Job Series Daily Reading Week Five

Book of Job

Week Five – Day 21

21:1 Then Job replied:
2 “Listen carefully to my words;
let this be the consolation you give me.
3 Bear with me while I speak,
and after I have spoken, mock on.
4 “Is my complaint directed to a human
being?
Why should I not be impatient?
5 Look at me and be appalled;
clap your hand over your mouth.
6 When I think about this, I am terrified;
trembling seizes my body.
7 Why do the wicked live on,
growing old and increasing in power?
8 They see their children established around
them,
their offspring before their eyes.
9 Their homes are safe and free from fear;
the rod of God is not on them.
10 Their bulls never fail to breed;
their cows calve and do not miscarry.
11 They send forth their children as a flock;
their little ones dance about.
12 They sing to the music of timbrel and lyre;
they make merry to the sound of the pipe.
13 They spend their years in prosperity
and go down to the grave in peace.[a]
14 Yet they say to God, ‘Leave us alone!
We have no desire to know your ways.
15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve
him?
What would we gain by praying to him?’
16 But their prosperity is not in their own
hands,
so I stand aloof from the plans of the
wicked.
17 “Yet how often is the lamp of the wicked
snuffed out?
How often does calamity come upon
them,
the fate God allots in his anger?
18 How often are they like straw before the
wind,
like chaff swept away by a gale?
19 It is said, ‘God stores up the punishment
of the wicked for their children.’
Let him repay the wicked, so that they
themselves will experience it!
20 Let their own eyes see their destruction;
let them drink the cup of the wrath of the Almighty.
21 For what do they care about the families
they leave behind when their allotted
months come to an end?
22 “Can anyone teach knowledge to God,
since he judges even the highest?
23 One person dies in full vigor,
completely secure and at ease,
24 well nourished in body,[b]
bones rich with marrow.
25 Another dies in bitterness of soul,
never having enjoyed anything good.
26 Side by side they lie in the dust,
and worms cover them both.
27 “I know full well what you are thinking,
the schemes by which you would wrong
me.
28 You say, ‘Where now is the house of the
great,
the tents where the wicked lived?’
29 Have you never questioned those who
travel?
Have you paid no regard to their
accounts—
30 that the wicked are spared from the day
of calamity, that they are delivered from[c]
the day of wrath?
31 Who denounces their conduct to their
face? Who repays them for what they have
done?
32 They are carried to the grave,
and watch is kept over their tombs.
33 The soil in the valley is sweet to them;
everyone follows after them,
and a countless throng goes[d] before
them.
34 “So how can you console me with your
nonsense?
Nothing is left of your answers but
falsehood!”

Notes on Job 21

It seems that a man suffering so much would have no fight left within him to ague back against Zophar’s vicious speech. But Job did not just take his insults. “Job replied to Zophar’s statements and refuted each of them. Job stated that, from his point of view, it appears that the wicked have long lives (vv. 7-16), they are not often sent calamity (vv. 17-21), and the death of the wicked is no different from the death of other men (vv. 22-34). Point by point, Job took Zophar’s speech and shredded it into bits.” (Weirsbe)

But first, Job takes a minute to tell Zophar to listen up. He is tired of his friends not paying attention and misunderstanding his words. He urges them that this is the best thing they can do to console him: to listen, not speak.

Job’s answer echoes Zophar’s outline, addressing all three of his points.
1. Who says the wicked always die young?
2. Where’s the proof that the godless always suffer calamity?
3. How can you say that death always falls hard on the wicked? (Swindoll)

Who says the wicked always die young? “Job begins his defense by asking Zophar an excellent question amplified—‘If the wicked always die young, why do so many continue on, becoming more powerful?…And yet there’s no question —they really don’t know God.” (Job 21:7) (Swindoll) Job is not defending that the wicked live long because he wants to prove they do, he is defending that it is God’s will to decide when a man lives or dies not a man’s sinfulness or righteousness.

Where’s the proof that the godless always suffer calamity? Job has depth of understanding to know that what separates the believer from the unbeliever is not blessing or calamity before death—it is life after death. He knows many godless people have rich lives on Earth, but none of those riches can be taken with them after death. He also understands that many people including himself may suffer greatly in this world and lose everything, but with Christ in Heaven they will gain everything. “Never forget, our Good News is about the life beyond. Believing that Good News does not mean you will suddenly become affluent. Nor does it mean if you don’t believe it you’re doomed to poverty or a life in prison. Our theology needs to be clearly understood and articulate apart from economic lifestyles or personal preferences or narrow-minded prejudices.” (Swindoll)

How can you say that death always falls hard on the wicked? Job reminds Zophar that death falls hard on us all. Death is death, it does not need to be measured. Side by side (the wicked and the righteous) lie in the dust, and worms cover them both (vs. 26).

By dismantling Zophar’s arguments Job further encourages himself that he has no reason to listen to these “miserable comforters.” He is emboldened to call their words “nonsense and falsehood.” But notice that Job has never taken on the sharp tongue of his friends. He has called them out for the “miserable comforters” that they are, but he has never attacked them, judged them or accused them in the way they have to him.

Have you ever been attacked or accused by empty words that were nonsense and falsehood? How did you respond to your accuser? Did you attack back? In what ways do Job’s responses model for you how to respond in conflict?

Week Five – Day 22

Cycle 3 – Eliphaz Speaks
22:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 “Can a man be of benefit to God?
Can even a wise person benefit him?
3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if
you were righteous?
What would he gain if your ways were
blameless?
4 “Is it for your piety that he rebukes you
and brings charges against you?
5 Is not your wickedness great?
Are not your sins endless?
6 You demanded security from your relatives
for no reason;
you stripped people of their clothing,
leaving them naked.
7 You gave no water to the weary
and you withheld food from the hungry,
8 though you were a powerful man, owning
land— an honored man, living on it.
9 And you sent widows away empty-handed
and broke the strength of the fatherless.
10 That is why snares are all around you,
why sudden peril terrifies you,
11 why it is so dark you cannot see,
and why a flood of water covers you.
12 “Is not God in the heights of heaven?
And see how lofty are the highest stars!
13 Yet you say, ‘What does God know?
Does he judge through such darkness?
14 Thick clouds veil him, so he does not see
us as he goes about in the vaulted  
  heavens.’
15 Will you keep to the old path
that the wicked have trod?
16 They were carried off before their time,
their foundations washed away by a flood.
17 They said to God, ‘Leave us alone!
What can the Almighty do to us?’
18 Yet it was he who filled their houses with
good things, so I stand aloof from the plans of the
wicked.
19 The righteous see their ruin and rejoice;
the innocent mock them, saying,
20 ‘Surely our foes are destroyed,
and fire devours their wealth.’
21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.
22 Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be
restored:
If you remove wickedness far from your
tent
24 and assign your nuggets to the dust,
your gold of Ophir to the rocks in the
ravines,
25 then the Almighty will be your gold,
the choicest silver for you.
26 Surely then you will find delight in the
Almighty and will lift up your face to God.
27 You will pray to him, and he will hear you,
and you will fulfill your vows.
28 What you decide on will be done,
and light will shine on your ways.
29 When people are brought low and you
say, ‘Lift them up!’
then he will save the downcast.
30 He will deliver even one who is not
innocent, who will be delivered through the
cleanness of your hands.”

Notes on Job 22

In the previous cycles of debate Elizphaz has been the calmer friend with more smooth talk and elegant words, but now in the third debate he begins to lose his cool. “In Job 22, Eliphaz piles accusation and invective onto poor Job. He accuses Job of wrong motives. He invents false charges. He resorts to insult in his arguments. Eliphaz is trying to peer into Job’s hidden motives. He argues that Job thinks that by defending himself, he is defending God’s honor and integrity. He thinks Job is claiming that God’s reputation depends on Job’s own ability to appear righteous.

But that’s a false charge. That’s not Job’s intent at all. Throughout this account, Job has consistently viewed God as holy and righteous, even though Job can’t understand God’s actions. Job never thinks for a moment that his own circumstances reflect on God’s attributes in any way. Eliphaz suggests that Job feels that God is unfairly punishing him. Again, Job never said that. Had Job done so, he would be doing exactly what Satan wanted Job to do: accuse and blaspheme God. True, Job questioned God and wondered why God allowed him to suffer, but Job never says, “God, You’re unjust! You’re acting unrighteously!” That is just what Eliphaz suggests here, and it is a false charge.

Here is one of the crucial lessons from the book of Job: In our own times of testing and trial, Satan wants us to do what Eliphaz falsely accuses Job of doing. Satan wants us to blame God and accuse Him of being unfair and unjust. If Satan succeeds in wringing such a cry from our lips, then we have succumbed to the satanic strategy. At that moment, we become guilty of making an accusation against the God of righteousness. If we do that in our times of pain and loss, we need to go to God, confess our fault, and ask His forgiveness and for the strength and the faith not to do so again.” (Stedman)

Satan is working through Job’s friends, but Job never succumbs to their provoking. Oblivious to the powers of the enemy at work within him, Eliphaz grows in anger and frustration with Job as he refuses to yield to their accusations of hidden sin. Eliphaz invents and hurls accusations at Job as if he saw the events happen himself. “Not one of the accusations are true. Eliphaz simply invents lies. He claims that Job’s sins are ‘endless,’ that he has extorted, stolen, mistreated the poor, and abused widows and orphans.” (Stedman)

Eliphaz’s opening accusations are key to this text. “[He] first accused Job of the sin of pride. Job was acting as though his character and conduct were important to God and beneficial to Him in some way. Eliphaz’s theology centered around a distant God who was the Judge of the world but not the Friend of sinners. But Job’s character and conduct were important to God, for God was using Job to silence the Devil. Neither Job nor his three friends knew God’s hidden plan, but Job had faith to believe that God was achieving some purpose in his lifee and would one day vindicate him. Furthermore, the character and behavior of God’s people are important to the Lord because His people bring Him either joy or sorrow (1 Thess. 4:1; Heb 11:5; Gen. 6:5-6; Ps. 37:23). He is not a passive, distant God who does not identify with His people but the God who delights in them as they delight in Him (Ps. 18:19; Isa. 63:9; Heb. 4:14-16).” (Weirsbe)

In the end, from verses 21-30, he explains what it means to submit to God and the benefits we receive from submitting. “Eliphaz says some excellent things in this appeal, but he says them to the whong man. When we get to the end of the book, we will discover that it is Eliphaz and his two friends who are out of fellowship with God. They will need Job to intercede for them so that they can be restored (42:7-10). (Weirsbe)

Week Five – Day 23

23:1 Then Job replied:
2 “Even today my complaint is bitter;
his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
3 If only I knew where to find him;
if only I could go to his dwelling!
4 I would state my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would find out what he would answer me,
and consider what he would say to me.
6 Would he vigorously oppose me?
No, he would not press charges against me.
7 There the upright can establish their innocence
before him,
and there I would be delivered forever from my
judge.
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see
him; when he turns to the south, I catch no
glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as
gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his
lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more
than my daily bread.
13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose
him? He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.

Notes on Job 23

“Instead of arguing with his friends, or compromising his integrity by giving in to Eliphaz’s appeal, Job ignores them completely and speaks to and about the Lord. Job has already made it clear that his dispute was not with men but with God, and he emphasizes this fact in his speech.” (Weirsbe)

“In Job chapters 23 and 24 he makes three complaints against the Lord.”
1. “God is hiding from me” (Job 23:1-12)
2. “God is frightening me”  (Job 23:13-17)
3.  “God perplexes me” (Job 24:1-25)

“‘If only I knew where to find him: if only I could go to his dwelling!’ (v. 3). This was another appeal to meet God in court and have a fair trial. Job was prepared to state his case, present his arguments, and let God give the verdict. Job was confident that, despite God’s great power as a Lawgiver, he would win his case, for he was an upright man, and God could not condemn the upright in heart (v. 7).” (Weirsbe) Job laments that he cannot find God in order to present his case before Him. “Of course, God is present everywhere, but Job wanted a personal  meeting with God.” (Weirsbe) In verse 10, Job confirms that though He cannot find God to meet with him, he knows where Job is. Job is in the furnace. “But it was a furnace of God’s appointment, not Job’s sin; and God would use Job’s affliction to purify him and make him a better man. This is not the only answer to the question “Why do the righteous suffer?” but it is one of the best, and it can bring the sufferer great encouragement….Some people go into the furnace of affliction and it burns them; others go in and the experience purifies them. What makes the difference? Their attitude toward the Word of God and the will of God. If we are nourished by the Word and submit to His will, the furnace experience, painful as it may be, will refine us and make us better. But if we resist God’s will and fail to feed on His truth, the furnace experience will only burn us and make us bitter.” (Weirsbe)

Have you ever found yourself in God’s furnace? Reflect on how you responded to the furnace. Journal about what you learned about yourself and about God.

Week Five – Day 24

24:1“Why does the Almighty not set times for
judgment?
Why must those who know him look in
vain for such days?
2 There are those who move boundary
stones;they pasture flocks they have stolen.
3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey
and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
4 They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into
hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
the poor go about their labor of foraging
food;
the wasteland provides food for their
children.
6 They gather fodder in the fields
and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night
naked; they have nothing to cover
themselves in the cold.
8 They are drenched by mountain rains
and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
9 The fatherless child is snatched from the
breast; the infant of the poor is seized for a
debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces[a];
they tread the winepresses, yet suffer
thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
and the souls of the wounded cry out for
help.
But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
13 “There are those who rebel against the
light, who do not know its ways
or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises
up, kills the poor and needy,
and in the night steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
they make friends with the terrors of
darkness.
18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the
water; their portion of the land is cursed,
so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the
melted snow,
so the grave snatches away those who
have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
the worm feasts on them;
the wicked are no longer remembered
but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless
woman, and to the widow they show no
kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his
power;  though they become established,
they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of
security, but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then
they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like
all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.
25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
and reduce my words to nothing?”

Notes on Job 24

Continued from Day 23 on Job 23 – Job’s 2nd Complaint against God.

13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.

“God is frightening me”  (Job 23:13-17) At one time in his life, before his afflictions, Job found great comfort and peace in the sovereignty of God. Now he is struggling with fear about what this sovereign God may do to him next. “Those who resist or deny the sovereignty of God rob themselves of peace and courage. ‘There is no attribute of God more comforting to his children than the doctrine of sovereignty,’ said Charles Haddon Spurgeon. But when, like Job, are in darkness and pain it is easy to fall apart and become frightened. Job 23:14 must be contrasted with Jeremiah 29:11: “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future’”” (Weirsbe) Job was afraid, but He knew God was ultimately his Friend, his advocate, and his intercessor.
“God perplexes me” (Job 24:1-25) “This entire chapter focuses on the seeming injustices that God permits in this world….Job is to be commended for seeing somebody else’s troubles besides his own and for expressing a holy anger against sin and injustice. Too often, personal suffering can make us selfish and even blind us to the needs of others, but Job was concerned that God help others who were hurting. His three friends were treating the problem of suffering in far too abstract a fashion, and Job tried to get them to see hurting people and not just philosophical problems.” (Weirsbe)

Job was not blind to the pain and suffering of others even when he was overcome by his own. In this passage Job is crying out for God’s justice on behalf of others just as much as for his own. “Is it true that the wicked never face God’s justice? No. It may seem that way for a time. But Job concludes that God’s justice is not denied; it is merely delayed. The wicked flourish now, but judgement is coming.
If it seems that the wicked go unpunished, it’s only because God withholds His hand, giving them a chance to repent. That is why God seems to delay. If He judged every sin the moment it was committed, who would escape judgement? I wouldn’t and neither would you.” (Stedman)

“The major message Job leaves us is fairly obvious by now: Even though God [can be] elusive and mysterious, strange and silent, invisible and seemingly passive, He is trustworthy.” (Stedman)

3 Lessons:
Resist the tempation to explain everything; God knows.
Focus on the future benefits, not the present pain; God leads
Embrace the sonereignty of the Almighty; God controls. Refuse to believe that life is based on blind fate or random chance.
(Stedman)

Week Five – Day 25

25 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:
2 “Dominion and awe belong to God;
he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
3 Can his forces be numbered?
On whom does his light not rise?
4 How then can a mortal be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
5 If even the moon is not bright
and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
6 how much less a mortal, who is but a maggot—
a human being, who is only a worm!”
26:1 Then Job replied:
2 “How you have helped the powerless!
How you have saved the arm that is feeble!
3 What advice you have offered to one without
wisdom!
And what great insight you have displayed!
4 Who has helped you utter these words?
And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?
5 “The dead are in deep anguish,
those beneath the waters and all that live in
them.
6 The realm of the dead is naked before God;
Destruction[a] lies uncovered.
7 He spreads out the northern skies over empty
space;he suspends the earth over nothing.
8 He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
9 He covers the face of the full moon,
spreading his clouds over it.
10 He marks out the horizon on the face of the
waters
for a boundary between light and darkness.
11 The pillars of the heavens quake,
aghast at his rebuke.
12 By his power he churned up the sea;
by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
13 By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
14 And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his
power?”

Notes on Job 25

Chapter 25: Bildad is the third speaker in the third cycle of debate. This is his last time to speak and he makes it brief. Bildad makes two points:
“First, Bildad tells us that God is all-powerful (v. 2). In other words, there is no point in fighting God…What Bildad says is true, of course. What is not true is Bildad’s suggestion that Job has opposed God. Like Job’s other two friends, Bildad clings to his false premise, which is that job is suffering because of hidden sin in his life.” (Stedman)
Bildad’s second point: no one is righteous before God. This to is in effect true, “but there is something about the way Bildad makes this point that is totally untrue. Bolded refers to a human being as the equivalent of a maggot or a worm. God’s Word never demeans human being in such terms…God Himself never makes such a statement anywhere in Scripture. God views us as creatures of worth and value, made in His own image, so precious that He would send His only Son to die in our place. God never treats us as maggots or worms, even when we are in the depths of our own sin and rebellion. When Bildad refers to human beings in such ugly terms, he reflects a narrow theology that does not fit the facts.
You are not a worm. You are a precious and lovely child of the King. That is your identity in the eyes of your loving Father.” (Stedman)

Chapter 26: “According to Job’s friends, Job lacked wisdom; yet Bildad didn’t share one piece of wisdom or insight (v. 4) If Bildad’s words had come from God, then they would have done Job good; for Job had been crying out for God to speak to him. The conclusion is that Bildad’s words came from Bildad, and that’s why they did Job no good.” (Weirsbe)
“An intriguing change of roles now occurs. Instead of Bildad teaching Job, Job becomes the teacher. It’s almost as if he decides, ‘Since you don’t have any answers, let me tell you about the infinite, incomprehensible God, who hasn’t revealed all the whys and wherefores of His activities….Job is instructing Bildad. Whether Bildad is listening or not, who knows? But the beautiful thing is that Job has a relationship with God that Bildad never heard of. And because of that relationship Job can rely on God for whatever he may need. There is great comfort found when we rely on God in simple faith. We trust. We stay strong.” (Swindoll)