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JOB RESPONDS

Remember the snarling wolf from two posts back?  Job is a bit like the response of this territorial (and really big!) eagle pictured above.  Job continues to respond to his insulting friend.  He really responds!

Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it.  What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.  Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.  But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.  O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.  Job 13:1-5

I see, hear, and understand everything that you do.  You’re not such hot stuff!  Hey, I am willing to speak to God and find out what is happening to me.  But you my friends are liars and lousy healers.  Stop talking and that will be the first smart thing you have done!

Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.  Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?  Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?  Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?  He will surely reprove you, if ye do secretly accept persons.  Job 13:6-10

Job could be asking this: So hear this; does God need you to lie for him?  Are you representing him like he needs a lawyer?  (They are acting like lawyers, aren’t they?)  Do you really want to be doing that when God himself comes looking for you to account for your actions?  Or are you a comedian making fun of God?  If you honor the evil people who prosper in the world God will come to collect his revenge from you.

Shall not his excellency make you afraid? and his dread fall upon you?  Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay.  Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will.  Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?  Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him. Job 13:11-15

Job suggests that the presence of God will be pretty intimidating.  The one who formed us and our universe has power in his presence, to make us feel like ashes or clay again.  Job wants his quiet to speak for himself.  He’s willing to face the fear of God without fear.  He wants to continue to be right before God, because he trusts him.

He also shall be my salvation: for an hypocrite shall not come before him.  Hear diligently my speech, and my declaration with your ears.  Behold now, I have ordered my cause; I know that I shall be justified.  Who is he that will plead with me? for now, if I hold my tongue, I shall give up the ghost.  Only do not two things unto me: then will I not hide myself from thee. Job 13:16-20

Job expects to be safe because God will not allow a false accusation to approach him.  He makes a firm stand and challenges all to argue more.  If he were to be silent it would kill him.  For two actions Job might be shamed onto silence.  He elaborates.

Withdraw thine hand far from me: and let not thy dread make me afraid.  Then call thou, and I will answer: or let me speak, and answer thou me.  How many are mine iniquities and sins? make me to know my transgression and my sin.  Wherefore hidest thou thy face, and holdest me for thine enemy?  Wilt thou break a leaf driven to and fro? and wilt thou pursue the dry stubble? Job 13:21-25

First stop making accusations and then specify what sins I have committed, Job may be saying here.  Why be a hidden sniper trying to destroy a weak opponent?

For thou writest bitter things against me, and makest me to possess the iniquities of my youth.  Thou puttest my feet also in the stocks, and lookest narrowly unto all my paths; thou settest a print upon the heels of my feet.  And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.Job 13:26-28

If you write that I am evil and still in the mistakes of my foolish youth then you lock me into my shame as one in stocks.  I am scarred so my footprints in life betray the passage of a sinner to all who see them.  My life frays and disintegrates as a moth eaten garment.

Job lashes out against the unfair character assassination brought against him by his friend.  He identifies the attempt this false friend has made to deprive him of his honor and so dishonors this hypocrisy.  Our eagle strikes a blow against the fox that would steal the honor of his life.

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JOB RESPONDS

Job has endured another friend insulting him as being a sinner.  He is not prepared to be offended without a response though.

And Job answered and said,  No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.  But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?  I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.  He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.  Job 12:1-5

Job answered…he sure did!  Oh yes, you’re the man, and all wisdom will die when you die.  Biblical sarcasm!  Job is no fool, and they have said nothing but common knowledge about God.  Anyone who is safely seated may not appreciate a good light as much as one who is about to fall in the dark.

The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.  But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee.  Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.  Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?  In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. Job 12:6-10

Evil men prosper but all of nature knows that God rules everything.  Job’s friends have revealed nothing new.

Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?  With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.  With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.  Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.  Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. Job 12:11-15

If we hear and taste we know that God builds and destroys and nothing resists him.

With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.  He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.  He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.  He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.  He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. Job 12:16-20

God is in charge of all wisdom, he installs and destroys kings.  He makes trustworthy men speak foolishness and makes old men turn into fools.  I think Job is saying that he knows a friend like that old fool.

He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.  He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.  He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.  He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness where there is no way.  They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man. Job 12:21-25

God destroys the mighty and leaves them broken and weak like a drunk.  Job doesn’t have any more understanding of why God would do all this, but he is resigned to the obvious destruction he has felt.  He will have his answers soon.

MISGUIDED

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FRIEND

NO RESPECT

Job has more friends who are ready to call him a liar to his face.

Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said,  Should not the multitude of words be answered? and should a man full of talk be justified?  Should thy lies make men hold their peace? and when thou mockest, shall no man make thee ashamed?  For thou hast said, My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in thine eyes.  But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee; Job 11: 1-5

So Zophar thinks no one should be quiet about Job’s lies.  He thinks God will testify against Job.  Eventually God will speak for himself, but Zophar presumes to do God’s talking for him.  Isn’t that a false prophet?

And that he would shew thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth.  Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection?  It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know?  The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea.  If he cut off, and shut up, or gather together, then who can hinder him? Job 11: 6-10

Zophar exalts God even as he misrepresents him.  How can we serve God while we are disobeying him by bringing a false accusation against a brother?  Isn’t that the job of the accuser of the brethren?  But then some people are working for the enemy.

For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it?  For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass’s colt.  If thou prepare thine heart, and stretch out thine hands toward him;  If iniquity be in thine hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in thy tabernacles.  For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be stedfast, and shalt not fear: Job 11: 11-15

Zophar challenges Job to repent of his sin, but Job is not guilty.  Are there times when we allow ourselves to entertain “voices” that tell us how unworthy we are to receive salvation?  Do we operate in unbelief by speaking about our weakness?  We have been represented by the only counselor who can cancel our debt, and then we try to reject his payment.  If you know who your savior is you must reject the claims of our adversary.  You have been made worthy by grace.

Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:  And thine age shall be clearer than the noonday: thou shalt shine forth, thou shalt be as the morning.  And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.  Also thou shalt lie down, and none shall make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee.  But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost. Job 11: 16-20

This is true that we shall not have misery if we repent of sin.  But Job is already there, and his misery too shall pass away soon.  Perhaps this is a prophesy after all, but Zophar doesn’t know that Job is ready now.  When will he be free of the misery of his “friends” like Zophar?

 

 

FATIGUE

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THE WEARY ROAD

Job is sick and tired of being sick and tired.  He wants to know why God has allowed him to fall into such agony.

My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.  I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me.  Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?  Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?  Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man’s days,  Job 10:1-5

Job wants answers.  Why is God condemning him?  Why does God let evil people prosper over him?  Does God see what we see, does he live here in the earth as flesh and blood?  We know that God actually allowed Satan to test Job because he knew that Job would overcome.  And we also know that God did indeed come in the flesh as Emanuel.

That thou enquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?  Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.  Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.  Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?  Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?  Job 10:6-10

If God did his research he would know that Job had no gross sin, as he fears God.  Job wonders how the potter can destroy what hee has just made.

Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.  Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.  And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.  If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.  If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;  For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou shewest thyself marvellous upon me. Job 10:11-16

Job knows that God made him and will hold him accountable for sin.  Yet if he is righteous he will not be proud because these afflictions confuse him.  He has an understanding of God as merciful and this is not what he is experiencing now.

Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.  Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!  I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.  Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,  Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;  A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.Job 10:17-22

If only for pain, why did God create him?  Job might prefer to be unborn rather than to have long days of misery.  This is all hard for us to read today, as we don’t like the bad news or complaining.

As I become a senior citizen I have had loss and pain.  Dad told me that growing old is not for cowards.  I may be tempted to fault Job for complaining until I catch myself doing the same thing.  Employers discriminate against us, and marketing targets young people.  My computer changes weekly and I can’t keep up.  My mind and body are slowing or breaking down.  I am senior, hear me whine!

Job didn’t have the assurance and instruction of the New Testament.  He couldn’t see through the veil and into the Holy of Holies.  We have this assurance of eternal life and still complain.  Do we question God when evil is dominating our world?  Wait on God, he will answer.

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RESISTANCE IS FUTILE

Job can’t find grounds to justify himself.  His friends have assessed him unfairly, but Job doesn’t have much more esteem of himself when compared to God.

Then Job answered and said, I know it is so of a truth: but how should man be just with God?  If he will contend with him, he cannot answer him one of a thousand.  He is wise in heart, and mighty in strength: who hath hardened himself against him, and hath prospered?  Which removeth the mountains, and they know not: which overturneth them in his anger.  Which shaketh the earth out of her place, and the pillars thereof tremble.  Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.  Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.  Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.  Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number. Job 9:1-10

So Job wonders how a man can justify himself to God.  Aren’t we kind of puny in comparison to the creator?  We are just beginning to discover the vastness of the heavens he created now.

Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.  Behold, he taketh away, who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?  If God will not withdraw his anger, the proud helpers do stoop under him.  How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him? Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge. Job 9:11-15

Man can’t see God passing by or slow him down physically or by challenging him.  His anger humiliates the strong, let alone an unrighteous man.  Job would not challenge, but rather petition God for mercy.

If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.  For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.  He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.  If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?  If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.  Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.  Job 9:16-21

Job thinks God has not heard nor responded to his prayers.  To our sense of time he is enduring a long trial, dragging on for all these chapters.  Our righteousness pales and fails beside his.

This is one thing, therefore I said it, He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked.  If the scourge slay suddenly, he will laugh at the trial of the innocent.  The earth is given into the hand of the wicked: he covereth the faces of the judges thereof; if not, where, and who is he?  Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.  They are passed away as the swift ships: as the eagle that hasteth to the prey.  Job 9:22-26

Now Job knows that bad news comes to everyone, good or bad.  Is it fair to say that God is the slayer though?  To the Old Testament saints it may have seemed unclear until Yeshua came to offer grace after their death.  Everyone seems to be collecting an unfair reward before their life is weighed by a perfect judge.  Then accounts will be balanced out properly.

If I say, I will forget my complaint, I will leave off my heaviness, and comfort myself:  I am afraid of all my sorrows, I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent.  If I be wicked, why then labour I in vain?  If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean;  Yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall abhor me.  For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgment.  Neither is there any daysman betwixt us, that might lay his hand upon us both.  Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me:  Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me. Job 9:27-35

Job cannot just go into denial and pretend to be at peace.  He knows that he is guilty by the perfect standard of the Law.  Why indeed should he labor to do works of the flesh that are futility?  God is a holy God and there is no mediator.  Job has no intercessor until Yeshua will come on the scene.  If he could have relief from his pain perhaps then he could speak to God without fear.  But this is not Job’s lot at this time.  He will get to understand in God’s time though.