforter. I pray that we invest in strong relationships with solid Christian brothers and sisters that will come and sit silently with us in our suffering, with a sympathetic heart, and that we would do the same for them. Amen.

 

Job 2:1-10

Key Verse(s):

Job 2:10 (CSB)
10 “You speak as a foolish woman speaks,” he told her. “Should we accept only good from God and not adversity?” Throughout all this Job did not sin in what he said.

Reflection/Application:

After Job’s first round of devastating tragedy, we read that the same council gathers again. And who shows up but the adversary, or the Satan, again. The stage is set as the first two and a half verses are a repeat of Job 1:6-8.

But in Job 2:3 there is a little wrinkle. The second half of the verse has some interesting phrasing which says, “you [Satan] incited me [God] against him [Job].” This is interesting for a few reasons.

First, it seemed that back in Job 1:12, God was allowing Satan to act as he desired, with the one caveat that he could not physically touch Job; yet here it seems God is saying he was the author of the calamity. It seems to me the only way to reconcile this is to understand God’s statement here to refer to his sovereign control and the fact that without his allowance, Satan would not have been able to do anything.

Second, the idea that the Satan has somehow moved God to an action, and one of the nature of what was brought upon Job, is a bit shocking. But again, I don’t think such a literal reading is what is needed, or meant, here. Instead, it would seem this is simply a reiteration of the Satan’s accusatory stance against God, and God’s fore-ordained plan to address what he knew would be. It happens to be that we “see” this, and more easily understand it, as a “response” of God.

Finally, the phrase “for no good reason,” is interesting in that it goes against the understood nature of God to do things for anything but a “good” reason… it’s his very nature to be “good” at all times, and in all things! So it would seem we can only understand the phrase as describing the actions of the Satan, allowed by God, and distinguishing the acts of this evil one from the righteous acts of God.

The passage goes on to have the Satan charge that the one exception that was put in place prior was the one thing that kept Job from cursing God: bodily harm. And again, we see God permit the adversary to bring disaster upon Job, this time in the form of boils all over his body.

Job 2:8 gives us the picture of Job, with a broken piece of pottery, sitting in ashes, scraping and scratching the boils all over his body. Job has been reduced about as far as he could be without dying. And then his wife enters the scene. In v9, Job’s wife basically tells Job to give up and die! I find this to be a bonus to the Satan’s plan… Job has now “lost” his wife, the woman he would have been joined to and become one flesh, and literally has nothing but his life.

Job 2:10 is another remarkable verse. Job rebukes his wife, and then drops a bombshell of theology on us: we accept the good and the bad from God! The easy and the hard. The pleasant and unpleasant. In other words, because we are God’s children, we must accept everything God allows to come to us. And Job lived it, as the passage closes by stating, “Job did not sin in what he said.”

Prayer:

Lord, thank you for Job. How terrible the ordeals he endured. How we pray that we will never have to endure what Job did! Yet, if we are truly your children, and our hope is fully in you alone, I pray we accept all that you give us, and allow to happen to us: the good and the bad. Amen.