Monday, August 31, 2009
1 Then Job replied:
2 "If only my anguish could be weighed
and all my misery be placed on the scales!
3 It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—
no wonder my words have been impetuous.
4 The arrows of the Almighty are in me,
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God's terrors are marshaled against me.
5 Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass,
or an ox bellow when it has fodder?
6 Is tasteless food eaten without salt,
or is there flavor in the white of an egg?
7 I refuse to touch it;
such food makes me ill.
8 "Oh, that I might have my request,
that God would grant what I hope for,
9 that God would be willing to crush me,
to let loose his hand and cut me off!
10 Then I would still have this consolation—
my joy in unrelenting pain—
that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.
11 "What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
What prospects, that I should be patient?
12 Do I have the strength of stone?
Is my flesh bronze?
13 Do I have any power to help myself,
now that success has been driven from me?
14 "A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends,
even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
15 But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,
as the streams that overflow
16 when darkened by thawing ice
and swollen with melting snow,
17 but that cease to flow in the dry season,
and in the heat vanish from their channels.
18 Caravans turn aside from their routes;
they go up into the wasteland and perish.
19 The caravans of Tema look for water,
the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope.
20 They are distressed, because they had been confident;
they arrive there, only to be disappointed.
21 Now you too have proved to be of no help;
you see something dreadful and are afraid.
22 Have I ever said, 'Give something on my behalf,
pay a ransom for me from your wealth,
23 deliver me from the hand of the enemy,
ransom me from the clutches of the ruthless'?
24 "Teach me, and I will be quiet;
show me where I have been wrong.
25 How painful are honest words!
But what do your arguments prove?
26 Do you mean to correct what I say,
and treat the words of a despairing man as wind?
27 You would even cast lots for the fatherless
and barter away your friend.
28 "But now be so kind as to look at me.
Would I lie to your face?
29 Relent, do not be unjust;
reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.
30 Is there any wickedness on my lips?
Can my mouth not discern malice?
vs 6-7 Job referred to Eliphaz's advice as eating the tasteless white of an egg. When people are going through trials, ill advice can be distasteful...people may listen to what you are saying but inside they are upset. Have you ever felt that way after someone gave you some advise? Be slow to speak and slow to give advice to someone who is hurting...sometimes they just need a little compassion and an ear to listen rather than advise from you.
vs. 8-9 Job just wanted to give in, to be free from his discomfort and trials, and he wanted to die. But God did not grant his request. He had a greater plan for Job. Don't we tend to be like Job...we want to give in when the going gets tough?! To trust God in the good times is commendable, but to trust him during the difficult times test us to our limits and exercises our faith. In our struggles, whether they are big or small, we need to trust that God is in control and that he will take care of you (Romans 8:28).
vs. 29-30 Job referred to his own integrity, not because he was sinless, but because he had a right relationship with God. He was not guilty of the sins his friends accused him of (in chapter 31 we'll get a summary of the life he had led). Another rendering of this verse could read, "My righteousness still stands." Righteousness is not the same as sinlessness (Roman 3:23). No one but Jesus has ever been sinless, which means to be free from all wrong thoughts and actions. Even Job needed to make some changes in his attitude toward God, as we will see by the end of the book. Nevertheless, Job was righteous (1:8). He carefully obeyed God to the best of his ability in all aspects of his life.
Friday, August 28, 2009
To which of the holy ones will you turn?
2 Resentment kills a fool,
and envy slays the simple.
3 I myself have seen a fool taking root,
but suddenly his house was cursed.
4 His children are far from safety,
crushed in court without a defender.
5 The hungry consume his harvest,
taking it even from among thorns,
and the thirsty pant after his wealth.
6 For hardship does not spring from the soil,
nor does trouble sprout from the ground.
7 Yet man is born to trouble
as surely as sparks fly upward.
8 "But if it were I, I would appeal to God;
I would lay my cause before him.
9 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.
10 He bestows rain on the earth;
he sends water upon the countryside.
11 The lowly he sets on high,
and those who mourn are lifted to safety.
12 He thwarts the plans of the crafty,
so that their hands achieve no success.
13 He catches the wise in their craftiness,
and the schemes of the wily are swept away.
14 Darkness comes upon them in the daytime;
at noon they grope as in the night.
15 He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth;
he saves them from the clutches of the powerful.
16 So the poor have hope,
and injustice shuts its mouth.
17 "Blessed is the man whom God corrects;
so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty.
18 For he wounds, but he also binds up;
he injures, but his hands also heal.
19 From six calamities he will rescue you;
in seven no harm will befall you.
20 In famine he will ransom you from death,
and in battle from the stroke of the sword.
21 You will be protected from the lash of the tongue,
and need not fear when destruction comes.
22 You will laugh at destruction and famine,
and need not fear the beasts of the earth.
23 For you will have a covenant with the stones of the field,
and the wild animals will be at peace with you.
24 You will know that your tent is secure;
you will take stock of your property and find nothing missing.
25 You will know that your children will be many,
and your descendants like the grass of the earth.
26 You will come to the grave in full vigor,
like sheaves gathered in season.
27 "We have examined this, and it is true.
So hear it and apply it to yourself."
vs. 13 Paul later quoted part of this verse (1 Corinthians 3:19) and it is the only time that Job is clearly quoted in the New Testament. Later we will see that God rebuked Eliphaz for being wrong in the advice that he gave Job (42:7), but not all he said was in error. The part that Paul quoted was correct - people are often caught in their own traps ("in their craftiness"). This shows us how Scripture must be used to explain and comment on itself. We need make sure that we are familiar with the entire scope of God's word to properly understand the difficult portions of it.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 "If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient?
But who can keep from speaking?
3 Think how you have instructed many,
how you have strengthened feeble hands.
4 Your words have supported those who stumbled;
you have strengthened faltering knees.
5 But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged;
it strikes you, and you are dismayed.
6 Should not your piety be your confidence
and your blameless ways your hope?
7 "Consider now: Who, being innocent, has ever perished?
Where were the upright ever destroyed?
8 As I have observed, those who plow evil
and those who sow trouble reap it.
9 At the breath of God they are destroyed;
at the blast of his anger they perish.
10 The lions may roar and growl,
yet the teeth of the great lions are broken.
11 The lion perishes for lack of prey,
and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
12 "A word was secretly brought to me,
my ears caught a whisper of it.
13 Amid disquieting dreams in the night,
when deep sleep falls on men,
14 fear and trembling seized me
and made all my bones shake.
15 A spirit glided past my face,
and the hair on my body stood on end.
16 It stopped,
but I could not tell what it was.
A form stood before my eyes,
and I heard a hushed voice:
17 'Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
Can a man be more pure than his Maker?
18 If God places no trust in his servants,
if he charges his angels with error,
19 how much more those who live in houses of clay,
whose foundations are in the dust,
who are crushed more readily than a moth!
20 Between dawn and dusk they are broken to pieces;
unnoticed, they perish forever.
21 Are not the cords of their tent pulled up,
so that they die without wisdom?'
One thing my Bible cautions about is that this is Eliphaz speaking and not God so we must be careful about building our knowledge on Eliphaz's opinions. His argument is that suffering is a direct result from sin and if Job would only confess his sin (or sins) then his suffering would end. In Job's case this was not true but there are cases where it is (Gal. 6:7, 8). Eliphaz made many good and true comments, but he also made three wrong assumptions: a.) a good and innocent person never suffers; b.) those who are suffering are being punished for their past sins; c.) Job, because he was suffering, had done something wrong in God's eyes.
vs.7 & 8 Part of what Eliphaz said was true, and part of it was false. It is true that those who promote sin and trouble will eventually be punished (and not necessarily here on Earth); but it is false to assume that the good and innocent will never suffer.
All the material recorded and quoted in the Bible is there by God's choice. Some is a record of what people said and did but is not an example to follow. The sins, the defeats, the evil thoughts and misconceptions about God are all part of God's divinely inspired Word, but we should not follow those wrong examples just because they are in the Bible. The Bible gives us teachings and examples of what we should do as well as what we should not do. Eliphaz's comments are an example of what we should try to avoid - making false assumptions about others based on our own experiences.
Monday, August 24, 2009
1 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:
3 "May the day of my birth perish,
and the night it was said, 'A boy is born!'
4 That day—may it turn to darkness;
may God above not care about it;
may no light shine upon it.
5 May darkness and deep shadow claim it once more;
may a cloud settle over it;
may blackness overwhelm its light.
6 That night—may thick darkness seize it;
may it not be included among the days of the year
nor be entered in any of the months.
7 May that night be barren;
may no shout of joy be heard in it.
8 May those who curse days curse that day,
those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
9 May its morning stars become dark;
may it wait for daylight in vain
and not see the first rays of dawn,
10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me
to hide trouble from my eyes.
11 "Why did I not perish at birth,
and die as I came from the womb?
12 Why were there knees to receive me
and breasts that I might be nursed?
13 For now I would be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep and at rest
14 with kings and counselors of the earth,
who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,
15 with rulers who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not hidden in the ground like a stillborn child,
like an infant who never saw the light of day?
17 There the wicked cease from turmoil,
and there the weary are at rest.
18 Captives also enjoy their ease;
they no longer hear the slave driver's shout.
19 The small and the great are there,
and the slave is freed from his master.
20 "Why is light given to those in misery,
and life to the bitter of soul,
21 to those who long for death that does not come,
who search for it more than for hidden treasure,
22 who are filled with gladness
and rejoice when they reach the grave?
23 Why is life given to a man
whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
24 For sighing comes to me instead of food;
my groans pour out like water.
25 What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
26 I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil."
vs.1 While Job still did not curse God, he did curse the day of his birth. He felt that it would have been better not to even have been born than to be forsaken by God. Job was struggling physically, emotionally, spiritually...his misery was pervasive and deep. We must never underestimate how vulnerable we are during our times of trials, suffering, and pain. We must hold on to our faith even if there is no relief.
vs. 3 In Job's day, people were hired to pronounce curses. Job wanted the soothsayers to call up the sea monster, Leviathan, to swallow up the day he was born.
vs.11 For all that Job was going through he can't be blamed for wishing he were dead. Many of us have misconceptions that when we are with God then nothing bad will happen to us. Job's story shows us that that isn't true...God still allows us to experience trials. Job shows us that we have two choices: we can curse God or we can trust God and draw strength from Him to continue on.
Friday, August 21, 2009
1 On another day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them to present himself before him. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
3 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without any reason."
4 "Skin for skin!" Satan replied. "A man will give all he has for his own life. 5 But stretch out your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse you to your face."
6 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, he is in your hands; but you must spare his life."
7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and afflicted Job with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. 8 Then Job took a piece of broken pottery and scraped himself with it as he sat among the ashes.
9 His wife said to him, "Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!"
10 He replied, "You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?" In all this, Job did not sin in what he said.
Job's Three Friends
11 When Job's three friends, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite, heard about all the troubles that had come upon him, they set out from their homes and met together by agreement to go and sympathize with him and comfort him. 12 When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was.
vs 3-6 Can Satan really persuade God to change His plans? At first God said that Satan couldn't harm Job physically but now that Satan had said "skin for skin", implying that Job was willing to accept the loss of his family as long as he was still safe...physically. Now he wants to inflict physically pain to Job to prove his original accusation (1:9). God did decide to allow it but Satan is unable to make God go against his own character, God is completely and eternally good. God was willing to go along with Satan's plan because He knew the eventual outcome of Job's story. God is never fooled by Satan...God knows all. This suffering of Jobs was not a test for God, rather it was a test for Satan, Job and even us.
2:6 Physical pain yes, but Satan still could not destroy him.
2:9 Why was Job's wife spared? It could be that her very presence cause Job even more suffering through her chiding or sorrow over all that they had lost.
2:11 Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar were not only Job's friends but they were also men known for their great wisdom. In the end we will see that their wisdom turned out to be narrow-minded and incomplete.
2:13 Why when his friends came did they just sit quietly? According to Jewish tradition, people that come to comfort someone who is mourning should not speak until the mourner speaks.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
1 In the land of Uz there lived a man whose name was Job. This man was blameless and upright; he feared God and shunned evil. 2 He had seven sons and three daughters, 3 and he owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants. He was the greatest man among all the people of the East.
4 His sons used to take turns holding feasts in their homes, and they would invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them. 5 When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, "Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts." This was Job's regular custom.
Job's First Test
6 One day the angels came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came with them. 7 The LORD said to Satan, "Where have you come from?" Satan answered the LORD, "From roaming through the earth and going back and forth in it."
8 Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil."
9 "Does Job fear God for nothing?" Satan replied. 10 "Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has? You have blessed the work of his hands, so that his flocks and herds are spread throughout the land. 11 But stretch out your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse you to your face."
12 The LORD said to Satan, "Very well, then, everything he has is in your hands, but on the man himself do not lay a finger." Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.
13 One day when Job's sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 14 a messenger came to Job and said, "The oxen were plowing and the donkeys were grazing nearby, 15 and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
16 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The fire of God fell from the sky and burned up the sheep and the servants, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
17 While he was still speaking, another messenger came and said, "The Chaldeans formed three raiding parties and swept down on your camels and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
18 While he was still speaking, yet another messenger came and said, "Your sons and daughters were feasting and drinking wine at the oldest brother's house, 19 when suddenly a mighty wind swept in from the desert and struck the four corners of the house. It collapsed on them and they are dead, and I am the only one who has escaped to tell you!"
20 At this, Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head. Then he fell to the ground in worship 21 and said:
"Naked I came from my mother's womb,
and naked I will depart.
The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."
22 In all this, Job did not sin by charging God with wrongdoing.
1:1 We have way more info than Job had or any of the characters for that matter. Job had lost all through no fault of his own, and he came to realize that he was not meant to know the reasons. He would have to face life with questions and explanations held back, and only then would his faith fully develop.
It is also important to remember that we live in a fallen world and good behavior is not always rewarded and where bad behavior is not always punished. Job suffered for no apparent fault of his own. But his story doesn't end in despair. Through his life we can see that faith in God is justified even when our situations look hopeless. Faith based on rewards or prosperity is hollow. To be unshakable, faith must be built on the confidence that God's ultimate purpose will come to pass.
1:9 Satan accused Job of only being a believer because he had everything and all had gone right for him and he had no reason to turn against God. Satan wanted to prove that Job didn't worship God out of love but rather because of all that God had given him.
Unfortunately, this is why a lot of people love and trust God, for what he has given them. They are fair-weather believers, following God only when all is going right or when they are getting what they want. Trials destroy this kind of faith...but trials also strengthen real faith and cause real faith to get rooted even deeper.
1:12 This conversation between God and Satan proves that God knows of every attack that Satan brings to us...while God may allow us to suffer for reasons we cannot understand, he is never caught by surprise and is always compassionate towards us.
1:16 "The fire of God" was a poetic way to describe lightning.
Trees snap like toothpicks or fly upward, wrenched from the earth. Whole rooftops sail, cars tumble like toys, walls collapse, and a mountain of water jumps the shore and engulfs the land. A hurricane cuts and tears, and only solid foundation survive her unbridled fury. But those foundations can be used for rebuilding after the storm.
For any building, the foundation is critical. It must be deep enough and solid enough to withstand the weight of the building and other stresses. Lives are like buildings, and the quality of their foundation will determine the quality of the whole. Too often inferior materials are used, and when tests come, lives crumble.
Job was tested. With a life filled with prestige, possessions, and people, he was suddenly assaulted on every side, devastated, stripped down to his foundation. But his life was built on God, and he endured.
Job, the book, tells the story of Job, the man of God. It is a gripping drama of riches-to-rags-to riches, a theological treatise about suffering and divine sovereignty, and a picture of faith that endures. As you read Job, analyze your life and check your foundation. And may you be able to say that when all is gone but God, he is enough.
Job was prosperous farmer living in the land of Uz. He had thousands of sheep, camels, and other livestock, a large family, and many servants. Suddenly Satan, the accuser, came before God claiming that Job was trusting God only because he was wealthy and everything was going well for him. And so the testing of Job's faith began.
Satan was allowed to destroy Job's children, servants, livestock, herdsmen, and home; but Job continued to trust in God. Next Satan attacked Job physically, covering him with painful sores. Job's wife told him to curse God and die (2:9), but Job suffered in silence.
Three of Job's friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, came to visit him. At first they silently grieved with Job. But when they began to talk about the reasons for Job's tragedies, they told him that sin had caused his suffering. They told him to confess his sins and turn back to God. But Job maintained his innocence.
Unable to convince Job of his sin, the tree men fell silent (32:1). At this point, another voice - the young Elihu - entered the debate. Although his argument also failed to convince Job, it prepared the way for God to speak.
Finally, God spoke out of a mighty storm. Confronted with the great power and majesty of God, Job fell in humble reverence before God - speechless. God rebuked Job's friends, and the drama ended with Job restored to happiness and wealth.
It is easy to think that we have all the answers. In reality, only God knows exactly why things happen as they do, and we must submit to him as our Sovereign. As you read this book, emulate Job and decided to trust God no matter what happens.
Purpose: To demonstrate Go's sovereignty and the meaning of true faith. It addresses the question, "why do the righteous suffer".
Author: Unknown, possibly Job. Some have suggested Moses, Solomon, of Elihu.
Date Written: Unknown. Records events that probably occurred during the time of the patriarchs, approx. 2000-1800 B.C.
Setting: Land of Uz, probably located northeast of Palestine, near desert land between Damascus and the Euphrates River.
Key Verse: "Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil. And he still maintains his integrity, though you incited me against him to ruin him without reason'" (2:3).
Key People: Job, Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, Zophar the Naamathite, Elihu the Buzite.
Special Features: Job is the first of the poetic books in the Hebrew Bible. Some believe this was the first book of the Bible to be written. The book gives us insights into the work of Satan. Ezekiel 14:14, 20 and James 5:11 mention Job as a historical character.