Kept from falling

Job Sees The Light - Seventeenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

The reader of the book of Job may ask the question that Job asks as Chapter 16 opens.

Job 16:1-3 NIV What is the purpose of these lengthy monologues? Job and his friends should stop bickering. They have been sparring for 12 chapters — and they will continue for another 16. Then a younger man will attempt to teach them for six chapters until at last the Lord speaks and has the final word.

A total of 36 chapters of God's Word are a debate or discussion over Job's righteousness and God's mysterious ways, which is why this book is set among the Bible's wisdom books. Chronologically it could be near the beginning, but by its content it belongs with the Books that seek to answer man's deepest perplexities such as why God permits human suffering, and with those writings that praise Him for who He is.

Job 16:4-5 NIV Christ said, “Man does not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Mat 4:4), so we know that each word in each chapter of Job has eternal import. One great result of suffering is that it creates in us a heart of compassion. Job is being converted from a sympathetic friend to one with empathy.

Before his deep trials he could comfort the afflicted with a sincere word and a twinge of understanding, but now he can truly feel the pain of the bereft, the mourner, the depleted, the disenfranchised, the forsaken. He understands how it feels to be the one in need– the one without hope, whose brokenness is beyond repair. Now he would know exactly how to comfort the most miserable sufferer; his compassion is real.

Job 16:6-14 NIV Neither defending himself nor enduring the insults and accusations of his friends brings Job any relief. The pain he feels is not lessened by answering their charges nor by quietly ignoring them. He views their venom as God's further tearing at his heart.

It is understandable how Job has identified the Lord in this aspect of his long trial. He has accepted that his devastation is God's doing. Therefore, the cruelty of his friends is also God's work.

However, while God is permitting all these influences to wear away Job's inner strength so that he might attain a new way of seeing, it is Satan, not God, who is provoking Job's friends to attack and wound him. In similar straits, we must be clear on who the enemy is. Confusion and emotional instability quickly take over when faith in God's goodness is lost.

Job 16:15-18 NIV Job is suffering and grieving profoundly, and he views himself as an innocent sufferer, pure in heart and clean in his prayers. He sees his plight as unjust and challenges the earth — "Do not cover my blood —"! This reminds us of God's words to Cain after Cain had murdered his brother Abel. "What have you done? Listen! Your brother's blood cried out to me from the ground…"(Gen 4:10-12) It is as though the earth refuses to be an accomplice to an unjust death.

Job likewise wants the earth to testify for him, for like Abel, he has been murdered —but wait —is Job saying that God has murdered him?

Job 16:19-22 NIV On the brink of rebellion, a prophetic word is shared. Job is rescued from harsh thoughts about God by the concept of a special friend interceding on his behalf. He then returns to crying out to God, seeking the help he needs to be restored.

We are reminded the Lord is our shepherd; our souls will be restored and we will dwell in his house forever.

Speaking for Satan

Job Sees The Light - Sixteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

A God-ordained trial such as Job endured, is not to be viewed as divine permission for onlookers to help bring the subject to a right view of things. Job's friends believe they are promoting God’s agenda by castigating Job, but they have no concept of what the Lord has determined to achieve, so how can they assist him?

Job 15:1-6 NIV Nevertheless, Eliphaz, in Chapter 15, striving to defend God in the courtroom brawl, takes the floor to cross examine Job. In his previous speech he was solicitous, but now he wants only to prove that Job is guilty.

The “east wind” in that land was the most violent. Job is being accused of attacking and weakening the foundational knowledge about God's very nature. Such an offense must be strongly opposed!

Job 15:7-14 NIV Job, you are not a discerning man. (But wasn't it Job who initially stated that man is by nature impure? (refs Job 15:14; Job 14:4)) We, your friends, have tried to comfort you with our words and you have shown no respect for our wisdom, even though we are your elders!

Job 15:15-16 NIV Next, Eliphaz repeats his previous insight that God “puts no trust” in his servants, “and his angels he charges with error.” (Job 4:18)

God takes a dim view of his angels who were created with mightier powers and better qualities than man, so how can man expect any greater consideration?

This line of reasoning rephrases Satan’s own complaint against the Lord. I was the most beautiful creature of all — I was anointed as a guardian cherub. Every precious stone adorned me… But I was driven from the mount of God — I, the model of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty… (Ez 28:12-17) —If God would do this to me, the highest angel, then he would surely do it to you, a mere man. Thus we detect the influence of Satan in the discourse of Eliphaz.

Satan wants us to identify in his rebellion against God and to doubt our prospects for salvation. Man needs assurance of salvation and to know that God is love. We must minister in this way to those in deep distress.

Job 15:17-30 NIV Job had pointed out that the evil are not always hounded by God (Job 12:6), but Eliphaz thinks differently. The evil man is a marked man and will be punished. In fact the two would agree: evil men are not always promptly punished, but in time, they will be. Arguments cause us to bicker over things about which we agree.

Job 15:31-35 NIV Eliphaz has begun to view Job as a reprobate.

In Proverbs we read that the wounds of a friend are faithful (Prov 27:6), but here we see that they can be deadly and cruel. We also read in Proverbs: The spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; but a wounded spirit who can bear? (Prov 18:14)

Will Job collapse under Eliphaz’s tirade? Stay tuned.

Contending with God

Job Sees The Light - Fifteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 14:1-2 NIV Job, in Chapter 14, strives with God. He will not address his friends at all.

Job reminds God, the Creator, what sort of creature man is. He is mortal, born of a woman, not sprung from the head of God. He is flesh, of few days, days full of difficulties. He starts life in the grandeur of youth only to fade and wither in old age. He dies.

Job 14:3-6 NIV Would God really interact with such a creature? Wouldn't he consider it a waste of his time? Why apply high expectations to a lowly, laughable bag of bones?

Why unleash trial and judgment on a creature who is at God's mercy? Man, by definition, is imperfect. He is wanting. He is a mixture– impure. And no matter how harshly you deal with him, you can never distill from this polluted creation a purified man. It's impossible. Not even you can do it, God!

Job feels that God has been overzealous with his faithful servant and needs to recognize the error of his ways. Stop bearing down on this broken man!

Job 14:7-12 NIV It is possible for a dead tree to revive, but a dead man, no. Not until a different time, a new day when the heavens have disappeared: Then man will be roused from sleep of death. A day of resurrection will come! Commentators agree that the resurrection is in view here; Job envisions it in his extreme misery.

Job 14:13 NIV Yes, this is actually what God will do. As surely as spring follows winter, so will the Lord remember his children, and at a set time.

The resurrection is a good hope, but better still is the wonder of interaction with God and the experience of his lovingkindness in this life. This is greatly to be desired.

Job 14:14-17 NIV Job is looking toward a day of restoration when things will be back to normal, and he will not be under God's magnifying glass.

Job 14:18-22 NIV Job was a mountain of a man, but God’s torrents wore him down. God does not even care whether a man and his sons remain in contact, Job reflects. He reduces a man to inner pain and aloneness. God, you have destroyed my hope! Shame on you! says Job, in effect.

Before we backslide to doubt and fury against God, we must run to him for strength. “We hide from God in God.” Trust in the Lord no matter what appearances are. The one who feels far from God must chose to advance deeper in to Him.

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

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