Job Series Daily Reading Week Four

Book of Job

Week Four – Day 16

16:1 Then Job replied:
2 “I have heard many things like these;
you are miserable comforters, all of you!
3 Will your long-winded speeches never
end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
4 I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.
5 But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you
relief.
6 “Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved;
and if I refrain, it does not go away.
7 Surely, God, you have worn me out;
you have devastated my entire household.
8 You have shriveled me up—and it has
become a witness;
my gauntness rises up and testifies
against me.
9 God assails me and tears me in his anger
and gnashes his teeth at me;
my opponent fastens on me his piercing
eyes.
10 People open their mouths to jeer at me;
they strike my cheek in scorn
and unite together against me.
11 God has turned me over to the ungodly
and thrown me into the clutches of the
wicked.
12 All was well with me, but he shattered me;
he seized me by the neck and crushed me.
He has made me his target;
13  his archers surround me.
Without pity, he pierces my kidneys
and spills my gall on the ground.
14 Again and again he bursts upon me;
he rushes at me like a warrior.
15 “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin
and buried my brow in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping,
dark shadows ring my eyes;
17 yet my hands have been free of violence
and my prayer is pure.
18 “Earth, do not cover my blood;
may my cry never be laid to rest!
19 Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
20 My intercessor is my friend[a]
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as one pleads for a friend.
22 “Only a few years will pass
before I take the path of no return.

Notes on Job 16

Chapters 16 and 17 are a 2-part response by Job to Eliphaz
Part 1: Job’s Rebuke

Picture Job. He has lost everything: family, home, wealth, and health. He is in miserable emotional and physical pain. His friends have come to comfort him but instead they judge and accuse him for getting himself into this situation.

“[Job] rightly refers to his so-called friends as “miserable comforters.” What a weight of irony is contained in those two words. These men came to comfort Job; instead, they increased his misery. When a person is suffering, there is no more unwelcome visitor than a “miserable-comforter,” a person who brings misery and calls it comfort.
Notice that by this point in the story of Job, Satan has faded from the scene; his name is not mentioned. He’s still there—make no mistake—but he’s in the background. He’s using Job’s three friends as vehicles for delivering what the apostle Paul calls “the flaming arrows of the evil one” (Ephesians 6:16). In the book of Revelation, Satan is called “the accuser of our brothers, who accuses them before our God day and night” (12:10). It is tragic indeed that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar allowed themselves to be used as channels for Satan’s accusations against an innocent, suffering man.”
After Job has finished rebuking his friends for the miserable comforters that they are, he addresses God. In his anger and despair Job charges God on several extreme accounts:

Account 1: Job concludes God must hate him. (vs 7-11)
Account 2: Job charges God with all that is wrong in his life and all that he has lost. (vs. 12-14)
Account 3: Job protests his innocence. (vs. 15-17)

“God, who is wonderfully patient, does not reply against Job, nor does He retaliate in anger. God knows Job’s heart. He knows Job’s faith and love for Him. But He also understands that Job has his breaking point. In this passage, the natural view of life has broken into Job’s faith. This suffering man now sees his life in a different light.”

Reflect on God’s patience with you. In pain and anger have you accused God? What was God’s response to your accusations?

After Job releases his anger at God, “we again glimpse a faint reflection of what God is trying to show him….Faith breaks through once more. Job concludes that he still has witness in heaven, an advocate on high, an intercessor, a friend who will plead with God. Job expects help from on high as he wrestles with his pain and his sense of separation and alienation from God.”
Sometimes we need to release the real anger we feel in order to see clearly what God is trying to show us. Faith is allowed room to expand and fill our heart as we release the confusion and frustration we feel.
“Who is this Advocate, this Intercessor, who pleads Job’s case with God? Hebrews reveals to us, “But because Jesus lives forever, he has a permanent priesthood. Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to interceded for them” (7:24-25). Though Job’s theological understanding is limited because he lives in Old Testament times, God seems to have revealed to him a partial glimpse of the spiritual reality that has been revealed to us in full: Jesus Christ, the Son of the Living God, the God-Man who was crucified and rose again, is our Advocate on high, our Intercessor, our Friend. He has broken down the wall of separation between humanity and God.

Though Job can’t possibly grasp the length and breadth and depth of this truth, faith has broken through to his struggling heart, enabling him to lay hold of the fact that God has provided help from on high. Job had no name for that help, but you and I do: Jesus Christ the Lord. He is the One God wants us to lean on in times of pain and loss. Job is learning that the Lord alone can sustain him. God Himself can answer the searching questions of a suffering heart.”

Week Four – Day 17

17 :1 My spirit is broken,
my days are cut short,
the grave awaits me.
2 Surely mockers surround me;
my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
3 “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.
Who else will put up security for me?
4 You have closed their minds to understanding;
therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 If anyone denounces their friends for reward,
the eyes of their children will fail.
6 “God has made me a byword to everyone,
a man in whose face people spit.
7 My eyes have grown dim with grief;
my whole frame is but a shadow.
8 The upright are appalled at this;
the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.
9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,
and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
10 “But come on, all of you, try again!
I will not find a wise man among you.
11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered.
Yet the desires of my heart
12 turn night into day;
in the face of the darkness light is near.
13 If the only home I hope for is the grave,
if I spread out my bed in the realm of
darkness,
14 if I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,’
and to the worm, ‘My mother’ or ‘My sister,’
15 where then is my hope—
who can see any hope for me?
16 Will it go down to the gates of death?

Notes on Job 17

Part 2: Job’s hope crumbles

Finally, “Job offers a plea to God to end his life and relieve him from suffering.” (Wiersbe)
In verse 9, Job challenges his three friends to continue their arguments and accusations. He knows they are foolish and cruel, so he challenges them to continue spewing at him because he is so crushed in spirit, hurt, and depressed that he believes nothing more can hurt him.
“At this point, at least, you would think that Job’s friends would finally agree that he has had enough. You’d think they would give this poor man a break from their accusations, their finger pointing, and their tongue wagging. But no, they are relentless in their effort to force Job to admit to hidden sins he has never committed.
Why are Job’s “comforters” so determined to find sin in the life of this blameless man? Perhaps part of the reason is that Job’s affliction makes them feel anxious and insecure about their own lives. They see Job and think, “If he can be stricken with calamity, then it could happen to me, too!”
Job’s suffering disrupts their neat and tidy theological worldview, which says, “If you do good, you’ll be rewarded; only evil people suffer.” If good people can suffer pain and loss (and these three men certainly see themselves as good), then where is their security in life? If the innocent can suffer, then any one of them could end up just like Job.
So Job and his three friends are locked in conflict. Job knows he is innocent, and he will not lie by admitting to sin he never committed. Yet his three friends feel they must force Job to admit his sin or their whole worldview comes apart. The longer Job asserts his own innocence, the more desperate his friends become to obtain his confession. Its a case of three relentless forces versus one immovable object.” (Stedman)
Does your worldview look at suffering as a result of sin? Do you struggle with the question “Why do bad things happen to good people?”Ask yourself, “Where is my security? In my behavior or in my God?”
At the end of the dialogue Job’s hope has crumbled (Job 17:11-16).
Though Job claimed death was his only escape, “at no time did Job ever consider taking his own life or asking someone else to do it for him. Life is a sacred gift from God, and only God can give it and take it away. On the one hand, Job wanted to live long enough to see himself vindicated; but on the other hand, he didn’t know how much more he could endure.” (Wiersbe)
“God did not answer Job’s plea for death because He had something far better planned for him. God looked beyond Job’s depression and bitterness and saw that he still had faith.” (Wiersbe)

Week Four – Day 18

18:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 “When will you end these speeches?
Be sensible, and then we can talk.
3 Why are we regarded as cattle
and considered stupid in your sight?
4 You who tear yourself to pieces in your anger,
is the earth to be abandoned for your sake?
Or must the rocks be moved from their place?
5 “The lamp of a wicked man is snuffed out;
the flame of his fire stops burning.
6 The light in his tent becomes dark;
the lamp beside him goes out.
7 The vigor of his step is weakened;
his own schemes throw him down.
8 His feet thrust him into a net;
he wanders into its mesh.
9 A trap seizes him by the heel;
a snare holds him fast.
10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground;
a trap lies in his path.
11 Terrors startle him on every side
and dog his every step.
12 Calamity is hungry for him;
disaster is ready for him when he falls.
13 It eats away parts of his skin;
death’s firstborn devours his limbs.
14 He is torn from the security of his tent
and marched off to the king of terrors.
15 Fire resides in his tent;
burning sulfur is scattered over his dwelling.
16 His roots dry up below
and his branches wither above.
17 The memory of him perishes from the earth;
he has no name in the land.
18 He is driven from light into the realm of
darkness
and is banished from the world.
19 He has no offspring or descendants among his
people,
no survivor where once he lived.
20 People of the west are appalled at his fate;
those of the east are seized with horror.
21 Surely such is the dwelling of an evil man;
such is the place of one who does not know
God.”

Notes on Job 18

Cycle 2: Bildad Speaks
“In the first debate, Bildad gave the appearance of a logician, the coldly analytical intellectual. Here, in the second debate, Bildad is still cold hearted toward Job and analytical in his argument—but with a difference. Now Bildad is clearly angry with Job because Job has not admitted his own sin. Bildad is frustrated with what he sees as Job’s stubbornness and dishonesty, and he’s upset that Job’s replies have been blunt and strongly worded. In short, Bildad gets mad.” (Stedman)
How long will you hunt for words? Show understanding and then we can talk. Why are we regarded as beasts, as stupid in your eyes? O you who tear yourself in your anger— For your sake is the earth to be abandoned, Or the rock to be moved from its place? —Job 18:2-4, the Message
“In Job 17:10, Job said to his three tormentors, “I will not find a wise man among you.” Bildad, who is very proud of his intellectual prowess, clearly takes offense at Job’s statement. So he counterattacks and demands that Job “be sensible,” adding, “Why are we regarded as cattle and considered stupid in your sight?” (Stedman)
Bildad’s monologue is trying to scare Job into repenting. He repeatedly uses metaphors of death in order to provoke Job to repent. In verse 8, he suggests Job is trapped in some hidden sin that he will not reveal and so death and tragedy are trying to expose him. The problem is that Job has not sinned. Job does not need to repent to fix his situation, and he knows that. Bildad’s way of thinking about God is wrong. “Here’s the way Bildad thinks. God is just and fair. God not only punished the wicked, He blesses the righteous. If you repent, God will bless you and relieve you of your affliction. If you don’t repent, He’ll keep judging you and your pain will continue…Bildad’s theology doesn’t have room for mystery. Everything is black or white. If you obey, you will be blessed….For mysterious reasons beyond our comprehension, He permits pain. And then there are other times for reasons that are clearly revealed, He tests us. Read 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 Paul was willing to accept the mystery of God’s will in leaving him with the affliction after he had urgently prayed for relief three times.” (Swindoll) The mystery of God’s will includes that we pursue Him for healing while at the same time we submit to His will.

Week Four – Day 19

19:1 Then Job replied:
2 “How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?
3 Ten times now you have reproached me;
shamelessly you attack me.
4 If it is true that I have gone astray,
my error remains my concern alone.
5 If indeed you would exalt yourselves above
me
and use my humiliation against me,
6 then know that God has wronged me
and drawn his net around me.
7 “Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response;
though I call for help, there is no justice.
8 He has blocked my way so I cannot pass;
he has shrouded my paths in darkness.
9 He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He tears me down on every side till I am
gone; he uproots my hope like a tree.
11 His anger burns against me;
he counts me among his enemies.
12 His troops advance in force;
they build a siege ramp against me
and encamp around my tent.
13 “He has alienated my family from me;
my acquaintances are completely
estranged from me.
14 My relatives have gone away;
my closest friends have forgotten me.
15 My guests and my female servants count
me a foreigner;
they look on me as on a stranger.
16 I summon my servant, but he does not
answer,
though I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife;
I am loathsome to my own family.
18 Even the little boys scorn me;
when I appear, they ridicule me.
19 All my intimate friends detest me;
those I love have turned against me.
20 I am nothing but skin and bones;
I have escaped only by the skin of my
teeth.
21 “Have pity on me, my friends, have pity,
for the hand of God has struck me.
22 Why do you pursue me as God does?
Will you never get enough of my flesh?
23 “Oh, that my words were recorded,
that they were written on a scroll,
24 that they were inscribed with an iron tool
on lead,
or engraved in rock forever!
25 I know that my redeemer[c] lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the
earth.
26 And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
27 I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
28 “If you say, ‘How we will hound him,
since the root of the trouble lies in him,[g]’
29 you should fear the sword yourselves;
for wrath will bring punishment by the
sword, and then you will know that there is
judgment.”

Notes on Job 19

Job understands that being corrected is a good thing. We need people to hold us accountable and challenge us when we are out of line. But in their effort to correct and reprove, Job’s friends are the ones out of line. Job pleads with them, “enough is enough!” In verse 4, “Job rightly says that if he has sinned, it is now his concern alone. Even if Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar are right about Job, they have already done all they can do. What purpose is served by continuing to attack him? He’s also correct in pointing out the unrighteous motives behind their attack: At the same time they are accusing Job of unconfessed sin, they are exalting themselves over him. They cannot accuse Job of being an “evil man” (to use Bildad’s words) without setting themselves up as good men. They have used Job’s pain and humiliation against him. In the process, they have elevated themselves over him.” (Stedman)

Sometimes in our most trying times God is quiet. Just silent. In verses 7-13 Job laments God’s silence and recounts all that he feels God has done to him. “Job feels bewildered, isolated, and rejected by family, friends, and God himself. There are few experiences in life more baffling and painful than being rejected by those who should understand us. Job is still reeling from his physical pain—still scraping his boils with pieces of broken pottery. He’s reeling from his emotional pain—still grieving the deaths of his children and the loss of all his material possessions. And along with all of this suffering, he must endure the misjudgment and rejection of family and friends. How much more can this poor man take?” (Stedman)

Have you been through trials that caused you to feel bewildereed, isolated and rejected? How have you processed that pain that you received? Have you lamented?
Lamenting is an integral way in which we take care of our soul. It is the process of pouring out the pain of our soul so that we can see more clearly what is happening and can receive what might be on the other side of the pain. Lamenting is different from complaining. Lamenting seeks to work through the pain in order to heal while complaining is used to wallow in the pain so that others will be in pain with us. Often, a lament opens up our eyes and ears to see and hear God’s will.
In verse 23 it seems that Job’s lament was interrupted by a vision from God filled with faith. “Amid all his suffering and the accusations from his supposed friends, something wonderful happens: Job experiences a vision of faith. I believe God gave Job this vision to sustain him—a glimpse of glorious light at the end of a very dark tunnel of pain. This vision refines and expands upon a previous insight God gave to Job—a promise of help from on high. You’ll recall that in chapter 16, Job said:
Even now my witness is in heaven;  my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend[a]
as my eyes pour out tears to God;  on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as one pleads for a friend (vv 19-21).
Job already know that he has a witness in heaven, an advocate on high, an intercessor and friend who will plead his case before God. As we have seen, God partially revealed to Job a truth that has been revealed to us in full: Jesus Christ is our advocate on High. Now an even greater truth breaks through:
I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God (19:25-26).
This is one of the most triumphant statements of faith in all of Scriptures. It may well be the earliest written intimation of the resurrection to be found in the Word of God. Gradually, out of the anguish and despair of this man’s heart, a realization has dawned: God is working out a great and mighty purpose in human history….In this statement, Job looks ahead by faith to the incarnation of the Lord Jesus. Job calls him “my Redeemer” —that is, his vindicator, the one who will defend him, ransom him, and resurrect him from the dust of death. Praise God, Job’s Redeemer is my Redeemer and yours as well if we place our trust in Him.” (Stedman)

Week Four – Day 20

20:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:
2 “My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer
because I am greatly disturbed.
3 I hear a rebuke that dishonors me,
and my understanding inspires me to reply.
4 “Surely you know how it has been from of
old, ever since mankind[a] was placed on the
earth,
5 that the mirth of the wicked is brief,
the joy of the godless lasts but a moment.
6 Though the pride of the godless person
reaches to the heavens and his head touches
the clouds,
7 he will perish forever, like his own dung;
those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is
he?’
8 Like a dream he flies away, no more to be
found,
banished like a vision of the night.
9 The eye that saw him will not see him again;
his place will look on him no more.
10 His children must make amends to the
poor;
his own hands must give back his wealth.
11 The youthful vigor that fills his bones
will lie with him in the dust.
12 “Though evil is sweet in his mouth
and he hides it under his tongue,
13 though he cannot bear to let it go
and lets it linger in his mouth,
14 yet his food will turn sour in his stomach;
it will become the venom of serpents within
him.
15 He will spit out the riches he swallowed;
God will make his stomach vomit them up.
16 He will suck the poison of serpents;
the fangs of an adder will kill him.
17 He will not enjoy the streams,
the rivers flowing with honey and cream.
18 What he toiled for he must give back
uneaten; he will not enjoy the profit from his
trading.
19 For he has oppressed the poor and left
them destitute;
he has seized houses he did not build.
20 “Surely he will have no respite from his
craving;
he cannot save himself by his treasure.
21 Nothing is left for him to devour;
his prosperity will not endure.
22 In the midst of his plenty, distress will
overtake him;
the full force of misery will come upon him.
23 When he has filled his belly,
God will vent his burning anger against him
and rain down his blows on him.
24 Though he flees from an iron weapon,
a bronze-tipped arrow pierces him.
25 He pulls it out of his back,
the gleaming point out of his liver.
Terrors will come over him;
26  total darkness lies in wait for his treasures.
A fire unfanned will consume him
and devour what is left in his tent.
27 The heavens will expose his guilt;
the earth will rise up against him.
28 A flood will carry off his house,
rushing waters on the day of God’s wrath.
29 Such is the fate God allots the wicked,
the heritage appointed for them by God.”

Notes on Job 20

Zophar has nothing new to say. His theme has already been covered by Bildad and Eliphaz. But, “Zophar seems insulted and annoyed by Job’s stubborn insistence on his own innocence. He confesses that he is disturbed because Job has rebuked him. Zohar sees Job as a sinful man, and he feels that being rebuked by a sinful man is a stain on his honor. So Zophar launches into as angry attack on Job’s integrity.” (Stedman)

First, in verse 6, Zophar attacks Job’s integrity by claiming Job is proud and his head is in the clouds to think of himself as innocent in this situation. Second, in verse 10, he claims that Job’s children will be making amends for his crimes after his death. This must have stung even more so considering Job had to bury each of his children before he died. Third, in verses 12 through 13, Zophar makes a claim that Job has not only committed sins, but that he enjoys evil as much as food!

In verse 27, “Zophar declares that the evil deeds of the wicked will always be exposed.” (Swindoll)  He suggests, in verse 19, “that Job as acquired his wealth by oppressing the poor, and that while Job was enjoying his wealth, disaster and ill health overtook him. Zophar sees Job’s suffering as proof that his evil has been brought to light.” (Swindoll)
“Those who wish to set others straight and gain control over them are often disquieted, agitated, and insulted because they don’t agree. They don’t want to listen; they want to talk. They don’t want to learn; they want to instruct, preferably lecture. And they certainly don’t want to be disagreed with!” (Swindoll)

“Zophar makes three affirmations to prove that the fate of the wicked is indeed terrible:
1. Their life is brief (Job 20:4-11)
2. Their pleasure is temporary (Job 20:12-19)
3. Their death is painful (Job 20:20-29)

All that Zophar says is true, in a real sense. The prosperity of the wicked will be cut off, and their evil deeds will be exposed, judged, and punsihed. But only God can say when that will happen, and it is presumptuous and arrogant to point a finger at a suffering person and say, without evidence, ‘Your suffering is a punishment for sin’” (Weirsbe)

Pause for a few minutes of reflection. Have you used your knowledge or understanding of scripture as judgement on others? Have you used your tongue to give a harsh lecture when you wanted to gain control? Ask the Lord these questions. Take time to repent.

Perhaps what is most disturbing about Zophar’s speech is that as a friend of Job’s he can be so deceived by his own theology. We understand from the text that these men were true friends of Job’s. This would mean that they had witnessed his life and knew what kind of man he was with his family and business. However, when their theology of God’s goodness and righteousness is threatened, the friends lose perspective of the truth. Zophar goes so far as to falsely accuse Job of enjoying evil and robbing from the poor in order to defend Job’s own conscience. Zophar’s security in his theology had become an “ultimate” thing in his life. He was willing to exchange discernment, wisdom, compassion and love for his theology that the righteous are blessed and the unrighteous are punished.

Have you ever found yourself compromising the truth, or someone else’s reputation in order to defend your worldview? Have you exchanged the fruit of the spirit for your “ultimate” things. Journal about how God might be shaping your theology and worldview in order to better understand Him and His people.