February 7

Job 21-24

We are back in The Wisdom Stream in the book of Job. We are reading from the New King James Version this week. Job and his friends are still discussing about the wicked in the 2nd cycle of speeches. We’ll finish the 2nd cycle and start the 3rd cycle of speeches.

The background is Relaxing Rain by Misharychi.


Dear God, the revelations about you that we do have are marvelous.  The revelations we read of you today – from someone who is suffering and perplexed and in torment  – are words to behold and take to heart.  Lord your ways are higher, deeper, greater, farther and far more than we will ever hope to know on this side.  Thank you for showing us Job.  It does show us more about you.  Granted is does just seem like a slight crack in the door letting a sliver of light through.  We long for the day when the door to you and our lives with you come into the full light and all in known,  Keep us in your care until that day.  Thank you Jesus,  Amen.


If anyone wishes to add to their understanding there are great books on the topic that Job brings to us today in living color.  Look for the authors, Dobson, Yancey, CS Lewis, Lucado, Kushner, David Arnold if you are looking for answers to these toughest of questions that Job is laying out in our reading today.

21 – Job’s reply does a cogent job of helping round out the doctrine about who suffers and why plus who prospers and why.  And rather than itemizing this chapter, let’s take a crack at summing up an overview since it is very pivotal for interpreting the human condition.  Normal emotion senses ultimate reality and knows that good will be rewarded and bad will be punished.  Even the heart of a child knows that God is good.  So why the suffering in a world where our theology claims God is in control?  Job’s response punches back at Zophar in chapter 20 who has more or less put Job on death row with all the other wicked men in history.  “OK,” so Job replies here in 21, “so since the righteous are blessed, and the wicked are condemned, and you see me as being punished for my wickedness – as you have so ultimately categorized me as wicked (Job talking to Zophar here) it means then that all other wicked men will be punished with me? …yes?  Well in case you had not noticed, there are myriad examples everywhere we look.  The wicked live long, have power, children, homes, livestock, party-up-parties, prosperity and peace.  AND they do this while deliberately ignoring God.”  The question that is therefore put to Zophar is how can Job be suffering for his said evilness while the prosperous and happy are thriving … though evil?  Job distills out that these incongruencies are irreconcilable.  There is therefore a big problem in declaring that Job is evil by definition.  Job’s final statement in the final verse, “you console me with nonsense” is classic.

22 – Here we are as Eliphaz bears down on Job in his third speech to him.  Job’s friends can’t leave well enough alone.  They can’t leave anything alone for that matter.  Eliphaz heaps accusations on Job of being ruthless and devouring the weak, hungry, defenseless, the widow and orphan.  He levels on Job claiming Job is aloof and callous to God.  I think Eliphaz is mixing his assessments here.  He has seen other wicked people do this so he thinks Job also [since declared guilty by Eliphaz] has treated others like this too.  Eliphaz’s logic does not hold up.  In the literature of Job, the statement of his righteousness is established in the first verse of the book.  The three wise-cracks don’t show up until the end of chapter two; 34 verses later.  They don’t know how Job got to this state.  Eliphaz’s assessment here is misplaced.  He is sounding like a 15+1/2 year old with a learners permit who, because of his permit thinks he is qualified to give forensic analysis of car accidents scenes for the police department.  Shush kid.  You’re like Eliphaz in this instance.  Neither of you know what you are saying.  To Eliphaz’s credit, he goes on a run in vv. 21-30 and everything he says in these ten verses is plausible, truthful, and honestly it’s quite pleasant.  That’s a surprise switch for Eliphaz, is it not?

23 – Eliphaz’s third and final speech elicits Jobs two-chapter response; 23-24 successively.  We see a salient ripening of Job’s theology here that is void of him labeling God being the one who torments him.  He is not necessarily bantering back at Eliphaz as he has done.  Job simply wants clarity, some reasoning, he wants relief and wonders when it might possibly come to him.  His statements of devotion and desire for God are as rich as it comes.  Job understands Providence.  It’s truly beautiful material in the statements he makes.  How many of us prefer time with God over breakfast?  Job knows he will come forth as gold.  He has stayed in God’s camp.  He is altogether aware of God being Almighty who does what He will.

24 – Job would simply like some answers however.  The cruelty and injustice among the nation of people is a focus here for Job.  Interesting that he is not bemoaning his personal condition.  He is languishing to notice that the destitute become stripped of the little they have while wolf-like men take yet more?  How long will this persist?  The naked, starving, freezing, fatherless and helpless groan under their afflictions.  When will the harsh man who caused this pay for this?  The deeds of darkness are oh so dark.  The adulterer, the thief, the lover of darkness … where will he end up and when?  Job is prophetic here in speaking their lot.  Their curse is coming.  The grave will get them. They’ll pass like broken trees.  The treacherous may ride high for a bit but their end will be swift and decisive.  Job asks, “am I wrong?!”  I think we have to secede that Job is not wrong.

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