Perception is different from knowing

Job Sees The Light - Twenty-first in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 20:1-3 NIV At the end of Chapter 19, Job threatened his friends with God's wrath and severe judgment should they continue to castigate him. Rather than considering this possibility, Zophar perceives he has been insulted.

Likewise, the Pharisees were insulted when they heard John the Baptist call them to repent. However, not all who heard the Baptist were wounded in vanity; some confessed their sins and were baptized.

Job 20:4-7 NIV Now comes a profane stream of bile intended to shame Job into confessing his wickedness. Thankfully, we do not hear from Zophar again, except for one last mention of his name in the final chapter of Job, as he is directed by God to repent of his evil words and to atone.

Job 20:8-9 NIV Zophar perceives that Job is evil and therefore destined for oblivion.

The Psalms teach what Zophar believes: A little while, and the wicked will be no more; though you look for them, they will not be found. (Ps 37:10 ESV) However, the Bible does not teach that a reversal of fortunes is an indicator of God's wrath. Think of John the Baptist.

The Bible states, The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come. (Isa 57:1 RSV) Yes, at times God rescues his children from calamities not yet in view, by taking them to heaven.

Job 20:10-11 NIV Zophar predicts the ill-gotten gains of the wicked will become debts his children must repay when his own youthful vigor departs. This is an especially cruel jab considering Job's children have all died.

Job 20:12-22 NIV Zophar is accusing Job of many sins: love of evil, perfidy, bitterness, greed, extortion or fleecing, miserliness, lack of compassion for the poor, opportunism, rapacious discontent. Job will answer each of these charges and refute them in his self-defense.

Job 20:23-29 NIV But now, the condemnation and vitriol crash and swirl in waves sure to overwhelm Job, pushing him under, suffocating him until he MUST gasp curses at the Lord.

But no, the man of God is not so much animated or affected by false accusations as by the separation he so keenly feels between himself and his God. To Job, the real tragedy is much deeper than his personal decimation. It is the loss of the center of his being. But that is only how he feels, that is, what he perceives. In truth, all is well, and underneath are the everlasting arms. (Deut 33:27)

And there is a closer walk he has yet to discover.

Job’s wish is God’s command

Job Sees The Light - Twentieth in a series

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Job 19:1-6 NIV His friends have reproached him in five speeches, but it feels like ten. All are agreed that the debacle is God's doing, but why is the topic of contention.

Job 19:7-8 NIV Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice. Job's cries for help and answers have been —ignored?

Nearly every trial brings a time of waiting. We need to continue to live and to hope based only on faith and not sight. Some cannot do this and take many wrong turns, even suicide.

The truth is that God is at work performing wonders in our lives and hearts even when it seems as though nothing at all is being done. He is quietly rearranging our perceptions and expectations during the long, silent moments and days of our tribulations so that we begin to see things from his perspective.

The truth is that Satan will do his worst to impede our progress and delay our deliverance.

Job 19:9 NIV Is this verse to be understood figuratively or literally? Was Job simply a great man or was ‘the greatest man of the East’ (Job 1:3) a king?

Job 19:10-11 NIV It is very hard to pull up a tree, even a dead one. Why, God?

Job 19:12-17 NIV We may not realize what a strength our family and others are to us until they are removed. Even to lose one good friend is traumatic, or if a brother or sister turns their back, ones grief is overwhelming. Job has lost the love and support not only of friends and servants but also of his family members not to mention the complete loss of this ten children. What man ever experienced a greater trial?

Job 19:18-19 NIV Job grieves over the lack of respect accorded him by youth and the outright disgust felt by his former friends.

Job 19:20 NIV The reduction Job endured was thorough.

Job 19:21-24 NIV Some scholars believe that the mention of the iron tool on lead indicates that Job lived in the days of the Judges because iron did not come into common use in the ancient near East until the 12 century BC. Yet in Genesis 4 we read that Zillah also had a son, Tubal-Cain, who forged all kinds of tools out of bronze and iron. (Gen 4:22) So evidently, iron was in use from the earliest times.

Job will get his wish that his words be written, engraved in the rock forever. The Bible is the rock-solid Word of God that will stand forever, even after iron tools and rocks have been removed.

Job 19:25-27 NIV Every Christian treasures this vision and assurance of resurrection life in Christ.

Job 19:28-29 NIV Again, in the midst of despair and rumination over his ugly mistreatment by God and man, Job is given an empowering prophecy that overshadows his need for pity. He is emboldened once again to push back against his tormentors.

Bildad's venom

Job Sees The Light - Nineteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job asked, “Who can see any hope for me?” (Job 17:15b previous post) Does Bildad respond with a word of comfort? No, he reacts instead to Job's remark, “I will not find a wise man among you.” (Job 17:10) He scolds Job as one as one rebukes a child, and upbraids him for making too much of his miseries.

Job 18:1-4 NIV We could see this coming. Job insulted Bildad so he is getting what he gave.

Job 18:5-10 NIV Could we not expect better from Bildad? Considering he is older and not suffering anything other than the insults of a man who has experienced the most extreme tribulation imaginable, could he not be less judgmental and more forgiving?

No, Satan will not give his victim a rest. Once he has worn down his composure, he is close to achieving his end, namely the defeat of his resistance. Without resistance to the wiles of the devil, a man can be seized and carried away by his suggestions. Bildad will not let up.

Job 18:11-15 NIV To resist the devil in his specific campaigns against us it is helpful to discern what he wants to accomplish. From Bildad's words we see Satan's accusation that Job brought his terrors on himself by his own wrongs.

Such condemnation could evoke several possible responses from Job. He could begin to doubt his own experience and accept these accusations as true. One Christian author has pointed out that if we accept the devil's attacks on our character or lives as valid, we will suffer as much as if they really were true. We will condemn ourselves and hate our lives for no reason.

Another response might be to defend himself as he has been doing. In this he is letting Satan win by focusing him on himself. A self focus is a noose. A third response would be retreating into depression and discouragement, and Job has exercised this option, too. The right response is to resist the devil.

Job 18:16-19 NIV It would not occur to Bildad that the wicked could experience anything but calamities, nor that the righteous could know anything but cheer and ease. Thus he believes that Job deserves the condemnation of his words.

When the Lord rebukes a man, he is strengthened and helped, but Satan's rebukes are designed to weaken and hurt us.

Job 18:20-21 NIV When Satan provokes us to speak in an ungodly way, he is only stirring up what is already in our hearts, not putting something new or different there. This verbal bile that Bildad has spewed on Job is from his own heart even though Satan inflamed him to deliver it. He, too, must learn to resist the devil.

Can mortals stand against the flaming darts of Satan? When those arrows bored into Bildad urging him to slander and accuse Job, and to particularly spotlight the death of his descendants, could Bildad have resisted? In a category 5 tempest it is very hard to stand, but with God all things are possible.

Attention Readers

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

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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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