We continue in the Wisdom Stream in the book of Job. Job replies to Eliphaz as we continue the first cycle of speeches.
“Jesus, we ask for grace when we are hurting. And we ask that we would convey grace and be gracious when we encounter those who are suffering. It’s such a comfort to act like Jesus when a person in pain needs a kind word or “touch from an angel”; from someone who brings Jesus into the room. May we know you Lord and share you. We know that there are billions who need your presence. And we can bring that presence as we walk with you. Amen.”
We read last week, of Job’s blessed life, his calamity, his prayer, and then his journey into dismay; ch.s 1-3, Eliphaz first words to Job are delivered in ch’s. 4 & 5 (we give Eliphaz a “D-” grade for his callous insight, btw). Then today is Job’s first reply.
06 – Job is launching into words that tell of what all people learn eventually: there is pain in life, it is perplexing beyond description, death will at times seem a simpler option, and there will be people we encounter in these trying times that just do not care! They are not feeling it like others. Jobs sufferings seem heavier than the sands of all the seas. This is subjectively where Job is living these days. The facts of what Job is saying is absurd. But his reality is that it couldn’t get much heavier than what is crushing him right now. Food is a joyless lot. He wishes God would just “take him out”. He wishes for some empathetic friends. Job is truly searching his heart, life and thoughts, scouring his memory to try to recall if he had done anything to deserve all this. He can think of some rather wretched things his “comforters” have done but his thoughts are, “certainly I don’t deserve this? do I?”
07 – Job’s anguish deepens as his body is scabbing, wounds fester, and his skin splits. There are even worms eating his flesh. -How would any of us be handling this?!- Job blurts, “I can’t take this and take it quietly!” His bed once comforted him, but he hurts there too. His complaint is with God and his sentiments are something that strike upon the soul of anyone suffering … “God why this? Why me? Can you let me be?” But Job does not know what we can know since we have Job chapter 1 to read, yet Job didn’t have that prelude to read as warning. It was the devil that petitioned; pleaded for permission to persecute Job. This was evil’s idea. It was not God who wanted to pounce on Job. God wanted to bless him and bless him even more, as we will eventually see come the end of the book. Try to hang on.
08 – Bildad brings forth his first monologue. It’s less acidic than Eliphaz but he cuts at Job nonetheless. He accuses and Job must be near fainting when in v. 4 Bildad basically blurts out, “hey, your children sinned and God killed them! What do you expect?” Yeesh, could y’be more mean? And yet Bildad states that Job will prosper again in the future; v. 7. Bildad then again cycles back implying that Job has forgotten God, has at least done something wrong, and is paying for it now. Bildad ends prophesying that God will restore Job’s joy and put Job’s enemies to shame (ha!, meaning, Eliphaz and Bildad?!)
09 – Job’s speech here is a masterpiece depicting God’s sovereignty. Think: do earthquakes, volcanoes, tidal waves, hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches ask anyone’s permission? No. They just happen. His words in v. 22 about the blameless and wicked being destroyed side-by-side is reminiscent of Jesus in Matt. 5:45, where our Lord reminds that the sun and the rain happen for the righteous and unrighteous alike. For us, we have opportunity to live for God in all settings and Job’s reminder of such is paragon literature. In this chapter we also find Job groping-in-a-haze theologically when he assesses all this suffering and shame and longs to define the source, “if it is not God doing this, then who is?” We must learn and bear up (and sometimes hush up) when suffering. It is not a good time to make theological treatises while in anguish. Job is forgetting a couple of times in this chapter that it is not God punishing him.
10 – Job is letting it fly at this point. Bildad triggered these thoughts and here they are in full force. Job is asking some very impetuous questions of God here: “am I guilty? of what? are you mortal like me?” Then he talks in submissive providence of being created by -by whom that he is talking to! Then Job muses about some divine scheme to convict Job of any wrongdoing God can find. Remember Job is giving out his unrestrained flow of thoughts and sentiments. Though it isn’t true, it’s real to Job. God doesn’t relish afflicting a soul as Job may imply. But Job is feeling that things seem to be this way. The setting has no relief and Job ends up wishing he had never seen the light of day. Oh, for this to be over …