January 17


Job 11-14

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We are using the New Living Translation and we are in the Wisdom Stream today. We continue the speeches in the book of Job – Chapters 11-14. If you happen to have the first edition of our bookmarks, then you will notice a typo. We completely skipped chapter 14 on the bookmark, but we are definitely reading it today.

Prayer

God we thank you for promising to and bringing us through the tribulations that this world brings us.  May we see your face and grip your guiding hand in this pilgrimage.  Thank you Jesus.  Amen.

Just a reminder of where we are in the Job story.  Today we read the last of the first cycle of speeches.  Eliphaz speaks in chapters 4-5, Job replies in 6-7.  Bildad speaks in 8, Job replies in 9-10.  Zophar speaks in 11, Job replies in 12-14 … and that is where we ended today.  Remember his three friends came and sat with him and were silent for a week at first; remember Job 2:13.  This was admirable.  People who are suffering don’t need to be monologued or have an index finger wagged in their faces.  Perhaps if there is a phrase that could be attached to this first round of speeches from his “friends”, they could be labeled in epithet, “gee Job, don’t you think you at least did something to deserve this?”  Job’s seven chapters of replies thus far can be summarize, “oh come on, man!”  Very few know what to do when with someone who is suffering horribly.  Just a tip when amid the grieving – saying nothing may well be the best thing to say.  And let’s all be reminded that silence cannot be misquoted.

Chapter 11

11 – Zophar launches basically to tell Job, “how dare you reply to our callous accusations?!”  He and his friends are unreal.  In 11:6, Zophar burbles, “God has even forgotten some of your sin…”  Excuse you Zophar, Isaiah 43:25 asserts that God remembers your sins no more.  Maybe it’s unfair to link Isaiah’s idea to this since Isaiah is writing at least 1000 years later.  Some even argue that Job is a pre-flood book that Noah had a copy of on the ark.  So perhaps Job/Zophar and Co. are 2,000 years before Isaiah.  Parse and analyze the words however we will, Zophar if just plain being mean.  Remember where this prattle is going to take Zophar and his two friends; Job 42:7 God was angry with them for not speaking what is right about God.  Be that as it may, Zophar is like most of the world before they get a tongue-lashing or as some might say, “a whoopin’ from the LORD!”  He bloviates onward about the mysterious, the high and deep and wide uncontestable God.  Mind you he very likely does not know God as well as Job does.  Zophar continues in his insinuating that Job is deceitful, witless, sinful, undevoted.  Zophar gives Job a conversion plan that is perhaps laced in various truthes, but arrogant in its delivery and therefore too much to be listened to.

Chapter 12

12 – Job snaps back musing “what makes YOU right?”  Anyone who ‘wasn’t born yesterday’ knows that it is beyond foolish to walk into a French restaurant, saunter into the kitchen and lecture the chefs on how to make an omelet.  And you don’t enter to a reputable auto shop, walk past the “Employees Only” sign, bang on a table to get all the workers’ attention and announces that YOU should be heeded to because you knowww what a crescent wrench is.  One of them may use one on you before you make your exit.  These guys are lecturing Job on life … but their “helping isn’t helping”.  Their thinking is totally ill-conceived.  But do they even care?  Job has already had his fill of them though they are far from done lambasting Job.  He speaks of the perceived unfairness between him and the plentiful lifestyle of the ungodly.  We will see David alluding to the similar theme in various Psalms.  It’s an age-old conundrum of a question.  The wicked/wickedness is mentioned 38 times in Job.  And the world is loaded with examples.  Jobs reference to the animals is poignant.  It’s always entrancing when we read of an elephant tracing back hundreds of miles to bid his ‘farewell’ to the old white-haired park worker who rescued and nursed himm years ago before.  How do they know of the old friends impending funeral?  God tells them.  I love it when dolphins circle up around a stranded frightened swimmer clinging to a log so the sharks don’t terrorize them.  God tells the dolphins to do this!  Job unleashes for 2+1/2 more chapters about God chastising, bringing either drought or flood, confounding the high and mighty; ‘wise unto themselves’ while releasing the oppressed.  God raises and disperses ungodly nations while leaving their leaders bewildered and destitute.

Chapter 13

13 – Job knows things.  These talky talking talkers are not above him.  Zophar lecturing him is wrongful and out of line.  Job wants to talk to God but the clatter around him makes that difficult.  Job basically asks, “who made you God’s attorney?”  Mid rant he articulates one of the most gripping and beautiful lines every uttered, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.”  Job knows he will be delivered.  His inquiry of God is legitimate: “what have I done wrong? Show me.”  Job asks God why He is hiding His face.  It’s a question that is the core of Job’s reality here as we approach 1/3 of the way through the book.  Job is 100% aware of the plight of humanity – – –

Chapter 14

14 – Man’s lifespan is short, life is troublesome.  Even trees seem to be better off than men.  Trees renew and sprout again but man is destined for the dust heap.  Keep in mind that the Hebrew theology and concept of resurrection was vague, and undeveloped at best prior to Jesus.  Just so you know, Job is not drifting into atheistic chatter.  It’s where revelatory theology was back when.  Job is suffering in the worst way.  He insinuates that God is angry at him – though He isn’t.  And yet somehow Job knows that there is renewal and restitution.  But for now, the outlook is gloomy, life is merciless, and pain rules the day.   As this finishes the first round of speeches, be reminded that God can handle your feelings.  God understands your feelings.  And only God in His Truth can navigate us through this and do it constructively while discipling us to come forth better than when the trial began in our lives.  He will turn ashes into gold.

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