Hope may fail

Job Sees The Light - Eighteenth in a series

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In stark acknowledgement of his condition, Job cries out to God for deliverance. Whatever it takes to get me out of this death I am in— please do it! He asks that God would completely resolve things by putting up whatever ransom is required to gain his freedom. No one else could or would do that for him. Job did not know he was crying out for Christ, but we know Jesus, the Son of Man who did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45 et al)

Job 17:1-3 NIV God creates the longings we need if we are to cry out and receive the gifts he would give us. Through the terrible trial Job is under, God is creating in him an ache that only He can heal.

Job 17:4-5 NIV Job believes his friends lack discernment because God has blinded them. They cannot succeed in their concerted assaults on his character or God would severely punish them.

Job 17:6-9 NIV Yet though Job does not believe that God is on the side of his friends, he realizes that God is not his side either. Nevertheless the one who is righteous will prevail.

When we are not able to discern God’s whereabouts or purposes, it is time to stop babbling and instead pray. The righteous man shall live by faith (Heb 10:38), not by striving to do good or by insulting other men.

Job 17:10-12 NIV Job has considered that he may grow stronger because he is a righteous man, but that notion dies. He angrily mocks his friends who believe he has only to repent to see a new day.

Job 17:13-16 NIV It is dangerous to embrace hopelessness. Hope, by definition, is the expectation of good things for our lives, and it is a confident expectation. To turn away from hope colors our faith with dark stains of despair. We believe there is a God but he has nothing in store for us but misery. How to put away despair and have hope? Remember that God is love and he has plans for our future.

Kept from falling

Job Sees The Light - Seventeenth in a series

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The reader of the book of Job may ask the question that Job asks as Chapter 16 opens.

Job 16:1-3 NIV What is the purpose of these lengthy monologues? Job and his friends should stop bickering. They have been sparring for 12 chapters — and they will continue for another 16. Then a younger man will attempt to teach them for six chapters until at last the Lord speaks and has the final word.

A total of 36 chapters of God's Word are a debate or discussion over Job's righteousness and God's mysterious ways, which is why this book is set among the Bible's wisdom books. Chronologically it could be near the beginning, but by its content it belongs with the Books that seek to answer man's deepest perplexities such as why God permits human suffering, and with those writings that praise Him for who He is.

Job 16:4-5 NIV Christ said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4), so we know that each word in each chapter of Job has eternal import. One great result of suffering is that it creates in us a heart of compassion. Job is being converted from a sympathetic friend to one with empathy.

Before his deep trials he could comfort the afflicted with a sincere word and a twinge of understanding, but now he can truly feel the pain of the bereft, the mourner, the depleted, the disenfranchised, the forsaken. He understands how it feels to be the one in need– the one without hope, whose brokenness is beyond repair. Now he would know exactly how to comfort the most miserable sufferer; his compassion is real.

Job 16:6-14 NIV Neither defending himself nor enduring the insults and accusations of his friends brings Job any relief. The pain he feels is not lessened by answering their charges nor by quietly ignoring them. He views their venom as God's further tearing at his heart.

It is understandable how Job has identified the Lord in this aspect of his long trial. He has accepted that his devastation is God's doing. Therefore, the cruelty of his friends is also God's work.

However, while God is permitting all these influences to wear away Job's inner strength so that he might attain a new way of seeing, it is Satan, not God, who is provoking Job's friends to attack and wound him. In similar straits, we must be clear on who the enemy is. Confusion and emotional instability quickly take over when faith in God's goodness is lost.

Job 16:15-18 NIV Job is suffering and grieving profoundly, and he views himself as an innocent sufferer, pure in heart and clean in his prayers. He sees his plight as unjust and challenges the earth — "Do not cover my blood —"! This reminds us of God's words to Cain after Cain had murdered his brother Abel. "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cried out to me from the ground…"(Gen 4:10-12) It is as though the earth refuses to be an accomplice to an unjust death.

Job likewise wants the earth to testify for him, for like Abel, he has been murdered —but wait —is Job saying that God has murdered him?

Job 16:19-22 NIV On the brink of rebellion, a prophetic word is shared. Job is rescued from harsh thoughts about God by the concept of a special friend interceding on his behalf. He then returns to crying out to God, seeking the help he needs to be restored.

We are reminded the Lord is our shepherd; our souls will be restored and we will dwell in his house forever.

Speaking for Satan

Job Sees The Light - Sixteenth in a series

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A God-ordained trial such as Job endured, is not to be viewed as divine permission for onlookers to help bring the subject to a right view of things. Job's friends believe they are promoting God’s agenda by castigating Job, but they have no concept of what the Lord has determined to achieve, so how can they assist him?

Job 15:1-6 NIV Nevertheless, Eliphaz, in Chapter 15, striving to defend God in the courtroom brawl, takes the floor to cross examine Job. In his previous speech he was solicitous, but now he wants only to prove that Job is guilty.

The “east wind” in that land was the most violent. Job is being accused of attacking and weakening the foundational knowledge about God's very nature. Such an offense must be strongly opposed!

Job 15:7-14 NIV Job, you are not a discerning man. (But wasn't it Job who initially stated that man is by nature impure? (refs Job 15:14; Job 14:4)) We, your friends, have tried to comfort you with our words and you have shown no respect for our wisdom, even though we are your elders!

Job 15:15-16 NIV Next, Eliphaz repeats his previous insight that God “puts no trust” in his servants, “and his angels he charges with error.” (Job 4:18)

God takes a dim view of his angels who were created with mightier powers and better qualities than man, so how can man expect any greater consideration?

This line of reasoning rephrases Satan’s own complaint against the Lord. I was the most beautiful creature of all — I was anointed as a guardian cherub. Every precious stone adorned me… But I was driven from the mount of God — I, the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty… (Ez 28:12-17) —If God would do this to me, the highest angel, then he would surely do it to you, a mere man. Thus we detect the influence of Satan in the discourse of Eliphaz.

Satan wants us to identify in his rebellion against God and to doubt our prospects for salvation. Man needs assurance of salvation and to know that God is love. We must minister in this way to those in deep distress.

Job 15:17-30 NIV Job had pointed out that the evil are not always hounded by God (Job 12:6), but Eliphaz thinks differently. The evil man is a marked man and will be punished. In fact the two would agree: evil men are not always promptly punished, but in time, they will be. Arguments cause us to bicker over things about which we agree.

Job 15:31-35 NIV Eliphaz has begun to view Job as a reprobate.

In Proverbs we read that the wounds of a friend are faithful (Prov 27:6), but here we see that they can be deadly and cruel. We also read in Proverbs: The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? (Prov 18:14)

Will Job collapse under Eliphaz’s tirade? Stay tuned.

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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