Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Job 19


1 Then Job replied:

2 "How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?

3 Ten times now you have reproached me;
shamelessly you attack me.

4 If it is true that I have gone astray,
my error remains my concern alone.

5 If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me
and use my humiliation against me,

6 then know that God has wronged me
and drawn his net around me.

7 "Though I cry, 'I've been wronged!' I get no response;
though I call for help, there is no justice.

8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass;
he has shrouded my paths in darkness.

9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.

10 He tears me down on every side till I am gone;
he uproots my hope like a tree.

11 His anger burns against me;
he counts me among his enemies.

12 His troops advance in force;
they build a siege ramp against me
and encamp around my tent.

13 "He has alienated my brothers from me;
my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.

14 My kinsmen have gone away;
my friends have forgotten me.

15 My guests and my maidservants count me a stranger;
they look upon me as an alien.

16 I summon my servant, but he does not answer,
though I beg him with my own mouth.

17 My breath is offensive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own brothers.

18 Even the little boys scorn me;
when I appear, they ridicule me.

19 All my intimate friends detest me;
those I love have turned against me.

20 I am nothing but skin and bones;
I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth.

21 "Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
for the hand of God has struck me.

22 Why do you pursue me as God does?
Will you never get enough of my flesh?

23 "Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,

24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!

25 I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;

27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!

28 "If you say, 'How we will hound him,
since the root of the trouble lies in him,'

29 you should fear the sword yourselves;
for wrath will bring punishment by the sword,
and then you will know that there is judgment."

Side Notes:

vs. 3-5 It is easy to point out someone else's faults or sins. Job's friends accused him of sin to make him feel guilty, not to encourage or correct him. If we feel we must admonish someone, we should be sure we are confronting that person because we love him, not because we are annoyed, inconvenienced, or seeking to blame him.

vs. 6 Job felt that God was treating him as an enemy when, in fact, God was his friend and thought highly of him (1:8; 2:3). In his difficulty, Job pointed at the wrong person. It was Satan, not God, who was Job's enemy. Because they stressed ultimate causes, most Israelites believed that both good and evil came from God; they also thought people were responsible for their own destinies. But the evil power loose in this world accounts for much of the suffering we experience. In verse 7, Job continued to cry out to be heard by God.

vs. 25-27 At the heart of the book of Job comes his ringing affirmation of confidence: "I know that my Redeemer lives." In ancient Israel a redeemer was a family member who bought a slave's way to freedom or who took care of a widow. What tremendous faith Job had, especially in light of the fact that he was unaware of the conference between God and Satan. Job thought that God had brought all these disasters upon him! Faced with death and decay, Job still expected to see God - and he expected to do so in his body. When the book of Job was written, Israel did not have a well-developed doctrine of the resurrection. Although Job struggled with the idea that God was presently against him, he firmly believed that in the end God would be on his side. This belief was so strong that Job became one of the first to talk about the resurrection of the body (see also Psalm 16:10; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2, 13).

vs. 26 Job said: "in my flesh I will see God." In Job's situation, it seemed unlikely to him that he would, in his flesh, see God. And that's just the point of Job's faith! He was confident that God's justice would triumph, even if it would take a miracle like resurrection to accomplish this.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Job 18


1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

2 "When will you end these speeches?
Be sensible, and then we can talk.

3 Why are we regarded as cattle
and considered stupid in your sight?

4 You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?
Or must the rocks be moved from their place?

5 "The lamp of the wicked is snuffed out;
the flame of his fire stops burning.

6 The light in his tent becomes dark;
the lamp beside him goes out.

7 The vigor of his step is weakened;
his own schemes throw him down.

8 His feet thrust him into a net
and he wanders into its mesh.

9 A trap seizes him by the heel;
a snare holds him fast.

10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground;
a trap lies in his path.

11 Terrors startle him on every side
and dog his every step.

12 Calamity is hungry for him;
disaster is ready for him when he falls.

13 It eats away parts of his skin;
death's firstborn devours his limbs.

14 He is torn from the security of his tent
and marched off to the king of terrors.

15 Fire resides in his tent;
burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling.

16 His roots dry up below
and his branches wither above.

17 The memory of him perishes from the earth;
he has no name in the land.

18 He is driven from light into darkness
and is banished from the world.

19 He has no offspring or descendants among his people,
no survivor where once he lived.

20 Men of the west are appalled at his fate;
men of the east are seized with horror.

21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;
such is the place of one who knows not God."

Side Notes:

Bildad pretty much thought that he was an expert and thought he knew how the universe should be run. That and he saw Job as an illustration of the consequences of sin. Bildad rejected Job's story because it didn't fit with his outlook on life. It is very easy to condemn Bildad because his errors are obvious, but, unfortunately we often act the same way when our ideas our threatened.

vs. 14 The "king of terrors" is a figure of speech referring to death. Bildad viewed death as a great devourer (13), but the Bible teaches that God has the power to devour even death (Psalm 49:15; Isaiah 25:8; 1 Corinthians 15:54-56).

Friday, September 25, 2009

Job 17

1 My spirit is broken,
my days are cut short,
the grave awaits me.

2 Surely mockers surround me;
my eyes must dwell on their hostility.

3 "Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.
Who else will put up security for me?

4 You have closed their minds to understanding;
therefore you will not let them triumph.

5 If a man denounces his friends for reward,
the eyes of his children will fail.

6 "God has made me a byword to everyone,
a man in whose face people spit.

7 My eyes have grown dim with grief;
my whole frame is but a shadow.

8 Upright men are appalled at this;
the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.

9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,
and those with clean hands will grow stronger.

10 "But come on, all of you, try again!
I will not find a wise man among you.

11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered,
and so are the desires of my heart.

12 These men turn night into day;
in the face of darkness they say, 'Light is near.'

13 If the only home I hope for is the grave,
if I spread out my bed in darkness,

14 if I say to corruption, 'You are my father,'
and to the worm, 'My mother' or 'My sister,'

15 where then is my hope?
Who can see any hope for me?

16 Will it go down to the gates of death?
Will we descend together into the dust?"

Side Notes:

vs. 10 All of Job's friends had a reputation for being wise, but at this time Job could not find wisdom in any of them. In 42:7 God will back up Job's claim when He will condemn them for their false portrayal of him. Obviously their view of wisdom was faulty. They assumed because they were prosperous and successful that God must be pleased with the way they were living and thinking. Job, however, countered that by saying that earthly success and prosperity are not proof of faith in God. Likewise, trouble and affliction do not prove faithlessness. The truly wise man knows that wisdom comes from God alone, not from human successes or failures. And the truly wise man never forsakes God. God's wisdom proved superior to Job and to all his friends.

vs. 15 Job was giving up hope that there would be any future restoration of wealth and family and wrapping himself in thoughts of death and the rest from grief and pain that it promised. The rewards that his friends talked about were all related to this present life. They were silent about the possibility of life after death. We must not evaluate life only in terms of this present world because God promises a never-ending wonderful future to those who are faithful to him.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Job 16


1 Then Job replied:

2 "I have heard many things like these;
miserable comforters are you all!

3 Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?

4 I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.

5 But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.

6 "Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved;
and if I refrain, it does not go away.

7 Surely, O God, you have worn me out;
you have devastated my entire household.

8 You have bound me—and it has become a witness;
my gauntness rises up and testifies against me.

9 God assails me and tears me in his anger
and gnashes his teeth at me;
my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes.

10 Men open their mouths to jeer at me;
they strike my cheek in scorn
and unite together against me.

11 God has turned me over to evil men
and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked.

12 All was well with me, but he shattered me;
he seized me by the neck and crushed me.
He has made me his target;

13 his archers surround me.
Without pity, he pierces my kidneys
and spills my gall on the ground.

14 Again and again he bursts upon me;
he rushes at me like a warrior.

15 "I have sewed sackcloth over my skin
and buried my brow in the dust.

16 My face is red with weeping,
deep shadows ring my eyes;

17 yet my hands have been free of violence
and my prayer is pure.

18 "O earth, do not cover my blood;
may my cry never be laid to rest!

19 Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.

20 My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;

21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend.

22 "Only a few years will pass
before I go on the journey of no return.

Side Notes:

Job's friends were supposed to be comforting him in his grief. Instead they condemned him for causing his own suffering. Job began his reply to Eliphaz by calling him and his friends "miserable comforters." Job's words reveal several ways to become a better comforter to those in pain:

1. Don't talk just for the sake of talking
2. Don't sermonize by giving pat answers
3. Don't accuse or criticize
4. Put yourself in the other person's place
5 Offer help and encouragement

Try Job's suggestions, knowing that they are given by a person who needed great comfort. The best comforters are those who know something about personal suffering.

vs. 19 Even though Job was afraid that God had abandoned him, he appealed directly to God (his witness and advocate) and to God's knowledge of his innocence. A witness is someone who has seen what has happened, and an advocate is like a lawyer who speaks on behalf of the plaintiff. By using these terms, Job showed he had cast all his hope for any fair defense upon God in heaven because he would probably die before it happened on earth. In the New Testament we learn that Jesus Christ intercedes on our behalf (Heb 7:25; 1 John 2:1); therefore we have nothing to fear.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Job 15


1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:

2 "Would a wise man answer with empty notions
or fill his belly with the hot east wind?

3 Would he argue with useless words,
with speeches that have no value?

4 But you even undermine piety
and hinder devotion to God.

5 Your sin prompts your mouth;
you adopt the tongue of the crafty.

6 Your own mouth condemns you, not mine;
your own lips testify against you.

7 "Are you the first man ever born?
Were you brought forth before the hills?

8 Do you listen in on God's council?
Do you limit wisdom to yourself?

9 What do you know that we do not know?
What insights do you have that we do not have?

10 The gray-haired and the aged are on our side,
men even older than your father.

11 Are God's consolations not enough for you,
words spoken gently to you?

12 Why has your heart carried you away,
and why do your eyes flash,

13 so that you vent your rage against God
and pour out such words from your mouth?

14 "What is man, that he could be pure,
or one born of woman, that he could be righteous?

15 If God places no trust in his holy ones,
if even the heavens are not pure in his eyes,

16 how much less man, who is vile and corrupt,
who drinks up evil like water!

17 "Listen to me and I will explain to you;
let me tell you what I have seen,

18 what wise men have declared,
hiding nothing received from their fathers

19 (to whom alone the land was given
when no alien passed among them):

20 All his days the wicked man suffers torment,
the ruthless through all the years stored up for him.

21 Terrifying sounds fill his ears;
when all seems well, marauders attack him.

22 He despairs of escaping the darkness;
he is marked for the sword.

23 He wanders about—food for vultures;
he knows the day of darkness is at hand.

24 Distress and anguish fill him with terror;
they overwhelm him, like a king poised to attack,

25 because he shakes his fist at God
and vaunts himself against the Almighty,

26 defiantly charging against him
with a thick, strong shield.

27 "Though his face is covered with fat
and his waist bulges with flesh,

28 he will inhabit ruined towns
and houses where no one lives,
houses crumbling to rubble.

29 He will no longer be rich and his wealth will not endure,
nor will his possessions spread over the land.

30 He will not escape the darkness;
a flame will wither his shoots,
and the breath of God's mouth will carry him away.

31 Let him not deceive himself by trusting what is worthless,
for he will get nothing in return.

32 Before his time he will be paid in full,
and his branches will not flourish.

33 He will be like a vine stripped of its unripe grapes,
like an olive tree shedding its blossoms.

34 For the company of the godless will be barren,
and fire will consume the tents of those who love bribes.

35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil;
their womb fashions deceit."

Side Notes:

Here's the start of round two for all of Job's friends. They are ready to press their arguments even further...and Job will again answer each argument. This time Eliphaz was more rude, more intense, and more threatening, but he said nothing new. He began by saying that Job's words were empty and useless; then he restated his experience and wisdom of their ancestors were more valuable than Job's individual thoughts. Eliphaz assumed that his words were as true as God's. It is easy to spot his arrogance.

vs. 15-16 "even the heavens are not pure in his eyes." Eliphaz was repeating his argument that anything created, whether angels (holy ones) or man, is not a sufficient basis for trust and hope. Only in God can we be sure.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Job 14

1 "Man born of woman
is of few days and full of trouble.

2 He springs up like a flower and withers away;
like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.

3 Do you fix your eye on such a one?
Will you bring him before you for judgment?

4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure?
No one!

5 Man's days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.

6 So look away from him and let him alone,
till he has put in his time like a hired man.

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.

8 Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,

9 yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.

10 But man dies and is laid low;
he breathes his last and is no more.

11 As water disappears from the sea
or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,

12 so man lies down and does not rise;
till the heavens are no more, men will not awake
or be roused from their sleep.

13 "If only you would hide me in the grave
and conceal me till your anger has passed!
If only you would set me a time
and then remember me!

14 If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal to come.

15 You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature your hands have made.

16 Surely then you will count my steps
but not keep track of my sin.

17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;
you will cover over my sin.

18 "But as a mountain erodes and crumbles
and as a rock is moved from its place,

19 as water wears away stones
and torrents wash away the soil,
so you destroy man's hope.

20 You overpower him once for all, and he is gone;
you change his countenance and send him away.

21 If his sons are honored, he does not know it;
if they are brought low, he does not see it.

22 He feels but the pain of his own body
and mourns only for himself."

Side Notes:

Job laments in his closing argument that life is brief and full of trouble. Sickness, loneliness, disappointment, and death cause Job to say that life is not fair. Some understand verses 14-15 to mean that even in his gloom, Job hoped for the raising of the dead. If this is true, then Job understood the one truth that could put his suffering in perspective. God's solution to believers who live in an unfair world is to guarantee life with him forever. No matter how unfair your world seems, God offers the hope of being in His presence eternally. Have you accepted this offer?

vs. 7-22 The Old Testament really does not say much about the resurrection of the dead. This comes as no surprise since Jesus had not come yet and Jesus had not yet been crucified to then in turn conquer death! Job's pessimism about death is understandable. What is remarkable is his budding hope (14). If only God would hide him with the dead and then bring him out again! If only he could die and live again! When we endure suffering we have an advantage over Job...we know that the dead will rise! Christ arose, and we have hope based on Christ's promise in John 14:19.

vs. 22 Job's speech in this chapter shows great truth: to have a right set of doctrines is not enough. To know what we believe is not all that is required to please God. Truth untested by life's experiences my become static and stagnant. Suffering can bring a dynamic quality to life. Just as drought drives the roots of a tree deeper to find water, so suffering can drive us beyond a superficial acceptance of truth to dependence on God for hope and life.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Job 13

1 "My eyes have seen all this,
my ears have heard and understood it.

2 What you know, I also know;
I am not inferior to you.

3 But I desire to speak to the Almighty
and to argue my case with God.

4 You, however, smear me with lies;
you are worthless physicians, all of you!

5 If only you would be altogether silent!
For you, that would be wisdom.

6 Hear now my argument;
listen to the plea of my lips.

7 Will you speak wickedly on God's behalf?
Will you speak deceitfully for him?

8 Will you show him partiality?
Will you argue the case for God?

9 Would it turn out well if he examined you?
Could you deceive him as you might deceive men?

10 He would surely rebuke you
if you secretly showed partiality.

11 Would not his splendor terrify you?
Would not the dread of him fall on you?

12 Your maxims are proverbs of ashes;
your defenses are defenses of clay.

13 "Keep silent and let me speak;
then let come to me what may.

14 Why do I put myself in jeopardy
and take my life in my hands?

15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
I will surely defend my ways to his face.

16 Indeed, this will turn out for my deliverance,
for no godless man would dare come before him!

17 Listen carefully to my words;
let your ears take in what I say.

18 Now that I have prepared my case,
I know I will be vindicated.

19 Can anyone bring charges against me?
If so, I will be silent and die.

20 "Only grant me these two things, O God,
and then I will not hide from you:

21 Withdraw your hand far from me,
and stop frightening me with your terrors.

22 Then summon me and I will answer,
or let me speak, and you reply.

23 How many wrongs and sins have I committed?
Show me my offense and my sin.

24 Why do you hide your face
and consider me your enemy?

25 Will you torment a windblown leaf?
Will you chase after dry chaff?

26 For you write down bitter things against me
and make me inherit the sins of my youth.

27 You fasten my feet in shackles;
you keep close watch on all my paths
by putting marks on the soles of my feet.

28 "So man wastes away like something rotten,
like a garment eaten by moths.

Side Notes:

vs 4 Job was comparing his friends to physicians that didn't know what they were doing. It's like they were eye surgeons trying to perform open-heart surgery. Many of their ideas about God were right (God is just, God does punish sin...) but they did not apply to Job's situation. They were wrong to assume that Job's suffering was a punishment for his sin. They took a true principle and applied it wrongly, ignoring the vast differences in human circumstances. We must be careful and compassionate in how we apply Biblical condemnations to others...we must be slow to judge!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Job 12


1 Then Job replied:

2 "Doubtless you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you!

3 But I have a mind as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know all these things?

4 "I have become a laughingstock to my friends,
though I called upon God and he answered—
a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!

5 Men at ease have contempt for misfortune
as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.

6 The tents of marauders are undisturbed,
and those who provoke God are secure—
those who carry their god in their hands.

7 "But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds of the air, and they will tell you;

8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish of the sea inform you.

9 Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the LORD has done this?

10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.

11 Does not the ear test words
as the tongue tastes food?

12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding?

13 "To God belong wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his.

14 What he tears down cannot be rebuilt;
the man he imprisons cannot be released.

15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought;
if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.

16 To him belong strength and victory;
both deceived and deceiver are his.

17 He leads counselors away stripped
and makes fools of judges.

18 He takes off the shackles put on by kings
and ties a loincloth around their waist.

19 He leads priests away stripped
and overthrows men long established.

20 He silences the lips of trusted advisers
and takes away the discernment of elders.

21 He pours contempt on nobles
and disarms the mighty.

22 He reveals the deep things of darkness
and brings deep shadows into the light.

23 He makes nations great, and destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and disperses them.

24 He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason;
he sends them wandering through a trackless waste.

25 They grope in darkness with no light;
he makes them stagger like drunkards.

Side Notes:

Job answered Zophar pretty sarcastically: "Wisdom will die with you." He went on to tell his friends that they didn't need to explain God to him...they weren't saying anything to him that he didn't already know. Job continued to maintain that his friends had completely misunderstood the reason for his suffering. While Job didn't know either, he was certain that his friends' reasons were both narrow-minded and incorrect. Once again Job appealed to God to give him the answer.

vs 24-25 Job affirmed that no leader has any real wisdom apart from God. No research or report can outweigh God's opinion. No scientific discovery or medical advance takes him by surprise. When we look for guidance for our decisions, we must recognize that God's wisdom is superior to any the world has to offer. Don't let earthly advisers dampen your desire to know God better.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Job 11


1 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:

2 "Are all these words to go unanswered?
Is this talker to be vindicated?

3 Will your idle talk reduce men to silence?
Will no one rebuke you when you mock?

4 You say to God, 'My beliefs are flawless
and I am pure in your sight.'

5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak,
that he would open his lips against you

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.

7 "Can you fathom the mysteries of God?
Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?

8 They are higher than the heavens—what can you do?
They are deeper than the depths of the grave—what can you know?

9 Their measure is longer than the earth
and wider than the sea.

10 "If he comes along and confines you in prison
and convenes a court, who can oppose him?

11 Surely he recognizes deceitful men;
and when he sees evil, does he not take note?

12 But a witless man can no more become wise
than a wild donkey's colt can be born a man.

13 "Yet if you devote your heart to him
and stretch out your hands to him,

14 if you put away the sin that is in your hand
and allow no evil to dwell in your tent,

15 then you will lift up your face without shame;
you will stand firm and without fear.

16 You will surely forget your trouble,
recalling it only as waters gone by.

17 Life will be brighter than noonday,
and darkness will become like morning.

18 You will be secure, because there is hope;
you will look about you and take your rest in safety.

19 You will lie down, with no one to make you afraid,
and many will court your favor.

20 But the eyes of the wicked will fail,
and escape will elude them;
their hope will become a dying gasp."

Side Notes: we have Job's third friend, Zophar, and he is by far the least courteous. Full of anger, Zophar lashes out at Job, saying that Job deserved more punishment, not less. Zophar took the same position as Eliphaz and Bildad, that Job was suffering because of sin, but he was by far the most arrogant. Zophar was the kind of person who has an answer for everything; he was totally insensitive to Job's unique situation.

vs. 11 By calling Job "deceitful," Zophar was accusing Job of hiding secret faults and sins. Although his assumptions were wrong, he explained quite accurately that God knows and sees everything. We are often tempted by the thought, "No one will ever know!" We can perhaps hide our sins from others, but we can do nothing without God knowing about it. Because our very thoughts are known to God, of course he will notice our sins. Job understood this as well as Zophar did, but it didn't apply to his current situation.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Job 10

1 "I loathe my very life;
therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.

2 I will say to God: Do not condemn me,
but tell me what charges you have against me.

3 Does it please you to oppress me,
to spurn the work of your hands,
while you smile on the schemes of the wicked?

4 Do you have eyes of flesh?
Do you see as a mortal sees?

5 Are your days like those of a mortal
or your years like those of a man,

6 that you must search out my faults
and probe after my sin-

7 though you know that I am not guilty
and that no one can rescue me from your hand?

8 "Your hands shaped me and made me.
Will you now turn and destroy me?

9 Remember that you molded me like clay.
Will you now turn me to dust again?

10 Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese,

11 clothe me with skin and flesh
and knit me together with bones and sinews?

12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.

13 "But this is what you concealed in your heart,
and I know that this was in your mind:

14 If I sinned, you would be watching me
and would not let my offense go unpunished.

15 If I am guilty—woe to me!
Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head,
for I am full of shame
and drowned in my affliction.

16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion
and again display your awesome power against me.

17 You bring new witnesses against me
and increase your anger toward me;
your forces come against me wave upon wave.

18 "Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me.

19 If only I had never come into being,
or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!

20 Are not my few days almost over?
Turn away from me so I can have a moment's joy

21 before I go to the place of no return,
to the land of gloom and deep shadow,

22 to the land of deepest night,
of deep shadow and disorder,
where even the light is like darkness."

Side Notes:

Job was starting to wallow in self pity. Like most of us, when we face afflictions that we don't understand, we tend to feel sorry for ourselves and that's what Job is doing. It's here that we are very close to self-righteousness, where we keep track of life's injustices and say, "Look what is happening to me; how unfair is this?!" At these times we may feel like blaming God. But remember that these trials, whether allowed by God or send by Him, can be the means by which we are developed and refined. When faced with trials, ask, "What can I learn from this and how can I grow?" rather than "Who did this to me and how do I get out of it?"

vs. 13-14 In his frustration, Job jumped to the conclusion that God was out to get him. This was a false conclusion. Wrong assumptions lead to wrong conclusions. We should not take our limited experiences and jump to conclusions about life in general. If you find yourself doubting God, remember that you don't have all the facts. God wants only the best for our lives. Many people will endure great pain, but ultimately they find some greater good comes out of it. Lesson to be learned: when you're struggling, don't assume the worst.

vs. 20-22 Job was expressing the view of death that was common in the Old Testament times. The thought was that the dead when to a joyless, dark place. There was no punishment or reward there and no escape from it.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Job 9


1 Then Job replied:

2 "Indeed, I know that this is true.
But how can a mortal be righteous before God?

3 Though one wished to dispute with him,
he could not answer him one time out of a thousand.

4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast.
Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?

5 He moves mountains without their knowing it
and overturns them in his anger.

6 He shakes the earth from its place
and makes its pillars tremble.

7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;
he seals off the light of the stars.

8 He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads on the waves of the sea.

9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.

10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.

11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;
when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.

12 If he snatches away, who can stop him?
Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?'

13 God does not restrain his anger;
even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.

14 "How then can I dispute with him?
How can I find words to argue with him?

15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;
I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.

16 Even if I summoned him and he responded,
I do not believe he would give me a hearing.

17 He would crush me with a storm
and multiply my wounds for no reason.

18 He would not let me regain my breath
but would overwhelm me with misery.

19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!
And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him?

20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me;
if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.

21 "Although I am blameless,
I have no concern for myself;
I despise my own life.

22 It is all the same; that is why I say,
'He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.'

23 When a scourge brings sudden death,
he mocks the despair of the innocent.

24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,
he blindfolds its judges.
If it is not he, then who is it?

25 "My days are swifter than a runner;
they fly away without a glimpse of joy.

26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,
like eagles swooping down on their prey.

27 If I say, 'I will forget my complaint,
I will change my expression, and smile,'

28 I still dread all my sufferings,
for I know you will not hold me innocent.

29 Since I am already found guilty,
why should I struggle in vain?

30 Even if I washed myself with soap
and my hands with washing soda,

31 you would plunge me into a slime pit
so that even my clothes would detest me.

32 "He is not a man like me that I might answer him,
that we might confront each other in court.

33 If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,
to lay his hand upon us both,

34 someone to remove God's rod from me,
so that his terror would frighten me no more.

35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

Side Notes:

Bildad said nothing new to Job, Job knew that the wicked would ultimately perish, but his situation confused him. Why, then, was he perishing? Job didn't think his life warranted such suffering, so he wanted his case presented before God (9:32-35). He recognized, however, that arguing with God would be futile and unproductive (9:4). Job didn't claim to be perfect (7:20-21; 9:20), but he did claim to be good and faithful (6:29-30). While Job showed impatience toward God, he did not reject or curse God.

vs. 9 The Bear, Orion, and Pleiades are constellations of stars.

vs. 13 Rahab is the name of a legendary sea monster. According to a Babylonian creation myth, Marduk defeated Tiamat (another name for Rahab), then captured her helpers. Job's friends would have known this myth and understood Job's meaning. God is sovereign over all the forces.

vs 20-21 "Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me." Job was saying, "in spite of my good life, God is determined to condemn me." As his suffering continued, he became more impatient. Although Job remained loyal to God, he made statements he would later regret. In times of extended sickness or prolonged pain, it is natural for people to doubt, to despair, or to become impatient. During those times, people need someone to listen to them, to help them work through their feelings and frustrations. Your patience with their impatience will help them.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Job 8


1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

2 "How long will you say such things?
Your words are a blustering wind.

3 Does God pervert justice?
Does the Almighty pervert what is right?

4 When your children sinned against him,
he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.

5 But if you will look to God
and plead with the Almighty,

6 if you are pure and upright,
even now he will rouse himself on your behalf
and restore you to your rightful place.

7 Your beginnings will seem humble,
so prosperous will your future be.

8 "Ask the former generations
and find out what their fathers learned,

9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,
and our days on earth are but a shadow.

10 Will they not instruct you and tell you?
Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?

11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?
Can reeds thrive without water?

12 While still growing and uncut,
they wither more quickly than grass.

13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God;
so perishes the hope of the godless.

14 What he trusts in is fragile;
what he relies on is a spider's web.

15 He leans on his web, but it gives way;
he clings to it, but it does not hold.

16 He is like a well-watered plant in the sunshine,
spreading its shoots over the garden;

17 it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks
and looks for a place among the stones.

18 But when it is torn from its spot,
that place disowns it and says, 'I never saw you.'

19 Surely its life withers away,
and from the soil other plants grow.

20 "Surely God does not reject a blameless man
or strengthen the hands of evildoers.

21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter
and your lips with shouts of joy.

22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame,
and the tents of the wicked will be no more."

Side Notes:

Bildad was upset that Job still claimed innocence while questioning God's justice. The basis of Bildad's argument (the justice of God) was correct, but his idea of God's justice was not. Bildad's argument went like this: God could not be unjust, and God would not punish a just man; therefore Job must be unjust. Bildad felt there were no exceptions to his theory. Like Eliphaz, Bildad wrongly assumed that people suffer only as a result of their sins. Bildad was even less sensitive and compassionate, saying that Job's children died because of their wickedness.

vs 14-15 When Bildad pointed out that "what he trust in is fragile" (meaning that such supports will collapse), he was wrongly assuming that Job was trusting in something other than God for security. One of our basic needs as humans is to feel secure and some will do almost anything to feel that security. Eventually, however, our money, possessions, knowledge, and relationships will fail or be gone. Only God can give lasting security. What have you trusted for your security? How lasting is it? If you have a secure foundation with God, feelings of insecurity will not undermine you.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Job 7

1 "Does not man have hard service on earth?
Are not his days like those of a hired man?

2 Like a slave longing for the evening shadows,
or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages,

3 so I have been allotted months of futility,
and nights of misery have been assigned to me.

4 When I lie down I think, 'How long before I get up?'
The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.

5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs,
my skin is broken and festering.

6 "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,
and they come to an end without hope.

7 Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath;
my eyes will never see happiness again.

8 The eye that now sees me will see me no longer;
you will look for me, but I will be no more.

9 As a cloud vanishes and is gone,
so he who goes down to the grave does not return.

10 He will never come to his house again;
his place will know him no more.

11 "Therefore I will not keep silent;
I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

12 Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep,
that you put me under guard?

13 When I think my bed will comfort me
and my couch will ease my complaint,

14 even then you frighten me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,

15 so that I prefer strangling and death,
rather than this body of mine.

16 I despise my life; I would not live forever.
Let me alone; my days have no meaning.

17 "What is man that you make so much of him,
that you give him so much attention,

18 that you examine him every morning
and test him every moment?

19 Will you never look away from me,
or let me alone even for an instant?

20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
O watcher of men?
Why have you made me your target?
Have I become a burden to you?

21 Why do you not pardon my offenses
and forgive my sins?
For I will soon lie down in the dust;
you will search for me, but I will be no more."

Side Note:

vs 12 Job stopped talking to Eliphaz and spoke directly to God. Although Job had lived a blameless life, he was beginning to doubt the value of living in such a way. By doing this, he was coming dangerously close to suggesting that God didn't care about him and was not being fair. Later God reproved Job for this attitude (38:2). Satan always exploits these thoughts to get us to forsake God. Our suffering, like Job's, may not be the result of our sin, but we must be careful not to sin as a result of our suffering.

vs 20 Job referred to God as a watcher or observer of humanity. He was expressing his feeling that God seemed like an enemy to him - someone who mercilessly watched him squirm in his misery. We know that God does watch over everything that happens to us. We must never forget that he sees us with compassion, not merely with critical scrutiny. His eyes are eyes of love.