Job 21

Vs. 7, “Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power?”  Previously, Job’s friends had argued that Job must be wicked to have suffered so severely.  Job takes time to refute this very notion in our chapter today.  If suffering was only reserved for the wicked, why is there an obvious precedent of the wicked prospering all around them?  Job pleaded with them to stop talking so much and just listen to what he has to say (vs. 1-6).  He was the one suffering, not them.  He saw the wicked prosper (vs. 7-21), and just couldn’t understand why it seemed God blessed them even though they wanted nothing to do with the LORD.  Job’s concluded that ultimately whether wicked or righteous; we all die (vs. 22-34).  Life and death are in the control of the LORD.  Job was pretty fed up with his friends assertions of the reasons for death.  Remember, they had insulted and hurt him deeply when they pointed to Job’s sin resulted in his own children’s death.

Regarding application…Right Perspective.  Vs. 16, “But their prosperity is not in their own hands, so I stand aloof from the plans of the wicked.”  Much props to Job.  Even though nothing seemed to make sense, Job still did not renounce the LORD.  The wicked prospered all around, but Job realized that God still had to be in control.  Let me share with you a personal example.  I’m over forty years old and I still don’t have a child.  We know the children are a blessing from God.  I look around and see many unbelievers prosper with children.  Yet, here I am always wanting children, but I still wait.  Question: Lord, what am I doing wrong?  Yet, I must remind myself to have the right perspective.  Whether God wants to give or not give, I still must bless the name of the Lord!

Job 20

Vs. 3, “I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, and my understanding inspires me to reply.” Zophar couldn’t wait to chime in on the conversation as he felt justified to defend himself (vs. 1-3). He was not pleased with Job’s warning that could bring judgment at the end of yesterday’s chapter. Zophar’s makes the false assertion that the wicked live brief lives because of their sins (vs. 4-11). If anything, people have lamented that the rich enjoy too much prosperity while the righteous suffer (Jeremiah 12:1-4). When the rich do have enjoyment, it is only temporary (vs. 12-19). Zophar gives the image of eating something enjoyable, but not being able to keep it down. The latter section of our chapter (vs. 20-29) is a morbid description of agonizing death experienced by the wicked. Zophar certainly attempts to scare Job into spilling out the supposed truth of his sin.

Regarding application…Quick to Speak. Vs. 2, “My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer because I am greatly disturbed.” I must speak! Zophar did the opposite of wisdom to speak out due to emotion rather than good reason. Sin nature in us dictates that we are quick to judge. Rather than look at life from a worldly point of view, we must consider looking beyond just what we see. I have found myself put my foot in my mouth all too often by speaking quickly. Let us be humble in attitude and thought when we interact with each other.

Job 19

Vs. 2, “How long will you torment me and crush me with words?” Job has had enough! How much longer are Job’s friends going to burden him (vs. 1-4)? If Job had been guilty, this would have been difficult to hear. But Job knew he had done nothing wrong. In our previous chapter, Bildad had shared frightening examples of those headed to the grave. Job responds by basically describing his own version of the “Walking Dead”; he knew he was alive, but yet he felt dead (vs. 5-12). Everywhere Job went, he felt like his family and friends had abandoned him (vs. 13-22). Yet, a peculiar thing transpires. Even in the midst of hope’s flame going out, Job still sought to not only be defended; but to be with the LORD one day (vs. 23-29).

Regarding application…Our Redeemer. Vs. 25, “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth.” Like a kinsman redeemer (Boaz), Job sought the ultimate Redeemer who would vindicate him! What a beautiful statement of faith and hope. We will soon find out that Job’s request would indeed be granted. Question: How have you been redeemed? Question: Is there anything in your life that you need to ask to be redeemed from? The very definition of redeem has this understanding of compensating for faults. While Job had not directly sinned to bring such tragedy, he was not without fault in other ways. We all needed a redeemer and that is Jesus. Take time to thank the Lord and not only be receivers of His redemption but also givers to extend grace to others.

Job 18

Vs. 2, “When will you end these speeches? Be sensible, and then we can talk.” Bildad now takes his second turn to speak and unleashes strong sarcastic words (vs. 1-4). Question: Just who does Job think he is? They all felt like he had no respect for their wisdom. Bildad takes it a step further by injecting great fear to those who do not repent (vs. 5-21). He shares vivid examples (light, animals, criminals and uprooted tress) to paint an ominous outcome for those who would travel down a wicked path.

Regarding application…Uncalled For Action. Vs. 5, “The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out; the flame of his fire stops burning.” For the vernacular of today, “That’s not cool, man.” Bildad’s words are uncalled for; he took it too far. There is a hostile tone that comes across. Need I remind us that it was Job who was suffering, not Bildad. Yet Bildad is more concerned about his own pride being hurt than seeking to comfort Job. Before I cast stones at Bildad, I realize my own folly in such matters. There have been times I have spoken bitter and hostile words without knowing all the facts. Brothers and sisters, let us consider Bildad’s uncalled for action and take stock of our own responses to others.

Job 17

Vs. 1, “My spirit is broken, my days are cut short, the grave awaits me.” It’s difficult having to read what Job is enduring. I cannot rightly imagine what it would have actually been like if I had been Job. As broken as Job was, something that we must acknowledge is that he did not revert to suicide. With all the suffering, he figured he too would join the grave. But he hoped that somehow he would be vindicated.

Regarding application…Hang On. Vs. 11, “My days have passed, my plans are shattered…” Regardless of who we are, there are all low moments in our life. Some of those moments are times when our very dreams are shattered. Question: What moments come to your mind? The moments that resonate in my heart affected the very hope I had for a certain future. Yet, in hindsight, when I think about those shattered moments; my hopes were predicated upon my own interpretation of what a good future had in store for me. Like Job, I think we just need to remember that there is a hope far beyond what we could possibly imagine. We just need to hang on!

Job 16

Vs. 2, “I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you!” Rather than bring comfort, Job’s three friends only added salt to the wounds (vs. 1-5). Perhaps having experienced great suffering, Job now realized how he would respond to his own friends. Sometimes in order to be great comforters, we must know how it is to need it. In Job’s confusion, he laments deeply to God and wonders why such calamity has come to him (vs. 6-14). Yet, Job is still seeking some resemblance of hope and justice (vs. 15-17). He wanted to give up, but he also wanted to be vindicated from all these false accusations. Again, Job looks for a witness or an advocate that could speak up for him (vs. 18-22) if not on earth than at least in heaven.

Regarding application…Looking for Hope. Vs. 20, “My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God.” Though Job did not have Jesus specifically in his mind, we can certainly see the hope that all of us groan for. I’m quite astounded that in the midst of such suffering and grief, Job would still be seeking truth. Question: Would you be able to look for hope in the midst of such tragedy? When push comes to shove, I pray that I would be able to retain such hope. It is hope that gets me through each day knowing that I’m one day closer to the Lord. I’ve found that as I get older in life, the things of this world just don’t mean that much anymore. We get so wrapped up in financial security, but it’s eternal security that gives us the reason to endure. Question: Where is your hope?

Job 15

Vs. 1, “Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied.” After the first round of responses, Eliphaz takes his turn again. Though Eliphaz was the kinder of the three previously, he shares some pretty harsh words now. In tone of ridicule (vs. 1-6), Eliphaz rebukes Job for his words of anguish and even accuses him of having a crafty tongue. Because Job was considerably younger than the three, Eliphaz used their age as a logical reason for their wisdom (vs. 7-10). In a tone of sarcasm, Eliphaz lashes out at Job for his seeming lack of respect to God and to them (vs. 11-13). After repeating himself (vs. 14-16) from his first remarks, Eliphaz now proclaims his knowledge of those who are wicked (vs. 17-35) and their consequences.

Regarding application…Verbal Attacks. Vs. 34, “For the company of the godless will be barren, and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes.” Eliphaz took it too far as he basically is describing Job as a godless man who is deserving of these tragedies. That’s not cool! While it is true that the wicked will suffer separation from God and eternal judgment, the tragedies in this life are not always an indicator of sin. This reminds me of the passage where Jesus’ disciples asked him if the man born blind was a result of his sin or his parents (John 9:1-12). The tragedy of blindness was so that the glory of God would be displayed in this man’s life. Brothers and sisters, let us not be so short-sighted to assume the worst. Let us watch and control what comes out of our mouth but most importantly what begins in our heart.

Job 14

Vs. 7, “At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail.” Job couldn’t help but have a sense of foreboding hopelessness (vs. 1-6). He of all people would have a sense of frailty of life. Outliving all your children and seeing them perish must be one of the most traumatizing events in life. Zophar had previously declared that if only Job would repent there would be hope. But as Job looked around him, he felt there was more hope in a tree (vs. 7-12). Though it seemed hopeless, Job was not completely shutting out the possibility of a silver lining (vs. 13-22). It is certainly a bit morose having a courtside seat to the anguish of Job. But, there is much insight and wisdom that can be gained if we journey with Job.

Regarding application…Eternal Life. Vs. 14, “If someone dies, will they live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait for my renewal a to come.” We must count our many blessings for we are privy of something Job was not. During his time, Job did not have the luxury of knowing if there was hope beyond the grave. There is a childhood game I used to play where we would state, “You’re getting warmer.” If someone was trying to find something or guess the answer, we would make this statement. As we observe Job cry out in wonder, we can’t help but want to declare, “Job, you’re getting warmer!” The hint of your hope is currently in process and God would give us hope of a rebirth and eternal life. This is the hope we have as we venture forth into a new week!

Job 13

Vs. 3, “But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.” Job continues his diatribe against his three friends as he builds his case to the LORD. Job lets it all out as he express his utter disappointment with how they are treating him (vs. 1-12). They had misdiagnosed Job’s pain for sin (vs. 4). I like how Job challenges them to consider looking at themselves as well (vs. 9). It’s a sobering reminder to check ourselves before we begin to carelessly give advice to others. Job was so certain of his innocence that he boldly declared his defense before his friends (vs. 13-28). Like any person of innocence, he wanted to be vindicated before his false accusers.

Regarding application…Be Silent. Vs. 5, “If only you would be altogether silent! For you, that would be wisdom.” Job’s friends couldn’t help themselves as they poured out harsh words. In the Disney movie Bambi, Thumper the rabbit pokes fun of young Bambi as he wobbles around. However, Thumper’s mom reminds him of what his father taught him, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.” I think Job’s friends might have benefited from such sage advice. Last Sunday, I preached a message entitled “Tongue Whisperer” and was quite convicted this week of the words that come out of my mouth. I’ve seen the evidence of my careless words thrown around and hurt others. Oh Lord, forgive us when we hurt others. Let’s be quick to listen and slow to speak (James 1:19). And I might add be silent at the right times!

Job 12

Vs. 2, “Doubtless you are the only people who matter, and wisdom will die with you!” You go Job! Preach it brother! Just because Job’s friends were older than him didn’t mean he was ignorant of the LORD. Job had enough of their accusations. This would bring some life back into Job. If God were punishing Job, why is he not punishing the wicked (vs. 5-6)? Job pointed out the creatures of God’s creation could teach all them a thing or two about wisdom (vs. 7-11). Who are they to be so pious and upright? The latter half of our chapter (vs. 12-25) Job gives his own insight into the wisdom that comes from God. Though Job had earlier complained, his friends false accusations gave him the opportunity to declare his faith in the attributes of the LORD.

Regarding application…Props to God. Vs. 13, “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” Sometimes we have to go through the full gambit of our emotions to realize the right perspective. Job had been wallowing in his sorrows, but the jabber of his friends woke him up! Their skewed version of God’s wisdom would give some life and truth back into Job. Rather than accuse God, Job was now defending God even in the midst of his own suffering. For some reason, I kept picturing kids in a playground setting. One of the kids is moping around all morning and complaining about their dad. All of the sudden one of his friends are talking up their own dad and talking smack about his father. This wakes up the young man and he begins to vehemently defend his father and in the midst of it realizes the old man isn’t so bad after all. Perhaps we don’t give enough props to our Father in heaven.