Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Tuesday - Job 9 - Wonders Without Number

here are a number of wonders that are addressed in this chapter. But, none are as remarkable as Job's wish for a daysman, or as we would understand better - a mediator (Job 9:32-33). It was Job's hope and desire. He saw the need, but he didn't actually think it was even possible. Doubtless he thought it was just wishful thinking. But, his desire was not only possible, it was already a plan in the works.  God had designed and decreed to bring this very thing to pass.

Jesus is that mediator that Job longed for (Hebrews 5:8-10). He is the one (and only one) who can lay one hand on the Father and one hand on a suffering human and legitimately say, "I understand completely. I've been where you are."

Now, what caused Job to wish that he had a mediator to interpret and arbitrate between the Almighty and him?  He asked, "How should man be just with God?" (Job 9:2). God is so big, and we are so small. Even when God comes close, that doesn't necessarily mean that we know that He is near. Job recognized that the greatness of God put him at a decided disadvantage in his position of complaint (Job 9:15).  He knew that in wit or in strength, he was no match for his Maker.

Job felt like he was backed into a corner (Job 9:20 & 9:22).  He considered trying to ignore his pain... but knew that it wouldn't work (Job 9:27).  He considered self-improvement, but knew that that wouldn't cut it (Job 9:30).  What he needed was a mediator. Jesus fits that bill perfectly (I Timothy 2:5)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Monday - Job 8 - A Category of None

ildad was the second of Job's friends to speak up. He was just absolutely certain that pure men would receive only good things and comfortable treatment from the hand of God (Job 8:6 & 20). His was a health and wealth gospel.

But, even if Bildad was right on target with his philosophy, he had no one to apply it to.  Job says as much in his response, which we will get to in the next chapter (Job 9:2).  It might be true that God will give blessings to men & allow no problems into their lives... if they are pure & perfect.  But, who is pure & perfect?  It is a category of none.

Some of what Bildad said was no more than a regurgitation of the words of his companion, Eliphaz (Job 8:5 & 5:8). Bildad also put heavy weight on what he considered to be the wisdom of history (Job 8:8-9). And, according to his interpretation of it, only wicked men had problems as heavy as Job's.

While it is true that there are many examples of evil men who have suffered greatly as a direct result of their own wickedness, it is also true that sometimes God's children suffer greatly despite their obedience... and sometimes, specifically because of their obedience. If you don't get anything else from the book of Job: get that.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Saturday - Job 7 - I Am a Burden to Myself

erhaps only a few of you have been as low as Job was. He was absolutely weary and worn. He was distraught, distressed, depressed, downhearted, despondent and in despair. He was a miserable man through and through. However, although maybe many of us haven't hit rock bottom as hard as Job did, most of us have had moments when we could honestly say, "I am a burden to myself!" (Job 7:20).
"You know... if it wasn't for me, myself and I - life would be pretty good." That's a rough attitude to carry through the day, is it not? But, that is where Job was (Job 7:3, 4 & 6, 11, 13-14).

It seems that Job even began to believe the accusations of Eliphaz. Toward the end of the chapter it is recorded that he said, "I have sinned... why do You not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity?"  (Job 7:20-21).  Of course, his confession was out of desperation; not clarity.  He couldn't at that moment name a vice that he had not confessed and forsaken.  He was just shooting in the dark and hoping to hit something.  "Maybe I'm the problem after all," he wondered.

One of the things that puzzled Job greatly about his suffering was that God would allow such intense scrutiny and attention to be directed at one individual. He said, "Remember, my life is wind!" (Job 7:7 & 16).

Friday, October 27, 2017

Friday - Job 6 - A Big Conjunction

ob chapter 6 begins with the big conjunction: BUT! Despite Eliphaz’s didactic efforts, Job had something more to say.  Not surprisingly, he was not satisfied with the answer of Eliphaz. In fact, his immediate response to his "friend" can be summed up with the words from verse 14, "To him that is afflicted pity should be showed from his friend..." (Job 6:14).  This was what Job needed: sympathy, support, comfort, encouragement... not to be kicked and stepped on while he was down.

One of the things that Job responded with was a strong statement about the depths of his pain. He used the strongest imagery that he could possibly contrive to try to communicate to Eliphaz how badly he was hurting (Job 6:2-3). He literally felt like God was using him for target practice (Job 6:4).  Earlier he had said that he wished that he would have never even been born. This time he spoke of his desire to die.  He literally prayed that God would kill him (Job 6:8-9).

Eliphaz’s basic thesis had been that Job had to be guilty of some secret vice which was the cause of his suffering. But, Job couldn't honestly think of what it could be.  He challenged Eliphaz to examine him and to speak specifically... not generally (Job 6:24-25).  It appears that he was saying, "Eliphaz, I'm not denying that there is truth in what you have said, but what that truth has to do with me, I don't know?  How in the world does it apply to my situation? Look me in the eye and tell me something specific that I can change, if you think I am the problem.  My conscience is clear."

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Thursday - Job 5 - Ah Job, Yer Pain is Good Fer Ya!

n this chapter, Eliphaz continues his initial answer to Job. Now, some of what he says seems to be good counsel… until you consider the context. For example, Job 5:17 sounds much like Hebrews 12:5-6 or Proverbs 3:11-12. Indeed, it is true that a guilty man who receives discipline from God's hand should be grateful that God cares enough to adjust him. Yet, what did that have to do with Job. He wasn't being punished for any crime or moral shortcoming! So, perhaps Eliphaz was stating an obvious principle, but, if it didn't apply to Job's situation then at that moment and in that situation it was about as useful as a screen door on a submarine.

So anyway, Eliphaz was essentially continuing his diatribe on Job's suspected flaws. The world that Eliphaz believed in was a world where the good guy always wins and the bad guy always loses. And, while that is a fine rule in the eternal scheme of things, the nasty now and now ruled by Lucifer tends to allow for the prosperity of some very wicked men indeed. Somehow Eliphaz didn't take that into account though.

In fact, Eliphaz didn't even believe that senseless suffering existed. He expostulated that trouble doesn't just "spring out of the ground" (Job 5:6).  On top of that, Eliphaz speculated about how he would handle the situation if he were in Job's place (Job 5:8). I'm sure that made Job feel much better, right? NOT! As Eliphaz rambled on about his hypothetical pet rocks and how he could live in harmony with the wild beasts, I'm sure Job rolled his eyes to himself and shook his head in disbelief at the self-absorbed babble of this supposed friend.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Tuesday - Job 4 - With Friends Like These...

emember, Job had 3 "friends" who came to comfort him in his tribulations. Comfort! That was their aim... but they missed (Job 16:2). Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar were the 3 contemporaries of Job who set out to help him (Job 2:11). In this chapter and the next we will read the "great wisdom and insight" of Eliphaz... NOT!  You need to know that God was not at all impressed with, and was very much "disappointed" in and expressed considerable disapproval concerning that which Job's friends had to say to him (Job 42:7). So, as we read their words, consider their source. God inspired the accuracy of the record of the words of these men... but he certainly did not endorse their positions or attitudes.

In this chapter, Eliphaz wastes no time getting to his point. He accuses Job of being guilty of some vice that brought his misery upon him. Now, while it is true enough that many times a man's secret faults earn for him public humiliation, this was not the cause with Job. We know of a certainty that it was Job's faithfulness, piety and sincerity which occasioned the attention of God and Satan. So, just the opposite of Eliphaz’s conclusions was the case.

Eliphaz had a philosophy that was weakly veiled in piety but which reeked of affluence and naivety. "Whoever perished, being innocent?" he asked foolishly (Job 4:7). Anyone who has had any measure of exposure to the reality of the harshness of life has seen many of God's creatures perish in relative innocence. Innocence is surely no guarantee that we will be granted overall that only blessings and protection will be our companions.  The reward for righteousness is great, yet the yoke can become quite heavy at times.