Holding to the Redeemer

Posted: July 7, 2011 in Job

Job 18-21, “Holding to the Redeemer”

Have you ever felt alone?  Truly alone, without a friend in the world?  This was Job.  Surrounded by three supposed “friends” (and one other that hadn’t yet spoken), Job hadn’t received a single word of compassion from them regarding his suffering.  He already felt as if God had attacked him without cause & now his friends verbally abuse him & accuse him of bringing his suffering upon himself.  Like a broken record, they all said the same thing over & over & refused to be corrected on any point.

What do you do when it feels as if God has completely abandoned you & all your friends have forsaken you?  What do you do when it feels as if you don’t have any hope?  You hold on to what you DO know.  Hold on by dear life to the promises of God by faith!  There are times when it may feel as if God has abandoned us, but if you are a child of God through Jesus Christ, you can know that God will never abandon you.  During those moments, we dare not rely upon feeling, but fact.  The fact is that we’ve been bought with a price through the blood of our Redeemer, Jesus Christ.  And Jesus will never leave us nor forsake us – nor will He allow anyone or anything to rip us out of the Father’s hand.

In the meantime, we may have to put up with doubts & the attacks of the enemy.  Like Job’s friends, Satan will whisper lies into our ear about God…half-truths, and twisted falsehoods.  Don’t give in to them!  Stand firm upon the promises of God in Christ Jesus!

Job 18 (NKJV)
1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said: 2 “How long till you put an end to words? Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak. 3 Why are we counted as beasts, And regarded as stupid in your sight? 4 You who tear yourself in anger, Shall the earth be forsaken for you? Or shall the rock be removed from its place?

  1. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is.  All of the “friends” are starting their speeches by asking how long Job is going to speak.  As if he ought to simply receive their assumptions as gospel truth without question & be quiet about it from there.  Bildad is getting into extreme sarcasm & disdain here – basically saying, “How long are you going to continue to talk?  When you finally decide to shut up, we’ll speak.”
  2. How convinced is Bildad of his own argument?  To the point that Job’s counterarguments sound as if Job’s wanting to change up the entire universe to fit his point of view.  Bildad simply cannot conceive that he might possibly be wrong or missing something.
    1. It’s a good reminder that there is a difference between a book and a conversation.  A book is one-way communication; a conversation ought to be two-way.  We ought to be willing to at least admit there’s a possibility we don’t quite have all the answers or information.
  3. Bildad is going to lecture Job one more time on how the wicked are punished – all the while insinuating that Job is fully deserving of the punishment he’s enduring. See vs. 5..

5 “The light of the wicked indeed goes out, And the flame of his fire does not shine. 6 The light is dark in his tent, And his lamp beside him is put out. 7 The steps of his strength are shortened, And his own counsel casts him down. 8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, And he walks into a snare. 9 The net takes him by the heel, And a snare lays hold of him. 10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground, And a trap for him in the road. 11 Terrors frighten him on every side, And drive him to his feet. 12 His strength is starved, And destruction is ready at his side.

  1. By itself, all of this sounds good & right.  The proverbs are full of the same sort of thoughts: Proverbs 11:5–6, "(5) The righteousness of the blameless will direct his way aright, But the wicked will fall by his own wickedness. (6) The righteousness of the upright will deliver them, But the unfaithful will be caught by their lust." []  Very similar to what Bildad proclaims!  Yet how can we say “amen” to the words of Solomon, but claim that Bildad speaks incorrectly of God?  Is this a contradiction in the Bible?  Absolutely not.  Proverbially speaking, what Bildad said was true: the light of the wicked will indeed go out in death – the evildoer will be ensnared in his own evil.  What we sow, that we will also reap.  From the perspective of a proverb (a generalized way of looking at things), it’s absolutely true.  Even when we look at things from an eternal perspective, there’s much truth here in that the wicked (everyone who has rejected the grace of Jesus Christ) will be punished justly according to their works. (Rev 20:13).
  2. What’s missing here is the context.  Everything Bildad says is proverbially true, but contextually irrelevant.  The light of the wicked will go out in death & the wicked will be punished by God…but Job is NOT wicked.  Job may be enduring some of the same circumstances that the wicked endure, but he did not share in their sin & crime.  The problem with Bildad (and the others) is that they couldn’t separate the two.

13 It devours patches of his skin; The firstborn of death devours his limbs. 14 He is uprooted from the shelter of his tent, And they parade him before the king of terrors. 15 They dwell in his tent who are none of his; Brimstone is scattered on his dwelling. 16 His roots are dried out below, And his branch withers above. 17 The memory of him perishes from the earth, And he has no name among the renowned. 18 He is driven from light into darkness, And chased out of the world.

  1. Note how Bildad is specifically pointing the finger at Job here.  Job’s skin had patches that were scaly & devoured & likely felt as if his limbs (arms & legs) were dying while still on his body.  The memory of who he used to be & enjoy was rapidly failing, and had been basically chased out of his own home.

19 He has neither son nor posterity among his people, Nor any remaining in his dwellings. 20 Those in the west are astonished at his day, As those in the east are frightened. 21 Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, And this is the place of him who does not know God.”

  1. Bildad twists the knife further by blaming Job for the death of his own children.  In Bildad’s mind, it’s because Job is evil that his posterity (his children) have passed from the earth.  It’s tough to imagine a more cruel statement to make to someone who had lost all 10 of his children.
  2. Lastly, Bildad accuses Job of unbelief.  Everything Job has suffered has happened because he was in the place “of him who does not know God.”  This is exactly how we can say with certainly that Bildad’s platitudes were contextually irrelevant.  Job had immense faith, which was amply demonstrated in the 1st 2 chapters of the book.  God specifically pointed him out to Satan as someone who feared God (Job 1:8).  Job was most definitely a man of faith.  Bildad claimed that the man of God would never suffer calamity.  On the contrary, it was because Job was a man of God that he DID suffer.
    1. That’s not to say that the true test of our faith in God is whether or not we suffer to the extent of Job.  But a Christian ought to expect SOME suffering, simply by virtue of the fact of being in Christ.  Jesus told us to expect trials & tribulation (Jn 16:33) – Paul said that all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution (2 Tim 3:12).  There’s a fellowship that we experience with Christ in our suffering, simply because we suffer as He did. Philippians 3:8–11, "(8) Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ (9) and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; (10) that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, (11) if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead." []
    2. Does that mean we’re supposed to look forward to suffering?  No.  There’s a reason it’s called “suffering.”  However, we can count it all joy in the midst of our trials (Jas 1:2-3) – why?  Because we know we have Someone who sustains us & empowers us to endure those trials: the Lord Jesus.

Job 19 (NKJV)
1 Then Job answered and said: 2 “How long will you torment my soul, And break me in pieces with words? 3 These ten times you have reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me.

  1. The old children’s rhyme is wrong: sticks & stones may break our bones, but words can indeed hurt us.  Granted, no one forces us to listen to their words & we don’t have to take them to heart – but if we do, they can hurt immensely.  Job felt tormented by his friends.  They ought to have been ashamed by the way they were treating him, yet instead of shame, they continued in their onslaught of rebuke.

4 And if indeed I have erred, My error remains with me. 5 If indeed you exalt yourselves against me, And plead my disgrace against me, 6 Know then that God has wronged me, And has surrounded me with His net.

  1. Unlike his friends, Job can at least present the possibility that he might be wrong.  If he is indeed wrong, then the fault is his & the results of Job’s error will remain upon him.
  2. Yet if Job is wrong & his friends are correct, there are some pretty dire consequences as a result.  Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar’s whole argument was that God only punishes the unjust & blesses the righteous.  If that is correct & they are right, then it means that God Himself would be unjust & blind concerning Job’s situation.  The friends might have thought that they were speaking up for the righteousness of God, but in reality they were painting the picture of a God who is incompetent & blind because God would be persecuting a person who did nothing wrong.
    1. How important it is to speak rightly of God!  It’s easy for us to get caught up in pronouncements & debate that we concentrate on winning our point, rather than remembering we’re merely ambassadors for Christ.  We’re HIS representatives – our job is to point people to Jesus; not to get in the way of them seeing Christ.

7 “If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard. If I cry aloud, there is no justice. 8 He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass; And He has set darkness in my paths. 9 He has stripped me of my glory, And taken the crown from my head. 10 He breaks me down on every side, And I am gone; My hope He has uprooted like a tree. 11 He has also kindled His wrath against me, And He counts me as one of His enemies. 12 His troops come together And build up their road against me; They encamp all around my tent.

  1. Continuing with Bildad’s (and the other’s) view of God, if they are correct, then all of these things that happened to Job are absolutely without justice & God would be blamed.
  2. Indeed, Job felt as if God ought to be blamed for this.  Obviously Job didn’t understand what was truly going on, but this is the way it felt for him.  He felt abandoned by God, and placed under God’s wrath rather than His love.  It was as if God had marked Job specifically for destruction & Job was being uprooted like a rotten tree or treated as an enemy of God rather than one of His children.

13 “He has removed my brothers far from me, And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. 14 My relatives have failed, And my close friends have forgotten me. 15 Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants, Count me as a stranger; I am an alien in their sight. 16 I call my servant, but he gives no answer; I beg him with my mouth.

  1. Not only did Job feel abandoned by God, he felt abandoned by men as well.  Those who would have been happy to break bread with Job in better times were now nowhere to be found.  Once Job’s blessings were taken away, people wanted nothing to do with him.
  2. Note how similar these situations are to what Jesus endured when He went to the cross for us.  His closest disciple denied Him – the rest of His friends deserted Him – the city who had cried out “Hosanna” upon His entry into Jerusalem now called out for His crucifixion.  Even the relationship He had with God felt broken off as God laid upon Jesus the sin of all mankind.  “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” wasn’t merely an intellectual quotation of Psalm 22, but the agonized cry of Jesus’ heart.
    1. Jesus identifies with us in the deepest areas of our suffering.  There’s nothing that we experience that He does not understand.

17 My breath is offensive to my wife, And I am repulsive to the children of my own body. 18 Even young children despise me; I arise, and they speak against me. 19 All my close friends abhor me, And those whom I love have turned against me.

  1. More feelings of rejection.  His wife had told him “Curse God & die!” (Job 2:9).  Because his children perished, he feels as if he must be repulsive to them as well – Job is deep in depression.  It seemed that everyone who once loved him now despised him.
  2. It’s easy to imagine that this must have been the worst part of Job’s suffering.  He was already incredibly grieved through the death of his children (and servants) – he was left economically destitute – he was physically trashed & exhausted – yet all of that could be dealt with (though painfully and slowly) if he but had someone to help him.  But not only did it seem as if God had abandoned him, it was true that his closest friends and family had indeed abandoned him.  Terrible!

20 My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth. 21 “Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has struck me! 22 Why do you persecute me as God does, And are not satisfied with my flesh?

  1. We can almost hear the anguish in his cry.  Job barely has his life, and his friends mock him!  He’s crying out for compassion and pity from people who give him none.  Instead of extending an arm to lift up Job, they look down their noses with disdain on a man they are convinced is in sin.
  2. Keep in mind that Jesus had compassion even upon the sinners!  He even healed people that never came back to thank Him.  Jesus’ harshest words in the gospels are not given to those who are suffering, but upon the so-called religious elite who spouted off superficial proclamations of God & made themselves hypocrites.  It’s not up to us to heap condemnation on people; our job is to simply lead them to Christ.  If they truly are wicked & stuck in their sin, they are condemned already (and Jesus will judge them at the Great White Throne).  We don’t have to back away from truth in order to deal with someone in love & compassion.

23 “Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! 24 That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever!

  1. I wonder what Job thinks of these verses now? J  They were indeed written in a book – and (per Courson) it’s a best-seller!

25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

  1. Here’s the pinnacle of Job’s faith thus far!  Job has a Redeemer & his Redeemer lives & will one day vindicate Job of all his trials and suffering.  The justice may not come until eternity, but it will indeed come.
  2. What’s a “redeemer”?  The idea is the “go’el” – seen vividly in Boaz (book of Ruth).  This was the person that would redeem a family member back from slavery or poverty.  Job had been seemingly sold into suffering & although all his friends and family abandoned him, there was One who was still faithful: his Redeemer. … We have a Redeemer in Jesus Christ!  We were the ones sold into slavery & death – we had no recourse out of it; we needed to be redeemed.  Thus God redeemed us by sending Jesus to be our “go’el” – our Kinsman-Redeemer!  He bought us with His blood & brought us into His own family to experience the blessings of being children of God & co-heirs with Christ.  Amazing redemption!
  3. Note what Job already knows about Jesus, even if he doesn’t know Jesus by name:
    1. God provides a Redeemer.  Job needed help, and God provided that help.
    2. The Redeemer lives.  Before Jesus was ever born incarnate as a human, He already lived as the only begotten Son of God.
    3. The Redeemer would be on earth.  This wasn’t merely a spiritual concept for Job; he understood that Jesus would be incarnate as a man upon the earth.
    4. The Redeemer would provide everlasting life.  Job had escaped death by the skin of his teeth, but even when that failed, he knew he would see God in heaven.
    5. The Redeemer would provide justice.  When Job saw for himself in heaven, he would understand exactly what God had been doing all along.
    6. The Redeemer provides hope.  Because of all of this, Job’s heart yearned for that day – looking forward to heaven & spending eternity in the glory of God.
  4. Do you know the Redeemer?  If so, are you holding on to His promises?  There wasn’t much that was certain in Job’s life at this time, but he knew this much: his Redeemer lived!  When you feel abandoned by God, hold fast to what you DO know.  If you’ve surrendered your life to Christ in faith – if you’ve been born of the Holy Spirit – you can know that you have a Redeemer & that He lives today & that Redeemer has promised never to leave or forsake you.

28 If you should say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’— Since the root of the matter is found in me, 29 Be afraid of the sword for yourselves; For wrath brings the punishment of the sword, That you may know there is a judgment.”

  1. Job wraps up his thoughts with Bildad by warning him of judgment.  For as much as his friends attempted to scare Job into false repentance by speaking of the judgment of God, what they didn’t realize is that they themselves were in danger of God’s judgment for speaking wrongly about God.  (And Job was absolutely correct!  At the end of the book, God will tell the three friends to ask Job to provide sacrifices on their behalf due to their own sin.)

Job 20 (NKJV)
1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said: 2 “Therefore my anxious thoughts make me answer, Because of the turmoil within me. 3 I have heard the rebuke that reproaches me, And the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer.

  1. Without knowing Zophar’s tone of voice, it would seem that Zophar is the most sarcastic & cutting of all of Job’s so-called “friends.”  On one hand, he understands that he has been rebuked by Job, but he certainly doesn’t acknowledge that Job’s rebuke was righteous.  If anything, it burned him up inside to think that a supposed-sinner like Job would dare to rebuke these three men “obviously” much wiser than he. 

4 “Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth, 5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?

  1. Is Zophar going to say anything new?  No – he’s going to play the same broken record that all of them had been playing.  He goes back to the old proverbial truths about the wicked being punished, all the while leaving out the context that Job hadn’t been wicked.
  2. Note that Zophar gets even more pointed than some of the others.  When he speaks of “the joy of the hypocrite,” he’s speaking directly of Job.  In Zophar’s mind, Job’s current suffering was proof that all of his prior demonstrations of faith had been hypocritical.  Thus Job deserved everything he was suffering.

6 Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, And his head reaches to the clouds, 7 Yet he will perish forever like his own refuse; Those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’ 8 He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; Yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night. 9 The eye that saw him will see him no more, Nor will his place behold him anymore. 10 His children will seek the favor of the poor, And his hands will restore his wealth.

  1. The hypocrite might succeed for a while, but ultimately God would yank him back down to earth and judge him.  Job had previously experienced blessing & riches & a huge family – Zophar’s accusation is that it was all a lie, and now God exposed Job for who he truly was: a religious hypocrite deserving of suffering.  (Not exactly the most helpful friend, is he?)
  2. Note how backward all of this is.  Zophar is basically claiming that Job’s success was the anomaly; not the suffering.  Job’s years of faithfulness was what was unusual; not the immense suffering he was currently experiencing.  A true friend would have understood how backward that thinking is!  Even for someone who held the same bad theology as Zophar, a true friend of Job would have said, “I know you’ve been righteous all your life – I don’t understand how you could be suffering now.  It just doesn’t make sense!”  Instead, they assumed the absolute worst of Job based upon the circumstances he was currently in.  Rather than believe the best of Job based upon what they had always known of him, they disregarded everything in order to assume the worst.  This is backwards – and it’s certainly not loving!

11 His bones are full of his youthful vigor, But it will lie down with him in the dust. 12 “Though evil is sweet in his mouth, And he hides it under his tongue, 13 Though he spares it and does not forsake it, But still keeps it in his mouth, 14 Yet his food in his stomach turns sour; It becomes cobra venom within him. 15 He swallows down riches And vomits them up again; God casts them out of his belly. 16 He will suck the poison of cobras; The viper’s tongue will slay him. 17 He will not see the streams, The rivers flowing with honey and cream. 18 He will restore that for which he labored, And will not swallow it down; From the proceeds of business He will get no enjoyment. 19 For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor, He has violently seized a house which he did not build.

  1. All of this assumes that Job actually did wrong & deserves what he got.  Zophar (in most vivid language) states that the wicked man will be tormented by God, and rightfully so.

20 “Because he knows no quietness in his heart, He will not save anything he desires. 21 Nothing is left for him to eat; Therefore his well-being will not last. 22 In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; Every hand of misery will come against him. 23 When he is about to fill his stomach, God will cast on him the fury of His wrath, And will rain it on him while he is eating.

  1. Not only would the wicked suffer physically, they would suffer emotionally as God casts the fury of His wrath upon them.

24 He will flee from the iron weapon; A bronze bow will pierce him through. 25 It is drawn, and comes out of the body; Yes, the glittering point comes out of his gall. Terrors come upon him; 26 Total darkness is reserved for his treasures. An unfanned fire will consume him; It shall go ill with him who is left in his tent.

  1. Even if the wicked could escape for a moment, eventually God would punish them.  If they got away from the iron weapon, God would shoot them down with a bow & arrow.  He’d bring fire down upon them & punish them completely.

27 The heavens will reveal his iniquity, And the earth will rise up against him. 28 The increase of his house will depart, And his goods will flow away in the day of His wrath. 29 This is the portion from God for a wicked man, The heritage appointed to him by God.”

  1. Will God bring His righteous wrath upon the wicked?  Absolutely, yes!  God is righteous and just & evil will not go unpunished.  God is an all-consuming fire in His holiness, and we can be assured that in eternity, there will be no injustice.  God will exact the righteous punishment for every single sin – either at the Cross of Christ, or in the lake of fire in Hell.
  2. The problem was that this simply wasn’t Job’s issue.  (Unger) “Job was not a ‘wicked man’; neither was he being punished for wickedness, so Zophar’s whole grand dissertation, while true and eloquent, was completely misapplied, giving Satan leeway to torment Job.”
    1. Wrong doctrine can open the door for Satan to torment, rather than for Christ to heal.

Job 21 (NKJV)
1 Then Job answered and said: 2 “Listen carefully to my speech, And let this be your consolation. 3 Bear with me that I may speak, And after I have spoken, keep mocking.

  1. By this point, Job is convinced that nothing he says will matter at all to the three guys in front of him.  He just wants them to take a break long enough for him to make a point, and they can get back to mocking him.  This is a really sad relationship between them…

4 “As for me, is my complaint against man? And if it were, why should I not be impatient? 5 Look at me and be astonished; Put your hand over your mouth. 6 Even when I remember I am terrified, And trembling takes hold of my flesh.

  1. Basically saying, “Look at me!  Don’t you see what’s going on?  What would you do if you were in my shoes?”  If they truly thought they were innocent, none of them would have reacted any differently than Job.  Granted, it was a terrifying thing to question God the way Job was, but he doesn’t feel as if he has any choice.
  2. Job has an answer to Zophar’s sermon…see vs 7…

7 Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become mighty in power? 8 Their descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes. 9 Their houses are safe from fear, Neither is the rod of God upon them. 10 Their bull breeds without failure; Their cow calves without miscarriage. 11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, And their children dance. 12 They sing to the tambourine and harp, And rejoice to the sound of the flute. 13 They spend their days in wealth, And in a moment go down to the grave.

  1. For all of Zophar’s platitudes about the wicked eventually receiving justice in this life, Job basically tells him to look around.  It’s not hard to find examples to the contrary.  Simply put, the wicked aren’t always punished in this life.  That’s just a fact.  There are despots leading nations all around the world who are utterly corrupt & hate God – and many of them go to their graves in riches & prosperity.  That’s not to say God won’t judge them in the next life (He most certainly will!), but in this life some evil people do prosper.  It may not be fair, but it’s just a fact.
  2. We need to get away from the idea that “prosperity = righteousness.”  This is the doctrine of Zophar & the others.  In their mind, the person who was prosperous was obviously blessed by God & thus they had been righteous to earn that prosperity.  The person who suffered obviously was not blessed by God & thus they were wicked & had earned their suffering.  Christians still teach this today!  As if God will always make His children rich & prosperous & sickness-free, simply because they are Christian & if they have “enough” faith.  That’s just not the Biblical record!  Paul was certainly a man of more faith than most of us put together – and yet he suffered in immense ways in his ministry (stoned & left for dead, endured robbers, endured shipwreck, etc.), and was even killed for his faith.  Or Peter, James, John, or any of the other apostles.  Or any of the martyrs of the faith (both in ancient days & still today around the world).  Our idea of “prosperity” needs to change!  We are not prosperous if we’ve got a lot in the bank; we’re prosperous if we’re rich in faith & maturity in Christ Jesus!

14 Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us, For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways. 15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’ 16 Indeed their prosperity is not in their hand; The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

  1. Acknowledging that many people who are wicked actively reject God & seem to do ok for themselves.  There are outright atheists who hate God & are extremely wealthy.  They’ve got happy relationships in their families & they see no need to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ at all.
  2. BTW – this is one reason we need to be careful not to turn the gospel into a source of physical blessing.  I.e.: “You’ll never truly be happy until you come to Christ!”  Some people are as happy as clams without Christ.  True enduring joy is a benefit that the believer experience as a result of the forgiveness we have in Christ, but it’s not the reason we need to come to Him.  We come to Jesus because we need to be forgiven!  We come to Jesus because we are in need of life!  We need a Savior because we need to be saved – we need a Redeemer because we need to be redeemed…THAT’s the reason we come to Christ Jesus.

17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out? How often does their destruction come upon them, The sorrows God distributes in His anger? 18 They are like straw before the wind, And like chaff that a storm carries away. 19 They say, ‘God lays up one’s iniquity for his children’; Let Him recompense him, that he may know it. 20 Let his eyes see his destruction, And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty. 21 For what does he care about his household after him, When the number of his months is cut in half?

  1. Again, it seems that many times the wicked do just fine for themselves.  Even in death, they aren’t scared of the wrath of God because they don’t acknowledge God to begin with.  They don’t fear for their family after them, because they don’t believe they’ll care about anything after death anyway.

22 “Can anyone teach God knowledge, Since He judges those on high?

  1. Is Zophar going to dare to lecture God on these matters?  Is Zophar about to claim that God is unjust when He allows these things to happen?  Obviously not!

23 One dies in his full strength, Being wholly at ease and secure; 24 His pails are full of milk, And the marrow of his bones is moist. 25 Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul, Never having eaten with pleasure. 26 They lie down alike in the dust, And worms cover them.

  1. Death is the grand equalizer.  The rich man & poor man still get buried & decompose.  None of that is indicative of whether or not they were righteous or wicked.

27 “Look, I know your thoughts, And the schemes with which you would wrong me. 28 For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince? And where is the tent, The dwelling place of the wicked?’ 29 Have you not asked those who travel the road? And do you not know their signs? 30 For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; They shall be brought out on the day of wrath. 31 Who condemns his way to his face? And who repays him for what he has done? 32 Yet he shall be brought to the grave, And a vigil kept over the tomb. 33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him; Everyone shall follow him, As countless have gone before him.

  1. Job isn’t fooled.  He knows what these guys are trying to tell him & of what they are accusing him.  Job used to live as a prince; now he lives in the dust.  His friends accuse him of wickedness & deserving of wrath – yet thus far they’ve had absolutely no proof of his sin & supposed wickedness.  The friends think they are full of wisdom, but they would just need to ask the traveller, and they’d learn that sometimes, yes – the wicked DO prosper & the righteous DO suffer.  And death eventually takes them all.

34 How then can you comfort me with empty words, Since falsehood remains in your answers?”

  1. Their words may have been pious, but they were empty.  They tried to make themselves sound religious, but they were full of falsehood.
  2. So much of what the friends say appear to be standing up for God, but when we look at how they unjustly accuse Job & assume the worst of him, it’s seems that they aren’t standing up for God at all.  They were just trying to win an argument at Job’s expense.

If it sounds like Job’s friends are repeating themselves, it’s because they are.  All they think they know is one thing: righteous people are blessed & wicked people are punished.  Because Job is suffering, he must be wicked, so he ought to repent & stop being so prideful.  All of this sounds perfectly reasonable until we realize that Job hadn’t been wicked at all.  His friends simply refused to listen to Job & thought they could defeat Job’s arguments through insult & repetition.

Job certainly wasn’t getting help from his friends.  He may not have had all of his questions answered by God at the moment, but even in the midst of his abandonment & suffering, he knew that God DID have the answers.  One day he would see his living Redeemer & be satisfied.

Our Redeemer DOES live & He DOES have the answers & we CAN trust Him!

And beyond merely having the answers, our Redeemer identifies with us in our pain.  He knows what it’s like to suffer & feel abandoned.  He knows what it’s like to feel crushed by all the world & even to seemingly have the hand of God forsake Him.  Our High Priest – our Redeemer & Savior the Lord Jesus Christ doesn’t know this from book knowledge, but from experience.  He’s been there – and He offers grace to all those who are in that place right now.

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