10th January 2018

Job: Week 10 (Wednesday, January 10 2018)

 

Chapters 22, 23 & 24

 

Chapter 22

Eliphaz’s last speech

God gains nothing from a man’s behaviour

v1 Eliphaz, who belonged to the people called Temanites, answered. He said:

v2 Nobody can assist God. Even a wise man cannot advise God. v3 God does not benefit if you are a good man. God does not gain anything if you are perfect.

 

Chapter 22

 

Verses 1-3

In Job 21:14-15, Job spoke about the attitudes of wicked people. Such people will not serve God because there is no benefit for them. But Job would not behave like them.

Even when Job lost all his possessions, he praised God (Job 1:21). Job was still loyal to God when his children died. And when Job became ill, he still trusted God (Job 2:10).

Job was a good man because he respected God. So Job did not expect to benefit from God (Job 21:23-26). But Eliphaz had made a list of many benefits that God gives (Job 5:20-26). And Eliphaz believed that prayer has real value (Job 15:4).

They were both right. God gives many good things to us (Matthew 5:3-9). But we should not serve God merely for the benefits that we receive (Habakkuk 3:17-18). Whatever happens, we should still trust God (Matthew 5:10-12).

Job thought that good behaviour brought no benefits for the good man (Job 21:23-26). Eliphaz thought that this was nonsense. Eliphaz thought that our good behaviour cannot benefit God. Eliphaz thought that God is too great to care about anyone’s behaviour. But Eliphaz was wrong. God knew Job personally. God was proud of Job’s good behaviour (Job 2:3). In fact, Satan opposed Job because Satan wanted a reason to accuse God (Job 1:9-11; Job 2:4-5).

Eliphaz decides that Job is really an evil man

v4 God does not accuse a holy man. v5 God accuses you, Job, because you are very evil. You have done so many evil deeds.

·  v6 When you lent even a small loan, you forced your brothers to hand over their property. You even took their clothes, so that they were naked.

·  v7 You did not provide water for people who were weak. You did not provide food for hungry people. v8 But you were a powerful man, who owned much land. You were a man whom people respected.

·  v9 You gave nothing to widows.

·  You caused children to suffer. And those children had no fathers to protect them.

v10 This is why you have so many troubles. This is why you are suddenly afraid. v11 You are like a man who cannot see in the darkness. Then a flood drowns that man. v12 But God is in the highest heavens. His home is even higher than the stars. v13 But you say, ‘God does not know about me. He cannot see me because of the darkness. v14 Thick clouds surround God, so that he does not see us. He belongs in heaven.’

v15 These are ancient ideas, but they are the ideas of evil men. v16 Such men died when they were still young. The flood killed them. v17 They said to God, ‘Go away! God does nothing that affects us.’ v18 But God filled their houses with good things. This is why I refuse to obey a wicked man’s advice.

v19 A good man is glad when evil men suffer. An innocent man laughs. v20 He says, ‘God has punished our enemies. So, fire burns their possessions.’

Verses 4-5

At last, Eliphaz accused Job clearly. He said that God was punishing Job for his evil deeds. But Eliphaz was wrong. Job was a good, honest man (Job 1:1).

Verses 6-9

Eliphaz began his list of Job’s evil deeds. Job did not really do any such things. Eliphaz had no evidence, so he was guessing.

Many people today would say that such deeds are not evil. These people would agree that it is wrong to steal. Or to murder. Or even to lie. But they think that a businessman should be clever. And they think that a wealthy person does not need to be generous. And that an important person does not need to use his power to help other people.

Verses 10-11

Job’s friends realised that such behaviour is evil.

They thought that such behaviour was the reason for Job’s troubles.

Verse 12

God is in heaven, so he sees all our actions (Psalm 139). And his knowledge is perfect. So he knows our errors.

Verses 13-14

Evil people imagine that God cannot see their evil deeds (Psalm 14:1).

Verse 15

The three friends told Job to learn from ancient advice (Job 8:8-9; Job 15:10; Job 20:4). But Eliphaz knew that some ancient advice is wrong.

Verses 16-17

Perhaps this refers to Noah’s flood (Genesis chapters 6-8). God destroyed the ancient world by a flood, because its people were very evil.

Verse 18

Eliphaz agreed that God gave good things to these evil people. But they would not serve God, so God punished them.

In the second line, Eliphaz repeated Job’s words in Job 21:16. Eliphaz refused to obey the advice of wicked men because they do not appreciate God’s good gifts. But Job refused to obey their advice because he respected God.

Verses 19-20

Job was afraid when he thought about the lives of wicked people (Job 21:6). But Eliphaz was glad to think about their troubles. He was sure that God would soon punish them.

Eliphaz tells Job to stop his evil behaviour

v21 Learn from God! Do not oppose him! Then you will be successful again. v22 Allow God to teach you! Learn his words! v23 Trust God again! He will help you. Stop your evil behaviour!

v24 Do not trust in money! Return your gold to the rocks where you found it! v25 If you do this, God will defend you. And he is better than gold or fine silver.

v26 Then you will be pleased with God. You will be glad that God sees you. v27 When you pray, God will hear you. And you will give the gifts that you promised to God. v28 You will achieve the things that you decide to do. You will be successful.

v29 When someone is sad, you will pray, ‘God, help that person!’ And God will help that person. v30 You will even pray for someone who is guilty. And God will rescue that person. God will answer your prayer because you will be innocent.

Verses 21-23

Eliphaz did not accuse Job in order to upset him. Eliphaz wanted to help his friend. So Eliphaz hoped that Job would confess his evil deeds to God. Then God would forgive Job. And Job would have a successful life again.

But Eliphaz was still wrong. Job was an innocent man. And Job already was a true servant of God.

Verses 24-25

These are good words. Eliphaz realised that real success is not money. Nobody should trust their wealth. We should trust God. Eliphaz emphasised his ideas with humour. Men used to find gold in the rocks (Job 28:6; Job 28:10). So Eliphaz told Job that his gold belonged in the rocks. Job should return his gold and trust God instead.

Verses 26-28

Job wished that God did not watch him (Job 7:19). But Job hoped for the day when he could speak with God (Job 14:15).

Eliphaz promised a good life to Job, if only Job would confess his evil deeds. And Eliphaz’s advice would be good advice if Job were an evil man. But Job was a good man. Job already trusted God.

Verses 29-30

Eliphaz’s words were sincere. But they had a meaning that Eliphaz did not expect. Job was already a good man (Job 1:8). And Job’s prayers mattered to God (Job 40:1-5), although Job did not yet realise this.

In fact, Job’s troubles would end when Job prayed for his friends (Job 42:7-8). In the end, God told the three friends that he was angry about their unfair words. God told them to ask Job to pray for them. And God forgave them when Job prayed. God forgave them because Job was a true servant of God.

 

 

Chapter 23

Job speaks again

Job wants to discuss his troubles with God

v1 Job answered. He said:

v2 Even today, I still complain. I am miserable. God still punishes me, although I protest. v3 I would like to find God. I would like to go to his court. v4 I would explain my situation to him. I would reason with him. v5 I would discover his explanation. I would think about his words. v6 I do not suppose that he would oppose me. He would listen to me. v7 In that place, a good man can explain his problems to God. So, God would always rescue me from my punishment.

v8 But I cannot go to God. I cannot find him in the east or in the west. v9 I cannot see him when he works in the north. And I do not know when he begins to work in the south.

 

Chapter 23

 

Verse 1

Job’s final speech begins here. It continues to the end of chapter 31. Bildad interrupts briefly in chapter 25. Some people think that there are other interruptions too. For example, they think that Job 26:5-14 is by Bildad. And they think that Job 24:18-25 and Job 27:13-23 are by Zophar. But the Bible does not name these speakers. And elsewhere the Book of Job always names the speakers. So we think that the complete speech in Job chapters 23 to 31 (except chapter 25) is by Job.

Verses 3-5

In Job’s society, if somebody needed help, that person would go to the judge’s court. The person would explain their problems to the judge. The judge might not only act as judge, but also as the policeman. So he would be an important man, and everybody would respect his judgement.

Job was confident that God is a fair judge. Job could not explain why God seemed to be punishing him. But Job knew that God’s answer would be right.

Verses 8-9

God is not like a human judge, whom Job could visit. God rules heaven and earth. He works everywhere (Psalm 139:7-10). And nobody can control him (John 3:8).

Job trusts God

v10 But God knows where I am. God knows my actions. He tests me, so that I will be like pure gold. v11 I choose to live in the way that God wants me to live. I refuse to do evil deeds. v12 I obey God’s law always. Each day, God’s words are more precious to me than bread.

Verse 10

Job did not know where God was (verses 8-9). But God knew where Job was.

Job was starting to understand the reason for his troubles. His troubles were like a test (Job 1:8-12; Job 2:3-6). Job had been a wealthy man. Now he was poor. The purpose of the test was to see whether Job would still serve God. But the test would also improve Job. Job was learning to trust God more and more. See 1 Peter 1:6-7.

Sometimes men test whether gold is pure. They use a very hot fire. The fire burns away anything that is not gold. And only the pure gold remains.

Verses 11-12

These are wonderful words. Job did not behave as Eliphaz supposed (Job 22:4-9).

Job’s attitudes were good. Job loved God’s law. Job always wanted to obey God. See Psalm 1.

Job is worried about God

v13 But nobody is like God. And nobody can oppose God. God does whatever he wants to do. v14 He decides my fate. And he has many such plans for me. v15 So, I am worried about God. I think about these things. Then, I am afraid of God. v16 God made me weak. God frightens me. v17 But I will not be silent, even if I cannot see anything.

Verses 13-17

Job loved God. But Job was still worried. He did not know God’s plans. And Job was afraid of the future.

Job did not need to be afraid. God’s plans for Job were wonderful (see Job chapter 42).

And God’s plans are wonderful for everyone who trusts him (Revelation 21).

God wants to help us (Mark 1:41-42). He wants to do good things in our lives (Acts 2:38-39). He gives us good gifts (Matthew 7:11). And he will always provide for us (John 14:2-3). So we should trust him (John 14:1).

 

 

Chapter 24

Job continues his speech

The actions of cruel men

v1 God sees what is happening. But his servants wait in vain for the day when he is judge.

v2 Men move fences so that they can steal fields. Such men look after farm animals that they stole. v3 They lead away a donkey (small horse) that belongs to a child without parents. They take a widow’s cow because the widow owes them money. v4 Such men send poor people away, so that poor people must hide.

 

Chapter 24

 

Verse 1

Job was patient (James 5:11). He suffered greatly. But he was waiting for the day when God would help him. On that day, God would be like a judge. He would listen to Job. And God would rescue Job (Job 23:7).

Verse 1 explains Job’s main idea in chapter 24. God’s servants are the people who trust him. They are waiting for the day when God will help them (James 5:7-8). And many are suffering like Job. But God does not always rescue them immediately (1 Peter 1:4-6).

There are also many wicked people. Such people cause other people to suffer. Zophar thought that God would punish them quickly (Job chapter 20). But often, these evil people will continue to be evil until they die.

Verses 2-4

Some evil people steal things. But other evil people are just cruel. The widow in verse 3 owed money. The lender thought that it was right for him to take her cow. But that lender was cruel and evil. The widow needed to have a cow in order to look after her land. Without the cow, the widow will become very poor. The lender has taken her strongest animal away from her.

Poor people suffer greatly

v5 Poor people are like wild donkeys (small horses) in the desert. For such people, their work is to find food. They find their children’s food in wild places. v6 They collect any grains that remain in the fields. They take any fruit that the wicked man leaves in his garden.

v7 They have no clothes to wear by night. So, these poor people must sleep naked. They have nothing to wear when the weather is cold. v8 They are wet whenever rain falls on the mountains. They hug the rocks because they have no shelter. v9 But a rich man will even steal a baby that has no father. That rich man will take that child to be his slave, because the mother cannot pay her debt.

v10 Poor people wander about naked because they have no clothes. Although they harvest the crops, they themselves are still hungry. v11 They make the oil. They make the wine. But nobody allows them to drink it. v12 They scream as they are dying in the city. Their spirits cry out for help. But God does not accuse the man who caused these poor people to suffer.

Verses 5-8

This passage is very sad. These people struggle to find food (verse 5). They get cold and wet (verse 6). They have nowhere to live.

Job said that they are like wild donkeys (animals). God answered Job in Job 39:5-8. God reminded Job that he knows about wild donkeys. And God provides their food. We know that God cares about poor people. They are his people (Proverbs 22:2). So Christians should care about them too.

Verses 9-12

Many poor people suffer because of the evil actions of rich people.

People who oppose every good thing

v13 Some people oppose everything that is good. They do not know how they should behave. Or, they choose to do evil deeds. These people hate the daylight:

·     v14 The murderer gets up at night. He kills poor people. And he is a thief by night.

·     v15 A married man wants to have sex with a woman who is not his wife. So, he waits for nightfall. He thinks, ‘Nobody will see me.’ He covers his face.

·     v16 Thieves enter houses by night. But they stay inside during the day. They hate the daylight.

v17 These people are afraid of the daylight. They are familiar with the terrors of the night.

Verses 13-17

This behaviour is the opposite of normal behaviour. Normally, we work during the day. And we do our other activities during the day. Before people had electricity, this was especially important. People needed light to see what they were doing.

But the people that Job described hate daylight. They prefer darkness. They carry out their evil deeds in secret. See 1 Thessalonians 5:5-8.

In time, evil people will die

v18 Such people are like bubbles on the surface of water. They do not deserve anything that is good. There should be no fruit in their gardens.

v19 When the weather is dry and warm, snow just disappears. In the same way, these evil people will die. v20 Even their mothers will not remember these evil people. Instead, the tiny animals in the grave will eat their bodies. These people are like a tree that has fallen down.

v21 They were cruel to women who had no children. They were unkind to widows. v22 But God is strong. When he opposes these powerful men, they will die. v23 God might allow them to think that they have security. But he is watching their actions. v24 They are successful for a short time, but then they die. They must die, like everyone else. They are like corn during the harvest.

v25 If I am wrong, then show my error to me!

If you can, prove that my words are wrong!

Verses 18-21

Wicked people may continue their evil behaviour for a long time. But in the end, they will die. And then, they cannot continue their evil deeds. They will not return from hell. They will never carry out their cruel activities again.

Verses 22-25

God decides how long a person will live. And God decides when these wicked people will die.

A wicked man may be powerful. And nobody may dare to oppose that man. But when God acts, that man will die. Nothing can prevent that man’s death.

Such men are like corn during the harvest. A farmer decides when he will collect the corn. On that day, the corn plant cannot remain in the field. Its end is certain.


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