The Two Sides of Wisdom

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Job 11:1-12.  Let’s go!
Job 11:7 (NIV) 
7  “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty?
On verses 1-12:  Here Zophar the Naamathite, Job’s third friend, chimes in.  Like Eliphaz and Bildad before him, Zophar’s first words are heavy in judgment and light on grace.  To paraphrase Zophar’s words to Job, “Will no one rebut your idle talk and rebuke your self-proclaimed innocence (v2-4)?  I wish God would speak right now and shut you up, because the fact is God is punishing you less than you deserve (v5-6).  God is so much bigger than you.  Don’t even try to measure His dimensions (v7-9).  If He tries you in His court, you wouldn’t stand a chance (v10).  He sees right through deceitful men and takes note of what evil people do (v11).  But stupid people will become wise about the same time that donkeys give birth to humans (v12).”

What can we learn from this?  Here we must separate the wheat from the chaff in what Zophar says.

Zophar is correct in saying that:

It Matters How You Question God

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Job 10:1-22.  Let’s go!
Job 10:1-2 (NIV) 
1  “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. 
2  I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me.
On verses 1-2:  Because Job hated his life, he had no problems complaining, being bitter and questioning God.  When a person is constantly complaining and bitter, you know there is something unhealthy going on in their heart.  As Jesus says, “out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).  What comes out of one’s mouth is a reflection of what’s going on inside their heart.  So if you want to change your speech, it starts with letting God change your heart.

Your Story Spoiler Alert

Hi GAMErs,

Job 9:25-26 (NIV) 
25  “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
26  They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey.

On verses 25-26:  For a lot of people, when they are in pain, time moves very slowly – minutes feel like hours, days feel like months, and months feel like years. So why is it that Job, who is in great pain, says, “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away” (v25).  I believe that is because Job has gone from the prime of his life to nearing his death so quickly.  For Job, it’s as if decades have passed in just a few days.

Job 9:27-28 (NIV) 
27  If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,’
28  I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent.

On verses 27-28:  For Job, trying to cheer himself up and choosing to be joyful is little use when he believes that in the end, God is going to punish him for his sin (v27-28).

The Greatest Proof That God Is Good

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Job 9:13-24.  Let’s go!

On verses 13-24: Job feels helpless before God. In his great pain, Job sees God not as a loving Father but as an angry beast fiercer than monsters of the deep like Rahab (not Rahab the prostitute in the book of Joshua but Rahab, being the name for the Egyptian crocodile) (v13).  In Job’s eyes, God is a merciless powerhouse with whom you cannot reason or argue (v15-16).  He is like a UFC opponent who beats Job into submission and multiplies his wounds for no reason (v17), a God who is relentless in making life miserable for Job (v18). His strength cannot be matched (v19), His justice cannot be questioned (v19) and He is so sovereign and holy that even to try to speak to Him about your innocence would be a foolish and self-condemning act (v20). 

Hating life (v21), Job questions what good it is to try to live blamelessly, especially when “He destroys both the blameless and the wicked” (v22). Job also questions how good God really is.  He describes God as one who laughs at the suffering of the innocent (v23) and who gets in the way of the administration of justice, One who “blindfolds judges”.

Hollywood Theology

Hi GAMErs,

Job 9:2-4 (NIV) 
2  “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a mortal be righteous before God? 
3  Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand. 
4  His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?
On verses 1-12:  In these verses Job is asking a very important question: “how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?” (v2)  The answer is we can’t.  Job knows that.  God’s power, wisdom and standards are so beyond our own that there is no way we could ever compare or come close.  But the amazing message of the Bible is that when there was no way we could possibly prove ourselves innocent in God’s sight, in love God sent Jesus Christ His Son – fully God and fully man – to die on the cross for our sins.  In so doing, at the cross God’s need for justice was satisfied while His mercy and forgiveness could be extended to us. It’s only because of God’s mercy expressed through Jesus Christ that we can be righteous and innocent before God.

Check Your Assumptions Before Giving Your Advice

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Job 8:1-22.  Let’s go!
Job 8:1-4 (NIV) 
1  Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: 
2  “How long will you say such things? Your words are a blustering wind. 
3  Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? 
4  When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.
On verses 1-4:  Wow.  The first words that come out of Bildad’s mouth to a grieving, distraught Job are these.  It helps to understand where Bildad is coming from.  Believing that Job is questioning God’s justice, Bildad feels the need to come to God’s defense.  But in trying to speak in defense of God, Bildad goes way overboard and says things that are highly offensive to a grieving person.  Bildad denounces Job’s words as nonsense – “Your words are a blustering wind.” (v2)  He also states that what happened to Job’s children was God punishing them for their sin (v4).  Like Eliphaz, Bildad has incorrectly assumed that all suffering is God’s punishment for sin.

When You Want To Ask God, “Why Me?”

Hi GAMErs,

Job 7:11 (NIV) 
11  “Therefore I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 

On verses 1-11:  Long, difficult days (v1-2), sleepless nights (v3-4), deteriorating health (v5), an unsightly appearance (v5), feeling cut down during the prime of his life (v6), and utter hopelessness (v7-10) – that is Job’s plight.  “Therefore,” Job says, “I will not keep silent; I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” (v11)  In other words, because life is so hard for Job, Job has had enough.  He decides it is time to voice his complaint to God.  Has life ever gotten so tough that you felt like you had to express your frustration to God?  It is fine and in fact healthy to do so, but always with humility, remembering that God is God and we are not.

Job 7:16-17 (NIV) 
16  I despise my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone; my days have no meaning. 
17  “What is man that you make so much of him, that you give him so much attention,

When Friends Let You Down

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Job 6:14-30.  Let’s go!

Job 6:14-21 (NIV) 
14  “A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
15  But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow
16  when darkened by thawing ice and swollen with melting snow,
17  but that cease to flow in the dry season, and in the heat vanish from their channels.
18  Caravans turn aside from their routes; they go up into the wasteland and perish.
19  The caravans of Tema look for water, the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope.
20  They are distressed, because they had been confident; they arrive there, only to be disappointed.
21  Now you too have proved to be of no help; you see something dreadful and are afraid.

The First Step to Experiencing God’s Strength

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Job 6:1-13.  Let’s go!
Job 6:1-4 (NIV) 
1  Then Job replied: 
2  “If only my anguish could be weighed and all my misery be placed on the scales! 
3  It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas– no wonder my words have been impetuous. 
4  The arrows of the Almighty are in me, my spirit drinks in their poison; God’s terrors are marshaled against me. 

On verses 1-4:  To paraphrase Job, “There’s no way you can measure how much pain I am in right now (v2-3).  For some reason I’ve become God’s target (v4).”  The fact that the Holy Spirit allowed such words to be in the Bible shows that God wants us to be real and honest with Him about how we feel.  Your emotions are not too much for Him to handle, so come to God honestly.

Pick Out the Good from the Bad

Hi GAMErs,

Today’s passage is Job 5:17-27.  Let’s go!

On verses 17-27:  Eliphaz concludes his speech with words that sound like they could come from the book of Psalms, Proverbs or the Old Testament prophets.  Eliphaz’s message to Job is not to despise the Lord’s discipline (v17), but to treat his discipline as a blessing.   Eliphaz’s encouragement to Job is that if Job will have the right attitude toward the hardship he is going through, he will ultimately be restored, healed (v18), rescued (v19), delivered (v20), protected (v21), enjoy great peace (v22-24) and be very fruitful (v25-26).

Eliphaz’s message dovetails with other passages in the Bible like:

Proverbs 3:11-12 (NIV) 
11  My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline and do not resent his rebuke,
12  because the LORD disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.