Was Job doing anything wrong?

Job Sees The Light - Thirtieth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

There are times when it is important to share about our lives as Christians. These moments arise when we are with those in need of encouragement, or we may be asked to present our ‘testimony’ to a group.

If the Lord provided special wisdom, a material gift or divine deliverance in a time of crisis, hearing about our experience may encourage a fellow believer.

However, believers do not normally tout their good works and describe their Christian demeanor to others. These are either in view, or if not, they are not to be mentioned (Mat 6:4-18). An exception would be if a person had to recount an activity to prove his whereabouts or corroborate an account of another person.

Paul did boast about his tribulations for Christ (2 Cor 11:22-33) and briefly noted his credentials for apostleship (2 Cor 12:12), and this was to establish his integrity to the wayward Corinthians.

Perhaps we might see Job’s testimony in Chapter 29 in this light.

Job 29:1-2 NIV The Chapter begins with Job mourning his loss of companionship with God. "The pathos of the whole book is in these words." (ref)

Job 29:3 NIV In the past when Job faced challenges, he had felt God’s hand of guidance. It is not so now.

Job 29:4 KJV The word ‘secret’ means God’s wisdom that is given only to those in his inner circle.

Job 29:5 NIV He has lost fellowship with God and his children are departed.

As we consider Job’s immense losses, we are deeply perplexed. What should Job's attitude be? What would ours be?

Job 29:6-11 NIV Job’s thoughts turn to the time when he was prosperous and respected. Most likely he was on the city council, with a seat in the square. His judgment was valued by young and old, and he enjoyed the praise of his contemporaries.

Job 29:12-17 NIV Job had been a good man who watched over the poor, disabled and dying. He consciously sought to be godly and to oppose evildoers.

Job 29:18-20 NIV He had enjoyed many days of strength and vigor, so many that it did not occur to him they would end.

Job 29:21-25 NIV Job had championed the underdog and disenfranchised; he ruled with compassion, was not a snob, and was loved by suffering souls as well as men of position.

His wisdom satisfied all. He understood the requirements of the Lord very well. (Micah 6:8)

Considering all this, what room did Job have for improvement? Why would God permit his demise and then leave him in despair for this unbearable time period?

For a man, the loss of position and reputation is a severe downfall. But perhaps there is no greater grief than the death of children. Strong grief, like the unbounded, treacherous flooding of a river, can rend a heart and make it pliable for God to reshape. But what reformation did Job need?

He enjoyed serving God. It was his way of life.

What was Job doing wrong?

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.

Attention Readers

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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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