Questions & Observations
Q. (Job 15:1): If you were in these friends’ shoes — Eliphaz in this instance — can you blame them for making such accusations as these. They do not know for a shadow of a doubt that Job’s kids didn’t sin. They don’t know the relationship that Job had with God. We are supposed to be God’s disciples, but how can we tell when it’s a proper time to give an opinion. Is it ever proper? Is it just like that saying (please pardon), but to assume makes an ___ out of you and me? Meaning that you assume you know everything about someone’s relationship with God, but you don’t, so your opinion makes you look foolish. Eliphaz still relies on his knowledge that if you are good, you are blessed and if you sin, you will suffer. He does not acknowledge that God can conjure good and bad.
A. Honestly these passages are a lot of Job and his friends talking past each other. They are trying to be helpful to each other (Job is trying to make the situation clear, and his friends are trying to offer good advice to Job), but each side is failing. As to Eliphaz’s statement, I’m not sure I would say that God conjures up both good and evil, but rather that bad things happen (to both “good” and “bad” people as we see them) which God allows, and that God is greatly generous in this life even to those who do not seek him (see Matthew 5:43-48 to read Jesus describing how this works). So, on some level, God causes good to all (He allows our lives to continue, and provides for the needs of even the gravest offender), and bad things happen to everyone as well. As Jim Keller talked about in his sermon this past Sunday, suffering is universal, and that at any given moment each of us is undergoing some sort of suffering however minor. Ultimately, we are called to leave the hard decisions about who is “good” or “evil” to God, and to be good comforters, unlike Job’s friends.
Q. (16:1): I think if I were Job right here, I would exit the conversation. Is this a message to us, that the accusations may keep coming, but we have to remain steadfast and answer them time after time.
A. There’s an interesting bit of wisdom from Proverbs 26 that I’m going to share here that can help us sort this out (I think). In verse 4, the writer tells us to not bother answering a fool in his error (folly), because its not worth the trouble. Then, in the very next verse, the writer tells us that we SHOULD address a fool, in order to prevent him from being wise in his own eyes. What is going on? Is this a contradiction? Is the writer really being that stupid? Of course not! What he is saying is that as a wise person (Proverbs is all about becoming wise), you must discern when is the time to argue, and when is the time to say “it’s not worth it.” Basically, we would be hard pressed to say that we should always argue, or always retreat, but rather that we should consider the wise path in our given circumstance.
O. (16:7-17): Wow! Although I feel for Job here, I also see another story line. I see how furious and hurt Job is toward God, yet he remains true to God. He says in 16:17, “… my prayer is pure.” This must really irritate Satan by now. Job is reduced to skin, bones and boils and he still acknowledges God.
Q. I just noticed a verse I missed in a prior reading. Job 1:22. It says, “In all of this, Job did not sin by blaming God.” To me, this is God saying, “Seek me, study me, question me, learn me, know me.” What do you get from this verse?
A. Throughout the narrative, it is clear that Job desires to be heard by God, and though he is incredibly bitter about his lot at the moment, he does not falsely accuse God.
Q. (16:21-22): Either Job is giving God an idea here or he is foretelling. Just curious, do we know that God knew he was going to send a Savior from Day 1 or is it a plan that came to be from man’s hopeless struggle with sin? I don’t know what Job is saying in 16:22.
A. I think your question presumes to know the mind of God, but my best guess is that the Trinitarian Son of the Godhead volunteered to be the needed savior long before humanity was even created, but it’s just a guess. It certainly did have its origins in the hopelessness of man’s sin, as we discussed yesterday — the need for both love and justice required a great sacrifice on God’s part.
I think verse 22 is saying that since Job knows he’s going to die (or maybe that he wishes that he was dead), he wants to be “squared” with God before he goes, since there is no coming back.
Q. (17:6-7): The devastation that became of Job was a result of God showing Satan Job’s obedience to Him. On the flip side, this is showing others bad fortune that has become of one of God’s followers. This would be counter-productive to showing others that living a Godly life produces good fortune. Your insight?
A. Certainly it is harder to be a good witness for God if you feel that God is using you as a punching bag, as Job is convinced of here. But oftentimes it is the people who have been through the blackest periods of life (and survived) that have the most powerful witness of all. As we’ve been talking about, it can be very hard to praise God in the midst of trials (though I think this is our call). But if we are able to trust God to bring us through difficult times, when they are complete, we can give powerful testimony to the faithfulness of God.
Q. (18:1-21): I didn’t get anything new from this passage. Just making sure I didn’t fail to point out something.
A. Keep in mind that repetition is the key to emphasis in ancient storytelling.