Job 28 – To Turn Away From Evil

Solomon's Pillars, hill with mine

Solomon’s Pillars, hill with mine

The poetic beauty that is so prevalent in the Wisdom Literature is seldom more lovely than in much of this chapter of Job. Verses 1-11 begin the chapter by extolling the accomplishments of man in extracting precious metals from the depths of the earth.  Verse three appears to be referring to an example of man’s mastery of darkness with the use of torches in deep and dark mines – said much more beautifully by the verse itself (“Man puts an end to darkness and searches out to the farthest limit the ore in gloom and deep darkness”). Or consider verse 9’s description of the act of mining itself (“Man puts his hand to the flinty rock and overturns mountains by the roots”).

Man, the verses tell us, is the only creature on earth who is able to go into these depths and accomplish the extraction of these precious metals, and so it is only man who knows the secrets of these labyrinths or has even seen  them. Only man is able to so carve out and alter the face of the earth to find and acquire these resources.

Then verses 12-22 point out that even God’s greatest creation (man) cannot find wisdom by the physical acts at which he has become so masterful. And he cannot even use the great wealth that he accumulates from these great feats of manipulating the earth in order to purchase that wisdom, for it cannot be bought. Wisdom is hidden from all living things by the Creator, and man cannot penetrate to any deep or hidden place in order to find understanding.

Storm clouds gather over mountains of Maui, Hawaii

Storm clouds gather over mountains of Maui, Hawaii

Verses 23 and following point out the obvious conclusion that God alone knows the way to it and understands where it lays. He gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure.” And just as he created the laws of nature for such things as the rains and lightning and thunder, he established wisdom.

Then, just as Solomon said in Proverbs 1:7, verse 28 tells us that “he said to man,‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.'” It is again important to understand that it does not say that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom about only religious matters. Just as was Solomon’s point, it is the beginning of all knowledge. Only by God’s power, His will, and the fact that He holds consistent and constant the created order of the universe in which we live, can man even have the ability to have understanding.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

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Job 27 – As Long As My Breath Is In Me

Job_007Job is adamant that he will not surrender his position in this chapter, but he still believes God has caused his troubles. Verse 2 begins “As God lives, who has taken away my right,and the Almighty, who has made my soul bitter…”But he says that as long as his breath is in him, he will not speak falsehoods or utter deceit. In other words, he will not say that he has done wrong, simply to appease them. He will hold on to his integrity, and hold fast his righteousness. His heart does not tell him that he has guilt.

As for any enemies (other than God himself, of course), Job says they are the wicked, and any that rise up against him are the unrighteous. God, he is still convinced, will be his witness and his avenger. He puts forward that God will not hear their cry, and they do not call upon the Lord at all times – implying that he does. Then he begins to show his own confidence and says that he will teach his friends about God. He tells them that they have seen themselves, but they have become vain in their thinking.

Job then goes into a long explanation of what will happen to the wicked and oppressors – but it is the “heritage that oppressors receive from the Almighty.” Job knows that their punishment will come indeed. It just is not set to do so swiftly in this life. This is the truth that his three friends have missed.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 26 – God’s Majesty

earth_004Occasionally, it seems difficult to know when to take some of the conversations between Job and the three guests at face value. In this case, the first few verses appear to be full of sarcastic irony – particularly verse 4 (“With whose help have you uttered words,and whose breath has come out from you?”). It really feels like Job is asking if they came up with these “brilliant conclusions” about man and his relationship to God all by themselves.

Job then demonstrates his own insight into the awesome power of the Lord. “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing.” He makes the clouds, filling them with downpours of rain, and they hold together until he wills it to be released (He binds up the waters in his thick clouds, and the cloud is not split open under them”). He continues his poetic illustrations of God’s mighty power with references to the moon, the heavens, and the seas. He knows that God is ruler over all creation, but he still believes that the Lord has been unfair about justice where Job himself is concerned. Still, he refuses to speak of Him in an openly disrespectful manner.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 25 – Born of Woman

An outer view of the Druze shrine of Prophet Job

An outer view of the Druze shrine of Prophet Job (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This brief chapter sums up the crux of the discussion so far. Job’s friends’ arguments with him have so far included only two possibilities – either God is wrong about Job, or else Job is himself in the wrong. Since the former is an impossibility, the situation is puzzlingly unacceptable in the realm of possible reconciliations. How can it be that he who is “born of woman” be right in such a case, if that means that God is in the wrong? There must be some mistake! No other possibility than these two exists in their eyes, and that leaves much to consider for the three companions – and for Job himself.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 21 – Why Should I Not Be Impatient?

evil01Job’s disagreement with his three friends intensifies with indignation an it is born of sound reasoning.  He first tells them to keep their tongues and listen to his rebuttal, then urges them to continue to mock him if they must afterward.  He flatly disagrees with their assessment of the fortunes of those who are wicked, as well as its affect on their children:

Why do the wicked live,
reach old age, and grow mighty in power?
Their offspring are established in their presence,
and their descendants before their eyes.
Their houses are safe from fear,
and no rod of God is upon them.

He asks them for more personal knowledge of how often the wicked are repaid in this life for their deeds, or when they have known God to dole out pain in His anger.  He disputes their claim that God stores up their iniquity for their children,  Job believes in a just God and he makes that clear when he asks who among them will teach God knowledge of justice against the wicked.  One, he says dies with his life full, while another dies without tasting prosperity – but they are dust in the end just the same.

He asks them to ferret out testimony from any front – the wicked are indeed spared from calamity often and escape wrath with frequency in this life, and their stance on this matter does not bear up under scrutiny.  At last he closes this speech with the condemnation they deserve:

“How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?
There is nothing left of your answers but falsehood.”

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 19 – “My Redeemer Lives”

English: An early engraving by Blake for the B...

English: An early engraving by Blake for the Book of Job (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We’ve said before that reading the Book of Job can be challenging.  By the time you reach this chapter, even with all of the poetry, it can be difficult to stay focused on getting meaning from all of the speeches by Job and his friends.  If you aren’t careful, you can totally miss “the point” in some chapters.  This is one such chapter.

In verses 1-22, he begs his friends to stop tormenting him with their words of judgment, not even being able to name what his sin might be.  He eloquently, but sadly, speaks of his pitiful state, and all of the abuse, abandonment, and even mockery by friends, family, strangers – even children.  He speaks at some length at how God has allowed all of this to befall him.

Then in verse 23 it takes a different turn, and in 25-26 (the NASB has the most accurate translation here), he says:

“As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives,
And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.
Even after my skin is destroyed,
Yet from my flesh I shall see God”

There are several things to note here.  First, the Book of Job is part of the inspired word of God,; and as such, it’s author (possibly Job himself) was guided by the Holy Spirit. Secondly, with some notable exceptions, the Old Testament is less vocal on the subject of life after death, but it seems clear here that Job believes in a physical resurrection.  Abraham believed in physical resurrection as well (Hebrews 11:19).  Third, the certainty Job has that his “redeemer lives” has been a gradual progression through these chapters.  In Job 9:33 he begins to wish for an arbiter or “umpire” between himself and God.  In Job 16:19, he says:

“Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
and he who testifies for me is on high.”

In Job 17:3, he asks God to be his surety, his guarantor. In Job 16:20-21, he says “my eye pours out tears to God, that he would argue the case of a man with God.”  As Peter told us in 1 Peter 1:10-12, the prophets of the Old Testament did not always know the full ultimate development of all of their prophecies, but Job’s insight grows slowly each chapter.  He would have no way of knowing about Jesus, but he now sees God Himself as his Redeemer – the one who would stand for Him in the end before God Himself.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 17 – Where Then Is My Hope?

storm-01In chapter 17, Job is, of course, still at his lowest, and in so many words – a shadow of his former self.  His pain and immense grief having long given way to despair, he tells his friends to speak to him again (verse 10).  But he is certain that they will not offer anything better than they have already (“come on again, all of you, and I shall not find a wise man among you”).

But contrary to how it may seem, Job is not saying that he has given up hope.  Surely, he says, his days are past and his plans are broken off (verse 11).  But he pleads with God to “put up security” for him (verse 3).  Certain that he has closed the hearts of his friends to true understanding, he asks God not to allow their assessment of him to be vindicated in his death.

For then, he says in verse 15, “Who will see my hope?”  Job still has held on to one thing even at this point – his trust in the Lord, that He is just.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 16 – God Has Worn Me Out?

In the speech that Eliphaz had finished, the only new invective was that of adding to the list of Job’s supposed sins that he  is also an extreme hypocrite due to his refusal to admit his wickedness.  Job addresses them as the “miserable comforters” they are and declares that if their roles were reversed, he would try to ease their pain instead of making them more miserable.  He would rather they would have just kept silent as when they first arrived.

Depressed_002In the following verses, while he says that God has worn him out, and that his state bears witness of his sins in the eyes of those around him, he seems to have at last concluded that it is not God Himself that has done all of these things to him.  Instead, he says that God has allowed it to happen, and that he has given him up to the hands of the wicked and evil that are tormenting him (verse 11).   And the fact that he still believes that he is not wicked both confuses and saddens him.

How utterly hopeless a feeling it must be to believe that in the face of all that tragedy, not only has mankind turned their backs on him, but the Lord has abandoned him as well.  Now, it sounds like all that he has to look forward to is a few more years just waiting to die.  Job is deep in the clutches of depression, the depth of which we could never really know.

But that is not the whole story here.  In the midst of all this depression and despair, Job not only has hope, he is certain about his assurance.  Job feels that God has abandoned him to evil, yet he speaks with certainty in verses 19-21 of one who will intercede for him: “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and he who testifies for me is on high.” And then: “my eye pours out tears to God, that he would argue the case of a man with God.”

Through it all, Job know through divine inspiration, that it is God Himself that will intercede for him.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 15 – Eliphaz Accuses Job

pointing_fingerEliphaz takes the floor again and accuses Job of both impiety and of turning his spirit against God with his words (verse 13) – which Eliphaz only considers as Job’s craftiness, trying to justify himself in the face of his sins.  He rebukes Job for his attitude toward him and his other two friends, speaking indignantly of it and implying that Job seems to believe that he is smarter than they are (verse 9).

Eliphaz then goes into detail about his own knowledge of the ways of wicked men and their abominable behavior and utter disregard for either their fellow man or the Lord Himself.  In verse 21, he states that the wicked who are prosperous will be brought down very low because of their sins.  And in the remainder of the chapter, he implies that Job has much worse to dread in the coming days because of his lack of fear for the Lord.  It is a very bleak picture that this “friend” paints for Job, and a stinging assault on his integrity, which is all that Job feels he has left.  And now Eliphaz would take even that away from him.

How thoughtless and destructive man’s words can be for his fellow man even when they are at their lowest.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.

Job 13 – Worthless Physicians

broken2In the first section of chapter 13, Job rebukes his three friends soundly, calling them “worthless physicians” in verse four, and declaring their eloquent speeches garbage in verse 12.  He accuses them of formulating lies, when they should be comforting him.  And he rightly predicts the future, telling them that God will rebuke them for their position concerning the character of man determining his lot in life.  Then in verses 13-18, he again declares his righteousness, as well as his trust that God will recognize it.

In verses 20-29, he again addresses God.  One  commentator called this last section “a new attack on God.”  But though he will come to reconsider the wisdom of demanding an audience with God, Job is certainly not launching any attack here.  Clearly though, Job is convinced that God must be mistaken about something concerning himself, and he wants his time to plead his case.  He even suggests in verse 26 that God may be punishing him for sins he committed in his youth.  He was a better man now, and wanted the chance to get the Lord to recognize that fact.  But even so, he allows for the possibility that he may really be guilty; and if so, he wants God to tell him what he has done – and that then he should just accept what has happened (verse 19, 23).

These seemingly different and wandering thoughts on Job’s part simply underscore his confusion and pain.  He is hurting so badly, and wants to understand why it is so.  It is this fact that explains much of the value to us in this book that can be very difficult to take at times.  It teaches us much about ourselves.

Read or listen to audio of ESV version of this selection from this link.

/Bob’s boy
___________________
some images © V. Gilbert & Arlisle F. Beers

Please note: I did not design the reading plan that I am following in my blog.  All of my comments in this blog, however, are solely my responsibility.  When reading ANY commentary, you should ALWAYS refer first to the scripture, which is God’s unchanging and unfailing word. Reading schedules, as well as a link to the site where you can get the reading plan that I’m currently following for yourself can be found on the “Bible Reading Schedules” page of my website at http://graceofourlord.com.  For questions and help, please see the “FAQ” and “Summaries” pages there.