Vs. 12, “But where can wisdom be found? Where does understanding dwell?” While Job’s friends had knowledge, they lacked wisdom. Question: Where can wisdom be found? Job pictures wisdom as something that is mined like gold, silver, and precious stones (vs. 1-11). It takes great effort and time to collect such metals. Once you find these precious metals, they must be refined. Unlike possessions, wisdom cannot be bought (vs. 12-19). It may be a shock to the rich that money cannot buy everything. Job ends this chapter (vs. 20-28) with giving us the perspective that ultimately wisdom comes from God.
Regarding application…Fearing God. Vs. 28, “And he said to the human race, “The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to shun evil is understanding.” Question: What does it mean to fear God? When we have the right perspective of who God is. When we don’t fear someone, we don’t respect them. We are wise when we give God His due. Yesterday, I preached from the book of James on the importance of being a humble servant. The opposite of humility is pride. When we are prideful, we do not fear God. “When pride comes, then comes shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).
Vs. 5, “I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I will not deny my integrity.” Job continued to defend his integrity (vs. 1-6). He went as far as to take a solemn oath; which was a very serious matter. Regardless of what Job’s friends thought, he would not cave into the pressure. I’m imagining an interrogation scene where an alleged suspect is grilled so hard that they admit fault even though they didn’t do it. Job curses those who would be relentless in their accusations (vs. 7-10). The latter half of our chapter (vs. 11-23) involves Job expound upon what happens to the unrighteous. It wasn’t that Job disagreed that sinners are punished; it was just that they were wrong in their assessment.
Regarding application…Bitter or Better. Vs. 2, “As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice, the Almighty, who has made my life bitter.” Question: How do you respond when trials and tribulations come? I’m reminded that James exhorts us to find joy in our trials (James 1:2). When life throws lemons at you, we can either become bitter or better. Don’t be too harsh on yourself when your initial reaction is bitter. That is why prayer, healing, and time is on our side.
Vs. 2, “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble!” I like Job’s response to Bildad (vs. 1-4)! If his words were from God, they would have benefited Job. Remember Job has been praying that God would respond. However, Bildad’s words were simply his own. Rather than blame God, Job praises the greatness of our Creator (vs. 5-13). Since God even knows the realm of the dead, how much more would he know the land of the living?
Regarding application…Don’t Assume! Vs. 14, “And these are but the outer fringe of his works; how faint the whisper we hear of him! Who then can understand the thunder of his power?” If knowledge is power, than I fear we must think we are quite powerful! We assume because we have been a Christian for many years or read the Bible that we have a fine grasp on God’s ways. On the contrary, Job shows us real wisdom to his know-it-all friends. We only see the outer fringe of His work. There is so much more to God than we could possibly imagine. While we do have the Word and the Spirit counseling us, we must be careful not to assume we have it all figured out. My biblical knowledge has grown vastly over the years, but an interesting phenomenon does happen; the more I know the more I realize I don’t know. It’s humbling indeed.
Vs. 4, “How then can a mortal be righteous before God? How can one born of woman be pure?” Bildad speaks to refute Job with the assumption that he knows more about God. This is the last of the three friends making any more responses. It seems they have run out of anything new to say. At this point, he was just jabbing at Job to confess that this was all because he had sinned.
Regarding application…Speaking Without Compassion. Vs. 6, “how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—a human being, who is only a worm!” Job’s friends spoke with little or no compassion. Because they were so caught up in their own judgment of Job, they couldn’t see the truth. Question: How many times has that happened to you? I would love to think I’m a compassionate person, but there are some areas of my life that need work. I have found that I speak with less compassion towards males vs. females. Let’s prayerfully discern how to encourage another before we speak words without compassion.
Vs. 1, “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?” Greed is good. This was the well-known statement of fictional character Gordon Gecko in the movie Wall Street. The greedy practiced corruption as they took advantage of others (vs. 1-11). Question: If God was judging just the wicked, why were these others not being judged too? Job shares the harsh reality of a sinful world that operates in the night (vs. 12-17). There are people who commit crimes at night, and yet go unpunished. Yet in the end, Job denounces such people and realizes that their day of reckoning will come (vs. 18-25).
Regarding application…Justice Served. Vs. 23, “He may let them rest in a feeling of security, but his eyes are on their ways.” That’s not fair! This is an unavoidable lesson that is learned early on in life. But the unrighteous of this world will have their day. Though Job had many questions and laments, he still held on to his faith. I think that is why we love our superhero’s so much (comic books, cartoons, blockbuster movies). There is a huge sense of satisfaction we get when we see the antagonist get their due justice. This is what Job had been hoping for. Hollywood wouldn’t make much money if they allowed the unjust to prevail. Thank the Lord that we have a righteous judge in Jesus!
Vs. 5, “I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say to me.” Despite the outpouring of negative responses, Job ignores his friends’ taunts and speaks directly to the Lord. While he lays out his grievances, Job’s heart and mind is ready to consider what God has to say (vs. 1-12). He sought after the Lord, but up to this point Job could not find Him. Consider when we are in distress. Question: Who do we turn to? We turn to the Lord. Poor Job felt like there was no alternative, for he feared the Lord greatly (vs. 13-17). He couldn’t figure out why such calamity had come to him.
Regarding application…Don’t Give Up. Vs. 17, “Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.” Job couldn’t see what lay before him, nor can we. Yet, he would not give up seeking the Lord. There are appropriate times to let certain things go in life (careers, possessions, relationships). Yet, Job teaches us the enduring faith of one who went through excruciating tribulations. Question: How would you respond? I have a tendency to fret about many things. I blow things out of proportion. Yet, when I reflect on the times where I had to exercise my faith the most; God provided slivers of hope to keep my faith afloat. The storms of this life try to shake the foundation of our lives. But, when are lives are built on the Solid Rock of Jesus, we won’t have to give up (Matthew 7:24-27). Jesus helps keep the house of our faith always standing!
Vs. 3, “What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous? What would he gain if your ways were blameless?” Just who do you think you are? Eliphaz gets a bit nasty as he simply cannot accept Job’s claim of innocence. Job is falsely accused of actions only presumed to have been done (vs. 1-11). Question: How else could Job have prospered so much? The fact that it was taken away seemed obvious to Eliphaz that Job must have been an unmerciful person. Job’s reluctance to admit sin was proof that he must be a hypocrite for hiding his sins (vs. 12-20). If only Job would stop being so stubborn and repent, his life could be restored (vs. 21-30).
Regarding application…God is Glorified. Vs. 2, “Can a man be of benefit to God? Can even a wise person benefit him?” While we may have the tendency for self-importance, Eliphaz doesn’t realize that Job’s righteousness is bringing glory to God. The LORD doesn’t need us to be who He is, but He created us for His own benefit and pleasure. I don’t have children yet, but children can certainly bring much benefit to their parents. Being smack dab in the middle of VBS week at my church, I’m certainly reminded of that. It’s a humble thing to ponder that my actions and faith can glorify the Lord. Conversely, my lack of faith can bring much grief. Question: What role do you play in bringing glory to God?
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!
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.
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.