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?

The Son of Man

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-sixth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 25 is the book’s shortest chapter with only six verses. It is Bildad’s third speech and the last we hear from the three friends.

Bildad will draw comparisons between God and man to instruct Job about his puny importance in the scheme of things. He believes Job has offended God, by maintaining his innocence.

Job 25:1-2 NIV God is ruler and master over all, in control of each sphere: fearsome. And the wise fear him.

Job 25:3 NIV He is served by myriads of angelic hosts, but no matter how many or which of numberless creatures, all are under his daily watch from the rising of the sun to the evening stars and moon.

Job 25:4 NIV Considering the immense greatness of God, and considering the fall of Adam so that there is now a pall over creation, what is Job’s claim to innocence? It is a lie. What is his desire to hear from the Lord? Impertinence, pride, ignorance!

Job 25:5 NIV “Theirs is the light and purity but of creatures; His of the Creator.” (A. R. Fausset)

Job 25:6 (The NIV uses the term human being) In this verse we come to an important phrase, son of man. To the Christian, this is a term of endearment, In it we hear Jesus’ words,
For as Jonas was a sign unto the Ninevites, so shall also the Son of man be to this generation. (Luk 11:30)
Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not. (Luk 12:40)
…and so many others.

Though this is the second time in the Bible that this term appears, it perhaps antedates the first mention in Numbers spoken by Balak (Num 23:19), if we accept that the book of Job is ancient, and that Job was a compatriot of Abraham who lived about 700 years before Balak.

A first-mention of a word or phrase has special significance.

This term is used in many books of Scripture but because of its association with Christ, we may see it here as a provocation. Satan wants to rile God and to insult the Lord who is wonderful and not a worm, and of course, he is doing his utmost to discourage Job. As a first-mention, the Holy Spirit is warning us about Satan's wily ways.

Satan, through Bildad, is proposing that the ugly human who has no hope of purity, born of flesh, putrid in essence, is in a realm so far from God that he has nearly no relation. But the truth is, man was made in God's image, and Christ was born a man to raise us from sin and death to eternal life. This divine plan was in place from the beginning. We worms have hope!

God's distance from us is very great yet small, for by his mercy, we are sons of God (John 1:12; Rom 8:14, 19 et al), heirs through Christ (Gal 4:7)

Job fights for his integrity

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-fifth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 24:1 NIV The twentieth-fourth chapter of Job begins:
Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days? (Job 24:1 KJV)
‘Times’ in this verse connotes ‘times of punishment,’ says A.R. Fausset, referencing Eze 30:3 for a similar use. ‘They that know him’ are the godly.

In other words, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? (Rev 6:10) My soul is also sore vexed: but thou, O LORD, how long? (Ps 6:3; 13:1; 80:4; 90:13) O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! (Hab 1:2) Oh that you would rend the heavens and come down (Is 64:1)!

Like the martyred, persecuted, innocent victims of the brutal, demon-possessed evildoers across the ages, Job wants God’s judgment to fall NOW.

Job was under an intense persecution specially devised by Satan himself (Job 1:12), but he did not understand why. With Paul, he could have said, For I think that God hath set forth us the apostles last, as it were appointed to death: for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men. (1 Cor 4:9) But Job was not an apostle. His persecution came as a surprise.

He could also have said with Paul, …we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day. (1 Cor 4:13) Yes, God permits and imposes extensive belittling of his own in the process of perfecting them.

But, again, WHY are the guilty evildoers not punished— in a timely fashion?! What about the Sabeans and Chaldeans who killed Job’s servants and stole his livestock? If God would make an example of them, then everyone would see that Job is innocent and important to God. That would shut his friends up!

Job 24:2-6 NIV Job will now recount examples of those who assault and injure others. The first ones are somewhat like the Sabeans and Chaldeans, but in particular, they prey on the poor.

Job’s oxen and donkeys were stolen, but unlike the victims he describes, he was rich. These men are more cruel because their victims are poor. On the other hand, the poor glean from the vineyards of the wicked, but Job never gleaned a single grape from his oppressors, for he kept his own fields.

Job 24:7-12 NIV The poor are further described to spotlight the cruelty of their oppressors. Job’s compassion for the poor perhaps was inspired by his newfound ability to empathize with them. Like them, as well, he seems to be without a helper or advocate.

Job 24:13-17 NIV To the evil who perpetrate wrong as their right, nighttime is morning. They have no fear of God but only of being found out by those who could bring them to justice.

Job 24:18-20 NIV Job’s friends have said that evildoers are swiftly accosted and punished. This is untrue! But they will in time enter judgment.

Job 24:21-22 NIV Wicked people prey on the vulnerable and the secure; everyone is his victim.

Job 24:23 NIV Nevertheless, God sees and in time brings his end.

Job 24:24-25 NIV Job is obsessed with convincing his friends that evildoers are not punished swiftly even though they are in God’s timing. But if his friends were to concede this point, what would it prove? Well, Job could then press for further concessions, so he could be vindicated from their accusations and insults. Job has a plan!

A person's integrity is his stock in trade. As Solomon wrote: A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches (Prov 22:1) On the other hand, much time may be wasted in self defense that could be devoted instead to prayer.

Attention Readers

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