Searching for treasure

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-ninth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

In Chapter 28 Job describes how man has found precious stones, ores and minerals by methods and labor, but he, a rancher and farmer by trade and truth seeker by temperament, has mined for wisdom.

Job 28:1-4 NIV He begins by reflecting on the pursuit of ‘gold diggers’. They explore and persevere, bearing light in dark places, to dig out and extract valuable metals and then to refine them.

Job 28:5-11 NIV Though the earth appears to be a field of grain, beneath it lie fiery treasures, sapphires to gold. Man by his intelligence and sweat carves out and dotes on what birds and beasts never see nor need.

Job 28:12-19 NIV Yet for all his mining sense and skill, man does not understand how or where to search for wisdom nor does he appreciate its importance. It is not found anywhere in the earth or sea, and cannot be purchased by gold and silver, though its worth is far more than any precious jewel, coral or pearl.

Job 28:20-27 NIV In these verses, Job speaks of wisdom that is hidden, that only God understands and can reveal.

Because of Job’s specific knowledge of crafts and natural wonders, some commentators have supposed Solomon to be the author of the book, however, Thomas Coke, one of the founders of the Methodist Church in the United States, wrote:

The sapphire was mentioned before, and, being itself a Hebrew word, there can be no doubt about the meaning of it; but for the other words, whether we translate them rightly is a controverted point among the learned; and the obscurity of the text in this, as well as in other places, affords no inconsiderable argument of the antiquity of the book. (ref)

Job saw the majesty of God but could not perceive that it testified to his wisdom in Christ; that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting our sins against us (2 Cor 5:19). Even though this was established in the beginning, it was not yet in view. (1 Cor 2:7; Eph 1:4)

Treasuring Christ is true wisdom that can prevent us from foolish seeking after gold and silver. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8:36)

Job knew only that fear of God and being upright were wisdom and understanding: emotion and action, attitude and practice, as then, so today.
And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom;
and to depart from evil is understanding.
(Job 28:27)

And with this Job suggests that his friends should have been satisfied, and not have pretended to dive into the secrets of God, and condemned him for a hypocrite, by misinterpreting the designs of Divine Providence. - ibid, Thomas Coke (1747-1814)

Job could not fathom what we today take for granted: Christ in us, our hope of glory, the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints (Col 1:26-27) Yet, if we take this for granted without cherishing it, then we have no fear of God and we do evil. We do not know as much as Job did millennia ago.

In the fight of his lfe

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-eighth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

To defend oneself against false accusations takes more strength, courage and determination than to walk again after months of lying flat as an invalid.

To stand and to walk, Job must push against the sneers and insults of trusted friends who have become Satan’s allies in the war on Job’s faith. It would be easier if he were defending himself against men who had never cared for him. He could lift up his head knowing their motives were selfish. But for friends to accuse him of wrongdoing and call him an hypocrite is crushing.

Job 27:1-5 ASV Job makes a vow in Chapter 27 that he will never speak lies, nor concede that he is an evil, dishonest man.

As with the term, “son of man,” (see no. 26 of this series) we have here the first mention of the word parable. (Many Bible versions use parable, though in the NIV the word is discourse.) Though used by Balak in the book of Numbers which precedes Job in the Bible, Balak probably lived hundreds of years after Job, so Job’s use of the term would precede his. In both cases, the words of the men are to teach and to recite proverbial –well-known– truth. In the meaning of the term, two things may be compared. Here, Job is drawing comparisons between himself and evil men.

Job 27:6-7 NIV Holding fast to our integrity in an argument may compel us to rebuke those who falsely accuse us, even though they be members of our family or close friends. Job has determined that if these friends insist on defaming his character, then they must bear the mark of their misjudgment. It is evil to slander a righteous person, therefore they will become known as unrighteous, wicked men.

Job 27:8-10 NIV Job must defend his life and his good witness against these slanderers. If he actually was unrighteous, what would his expectation be? How could he live? How could he hold his head up, so that he might wait upon the Lord for his deliverance? He could not! No, a hypocrite is not a believer. He cannot stand when the storms of life come for he has built his house on sand (Mat 7:26).

Job 27:1-12 NIV Job will now instruct his friends; this will not make him popular. Talking down to those who consider themselves your equals or “betters” is provocative. Why do it? Why not simply wait on the Lord for deliverance? Everyone knows that evil people face a future of judgment, terror, loss and emptiness.

Job 27:13-23 NIV Funny, this seems to describe what has occurred in Job’s life, at least some of it does. This is what makes it difficult for Job to defend himself. His defense is not convincing because appearances loudly proclaim he is out of God’s favor.

What can an innocent person can say or do in the face of such apparent condemnation? Wait on the Lord.

War of words

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-seventh in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 26:1-4 NIV In Chapter 26, Job suspects there is more involved than that which already is beyond his comprehension. He begins by castigating Bildad. Is this right? Please think about this. Job suggests Bildad speaks for Satan.

Job 26:5 NIV Satan’s minions have been known to interfere in the lives of men. Evil angels preyed upon mankind so that “every imagination of the thoughts of his [man’s] heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5), which led God to send a flood, drowning all creatures outside the ark, and to begin again.

Many classical commentaries explain that the waters and all that live in them refers to the victims of Noah’s flood, and the dead in deep anguish are those who have died and joined them. Under the waters is the place where God consigns the wicked. A good explication of the root words of the original text is here.

Job 26:6 NIV Sheol was understood to be a place of temporary abode previous to the resurrection, and Abaddon the abode of destruction. (ibid previous link) Though invisible to man, they are in full view to God. Job here focuses his speech on God’s greatness rather than Satan’s power, moving next to praise his divine creation of the heavenly places.

Job 26:7-9 NIV These wonders are uplifting to ponder, unlike the condemnations and dark words of his friends that helped him not a bit! (Job 26:2-3)

Job 26:10 NIV Job had heard the revelation of how God had divided light from darkness. (Gen 1:4)

Job 26:11-13 NIV These verses are variously interpreted.

Some Bible scholars view the pillars of heaven as the mountains, upon which heaven seems to rest. His rebuke is thunder as he cries out above the earth. Pillars could also be viewed figuratively as the structural strength of heaven.

Churning the sea (stated as Stilling the sea in many Bible versions) could mean the divine parting of the Red Sea associated with the destruction of Egypt, called Rahab (proud one) in Isaiah 51. (Isa 51:9) In this view, Job is seen as a contemporary of those living many centuries after the patriarchs. Or, it could refer to God’s power over nature, and Rahab could be a reference to Satan, who rules over the underworld.

His breath, his wind, blows away the clouds so that we clearly see the starry night. The “fleeing serpent” is the constellation of the dragon which astronomers have delineated. Or, God alone made every creature, even the Evil One, and will clear the heavens of his presence. (Rev 12:7-9)

Job 26:14 NIV A beautiful summary of Job 26 is provided by Joseph Sutcliffe, an 18th century circuit-riding minister and colleague of John Wesley.

Job, like the palmtree, rises the more after depression. He opens his reply to Bildad with all the superiority of majestic satire. Thou art deficient in describing the grandeur of God. He reigns not in heaven alone, but also in hell. There he binds the rebel giants in chains of darkness. He has formed all the shining spheres, which revolve, and illuminate the vast expanse, and holds them in the hollow of his hand. He balances the earth on her pole to give day and night, and to change the seasons of the year. He walks through the viâ lacte, treading the trackless paths of light. Lo, these are but a small part of his ways.—Lord, what then is man, that thou art mindful of him; or the son of man that thou shouldest visit him! (ref)

Sutcliffe is very gracious with Job, yet Job has continued a contest of one-upmanship that needs to end. It is irritating. This back-and-forth exchange with his friends, despite the wonderful descriptions of God’s work and ways, nevertheless sustains vilification and argument. What would be wrong with Job conceding that if he is evil, he will humbly wait for God to enlighten him of his sins?

The conversations are engendering confusion, and God is not a God of confusion, but of peace. (1 Cor 14:33) When does a war of words become a war on the Word?

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.

Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

Hochosterwitz 01052004 04