Wednesday, October 30, 2013

CXCIX - Job Chapters 8-14

Job’s friends had come from great distances to comfort their old friend in his time of misfortune and grief.  In the last post we saw that Eliphaz was the first to speak and, although well meaning, his speech to Job did nothing to show sympathy or to encourage Job, as was made clear in Job’s response.  In this post we will look at the speeches of Bildad and Zophar, then Job’s response to each.  We must be careful as we look at what these men have to say.  There is much truth in their speeches, but it is often misapplied.  As we minister to others, merely stating Biblical truth is often inadequate.  We must apply it with compassion when dealing with the grieving, and must be careful not to take it out of context.

Chapter 8  -  Bildad’s Speech

Bildad was a hard liner, who applied a non-bending set of doctrines to every situation in life.  He is too abrasive to possibly be comforting.  Look at verse 4.  He indicates that Job’s children died because they did something to deserve it.  {What a terrible thing to say to a man in Job’s position!}  He goes on to suggest that if Job repents his sins, God will heal and restore.  Bildad insists that God would not never punish the blameless (vs 20)

Chapters 9-10  -  Job’s Reply to Bildad

Job, although somewhat angry with Bildad’s words, was careful not to dispute the basic truths contained in Bildad’s speech.  Job praises God and His unlimited power, but goes on to voice frustration at his own limited ability to present his case to God.  In verse 14 he says, “How then can I dispute which Him?  How can I find words to argue with Him?”  Then Job insists that he is innocent of the wrong-doing that would bring forth such punishment he has had to endure.  Job then begins speak as in prayer, knowing God is listening to all of this conversation.  In chapter 10 Job again expresses loathing for his life, and wants to die.  He insists upon his innocence, pleads for mercy, and by the end of his speech he seems to more directly blame God.  {This is not quite as disrespectful as it sounds.  If you carefully read Job’s words, you will realize that along with that blame goes the recognition of God’s omnipotence.}

Chapter – Zophar’s Speech

Zophar was the least diplomatic of the three.  He started out strong and actually said less than the other two.  His speech had three parts.  First, he wished God would reveal to Job the truths about himself, and suggested that Job was suffering less than he deserved.  {I'm certain this did not sit well with Job.}  Secondly, he described God’s wisdom as opposed to the foolishness of man.  God knew who was good and who was sinful and needed punishment.  Thirdly, Zophar called on Job to repent.  If Job sincerely repents, everything will go back to normal.

Chapters 12-14  -  Job Replies to Zophar
Job was insulted and hurt by Zophar’s words.  But Job did not lash out at Zophar only.  He addressed all three.  He does not see the point of exercising any tact with these three men, as he has run out of patience for their empty words.  He says in the second verse of chapter 12 (sarcastically) “wisdom will die with you”.  In other words when you three die, there will be no more wisdom on the earth.  This was letting them know early in his response that he had not respect for them.  He goes on to say that he is not inferior to them.  They have told him nothing that he did not already know.  In the beginning verses of chapter 13 Job repeats the phrase, “I am not inferior to you”.  He tells them in vs 4 that they are worthless physicians, meaning they are no help to him at all.  He told them in verse 13 to “be quiet and let me speak”.  This was telling them to yield to someone who is smarter than them.  Job continues to plead for the opportunity to present his case to God, confident that if God would hear him, He would vindicate him.  Then in verses 20-22, he asks God for only two things.  First, he wants God to take a break from punishing him.  Secondly, he begged God to stop scaring him.  {Evidently Job was frightened constantly and it had taken a heavy toll on his mind.}  Verse 22 shows that Job is desperate to plead his case, as he tells God that he is willing to be the plaintiff or the defendant.  He just wants his day in court.  Verses 23-24 he again pleads with God to tell him what he did that was so wrong.  In chapter 14 Job again expounds on the omnipotence of God, and how powerless we are.  I found it interesting that Job comments on the finality and irrevocability of death, saying that if a tree is cut down, its roots can still sprout and the tree will live again, but man is not designed to ever regain life (vs 10).  As Job is voicing frustration, he becomes even more desperate to have a direct audience with God Himself.  As we read these words of Job we realize the depth of wisdom and insight this man has.

Next post  -  Job’s Conversation With His Three Friends Continues

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