|<< Job 23|
Job 24-28 Listen
Job goes back to his the-wicked-do-so-prosper speech. (Job 24)
1 Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?
2 Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.
3 They drive away the ass of the fatherless, they take the widow’s ox for a pledge.
4 They turn the needy out of the way: the poor of the earth hide themselves together.
5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.
6 They reap every one his corn in the field: and they gather the vintage of the wicked.
7 They cause the naked to lodge without clothing, that they have no covering in the cold.
8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.
9 They pluck the fatherless from the breast, and take a pledge of the poor.
10 They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry;
11 Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.
12 Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.
13 They are of those that rebel against the light; they know not the ways thereof, nor abide in the paths thereof.
14 The murderer rising with the light killeth the poor and needy, and in the night is as a thief.
15 The eye also of the adulterer waiteth for the twilight, saying, No eye shall see me: and disguiseth his face.
16 In the dark they dig through houses, which they had marked for themselves in the daytime: they know not the light.
17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.
18 He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth: he beholdeth not the way of the vineyards.
19 Drought and heat consume the snow waters: so doth the grave those which have sinned.
20 The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him; he shall be no more remembered; and wickedness shall be broken as a tree.
21 He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.
22 He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.
23 Though it be given him to be in safety, whereon he resteth; yet his eyes are upon their ways.
24 They are exalted for a little while, but are gone and brought low; they are taken out of the way as all other, and cut off as the tops of the ears of corn.
25 And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?
This speech of Job began back in Job 23:1 (see notes). It seems that Job is still irritated over the accusations from Bildad and Eliphaz that: God punishes wickedness, therefore Job is being punished, therefore Job must be wicked. He started rebutting that back in Job 21 (see notes), and then Eliphaz spoke in chapter 22 trying to establish the same conclusion - that Job must be wicked. Now Job's back at establishing once again that the wicked do so prosper, his theme of chapter 21. Look at his statement in verse 12, "Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them." He's just been talking about the wicked deeds of these people, but God does nothing (immediately) to them. I think you can see his reasoning. He spends the rest of the chapter pointing out that, while the wicked appear to prosper here on earth, they will get their just reward in the end. And by the way, Job is right about all of that, as we established back in Job 21 (see notes).
Ol' Bildad's running out of original material. (Job 25)
1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said,
2 Dominion and fear are with him, he maketh peace in his high places.
3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise?
4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean that is born of a woman?
5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight.
6 How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm?
Just six verses here - Bildad makes no attempt to answer Job, nor did he even present a new argument. He simply repeats what Eliphaz had already said in Job 4:17-21 (see notes) and Job 15:14-16 (see notes). It's just six verses of "God is great" and "man is not worthy." Where are the good speech writers when you need them?
1 But Job answered and said,
2 How hast thou helped him that is without power? how savest thou the arm that hath no strength?
3 How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?
4 To whom hast thou uttered words? and whose spirit came from thee?
5 Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof.
6 Hell is naked before him, and destruction hath no covering.
7 He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing.
8 He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them.
9 He holdeth back the face of his throne, and spreadeth his cloud upon it.
10 He hath compassed the waters with bounds, until the day and night come to an end.
11 The pillars of heaven tremble and are astonished at his reproof.
12 He divideth the sea with his power, and by his understanding he smiteth through the proud.
13 By his spirit he hath garnished the heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent.
14 Lo, these are parts of his ways: but how little a portion is heard of him? but the thunder of his power who can understand?
We saw in chapter 25 how Bildad really didn't reply to Job's previous monologue, but actually just restated some of the arguments of Eliphaz from earlier? Well, there's no foolin' Job; he may be broken out in boils all over, but his mind is still sharp. He sarcastically replies to Bildad and suggests in verse 4 that he didn't even write his own material when he asks, "whose spirit came from thee?"
Then Job continues with his version of God extolling. It's almost as if Job thinks that if he magnifies the virtues of God enough, God will show up for the hearing Job seeks. Hang on...this monologue by Job continues down through chapter 31.
Job offers up a curse on his friends/counselors. (Job 27)
1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said,
2 As God liveth, who hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, who hath vexed my soul;
3 All the while my breath is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils;
4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit.
5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me.
6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach me so long as I live.
7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.
8 For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?
9 Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?
10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God?
11 I will teach you by the hand of God: that which is with the Almighty will I not conceal.
12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen it; why then are ye thus altogether vain?
13 This is the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, which they shall receive of the Almighty.
14 If his children be multiplied, it is for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread.
15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.
16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay;
17 He may prepare it, but the just shall put it on, and the innocent shall divide the silver.
18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.
19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.
20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.
21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place.
22 For God shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand.
23 Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.
It's still Job speaking here - a speech that began in chapter 26 (see above). No matter what happens, Job is determined to retain his integrity. Look at verse 4, "My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit." To plea bargain as they insist he must is repugnant to Job. He will not admit to wrongdoing that he has not committed in order to satisfy anyone. Look at Job 27:5, "God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me." Through all of this, Job stands on principle. Job makes a pretty severe statement in Job 27:7, "Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous." For the remainder of this chapter, Job outlines God's curse upon the wicked. Well, who are these people who "riseth up against me as the unrighteous?" HIS COUNSELORS! Job has just offered up a curse upon his counselors for their bad counsel.
Let's pause a moment to recall Satan's stated mission in bringing about this adversity in Job's life. Satan stated to God at the beginning of this ordeal in Job 2:5 (see notes), "But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face." You can see in this chapter that Satan's mission is waaay not working; Job's integrity remains intact.
LEARN THIS LESSON FROM JOB: A guilt-ridden life is a miserable existence. Job had lived his life very carefully before God. His friends want to heap guilt upon him. Think about the implications of taking their advice. If Job accepts their premise that he is living in unintended, unavoidable sin without any personal knowledge of his actual shortcomings, then the very nature of God changes in Job's life. Job insists all through the Book that God certainly has the authority to do with him whatever he pleases, but it ought to follow a clear rationale. Job is right in wanting to understand that rationale. His weak-minded friends are content to say anything, do anything or believe anything to keep God off their backs. This kind of uninformed relationship with God still widely exists with Believers today. Many saved people are virtually unaware of what it means to serve God under grace. And their preachers seem content to keep them that way. As a result, many Christians live their lives under a cloud of guilt, never believing they have done quite enough to truly please God. THAT'S NO WAY TO LIVE! I Corinthians 15:57 (see notes) says, "But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." Informed Believers (those who study the Word of God) can live their lives completely assured that they are walking in victory. Hey! That's the only way to live!
...and y'all think you're so wise! (Job 28)
1 Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold where they fine it.
2 Iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone.
3 He setteth an end to darkness, and searcheth out all perfection: the stones of darkness, and the shadow of death.
4 The flood breaketh out from the inhabitant; even the waters forgotten of the foot: they are dried up, they are gone away from men.
5 As for the earth, out of it cometh bread: and under it is turned up as it were fire.
6 The stones of it are the place of sapphires: and it hath dust of gold.
7 There is a path which no fowl knoweth, and which the vulture’s eye hath not seen:
8 The lion’s whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it.
9 He putteth forth his hand upon the rock; he overturneth the mountains by the roots.
10 He cutteth out rivers among the rocks; and his eye seeth every precious thing.
11 He bindeth the floods from overflowing; and the thing that is hid bringeth he forth to light.
12 But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?
13 Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living.
14 The depth saith, It is not in me: and the sea saith, It is not with me.
15 It cannot be gotten for gold, neither shall silver be weighed for the price thereof.
16 It cannot be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx, or the sapphire.
17 The gold and the crystal cannot equal it: and the exchange of it shall not be for jewels of fine gold.
18 No mention shall be made of coral, or of pearls: for the price of wisdom is above rubies.
19 The topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal it, neither shall it be valued with pure gold.
20 Whence then cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?
21 Seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of the air.
22 Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears.
23 God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof.
24 For he looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth under the whole heaven;
25 To make the weight for the winds; and he weigheth the waters by measure.
26 When he made a decree for the rain, and a way for the lightning of the thunder:
27 Then did he see it, and declare it; he prepared it, yea, and searched it out.
28 And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.
We continue with the monologue by Job that began in chapter 26 (see above); it continues down through chapter 31. It's interesting that Job makes a differentiation between knowledge and wisdom in this chapter. His implications seem to be that his friends might be smart, but they have no wisdom. Where does wisdom come from anyway? That's the burning question Job asks in chapter 28. In the tradition of Job's eloquent, I'm-gonna-wear-you-out style, he asks this question about wisdom in just about every conceivable way you can imagine, and many you can't imagine. Here's the bottom line to this chapter: everything his counselors have said may sound correct before their audience, but it is all devoid of God's wisdom. Job continues into Job 29 (see notes).