Vs. 1, “My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.” As far as Job was aware…he was physically dying and his friends were mocking him! Others were shunning him and Job felt pretty hopeless at this point. But God would not give Job his request for death, for He had something much better for him. Even though Job was depressed, God was still able to see a faith in Job that we would not have been able detect.
Regarding applicaton…Hope. Vs. 15, “where then is my hope? Who can see any hope for me.” In our message today, we talk about “Is Life Fair?”. Even though Job hadn’t done anything directly wrong, sometimes God allows us to go through tough times. But, as Christians we have a hope for a reward in Heaven (Matthew 5:12). Just imagine what our lives would be like if we didn’t have that promise! When we see Job, he didn’t realize things would get better. Often times, God does the same for us. I can remember when all I owned was my beat up car and the items that were in it when I headed out West. I wasn’t sure if I was accepted into Bible College yet. I kept thinking I might have made a horrible decision. But God took that worry and gave me a new life! More importantly, He gave me hope for a future with Him!
Vs. 3, “Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing.” Job is certainly exasperated at this point. It was obvious that Job’s friends just don’t seem to understand. Job feels grief on both sides…his friends/neighbors and also God. As much as Job wanted to have God take his life…he also wanted to have an opportunity to defend himself. Here in this passage it seems Job is referring again to someone who can help defend him…a mediator (Jesus vs. 19).
Regarding application…Comforters. Vs. 2, “I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all!” While Job’s freinds intention was to bring comfort, they were lousy at best. We should never underestimate the power of words. Friendships are forged from the comfort that we can give to each other. Comfort of protection and peace…comfort of love and acceptance…comfort of encouragement and hope…comfort of loyalty and committment. I received a phone call from one of my former students in Oregon today and not only did I have the opportunity to comfort them, they also gave me comfort and encouragement too! Let us continue to strive to be effective and loving comforters.
Vs. 9, “What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have?” Something important to note: Job’s three friends were older than him and so they felt a certain sense of entitlement. Eliphaz felt that Job was not only disrespecting them…he was disrespecting God. He couldn’t understand why Job just didn’t admit to whatever he did to bring such wrath from God. And in the latter half of the chapter, Eliphaz shares the fate of those who are evil. His interpreatation of what happens to those who are evil was a bit flawed. Often in life those who are evil seem to have all the breaks.
Regarding application…Accusations. Vs. 4, “Your sin prompts your mouth; you adopt the tongue of the crafty.” While we can credit Eliphaz for taking his time to speak to Job initally (seven days)…when he opens his mouth his words bring no comfort. As I type this application, I find amusement because after Bible study, the youth group is playing the game “Mafia”. Part of the premise of the game is to figure out who the bad guys are in the game. Unfortunately, innocent victims can be falsley accused in the game. Anyone who has played this game can attest to not appreciating being accused when you’re not the bad guy. So we can only imagine how much frustration Job must have been feeling. Let us be very careful to not accuse people of things before we know the whole truth. Especially if we are there to comfort them in the first place.
Vs. 5, “Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.” Job is taking the time to look at this fleeting life we live. Just like flower fades away, a shadow disappears (vs. 2) or water evaporates (vs. 11)…our lives are numbered and short. We walk in the valley of the shadow of death (Psalm 23:4) the moment that we are born…it looms over us. Remember that God didn’t originally create us to physically die.
Regarding application….Second Life. Vs. 14, “If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal to come.” Not much has changed when it comes to the questions of life after death. Job would ask would he live again? The answer is an absolute “YES” as we have the luxory in knowing Jesus’ promise (John 11:23-26). It’s incredible how blessed we are to live in a time of His grace and promises that have already come true and will come true. As I advance in years, I realize that my life on earth really isn’t going to last forever. As much as I look forward to what my life has in store for me…I must remember not to get too comfortable. When we live a life for the Lord, we will have troubles. But thankfully, just like Job…we hope for a better tomorrow! Fix your eyes upon Jesus and rest in knowing there is truly a renewal to come!
Vs. 3, “But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.” After receiving his friends feedback, Job desires to speak directly to God now more than ever. Job felt that if his friends were physicians, they must have made a wrong prognosis (vs. 4). Even though Job was dissapponinted in his friends, he still was putting his faith in the Lord (vs. 13-17). Job was a battered man and we can certainly understand he was scared (vs. 21), and I have a whole lot of respect for Job for not wanting to just give up.
Regarding application…Looking Within. Vs. 9, “Would it turn out well if he examined you? Could you deceive him as you might deceive men.” Though I would love to say I relate more to Job than his three friends…I think I’m more like Eliphaz, Bildad & Zophar than I would like to admit. True, we all live some pretty tough lives…but Job’s troubles is one of the worse. We look down upon the three for their judgemental words…but we should credit them for they waited 7 days to speak to Job and they grieved with him. When I see others enduring hardships, I find myself not knowing the right words to use to comfort them. When someone comes to me for advice, I find myself thinking how to give them an answer rather than empathizing with them. Before we judge someone for their response to tragedy, let’s take sometime to look within and be sensitive to our own faults and the feelings of others.
Vs. 2, “Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you.” There is definitely a dose of sarcasm in this statement. The three friends…Eliphaz, Bildad & Zophar…all came to Job as “know it alls” impessing their knowledge & wisdom upon Job. But Job was pretty exasperated with all of their attempts to look wise & Godly. Job pointed out that there are many bad people living at their time that were not suffering like Job (vs. 5-6). Job reminds the three of them that God can do whatever he wants (vs. 14-15), he is not limited by their feeble understandings.
Regarding application…Persecution. Vs. 4, “I have become a laughingstock to my friends…” By choosing to be a Godly man, Job begins to suffer…and as we see…becomes persecuted by his friends and all the people in the area near Job. When we choose to follow the Lord, the enemy looks upon us as a target. Even people within the church can bring upon persecution. When a believer strives to live wholeheartedly for the Lord…others out of jealousy, contempt or just plain meanness…can begin to ostracize that person. It’s just like in school room setting…no one likes the teachers pet whose grades and efforts always make everyone else look bad. Likewise…I’ve seen this phenomenon even in the church as students begin to get on fire for the Lord, but the others will poke fun and negatively influence them to the point that they won’t want to be the one who always brings their bibles, prays, sings with passion, etc. There will undoubtedly be times when we are persecuted and made fun of. Let’s remember to remain steadfast in the Lord and trust him no matter what happens around us.
Vs. 1, “Then Zophar the Naamathite replied…” We now get to hear from Job’s third friend, Zophar. Sadly, what he has to share is not very uplifting…in fact, it is quite rude. He presents God as one who punishes the unrighteous and surely Job must have been very unrighteous. In a way, Zophar approached God and his understanding in a very legalistic way. Basically…if this happened to you, then you did something to bring it upon you. Nothing more, nothing less. It didn’t help that Job continued to maintain ignorance as to why such calamity came upon him. Zophar surely assumed that Job was hiding something, which is why Zophar was so harsh in his response.
Regarding application…Insensitive. Vs. 6, “and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.” Zophar was a bit arrogant and in this verse he was basically telling Job that he’s fortunate that it wasn’t any worse. Wow…that’s a very hurtful statement to make! Job lost his possessions, all his children and now is suffering from painful sores that he thinks are leading to his death….and Zophar tells Job that it could be worse? A very insensitive statement to say the least. In the spring of 1996, I drove out to Oregon with a dream of going to Bible college. However, two days later I got a call from my brother that my father had passed away from fighting colon cancer. I flew back to attend my father’s funeral. One of my friends made a passing comment, “I guess it’s not that big of deal since he wasn’t really your father and you were not close to him.” What he said was true but how he said it was very hurtful and insensitive. He was my adopted father and our relationship was not a good one, but I made a resoltuion to visit him several times before his death and extended forgiveness. But my friend didn’t realize this and in his efforts to encoruage, he actually was hurtful. Let us be brothers & sisters who who have the sensitivity and compassion to our friends when they need us the most.
Vs. 3, “Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked.” I think it’s important to remember that not only did Job lose so much…he also is enduring terrible physical pain. He is not sure if he will die from this so he is coming honestly before the Lord. He can’t understand why in the world would God allow such suffering. So like any of us might have reacted if we were near our death bead…Job is wondering why he was born in the first place (vs. 18-22).
Regarding application…Assuming. Vs. 17, “You bring new witnesses against me and increase your anger toward me; your forces come against me wave upon wave.” As Christians when something happens…it seems the right thing to do is to say, “It is/was God’s will.” Question: But how do we really know? I don’t think we should be so quick to assume when things happen it was God’s will or intention. Job assumed tht God was angry at him, but we know that isn’t true. When I initially applied to Bible college and did not get accepted…I assumed that perhaps this wasn’t God’s will for me. However, it was God’s will…I just wasn’t doing all the things to get myself there (being academically qualified and spiritually ready). Let’s be careful to not assume too much when it comes to God. The more we know about him the less assuming we need to do!
Vs. 2, “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a mortal be righteous before God?” Job is making efforts to defend himself, but realizes that compared to God none of us can stand righteous before God. Many biblical scholars point out that it’s almost like a court scene where Job is requesting a trial before God. It was very difficult for Job to feel that God was listening to him (vs. 16). I think that is quite normal for all of us when we feel far away from the Lord.
Regarding application…Mediator = Jesus. Vs. 33, “If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both.” Wow…Job was longing for a mediator and little did he realize that God was using him to point us all towards Jesus! Jesus came to be the bridge that givs us (humans) the opportunity to come to God the Father. Job longed for it…and God would help us to realize we all have that same longing. “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Timothy 2:5). Jesus stands before us to be the true voice and representative for God’s creation who turned from Him. If we stand trial in a real court, we need a mediator (or lawyer) to stand up and present our case to the judge. That is what Jesus did for us and more.
Vs. 1, “Then Bildad the Shuhite replied…” While Eliphaz talked more about the sinful aspect, Bildad focuses on justice (vs. 3). It was a pretty harsh thing to tell Job that his children died because of their sin (vs. 4)…while that might have been true, it was certainly uncalled for. Just like Eliphaz, what Bildad was saying wasn’t wrong…it was just his intepretation. He looked to the past (vs. 8-10) and figured he already learned the lessons of life. He also looked to nature and figured that the science of cause and effect taught about life.
Regarding application…Limiting God. Vs. 3, “Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right?” Earlier this week, I was discussing with one of my former students about one of their courses they are taking in College. The course was about God and the professor’s interpetation of God. I think it’s a slippery slope when we put God in a box. Bildad took his experience and logic and assumed God worked in this manner. While we as Christians take steps to know God more through reading His word, prayer and church…we should be always humble in what we think we know. I find that I too need to be very careful in how I approach my understanding of God and how I teach His word. Let’s be careful to not limit the possibilities that God can do! “Jesus replied, “What is impossible with men is possible with God.” (Luke 18:27).