Category Archives: Job

Job 42 – What was I thinking?

When I was younger, I often did things that were stupid. While attending a semi-pro baseball game with a friend and his dad, I blurted out a curse word to make people laugh. I did this in front of my friend’s dad. What was I thinking? I cringe as I recall that moment. But now that I am a Christian, I don’t do things like that, right? Well… my control of my language has improved over the years, but I am sure that there are still times when I can ask myself the same question. What was I thinking?

As we look at the last chapter in the Book of Job, we will see that God has finished speaking. It is now time for Job to respond to all that God had told him. I have no doubt that Job was quite humbled by God’s response to him. His response can be summed up with the question we began with: “What was I thinking?”

  1. Job’s repentance (42:1-6)

    God used many questions to show Job how little he really knew. The more God spoke, the less Job realized he knew compared to God. When God was finished, Job finally responded with great humility.

    I admit that You can do anything (2).

    After being reminded of God’s control over creation and being offered the opportunity to take over as God, Job realized that He and God were on totally different levels. He realized that God was in complete control and was the best One to be in control. Job finally submitted to God’s sovereignty.

    I spoke without thinking (3).

    God had asked who it was that was hiding counsel without knowledge. In other words, He was asking why Job was speaking without full knowledge of the situation. Job admitted that he had spoken about things he didn’t know or understand.

    Think about that for a moment. Do you understand what God is specifically doing in your life? Do you know why he allows things to happen to you both bad and good? Do you know how the events of your life tie into the lives of others around you? The answer should be clear. We don’t know.

    I repent of my speech (4-6).

    God had told Job to answer His questions. But Job was not willing to answer God anymore. God’s questions had revealed how little Job knew about anything—including what God was doing during Job’s suffering. His final response was to despise himself and repent of his attitude and speech. God had finally brought Job to where he needed to be.

    Repentance is often looked at in a wrong way. We sometimes think that repentance is a difficult task which will lead to a sterile life without any joy. But that is not the case. When we repent of our sin, we line up our mind and our will with God. When we come to the place that we are right with God, the struggle against God disappears and is replaced with His peace. At that moment, we realize what we had been missing all along.

  2. God’s rebuke (42:7-9)

    Having finished with Job, the Lord turned to Eliphaz and his friends. He rebuked them for what they had said to Job. But He also gave them the opportunity to be restored in their relationship with the Lord.

    God was angry with Eliphaz and his friends (7).

    God’s response toward Job’s three friends is interesting. God was actually angry with them because of their speeches to Job. He made it clear that they had not spoken correctly about God. He also said that Job had spoken what was right. (I would suggest that this covers most of Job’s speeches but not the ones in which he questioned God’s justice.)

    I think that God’s response to the three friends ought to bring us to a teachable moment. Like those three, we need to be careful what we say when talking about God. It is easy for many of us to argue and to put people in their place, but we need to be careful that we don’t misrepresent God in the process. Let’s be extra careful when speaking for God so that we don’t cause Him to be angry with us.

    God offered them restoration (8).

    Thankfully, God’s anger doesn’t endure forever for His children. Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad were believers and God cared for them. Despite their wrong speech, God gave them an opportunity to be restored by offering a burnt offering and asking Job to pray for them. But if they were unwilling, He would deal with them in judgment.

    They did what God told them (9).

    The three friends responded properly to God’s rebuke. They did as He had commanded and asked Job to pray for them. What must that have been like? In many situations, it is difficult to admit that you were wrong. But in this case, both Job and his friends had heard directly from God and were all in the right frame of mind to repent and seek the Lord.

    Rebuke is often looked at in a wrong way. We sometimes think that rebuke is a beat down by God or from people near us. But that is not the case. When we are rebuked, we are being shown our sin and are given the opportunity to repent and be restored. As with repentance, rebuke leads us back to where we should have been. At that moment, we realize what we had been missing all along.

  3. God’s blessings (42:10-17)

    The final section of the chapter shows us the blessings God poured out on Job and his family after this terrible ordeal. God’s blessings included prosperity, a restored family, and a long life.

    Job’s losses were restored (10).

    Job had lost everything during this terrible calamity. He had lost his wealth, his children, and his health. But in the end, God restored all of this to him. God blessed him by doubling his wealth. If you compare the amount of cattle he had at the beginning to those at the end, you will see that there were exactly double.

    Look at the beginning of verse 10. Did you notice that the Lord restored Job’s losses when he prayed for his three friends? That seems to be instructive as well. God wanted Job to repent of his wrong thinking but to also have a right relationship with his friends.

    Job’s family comforted him (11).

    At some point after his restoration, Job’s family and friends visited him and comforted him. They ate with him and talked with him in such a way that he was comforted after all that he had faced. Family and friends are often just what we need during trials.

    The Bible doesn’t tell us why the friends and family showed up after Eliphaz, Zophar, and Bildad, but they did show up and were appreciated. They also gave him money to help him get back on his feet.

    Job’s future was blessed (12-17).

    The final part of the story reveals that Job’s later life was better than at the beginning. God blessed him with more wealth, more children, and more years of life. His three later daughters are named and noted as more beautiful than any in the land. Finally, Job lived another 140 years and was able to see four generations of descendants after his calamity.

    Trials are often looked at in a wrong way. We sometimes think that trials will last forever and that we will never be happy again. But that is not the case. God often uses trials to make us stronger, to increase our faith, and to prepare us for His perfect will for our lives. But none of this makes sense during the trials unless we have a right attitude toward God.

Conclusion

As we conclude our study of the Book of Job, I don’t want us to take an overly simplistic view of the book. We can’t walk away from our study and think that everything will always be rosy as long as we endure it. God doesn’t promise to always bless His children like He did Job. Instead, let’s learn the same lesson that Job did. God is in control. He knows what He is doing and won’t always explain Himself. We are not in control and need to trust Him. When we let God be in charge, we will find the peace that only He can give during life’s trials.

Job 40:6 – 41:34 – Are you in a position to take over as God?

In the first part of God’s reply to Job, He pointed out that Job really didn’t know anything. Compared to God who has created, named, and sustained the stars, Job really knew nothing. And that is how Job responded: he put his hand over his mouth. In the second and final section, God asks Job if he is in a position take over as God? He then talks about two fierce creatures that He had made and asked Job how he would match up with them.

  1. Are you in a position to take over as God? (40:6-14)

    Job had made some strong statements about how God was doing things. He had said that he him was righteous and not deserving of the suffering he was going through. He had impugned God’s character by suggesting that God was not doing His job right. And Job wanted to talk with God about doing things better. Wow! Spurred on by his friends’ accusations, Job had gone off the deep end. So God chose to confront Job’s wrong thinking.

    Questions (7-9)

    With a series of questions, God confronted Job’s wrong attitude toward Him. Job had questioned God’s justice in allowing him to go through such suffering. However, God didn’t even address Job’s questions. Instead, He asked Job if he could annul God’s judgments, condemn God, be stronger than God, or speak like Him. “The word ‘condemn’ is the word rasa, ‘to act wickedly or to condemn as wicked.’ This is an amazing reprimand by God, for this verb has occurred several times already in the Book of Job.”1 Was this what Job wanted to say to God!?

    Challenges (10-14)

    God knew that Job could not do these things, but He challenged Job to take His place as God. “Defaming God, as Job had done, was in essence a usurping of divine authority, and attempt to put himself in God’s place. So, as God reasoned, if Job wanted the job of world Ruler, then he would need to prove he was qualified.”2 He told him to make himself majestic and glorious, to display his wrath against the proud, and to trample down the wicked. As soon as Job accomplished those things, God would confess to him that he was able to save himself. In other words, God was telling Job to sit down and shut his mouth. He had stepped over the line in his comments and needed to be put in his place.

  2. Are you stronger than creatures I have made?

    While that would have been enough for most of us, God did not stop there. Job had put himself on level with God by telling God that he wasn’t right to make him suffer. To show him his puny strength, God pointed Job to two incredibly strong creatures which He had created. If Job was in a position to argue with God, could he show his strength by facing these creatures?

    Behemoth (40:15-24)

    God’s description of Behemoth does not match any creature existing today. But it must have existed at that time because God referred to it as if Job would know what he was talking about.

    • eats grass like an ox
    • strong hips and stomach muscles
    • large tree-like tail
    • strong bones and muscles
    • unapproachable with a sword5
    • food from the mountains4
    • lies in the shade near water
    • undisturbed by a raging river
    • confident

    The Behemoth, whatever it was, was something that humans could not fight against. It was something that God had created to show His incredible power.

    Leviathan (41:1-34)

    God’s description of Leviathan does not match any creature existing today. But it must have existed at that time because God referred to it as if Job would know what he was talking about.

    • cannot be captured or kept as a pet6
    • can’t be caught with harpoons
    • You will never forget battling against him.
    • Nobody is fierce enough to fight him.

    If this creature was so fierce that nobody could fight against it, who would be able to stand against the One who created it? God has existed before all of creation and owes nothing to anyone.

    • has limbs and graceful proportions (a sea creature)
    • can’t be bridled because of great teeth
    • rows of scales with no openings
    • fire breathing7
    • strong neck
    • firm flesh
    • his arrival scares the mighty
    • weapons cannot harm it
    • undersides like pottery shards
    • his movements cause a wake
    • no fear

    The Leviathan, whatever it was, was something that humans could not fight against. It was something that God had created to show His incredible power.

    While it would be interesting to figure out what creatures these are, that isn’t the point. Job knew what they were and agreed with God’s assessment of their abilities. But what was the point God was making?

Conclusion

“God was … challenging Job to subdue these monsters—a task he obviously could not do—if he wanted to maintain order in God’s universes. Job had been concerned that God had not dealt with evil; so God was showing Job that he was unqualified to take over God’s job.”3

The point being made by God was that Job needed to get off of his high horse and realize how foolish he had been. These two creatures were so powerful that Job could do nothing against them. God, who made these enormous creatures, was greater than them. So, Job needed to remember who God was and how he couldn’t even come close to being like Him or doing His job.

Footnotes

1 Zuck 770.
2 Zuck 771.
3 Zuck 773.
4 Davidson 280. “The verse seems to mean that in order to satisfy his hunger the animal depastures whole mountains, tracts where all the beasts of the field play.”
5 Paul. “The animal is here seen as invincible (v. 19), while in Egypt the hippopotamus was hunted. A favourite tactic was to pierce the nose, forcing the animal to breathe through its opened mouth (figure 1). Following this the fatal blow could be inflicted in the mouth. Egyptian pharaohs were proud of being able to kill a hippopotamus, since this contributed to the praise of their power as an incarnated god.”
6 Paul. “It is unlikely that the animal referred to is a crocodile, because the tongue of this animal is hardly noticeable and also because crocodiles were caught and killed in Egypt. Papyrus Cha (ca. 1430 BC) depicts a man keeping a crocodile under control with a rope that comes from the mouth of the animal. He threatens to kill the crocodile with a knife that he holds in his hand, ready to strike.”
7 Paul. “Both the other verses, though, speak of torches or flames coming from the mouth of the animal. That description fits better with a fire-breathing dragon, as we know them from many oral traditions. Although we have never seen such animals, we do know, however, of other animals that produce hot gasses, electrical currents and light.”

Bibliography

Davidson, A. B., The Book of Job, Cambridge: University Press, 1899.

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee Vol. II Joshua through Psalms, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982.

Paul, Mart-Jan, “Behemoth and leviathan in the book of Job” as viewed at https://creation.com/behemoth-and-leviathan on 8/9/2023.

Zuck, Roy B., “Job” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1989.

Job 38:1-40:5 – Do you really know anything?

After wading through the comments of Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, Elihu, and Job, we were left scratching our heads. Were any of them right in their commentary? I think that each of them said some good things, but the good was a mixture of truth and error. None of them got things completely right. As they faced an unexplainable situation, they decided to pool their ignorance and it didn’t work very well.

Happily, God finally put an end to their discussion and confronted Job about his response. However, His response is not what we would expect. Having watched various Christian debates, I would expect God to pick apart each person’s ideas and then explain why they were wrong. I would have preferred that God did this and then explained what the truth was. But God took a different tack. He chose to ask Job a lot of questions. These questions are divided into a first set of questions (Job 38:1-40:2) along with Job’s response (40:3-5) and then a final question (40:7-14) bolstered by a description of behemoth (40:15-24) and leviathan (41:1-34) followed by Job’s final response (42:1-6).

  1. God’s first set of questions (Job 38:4-40:5)

    In the first set of questions, God uncovers Job’s lack of knowledge and control of God’s Creation. He begins by pointing Job to the earth. God’s control over all the earth began with creation but continues through every day.

    Questions about the earth (Job 38:4-38)

    What do you know about the creation of the earth? (Job 38:4-7)
    Who keeps the sea from overflowing the earth? (Job 38:8-11)
    Are you able to control when the sun rises or sets? (Job 38:12-15)
    Do you know where the gates of death are located? (Job 38:17)
    Do you know how broad the earth is? (Job 38:18)
    Where do light and darkness come from? (Job 38:19-21)
    Where are snow and hail kept? (Job 38:22-23)
    How is light and wind distributed around the world? (Job 38:24)
    Do you know how water overflows, where lightning travels, how rain falls on the wilderness, how grass grows in the wilderness, where dew, ice, and frost comes from? (Job 38:25-30)
    Can you control stars or understand how they move? (Job 38:31-33)
    Can you control the rain or lightning? (Job 38:34-35)
    Who gives wisdom to people? (Job 38:36)
    Who knows how many clouds exist and can cause it to rain? (Job 38:37-38)

    Questions about animals (Job 38:39-39:30)

    In God’s second group of questions, He points Job to his lack of knowledge about animals. If you recall, Job owned many animals on his farm. But God pointed Job to what he didn’t know and couldn’t control.

    Can you provide food for hungry lions and ravens? (Job 38:39-41)
    Do you know the reproductive details of goats and deer? (Job 39:1-4)
    Do you know about wild donkeys, onagers, and oxen? (Job 39:5-12)
    Do you know about the ostrich? (Job 39:13-18)
    Have you empowered the horse? (Job 39:19-25)
    Have you enabled the hawk and eagle to fly? (Job 39:26-30)

    Job’s response (40:1-5)

    God stopped to give Job a chance to respond. In strong language, He asked Job to correct Him. Job had been working himself up into righteous indignation about his situation and had crossed the line. His words had been a rebuke to God and now God gave him the opportunity to speak.

    Can you imagine what Job must have been thinking at this moment? God Himself had answered his complaint and had spoken to him. It was easy to speak about his situation when it was just his friends listening, but now God was there.

    Job responded wisely. He rightly considered himself vile in the presence of God. Who was he to rebuke God for what had happened? He also made a good decision by covering his mouth and not responding. He admitted that he had already spoken too much.

Conclusion

As you listened to the many questions asked by God, what were your thoughts? The first questions about Creation were quite humbling. What do we know about the earth, sky, and sea? We are just created people with very little power over our circumstances. The second questions about animals were also revealing. Although I know some things about ducks and chickens, I am actually oblivious to how their bodies work and how they lay eggs. God, the One asking Job the questions, actually created all of the animals, fish, and birds. He knows how they work in every aspect of their lives. We don’t.

This is why we should be careful in our response to life events. Instead of being quick to blame God for tragedies, remember who you are and Who He is. God is the Creator and we are the creatures. He has everything in control and we don’t. Knowing those truths ought to limit our complaints and increase our awe of God.

Job 28-31 – Why have things changed so drastically?

I have been watching video clips of various congressional hearings. It has been interesting to hear the arguments for or against various proposals. Both sides make somewhat valid arguments, but the final say usually comes from whomever is the committee chairman. In Job 28-31, Job acts in the same way as a committee chairman. He has heard the faulty arguments of his three friends and now makes his concluding remarks. His whole speech takes up chapters 26-31—the longest section in the book to this point. His main points can be divided into three questions.

  1. Where can you find wisdom? (Job 28)

    In this chapter, Job seems to step back and teach a lesson on true wisdom. After hearing the false wisdom promoted by his three friends, he made it clear that he knew where true wisdom comes from.

    Precious metals are hidden underground (Job 28:1-11).
    Wisdom is more valuable than precious metals (Job 28:12-19).
    Wisdom ultimately comes from fearing God (Job 28:20-28).

    Job seems to have found what other Old Testament believers had found.

    Psalm 111:10 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom;
    A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.
    His praise endures forever.”

    Proverbs 1:7 – “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.”

    The wisdom of God is of great value to everyone. But it begins with the right attitude toward the Lord. When we fear Him, we greatly respect what He says in the Bible. That fear of God leads us to depart from evil in our thoughts, words, and actions.

  2. Why have things changed so drastically? (Job 29-30)

    In chapter 29, Job talked about the good things he had experienced in the past. As you recall from the initial chapters, Job had been greatly blessed by God because of his faithfulness to the Lord. But all of that had been taken from him. In chapter 30, Job talked about how different things were now. To him, it just didn’t make sense.

    In the past, God watched over me (Job 29:1-6).
    In the past, people respected me (Job 29:7-25).
    Now people mock me (Job 30:1-15).
    Now God doesn’t care about me (Job 30:16-23).
    Now I am receiving evil for doing good (Job 30:24-31).

    Job’s comparison was accurate, but it left out the possibility that God was at work in his situation. God doesn’t guarantee that we will always have perfect lives or that things will always stay the same. Sometimes, we overthink our situations. The past always seems brighter and better. In Job’s case, it was better then. But had God forgotten him? No, although things had changed drastically, God had not forgotten Job.

  3. What have I done to deserve this? (Job 31)

    In this chapter, Job points out the just results that should come on him for doing evil. He knew that evil deeds deserved judgment from God. But as he went through the various list of sins, he could not find something in his life that corresponded to the terrible “judgment” he was receiving (presumably) from God.

    I have not had immoral eyes (Job 31:1-4).
    I have not lied to or deceived others (Job 31:5-8).
    I have not been adulterous (Job 31:9-12).
    I have not despised my servants (Job 31:13-15).
    I have not neglected the needy (Job 31:16-23).
    I have not been covetous (Job 31:24-25).
    I have not turned away from God (Job 31:26-28).
    I have not hated my enemies (Job 31:29-30).
    I have not neglected the needed (Job 31:31-32).
    I have not covered my sin (Job 31:33-34).
    I have not been unfair (Job 31:38-40).

    Job felt that he was being treated as an evil-doer despite the fact that he had been doing good. He wanted a chance to explain himself to God and hear God’s answer about his situation (Job 31:35-37).

Conclusion

As we conclude this study of Job 28-31, Job’s main question seems to be “Why have things changed so drastically?” If you had the opportunity to answer Job, what would you tell him? How would you answer his question? For us, it is easy to tell Job that he is simply ignorant of what God was allowing to happen. It wasn’t God judging him; it was Satan tormenting him. If Job had only known that, it would have made a difference in his response.

At some point, each of us could face an unexplainable change of plans. When that happens, how will what we have seen in the Book of Job change the way you respond? Perhaps it would be best to say something like this. “I don’t know why this has happened. God has been so kind to me in the past, so it doesn’t seem like something He would do to me. Whether it is the wicked one doing this, I don’t know. But I will continue to trust the Lord and seek His help through this situation.” I think that our knowledge of God’s character is what will keep us upright when the storm hits. He is good and He is God. I will trust Him.

Job 22-24 – Is all suffering the result of personal sin?

During a recent House Judiciary Committee hearing,1 Rep. Steve Cohen told Special Counsel John Durham that his reputation was damaged because his report supported former president Donald Trump. When the representative’s time was up, Durham was given time to respond. His response was golden. “My concern about my reputation is with the people I respect, and my family, and my Lord. And I’m perfectly comfortable with my reputation with them, sir.”

In today’s study (Job 22-24), Job could have responded the same way. Eliphaz once again accused him of suffering because of sin and called on him to repent. Job’s response takes two chapters, but he brings up some good points in his rebuttal.

  1. Eliphaz confronts Job (Job 22).

    His arguments can be summed up with two questions:

    Is God impressed by your righteousness? (Job 22:2-3)

    Eliphaz was still not convinced about Job being a righteous person. He asked Job if he thought God was impressed with his “righteousness.” Do you really think that God notices the supposed good things you have done? God is not impressed.

    While it is true that even our best is tainted by sin, is it true that God doesn’t notice what people are being faithful to Him? No, God noticed Noah (Gen. 6:8-9) and also Job (Job 2:3-4). While we shouldn’t place ourselves on a pedestal, it is good to know that our work for the Lord is noticed and appreciated by God. So, does God notice our righteousness? The answer for unbelievers is no. The answer for believers is yes.

    Is God judging your wickedness? (Job 22:4-7)

    Eliphaz quickly asked another question that he already “knew” the answer to. In his mind, there was no way that Job was righteous in God’s eyes. He asked if God was judging Job for his fear of God? Eliphaz was convinced God was judging Job for wickedness. In the following verses, he points out a variety of ways that Job had sinned. How he knew this, I don’t know. But he was wrong.

    Eliphaz believed that if Job were to repent of his wickedness, that God would make everything good for him. Once again, he was under the impression that Job was wrong and deserved all that he had received. This was poor reasoning that assumed suffering is always the result of sin. But is it?
  2. Job responds to Eliphaz (Job 23-24).

    His arguments can be summed up in two questions:

    Is there a way to bring my case before God? (Job 23:3-7)

    No matter what the others said, Job wanted to speak with God about his suffering. If he could stand before God, he would have the opportunity to argue his case. And he would listen to God’s response. But he could not find God to do this. And yet, he was convinced that if God tested him, he would be found as pure as gold (Job 23:10-11). But the lack of response and the severity of his suffering caused Job to be terrified of God probably because he believed that God was causing the suffering. It just didn’t make sense.

    If suffering is always a result of sin, why do poor people suffer? (Job 24:1-25)

    Job had hear the argument of Eliphaz. He had used a simplistic argument that Job’s suffering was evidence that God was judging him for sin. But Job asked why upright people don’t always see God judging the wicked (24:1). He listed off a variety of sinful actions that seemed to be overlooked by God: moving landmarks (24:2), cattle rustling (24:2b-3a), abusing widows (24:3b), bullying the poor and needy (24:4-11), murder (24:14), and adultery (24:15). Were those affected by the wicked deserving of God’s judgment?

    The upright curse those who are wicked (24:18-20) but until their death, these people would continue preying on the barren and widows (24:21). Thankfully, God will eventually square up with the wicked. After a time of “success” they would eventually be brought low (24:24). This was apparent to anyone who had lived in their society.

    Job’s argument is that suffering is not always the result of sin. There are many examples of people who have been harmed by wicked people. But how did that square with what Eliphaz had argued. Were those who suffered abuse at the hands of wicked people actually being judged by God? Nobody would ever believe that. The poor and needy who are abused by the wicked are victims not those who are deserving judgment.

Conclusion

There are a lot of things to think through in these three chapters. Eliphaz’s argument that suffering is always due to sin is obviously wrong. But sometimes it is true. When someone sins, his son must be addressed by God. In Christ, all of our sins have been paid for, but for unbelievers, those sins will ultimately be addressed at the Great White Throne. Job’s points about the suffering of the poor and needy is powerful. Do we really believe that every person suffering is under God’s judgment. No, but we can see how sin often affects many people. Bad choices can lead to bad results. But the fact that someone is poor, or has been murdered, or robbed doesn’t immediately indicate why it happened.

In the end, each of us must stand before the Lord and give a report. For Christians, we will stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ to have our service examined (Rom. 14:10). At that time, what anyone else thinks about us will not matter. Our own record will speak for us. While it may be easy to point at others and judge their motives, words, or actions, perhaps it would be better to get ourselves ready for that future meeting. In the end, only what God thinks will matter.

Footnotes

1 “Applause Breaks Out After Durham’s Response To Steve Cohen Telling Him ‘You Had A Good Reputation'” as viewed at https://youtu.be/UZcBQ1KAFP4 on 6/28/2023.

Which one is right? – Job 15-21

In a recent report, several scientists proposed that the data proved that climate change is happening and that the temperature is rising rapidly. After looking at a chart of the data, their conclusion seemed to be correct. However, when other scientists asked to see the raw data, they were not permitted to see it. As it turns out, they had skewed the data to reflect their own views. The temperature had actually gone done recently.

As we have been reading through the Book of Job, it has been apparent that Job’s friends knew God. They were fluent in many biblical principles. In fact, we might like to have some of them teach us about the Lord. But after hearing Job’s response to their statements, it is equally clear that he also knew the Lord and knew biblical principles. This leaves us with a question: Which one was right? As we look at the second set of debates, look for what is right or wrong about each person’s statements.

  1. The first debate: Eliphaz vs. Job (Job 15-17)

    Eliphaz – You are suffering because of your rebellion against God.

    “In his first speech Eliphaz approached Job with a degree of decorum and courtesy, but not so this time. Now he lambasted the bereaved, dejected sufferer with the notion that he was a hardened sinner, disrespectful of his elders and defiant toward God.”1 He believed that wicked people always suffer because of their rebellion against God. They might be fat but they will never be rich (Job 15:20-26). Eliphaz seemed to think that all wicked people are constantly under God’s judgment and will never be successful. He somehow overlooked Job’s earlier successes and attributed his present condition to rebellion against God.

    Where was Eliphaz right? He was right that rebellion against God will eventually lead to God’s judgment.

    Where was Eliphaz wrong? He was wrong because (1) God doesn’t always judge the wicked immediately, and (2) Job was not rebelling against God.

    Job – You are wrong because I have kept myself pure.

    Job was not comforted by Eliphaz’s words. He thought that God had delivered him over to the wicked (Job 16:11) despite him being pure (Job 16:17). ” Why should he be in such torment when he was not a terrible person?”1 Job wished he had a mediator between him and God. This reminds me of what we have in Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5-6).

    Where was Job wrong? He was wrong in attributing Satan’s actions to the Lord.

    Where was Job right? He was right in wanting a way to talk to God about his situation.

    When we are suffering, we need to be careful to think beyond the pain. It could be that Satan is seeking our harm. Or it could be that God is using the situation to conform us more to the image of Christ. In either case, we need to take advantage of our relationship with God through Christ. Talk to God and allow Him to comfort you.

  2. The second debate: Bildad vs. Job (Job 18-19)

    Bildad – You are suffering due to your own choices.

    “Indignant at Job’s insolent words, Bildad berated him.”1 He believed that wicked people are troubled by their own choices (Job 18:7-8) and from not knowing God (Job 18:21). He “insinuated that Job did not even know God. Since Job refused to repent, how could he possibly be righteous?”1

    Where was Bildad right? Bad choices to have bad results.

    Where was Bildad wrong? He was wrong in assuming that Job was suffering due to bad choices and that Job did not know God.

    Job – You are wrong and everyone is against me.

    Job felt wronged by Bildad (Job 19:3) and by God (Job 19:6-7). Bildad was now harassing Job with accusations. This wasn’t helpful. But was God treating Job wrongfully? “Certainly Job was wrong here for Satan, God’s chief enemy, was also Job’s enemy.”1 Job felt like everyone had turned against him (Job 19:19). But he still somehow believed that he would see God after death (Job 19:26).

    Where was Job wrong? He was wrong to think that God had forsaken him (Heb. 13:5).

    Where was Job right? He was right to remember that he would one day be with God (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

  3. The third debate: Zophar vs. Job (Job 20-21)

    Zophar – You are a hypocrite.

    “This sixth speech by Job’s companions is the most stinging of all the diatribes. Infuriated and insulted, Zophar blasted Job, seeking to convince him that his wealth had vanished because that is what happens to those who deprive the poor.”1 He still believed that Job was a hypocrite (Job 20:4-5) who oppressed the poor (Job 20:19), and that God had removed his riches (Job 20:15).

    Where was Zophar right? God doesn’t care for hypocrites and those who abuse the poor.

    Where was Zophar wrong? He was wrong in assuming these things about Job.

    Job – You are wrong about the present condition of the wicked.

Job argued that Zophar’s argument was not right because wicked people live and grow old and powerful (Job 21:7). They enjoy life despite their rebellion against God (Job 21:14-15). If God’s judgment came so quickly on the wicked, why were so many of them doing so well? However, he did concede that they would eventually face God’s judgment (Job 21:30).

Where was Job wrong? He was wrong in assuming that God’s judgment is not currently affecting the wicked (Job 21:9).

Where was Job right? He was right that God will eventually judge the wicked.

Conclusion

If I was in a hospital room and three of you came and argued with me about why I was sick, I would probably ask the nurse to send you away and then close the door. But in Job’s time, this was not the custom. “The custom in the East is to allow a man to utter all that he has to say without interruption.”2 So they were used to these back-and-forth philosophical dialogues which could last for hours, if not days.

As we saw in this study, there were good points made by each person. None of them was completely wrong and none was completely right. This ought to teach us to be careful what we say and how often we speak. We don’t know as much as we think we do. We may know what the Bible teaches, but we don’t know what God is doing behind the scenes or the condition of any person’s heart. We must remember this and be very careful before judging another person’s motives or circumstances.

Footnotes

1 Zuck

2 Barnes

Bibliography

Barnes, Albert, Barnes’ Notes on the Whole Bible, as viewed in PocketBible for Android.

Zuck, Roy B., “Job” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publication, 1989, as viewed in PocketBible for Android.

Which one is the empty headed man? — Job 11-14

When I was younger, there were a number of funny responses you could say to a friend. One that still makes me laugh is, “That’s what I said, lemon head.” The little rhyming rejoinder is a little jab that makes you wonder what a lemon head is and if you are one. In today’s chapters, someone uses a similar saying, but this time it is “an empty-headed man.” That doesn’t sound very nice, now does it? If you are an empty-headed person your speech or actions are displaying a lack of brains.

  1. The conversation between Zophar and Job (Job 11-14)

    Once again, one of Job’s friends thinks he has Job’s situation figured out. And once he has stated his concerns, Job responds to him and then to God. As we look through the chapter, note how many good things are said and then try to determine whether they are correctly applied.

    Zophar accused Job and pled with him (Job 11:1-20).

    “Zohar retorted viciously to Job for claiming to be innocent and for accusing God of malpractice.”1 He claimed that Job’s speech was empty talk (11:3) that needed to be addressed. Job had claimed to be pure and clean (11:4) but Zophar “knew” that God was not giving him what he deserved for his iniquity (11:6). He also knew that God knows our wickedness and responds in a way that we can’t hinder (11:10). So Job was an empty-headed person to respond the way he had (11:12). “The chances of Job’s becoming wise were no greater than the possibility of a wild donkey … giving birth to a man!”1 Toward the end of his speech, Zophar seems to settle down and show concern for Job by pleading with him to prepare his heart (11:13), put away his sin (11:14), and seek God’s solution to his problems. “Zophar is saying, ‘If you would just deal with the sin that is in your life and quit fighting it, God would hear and answer your prayers and restore you.”3 But if Job would not, Zophar told him he could not escape God’s judgment (11:20).

    Job was not happy with Zophar (Job 12:1-13:19).

    After being accused of being empty-headed, Job accused Zophar of thinking he was the only wise person left on earth (12:2). He told him that what he had said was known by everyone (12:3). But to Job, it seemed that God was now helping the wicked (12:6) and harming him. Job further pointed out the fact that birds, beasts, and fish knew how to discern what was happening (12:7-8). (He said this after Zophar has mentioned the stupid donkey.2) If God holds back the rain, it will become dry and if he pours out the water, there will be a flood (12:15). From Job’s perspective, it was clear to see that God builds up kingdoms and then tears them down (12:23).

    Job wished that God would let him speak (13:3) and that his friends would leave him alone (13:4-5). They should be wary of speaking such things for God (13:7) because God could confront (13:9) and rebuke them (13:10). Despite their unhelpful “help” and this desire to defend himself, Job was still trusting in the Lord (13:15). God alone was his salvation (13:16).

    Job poured out his heart to God (Job 13:20-14:22).

    Job prayed that God would remove his hand from him (13:21) and that He would respond to him (13:22). But, as McGee notes, “he is telling God what to do. … Job tried to tell God how He should handle his situation.”4 He couldn’t figure out what sins he had committed (13:23). At this point, his life was like a shadow that would soon disappear (14:2) so why would God do this to him? His circumstances were so severe that he longed for the grave (14:13). He knew that God had covered his sins (14:17) but he was still feeling hopeless (14:19).

  2. The lessons from their conversation

    In Zophar’s speech, he mentioned an empty-headed man. After reading these four chapters, who was the empty-headed man? Zophar seemed to think it was Job. He equated Job’s suffering with earned judgment. To him, God never allows godly people to suffer, so this suffering must be a judgment from God for Job’s undisclosed sin. But Job seemed to send the accusation back at Zophar. He was unaware of any unconfessed sin that God would be judging him for. To him, he didn’t deserve the “judgment” he was receiving, presumably, from God.

    As you read the conversation between Zophar and Job, they both seem to be speaking with both wisdom and ignorance. Zophar’s speech was actually pretty good. He was a friend confronting his friend about what he considered to be ungodly speech. He wanted Job to repent and to be restored by God. This is good and what a friend should do. However, He wasn’t right about Job’s situation. He should have held back his accusations until he had all the information. Job’s speech was also pretty good. His trust in the Lord was still there but his frustration was growing. There were too many questions on his mind and it didn’t seem right. Why wouldn’t God answer him?

Conclusion

“These first speeches by Job’s companions offered no comfort. Though their generalities about God’s goodness, justice, and wisdom were true, their cruel charge that Job repent of some hidden sin missed the mark. They failed to see that God sometimes has other reasons for human suffering.”1

How should we respond to what happened here?

1. Don’t be quick to judge. Zophar quickly jumped on the band wagon of accusing Job of something he hadn’t done. It is easy to make assumptions based on circumstances instead of facts.

2. Be gentle with others. Zophar’s vitriolic speech wasn’t a good idea. While there are times when God’s servants have used sarcasm against evil-doers, this was a spiritual brother. Instead of helping him make his point, it made Job angry. Be gentle.

3. Trust the Lord while you wait. Job still didn’t understand why he was going through his suffering. But he still voiced his trust in the Lord. It must have been hard to do that. But God is trustworthy as we have seen throughout the Bible and will see at the end of this book.

4. Remember who is ultimately in charge. Job was getting awfully close to demanding things from God. His pain must have contributed to his boldness. Let’s just remember who we are and who God is. Let him be God.

Footnotes

1 Zuck 733.
2 Zuck 734.
3 McGee 609.
4 McGee 612.

Bibliography

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee Vol II: Joshua through Psalms, Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1982, pp. 607-613.

Zuck, Roy B., “Job” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publication, 1989, pp. 733-36.

What did you do to deserve this? – Job 8-10

In the classic movie, The Sound of Music, Maria sings a song to the captain about her unexpected fortune in finding his love. The lyrics of the song give the impression that their relationship must have been the result of something good she did.

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth

For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood
I must have done something good

We tend to think the same way about bad things that happen. Why is it that someone’s relative is in the hospital? Apart from whatever physical event happened, was there a reason God allowed this to happen? Was the person living in sin? Were they running from God? While these questions seem overly judgmental, we have seen some people suffer the consequences of their sins. So, is it really a stretch to wonder that about other people? The problem with this kind of thinking is that we are analyzing current events without knowledge of what God is doing behind the scenes. If we are honest, we really don’t know why things happen.

In Job 8-10, we will see that this way of thinking is not something new. It was practiced thousands of years ago when Job’s friends addressed what they thought was a flaw in Job’s character. What had he done to deserve God’s judgment?

  1. Bildad thought that Job’s tragedy was his own fault (Job 8).

    After listening to the argument given by Eliphaz and Job’s response, Bildad gave a simple devotional to Job explaining why God had judged Job. To him there was no other explanation. It was perfectly clear that Job and his family were under the judgment of God.

    Maybe God judged your children for their sins (8:4). Bildad seems to have been offended by what Job was saying. He seemed to think that Job was accusing God of being unjust. God is just. He always does what is right. So how could Job question what had happened to him and his children. Maybe God grew tired of being merciful to Job’s children. Maybe they finally crossed the line and were judged by God as were the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. If so, their deaths were the result of their own sins.

    Maybe God isn’t listening because you are impure (8:6). Bildad had a high view of God’s goodness to his loyal followers. In his mind, God always helped those who sought Him and always rewarded those who were pure. This is why he called Job to examine his own life. Perhaps these bad circumstances were a result of Job’s sinful behavior. While Job was not known as a sinful man, perhaps there were somethings in his life that nobody but God knew. This leads to the next thought.

    Maybe God has afflicted you because you forgot Him (8:12-13). Bildad suddenly thought of an illustration that explained how Job at first had success and then hit rock bottom. He was like a papyrus reed in a marsh. Just as a reed grows for a while and then withers, so had Job. He had wealth and success for a while and then all this happened. In Bildad’s mind this was the end of all who forgot God. Job must have been enjoying his wealth too much and then forgot God.

    Bildad actually said some good things. There are consequences for sin. There are consequences for not listening to God. There are consequences for forgetting God. But despite the truths in his words, they did not apply to Job. He wrongly assumed that he had all the fact and knew for certain what God was doing. This was a mistake.

  2. Job responded with several important question (Job 9-10).

    In response to Bildad’s statements, Job agreed with some of his ideas. He agreed that sin has its consequences and that God often rewards the righteous and punishes the wicked. However, his situation wasn’t easily explained by these statements because he had been living a righteous life. So he followed up with several questions.

    How can anyone be righteous before God? (9:2) This is a good question. We know from other parts of the Bible, that apart from the imputed righteousness of Jesus, none of us is actually righteous in God’s eyes (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:10-13). Job rightly asked how one could get God’s attention and claim to be righteous. God knows all of our failings and knows that we are not good inside.

    Who can question what God is doing? (9:12) Job describes God’s omnipotence in several ways. God can move mountains (9:5), hold back the sun (9:7), and made all the stars (9:9). Being that God is so powerful in being able to do such impossible things, who are any of us to question what He is doing?

    Who else could be causing these problems? (9:24) In verses 21-24, Job asserts his blameless character but begins to question what he saw happening around him. From Job’s perspective, God destroys both the blameless and the wicked. He even blamed God for laughing when the innocent suffer and holding back judges from doing right. But his question in verse 24 comes very close to discovering who was behind the bad things happening to him. If it were not God, who else could it be? We know that it was Satan behind his suffering, but Job didn’t know that.

    Why was God doing this to him? (10:7) Job pours out his thoughts in verses 1-7. He turns to God with real questions. He asked to show him what he had done wrong. Did God think this was a good way to work with his children? Was it fair for God to punish him for not being wicked? Sadly, Job didn’t know how he could find deliverance from what he assumed was God’s judgment.

    Did you notice something about Job’s questions? He began by asking these questions to Bildad, then to himself, and finally to God. He answered his friend’s comments first by talking about his humble standing before God. Next he asked himself if someone else could be causing the problems. Finally, he asked God why he was being afflicted. If nothing else, Job’s questions finally turned him to ask the One who had the answers. Despite his misunderstanding of his circumstances, this was the right thing to do.

Conclusion

What do we learn from Bildad and Job today? From Bildad, we learn that it is not wise to apply general principles to every situation. General principles are good to have but we have to admit that we don’t always have all of the facts when trying to figure things out. Before we decide to judge another person’s situation, we need to step back and admit that we are not God. He alone has the complete understanding of the situation.

From Job, we can learn the same lesson. He was right to state that none of us is righteous and that we have no right to question God’s motives. But then he did just that. He would have done better to admit that his knowledge of the situation was limited and that God can do as He sees fit. Before we begin to question God’s motives or assign blame to Him for our situation, remember that God is still the loving Father who always does what is best. If you know God, you know that He is good. And you also know that He is wise. Instead of questioning His motives every time something bad happens, maybe it would be better to assume that God is still in control and it will all work out in the end.

What have you assumed? – Job 3-7

Last week, we considered the fact that we don’t know everything that is going on. When a tragedy strikes, we often look for the reason why, but that isn’t always guaranteed. In Job’s case, he did not know that Satan was inflicting harm against him to prove a point. And he didn’t know that God had permitted this or that he was holding Satan back from killing Job. If he had known these things, he might have had a different perspective about his suffering. However, he did very well at the beginning and showed great loyalty to God. But even the best may falter at some point.

The next section of the book (Job 3-37) is dedicated to the back-and-forth between Job and his friends. Job’s pain drives him to say things that he would not normally say. His friends, who were at first there for his comfort, decide that Job’s situation is his own fault. The argument goes back-and-forth until God finally steps in the set things straight (Job 38-41). Before we get to the conclusion, let’s look at some of the things that Job and his friends said.

  1. Job’s painful thoughts (Job 3; 6-7)

    Have you ever been in pain and then blurted out a response that wasn’t called for? When the hammer hits your hand instead of the nail, when you didn’t sleep well last night, and when you are not feeling well—these are times when we may not be as guarded with our words. Job had just lost his wealth, children, and health. His current suffering was weighing heavily on him. It should come as no surprise that the words he says are not quite right.

    • He wished he had never been born (Job 3:11).
    • He admitted that his grief was affecting his speech (Job 6:2-3).
    • He would not concede that he had sinned (Job 6:22-24).
    • He could not understand why God was hurting him (Job 6:20).

    You can tell that Job was in great pain. His pain caused him to say things he shouldn’t have. But still the pain was there. Can you commiserate with Job? If you have been in pain, you know that your responses will be tainted. The longer the pain lingers, the more time you will have to begin questioning God’s love for you and the reasons for your suffering. Please be careful. God is actively caring for you even when you can’t see His hand in your life. We just need to trust Him because we don’t know all that is going on.

  2. Eliphaz’s painful assumptions (Job 4; 5)

    When I was younger, it was easy for me to judge situations. I “knew” what the problem was and was confident in the solution. Now that I am older and more experienced, I see that things are seldom as easy as I once thought they were. Problems are often complicated and not as easy to pinpoint. Eliphaz had come to comfort his friend. But after hearing Job’s pain-filled thoughts, he made some hasty assumptions.

    • He assumed Job was a hypocrite (Job 4:4-5).
    • He assumed that Job had sinned (Job 4:7-8).
    • He assumed that Job needed to repent (Job 5:17-18).
    • He assumed that God always protects the righteous (Job 5:19-21).

    “Eliphaz is like so many of us who give advice. We can tell someone else how he ought to do things, in a nice way, phrased in very attractive language, but what we say may not be accurate. … He said a lot of nice things, good things, true things, but he didn’t help Job.”1

    Were Eliphaz’s assumptions true? This is a tricky question. We know hypocritical people who are eager to help people but are unwilling to accept help when they need it. We know people who have sinned and faced the consequences. We also know that God wants people to repent, find forgiveness, and be restored to a right relationship with God. And, if we are honest, we do assume that God will protect those who are faithfully serving Him. These are pretty good assumptions. The only problem was that they didn’t apply to Job’s situation. Eliphaz didn’t know what God was doing behind the scenes.

Conclusion

We have looked at the responses of two people to suffering. From what I can see, neither of them was quite right. Job’s pain loosened his tongue but didn’t open his eyes to what God was doing behind the scenes. He questioned God’s handling of his situation and couldn’t understand why he was going through it. Job’s friend wasn’t very helpful although his motives were good. His many assumptions were generally true but they didn’t apply to Job. Eliphaz assumed that all trouble was judgment from God. But this was not the case. I think that we could learn something from the mistakes both men made.

From Job, we can learn several lessons:

• We should ask God for grace to endure suffering when it comes.
• We should ask God to guard our speech when influenced by pain.
• We should trust that the Lord is doing what is best despite what we can see.

From Eliphaz, we can learn several lessons:

• We don’t know why bad things happen.
• We don’t know if suffering is judgment from God.
• We don’t know everything that God is doing behind the scenes.

It is easy to look at Job and Eliphaz and see their mistakes. But it is much more difficult to handle it when it happens to us. Instead of speaking hastily or judging hastily, let’s assume that God is in control and that there are some things that he hasn’t revealed to us. We don’t know why things happen. But we do know that God is good and is always doing what is best in every situation.

Footnotes

1 McGee 595, 599.

Bibliography

McGee, J. Vernon, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee, Vol. II, Joshua through Psalms, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1983, p. 592-601.

Zuck, Roy, Job, Chicago: Moody Press, 1978, pp. 22-42.

What do you know? — Job 2

There used to be a radio program on NPR called “Whadya know?” The show always started with the host asking the question and the audience answering back with, “Not much!” I used to listen to that program every Saturday morning. It was filled with humor and stories of interest, as well as a quiz program that was quite interesting. As we come to Job chapter 2, I am reminded that there is not much that we know about what God is doing in this world.

  1. There are things happening behind the scenes (2:1-6).

    In this chapter (and the last) God reveals what is happening in heaven (behind the scenes). Apparently, the sons of God (maybe angels) came before the Lord to present to Him what they had accomplished. If we had not been told in this book, would any of us know that? Probably not. However, we learn here that Satan (a rebel angel) chose to present himself before the Lord along with the others.

    The conversation between the Lord and Satan is similar to chapter one. The Lord asks Satan if he had considered the faithfulness of Job. But this time He includes the fact that Job had remained faithful even though Satan had taken his wealth and children from him. Notice that the Lord points out Satan’s unjust desire to harm Job. There was no cause.

    Satan (who does not understand the goodness of God or why a human would love and serve the Lord) replied that Job was only holding on to his faith in God because he still had his life. He uses the statement, “Skin for skin!” This “was a proverbial saying, possibly about bartering or trading animal skins. Satan insinuated that Job had willingly traded the skins (lives) of his own children because in return God had given him his own skin (life).”1 Satan seems to imply that Job only served God for the benefits (wealth, children, and health). If God were to remove Job’s health, Satan proposed, he would curse God to His face.

    For purposes which are never revealed, the Lord allowed Satan to attempt to prove his theory about Job. He told Satan that he could take away Job’s health but not his life. All of this took place behind the scenes, without Job’s knowledge. God was holding Job up as an example of faithfulness to the wicked one while Satan was conniving to destroy Job’s faith in the Lord. At this point, we need to remember that God is good, that Satan is always evil, and that there are somethings happening behind the scenes that we may never understand. But we still need to trust in the Lord.

  2. There are troubling things happening to people (2:7-8).

    Job, who was steel reeling from the shock of losing his accumulated wealth and all of his children, suddenly contracted a terrible disease which included boils across his entire body. “Some scholars say the disease may have been smallpox; others say it was elephantiasis.”2 “It is singular in the Hebrew, a ‘burning sore.’ Job was covered with one universal inflammation.”3 The same word is used of the plague of boil on the Egyptians and what King Hezekiah experienced. Without being there, it is hard to feel his pain. But it must have been terrible when you consider how his wife and friends responded. As he sat there in pain, all he could do is scratch his sores with a potsherd, “a fragment of a broken vessel.”4

    At this point, it would be good to remember that Job knows nothing about what was happening behind the scenes. He didn’t know that the loss of his wealth, children, and now his health, were part of a test forced upon him by Satan with God’s permission. All he knows is that he has lost everything except his wife and that he has contracted a painful disease which he has no power to remove. This is what Job knew. This is what his wife knew. This is what his friends knew. That is all.

    When we respond to a tragic situation based only on our own knowledge or experience, we are liable to think, say, or do things that are not wise. What we know is very limited. What we have learned by experience is very limited. This is where we need to remember that God is good, Satan is evil, and we really don’t know why things happen. Bad experiences can taint our trust in the Lord, but if we submit to God’s will and “trust in the Lord with all [our] heart,” we will be better able to have peace when these troubling times come.

  3. There are reasons to keep trusting the Lord (2:9-10).

    We really don’t know much about Job’s wife except what is written in this verse. What we do know is that she bore him ten children and also lost all ten in the same day. We do know that she has experienced the same loss of wealth that her husband did. And now her husband is on what seems to be his death bed. She has nothing at this point and has become bitter. But try to be slow to judge her. These experiences were very difficult for her as well.

    Moved by her grief, his wife asked Job why he was still trusting in the Lord. Why wouldn’t he just curse God for what had happened and then die? “It may be that the strength of her usual virtue and piety was overcome by accumulated calamities.”5 Note that she was only looking at what she could see. She didn’t know of Satan’s wicked plan for her family. She didn’t know of God’s plan for her husband. All she knew was the pain she was experiencing. And her words show her great bitterness.

    From his sickbed, Job responds with wise and reflective words. He tells his wife that her statement about cursing God sounds like something a foolish person would say. The word for foolish woman is “nabal, ‘spiritually ignorant or non-discerning.”6 Remember Nabal who was an adversary to David while he was hiding from King Saul? Her response was foolish. But he doesn’t just insult her and leave her crying, he speaks truth to her. Shouldn’t we be willing to accept good from God as well as adversity? Job stated this because he believed it. His faith in the Lord was great and he showed his faith by not speaking sinful words as he went through his great suffering.

    How was it that Job refused to succumb to his circumstances? Over his life, Job had learned to trust the Lord in good and bad times. We are not told what experiences led him to have such great faith, but we can think about our own knowledge of God. What is it about God that makes us love, trust, and serve Him. I have been thinking about this recently. Why is it that we can think that the Lord is good no matter what happens? You might think that it is based on what He has done for us. As Christians, God has forgiven us of our sins, saved us from the coming judgment, and adopted us into His family. But others could look at these same things and think that God is bad because he doesn’t let people live the way they want, sin without judgment, and enjoy life without Him. Why do we have a different view of God? I think that it has to go beyond what God has done to Who God is. We love Him because we know Him to be good, loving, caring, helping, listening, wise, and much more. We don’t just love Him because of what He has done but for Who He is.

Conclusion

There have been and will be times during which we will experience great grief. Some of us have gone through that in recent times. There have also been times where we have experienced great blessings and happiness. In either case, our experience is limited to what we know and have experienced. We don’t know what God has been doing behind the scenes. We don’t know how often Satan has tried to destroy us and God has held him back. Matthew Henry said, If God did not chain up the roaring lion, how soon would he devour us!” How true that is.

As you go through this week, remind yourself that God is good and that you don’t know all that is happening behind the scenes. What you know is what you have experienced and that is a limited perspective that can’t be counted on to explain everything that happens. Remind yourself of God’s good character, be aware of Satan’s desire to destroy you, and trust in God to take you through the ups and down of life.

Footnotes

1 Zuck 721.
2 Zuck 721.
3 Jamieson
4 Barnes
5 Barnes
6 Zuck 721.

Bibliography

Barnes, Albert, Barnes Notes on the Bible, as viewed in PocketBible.

Jamieson, Fausset & Brown, Commentary On the Whole Bible, as viewed in PocketBible.

Zuck, Roy B., “Job” in The Bible Knowledge Commentary Old Testament, USA: SP Publications, 1989, pp. 721-22.