|<< Job 39|
Job 40-42 Listen
Job picks a good time to remain silent (Job 40:1-5)
1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said,
2 Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it.
3 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
4 Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.
5 Once have I spoken; but I will not answer: yea, twice; but I will proceed no further.
God began speaking here in Job 38 (see notes). Job's never heard anything like this before according to 42:5 - God literally speaking to a man. God pauses as he speaks from the whirlwind to make a comment on Job's previous monologues in verse 2, "Shall he that contendeth with the Almighty instruct him? he that reproveth God, let him answer it." Nope! A reply simply wouldn't be appropriate or prudent here. Job immediately realizes that now would be the right time to remain silent and just let God speak. Who would want to be seen "contending" or "reproving" God?
Let's remember something here; all of this started in chapter 1 when God speaks of Job to Satan in Job 1:8 (see notes), "Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil?" However, this "perfect" and "upright" man has made some statements in the course of his monologues that strike us as...well...maybe a little disrespectful toward God. Admittedly, Job's trial had made him a very confused man, and confused men say outrageous things under pressure. Job's comments along the way are quite provocative, but NOT sinful. Job wanted to hear God speak; well...hear ya go, Job!
God continues expressing dissatisfaction with Job's comments (Job 40:6-14)
6 Then answered the LORD unto Job out of the whirlwind, and said,
7 Gird up thy loins now like a man: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
8 Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?
9 Hast thou an arm like God? or canst thou thunder with a voice like him?
10 Deck thyself now with majesty and excellency; and array thyself with glory and beauty.
11 Cast abroad the rage of thy wrath: and behold every one that is proud, and abase him.
12 Look on every one that is proud, and bring him low; and tread down the wicked in their place.
13 Hide them in the dust together; and bind their faces in secret.
14 Then will I also confess unto thee that thine own right hand can save thee.
If you recall, Job spent considerable time expressing his belief that he was unjustifiably being abused and even appeared to question God's right to allow him to be treated in such a manner. Job apparently had little or no more understanding of trial than his friends. Therefore, he demanded a hearing before God to make his case. Well, now he has God's attention as God speaks. A rhetorical question in verse 8 is better not answered by Job, "Wilt thou also disannul my judgment? wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?" In other words, is it proper to redefine God for one's own justification? Think about those implications. Better yet, how many people today have redefined their concept of God for their own perverted purposes. That may impress ignorant people, but God and God's people remain unimpressed with those who seek to vindicate their own rebellion against God's Word by perverting the counsel of God to do so. Spiritually-minded/scripturally informed people will see through that heresy. Verses 6-14 contrast Job's feeble abilities to those of God. In other words, Job, if you had "an arm like God" (verse 9), then let's see what you can do.
What was this trial all about? There is no question about the righteousness of Job before God. That's confirmed in the very first chapter. Job is not being chastised for disobedience as Job's counselors had suggested. However, we do see in Job a man who lacks an understanding of God's ways. Moreover, it's not like Job didn't have some things in his life that needed some work. We saw in Job 29 (see notes) what a proud man Job was before the current round of adversity. Well...NO MORE! That pride is gone and Job is all ears as God speaks now. This bout of trials makes Job an all-new, willing vessel for God. And you know...that's what trial does; it doesn't come upon Believers because of rebellion against God, but rather to sharpen us and make us more usable for God's purposes.
What in the world is a Behemoth? (Job 40:15-24)
15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
19 He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make his sword to approach unto him.
20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.
God uses an illustration from nature when he describes the Behemoth. It's a transliterated Hebrew word (pronounced the same way in Hebrew). But don't get too excited over a potential discovery of an extinct creature; this is the only reference to it and probably is describing a hippopotamus; there's no way to tell for certain - just a very large animal that's a vegetarian. To summarize the point of its mention, a hippopotamus is hard to hunt with the tools available in Job's time - too big, clunky, powerful and thick-skinned. It's the kind of animal that you just stand in awe as you observe and then leave it alone.
And then there's the Leviathan (Job 41)
1 Canst thou draw out leviathan with an hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?
2 Canst thou put an hook into his nose? or bore his jaw through with a thorn?
3 Will he make many supplications unto thee? will he speak soft words unto thee?
4 Will he make a covenant with thee? wilt thou take him for a servant for ever?
5 Wilt thou play with him as with a bird? or wilt thou bind him for thy maidens?
6 Shall the companions make a banquet of him? shall they part him among the merchants?
7 Canst thou fill his skin with barbed irons? or his head with fish spears?
8 Lay thine hand upon him, remember the battle, do no more.
9 Behold, the hope of him is in vain: shall not one be cast down even at the sight of him?
10 None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?
11 Who hath prevented me, that I should repay him? whatsoever is under the whole heaven is mine.
12 I will not conceal his parts, nor his power, nor his comely proportion.
13 Who can discover the face of his garment? or who can come to him with his double bridle?
14 Who can open the doors of his face? his teeth are terrible round about.
15 His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal.
16 One is so near to another, that no air can come between them.
17 They are joined one to another, they stick together, that they cannot be sundered.
18 By his neesings a light doth shine, and his eyes are like the eyelids of the morning.
19 Out of his mouth go burning lamps, and sparks of fire leap out.
20 Out of his nostrils goeth smoke, as out of a seething pot or caldron.
21 His breath kindleth coals, and a flame goeth out of his mouth.
22 In his neck remaineth strength, and sorrow is turned into joy before him.
23 The flakes of his flesh are joined together: they are firm in themselves; they cannot be moved.
24 His heart is as firm as a stone; yea, as hard as a piece of the nether millstone.
25 When he raiseth up himself, the mighty are afraid: by reason of breakings they purify themselves.
26 The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold: the spear, the dart, nor the habergeon.
27 He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood.
28 The arrow cannot make him flee: slingstones are turned with him into stubble.
29 Darts are counted as stubble: he laugheth at the shaking of a spear.
30 Sharp stones are under him: he spreadeth sharp pointed things upon the mire.
31 He maketh the deep to boil like a pot: he maketh the sea like a pot of ointment.
32 He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.
33 Upon earth there is not his like, who is made without fear.
34 He beholdeth all high things: he is a king over all the children of pride.
Whoa! Here's a whole chapter devoted to the magnificent (and terrifying) attributes of an extinct animal. At least, let's hope it's extinct! Easton's Bible Dictionary has this definition of the word Leviathan: "a transliterated Hebrew word (livyathan), meaning 'twisted,' 'coiled.'" Well, that didn't help us much. However, when you look at the description of the creature given in this chapter, what do you get? Well, let me just say, I've been to the San Diego Zoo; it's a remarkable place, but they don't have one of these...thankfully! What's the point here for even mentioning this creature? Answer: God created this awesome animal. Who dares to presume to instruct or rebuke the creator of such an awesome creature. Many scholars suggest that this is a crocodile. Well...maybe...but then you have verses 19-21 - the fire thing out of his nose and mouth; I've never seen a crocodile do that. Have you? It's more than likely a description of an extinct animal. Whatever, stay out of the water!
1 Then Job answered the LORD, and said,
2 I know that thou canst do every thing, and that no thought can be withholden from thee.
3 Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not.
4 Hear, I beseech thee, and I will speak: I will demand of thee, and declare thou unto me.
5 I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee.
6 Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.
Job replies...carefully. Keep in mind, this trial did not happen to Job because of sin in Job's life. However, Job does recognize where he has stepped over the line in this process when he says in verse 3, "Who is he that hideth counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not." I've done that on occasion myself; how about you? Hey Bildad, Eliphaz and Zophar...are you still looking for some sort of an admission of guilt and a repentance from Job? Here it is in verses 5 and 6, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." He repents for the mere notion that he could possibly question God's motivation, attributes or character. How's that for a remedy to the pride Job displayed in Job 29 (see notes). There's nothing like realizing that we're nothing compared to God or without God. Maybe it doesn't seem like much to you, but this realization will change a Believer's life.
Now...let's put this whole episode in perspective:
Mission accomplished! It was a tough road, but Job DID NOT curse God, and Job DID maintain his integrity, much to the dismay of Satan (1:11, 2:5) and Job's wife (2:9).
Job's trial was a character-building ordeal. It's the same process by which Believers are made strong and capable today. Read these two articles to grasp this concept:
7 And it was so, that after the LORD had spoken these words unto Job, the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath.
8 Therefore take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to my servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and my servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that ye have not spoken of me the thing which is right, like my servant Job.
9 So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as the LORD commanded them: the LORD also accepted Job.
Chapter after chapter Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar have irritated us with their homemade theology and rebukes against Job. Now it's time for these three to get what's coming to them. And, yes, I'm a little disappointed that there is no mention of Elihu here. He irritated me also - perhaps more than any of the others. I still cling to the understanding that the first comments of God from the whirlwind were right on the tail of Elihu's comments. Surely he felt strongly rebuked and embarrassed as his speech was immediately discounted by God in front of his whole audience. If that doesn't cause you to lose audience credibility, what does?
Take a look at God's decree regarding the counselors; they must make their sacrifices before Job in verse 8 and have Job pray for them. In other words, not only did God take offense to their false counsel, but their offense was against Job as well. Job's forgiveness of these counselors was a critical piece of their restoration. Isn't that interesting; off-the-top-of-the-head, but baseless counsel of another requires of them a sin sacrifice. Think about how Christians today throw around counsel based upon only an uninformed hunch. Maybe we should learn a lesson here about giving counsel: Make certain it's based upon scripture. Their incorrect counsel in the name of God earns them the standing of being sinners in need of forgiveness by God and from the very man upon whom they thrust their bogus counsel.
A happy ending - Job is restored (Job 42:10-17)
10 And the LORD turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before.
11 Then came there unto him all his brethren, and all his sisters, and all they that had been of his acquaintance before, and did eat bread with him in his house: and they bemoaned him, and comforted him over all the evil that the LORD had brought upon him: every man also gave him a piece of money, and every one an earring of gold.
12 So the LORD blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.
13 He had also seven sons and three daughters.
14 And he called the name of the first, Jemima; and the name of the second, Kezia; and the name of the third, Kerenhappuch.
15 And in all the land were no women found so fair as the daughters of Job: and their father gave them inheritance among their brethren.
16 After this lived Job an hundred and forty years, and saw his sons, and his sons’ sons, even four generations.
17 So Job died, being old and full of days.
I would have liked to have had a couple of chapters devoted to Job's restoration - you know, as a personal reward to make up for all the depressing chapters. However, the important point is made, God restored him completely, and he experienced greater prosperity than before. So, what about Job's friends and relatives? You know...the ones who were noticeably silent when they thought their friend, Job, was being judged by God? Well, now that God has spoken and expressed his favor toward Job, they're back...and with gifts! Isn't it funny how prosperity seems to attract friends?
At first reading, there was one big unsettled issue in my mind - Job's wife - you remember...the one who told Job in Job 2:9 (see notes) to "curse God, and die." Should she get out of this thing unscathed? Then I realized that she really didn't. Look at Job 42:13, "He had also seven sons and three daughters." Despite the fact that she bore and had raised 10 children to adulthood before, it would appear that, even as an older woman, she had to do it all over again another 10 times; I'm good with that!
CONSIDER THIS: The Book of Job provides us with our basis for understanding the purpose and course of trial in the lives of Believers. It is an important doctrinal book for Believers. What is taught about trial in the New Testament is founded on the principles found right here in the Book of Job.