The agony of being earnest

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-fourth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 23:1-7 NIV Job earnestly desires to be brought to God's court because he knows he will be vindicated! Is this not prideful? But he is also expressing his heart's desire to again be at peace with God as he formerly had been.

The children of God walk a straight and narrow road. If we wander to the left, we may stray into presumption, but if to the right, we may lose the courage and confidence of our convictions. So, how can we stay in the straight way? Prayer is a good start.

Job 23:8-10 NIV There is a comforting certainty in the heart of the one who knows God. Even in times of darkness and seeming abandonment, he trusts that God is at work to bring about a good change in his character. Although this certainty may be fleeting, we need those positive thoughts to lift us above the waves as we are driven relentlessly by the storms of life. (Don't forget to keep your mouth closed when the waves wash over your head.)

Job 23:11-12 NIV If Job lived before the time of Moses and the written law on the tablets of stone, what commandments had the Lord spoken prior to the generation of Abraham?

First, there was the commandment to Adam and Eve, then to Noah and his sons, to "be fruitful and multiply." (Gen 1:22; 9:1) Job had obeyed this, as we know he had 10 children.

There was evidently a commandment to revere and fear the Lord, since Job had a practice of offering burnt sacrifices for his children after their feasting days (birthday celebrations?) in case they had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. (Job 1:5)

No doubt it was generally known to keep the Sabbath holy, since God had sanctified it from the beginning. (Gen 2:3)

We know God had shown anger and judgment over murder, (Gen 4:10-12) and commanded that murderers receive capital punishment. (Gen 9:6). And we know God had insisted on obedience to his spoken commandments. (Gen 2:16-17; 3:17)

Though we don't know all the sins indulged in by the people of Noah's day, we know they were in part related to sexual misconduct (Gen 6:2-4), and the man who thought to perpetrate or mock such deviancies was relegated to the status of underling to his brothers (Gen 9:22-26).

We also know God did not approve of congregations of people where the few controlled the many, such as in the city with the Tower of Babel (Gen 11:6-7), and we know Job lived as a rancher, not in a city, as Lot did.

So, Job knew many commandments of God, and ESTEEMED them, more than food.

Job 23:13-17 NIV Job seems confident that the Lord will accomplish what He has set out to do; that the trial he has been assigned will end well. His thoughts here are echoed in other Books of the Bible, in 1 Peter (1 Pet 5:10), Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:26), Isaiah (Isa 28:24-29), the Psalms (Ps 138:8) and others.

Yet he is very afraid and is losing heart, as shown in his words, "Because I was not cut off before the darkness." Life has become a burden. A great conflict is crowding his very breath. It is a contest between good and evil, trust and despair, waiting on God and insisting on explanations, recalling God's ways and questioning his methods, protesting his innocence and wondering how far God will yet go. Anxiety, discouragement, frustration and self-focus are Satan's marks on our minds.

Hard testing

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-third in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 22:1-3 NIV In Chapter 21 Job argued that wicked people are not punished in a timely fashion, but rather enjoy life as though they are under no scrutiny nor law. Eliphaz could have said to Job, Point well taken. But in Chapter 22, Eliphaz concedes nothing. It is more important to him to flatten Job.

Let’s say your insight about the wicked is right. So what? Do you think God benefits from your tidbit? If you were really wise, it could be a big help to you— but it would profit God nothing. And furthermore, God does not gain anything from your righteous deeds.

There is a sense in which this line of reasoning has validity. All Christians would agree that God did not create man out of any personal deficiency or compulsion, and therefore man cannot give anything to God. This is standard orthodox doctrine. (David Guzik commentary)

From the standpoint of God’s all-sufficiency, man can give him nothing, yet in that God created man in his own image, and showed wonderful love for us by giving us his Son, and has an amazing plan of redemption, resurrection and eternal life, YES, man’s behavior makes a difference to God. We can glorify the Lord by our faith and our deeds that are performed in obedience and the help of the Holy Spirit.

If Job had no relation to God and God had no pleasure or interest in him, why did Satan desire to ruin him and force him to curse God? (Job 1-2) It does matter to God if you shrink from your faith, and whether you grow in it. (Heb 10:38; 1 Pet 1:7 et al) And will we grow in grace and faith if we are not tested? We will be tested! Abraham was tested. All God’s children will be tested (Isa 48:10) to prove and to refine our faith. (1 Pe 1:7; Prov 17:3)

Job was being tested. In this phase the devil is tempting him to feel despairing and angry by reason of heartbrokenness and defamation. It is heart crushing and insulting when friends falsely accuse us. Jesus endured the same, yet “answered nothing” (Mat 27:12 et al).

Job 22:4-11 NIV Job will refute these accusations in time.

Job 22:12-14 NIV Job actually had said in Chapter 9:
Which commandeth the sun, and it riseth not; and sealeth up the stars.
Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
Which maketh Arcturus, Orion, and Pleiades, and the chambers of the south.
Which doeth great things past finding out; yea, and wonders without number.
Lo, he goeth by me, and I see him not: he passeth on also, but I perceive him not.
(Job 9:8-11 KJV)
Yet, in a long dialog, who will recall all the statements? There is only One who will.

Job 22:15-20 NIV Eliphaz makes reference to Noah’s flood and other types of catastrophes in these verses. Job likewise has come under severe judgment.

But he can escape! Embrace God's words and ways; prize him not gold; seek his face and favor — Good advice, but aimed at the wrong heart.

Job 22:21-25 NIV These verses predict that Job will be delivered, though not innocent, when he humbles himself.

Job 22:26-30 NIV Commentators point out that Eliphaz is here unconsciously prophesying that Job will deliver his friends from God’s wrath when he prays for them, in the end.

Tracing out the ways of God

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-second in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 21:1-3 NIV In Chapter 15 Eliphaz had spoken of the wisdom imparted by the friends as “consolations” for Job. (Job 15:11) In response to Zophar's tirade of Chapter 20, Job will refute his condemning words that echoed those of the other friends– in brief– that the wicked experience God’s wrath here and now, and that Job’s misery proves he is wicked. If Zophar and the others could see they are mistaken in these views, Job’s arguments will serve as THEIR consolations. Where there is not truth there is little comfort to be expected. (Matthew Henry)

Job 21:4-6 NIV First of all, though, Job would like to establish that he is not more upset with his friends than he is with his situation, which he acknowledges to be God’s will. Yet, even if he were focused on their verbal abuse, it would be justifiable, for if they would consider all that he has endured, they would stop cruelly berating him.

The suffering saint desires understanding and pity, but it is a dark night of the soul.

Job 21:7-15 NIV Job has observed that the wicked are not harshly treated by the Lord, but rather they enjoy life despite their secular focus.

This is the language of their conduct, though not directly of their lips. . . . Let us alone; we do not trouble thee. Thy ways are painful; we do not like cross-bearing. Thy ways are spiritual; we wish to live after the flesh. We have learned to do our own will; we do not wish to study thine. (Clarke)

Job 21:16 NIV Despite appearances, Job knows their ease is permitted by God, not something they have achieved by their own efforts; therefore he pays no attention to their advice and boasting.

Job 21:17-21 NIV Job believes that rewards and punishments ought to be meted out in real time, not over decades and generations. The wicked man, not his sons, should suffer for his own folly. Yet this is not the way of God.

Job 21:22-26 NIV Though we cannot trace out the ways of God, we must trust they are infallibly right. What often passes as God's neglect of justice is in fact only his wonderful longsuffering, for God is always working his purposes out.

Job 21:27-28 NIV Job realizes his friends will have no regard for his words. They will continue to taunt and humiliate him by pointing out that his children and possessions are no more. Yet if they were truly wise they would recall that the cosmopolitans have seen many evil people who are not in ruins.

Job 21:29-34 NIV Evil people do not receive their just deserts in this life. No one even calls them to task! So — likewise, good people are do not always receive their due but are overturned along their way. But this does not prove they are evil!

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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