17th January 2018

Job: Week 11 (Wednesday, January 17 2018)

 

Chapters 25, 26, 27 & 28

 

Chapter 25

Bildad interrupts

God is great!

v1 Bildad, who belonged to the people called Shuhites, answered. He said:

v2 God is the greatest ruler. You should be afraid of him. He causes heaven to be at peace. v3 You cannot count his armies. God made the light, so he sees everyone.

v4 God does not imagine that any person is good. He knows that nobody is innocent. v5 The moon does not seem bright to God. He can even see that the stars are not perfect.

v6 So, God thinks that a man is like a tiny animal in the soil. In fact, men are like the tiny animals that eat dead bodies in the grave.

 

Chapter 25

Verse 1

Bildad interrupted Job.

Bildad was not pleased to hear about the troubles of poor people (chapter 24). He knew that God is very great. So Bildad thought that God controlled everything.

Bildad also thought that people are unimportant. And he thought that people do not deserve God’s help.

Verses 2-3

These verses are correct. God is powerful. He is the ruler of heaven. Everybody should respect him. He has a vast army of angels. (Angels are God’s servants from heaven.) The angels obey God’s commands. They oppose the devil and his servants.

Verses 4-5

Bildad repeated the ideas in Eliphaz’s first speech (Job 4:17-19). Bildad was right that every person does wrong things against God (Romans 3:23). But Bildad did not say that God wants to forgive us (Romans 3:24). God forgives us when we confess our evil deeds to him.

So nobody is really perfect. But Job was a good man (Job 1:1). In fact, God himself said this (Job 1:8). So we know that Job confessed his evil deeds to God (Job 31:33).

Job trusted God. And God forgave Job’s errors.

Verse 6

These words are not correct. God appointed men and women to rule the animals. God made them in the ‘image of God’ (Genesis 1:26). This is, God wanted people to share his special character.

So Bildad did not really care about the poor people whom Job described in chapter 24. But God does care about them.

God protects people who are poor and weak (Psalm 12:5). Even the animals are special to God. But Jesus taught that people are more valuable to God than animals (Matthew 6:26).

Jesus became a man like us (Hebrews 2:6-9). He did this so that people could become the children of God. And he did it so that people can become members of God’s family (Hebrews 2:11-14).

 

 

Chapter 26

Job replies to Bildad’s interruption

v1 Job answered. He said:

v2 I am weak! Say something that will help me! Try to rescue me! v3 I need wisdom! So advise me well! Show your great knowledge! v4 But you have spoken. And I do not suppose that God helped you to speak such words. I do not think that you spoke by the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

Chapter 26

Verses 1-4

Bildad’s interruption did not impress Job. Such words would not help Job, who was still suffering. And Job thought that Bildad’s description of God was very poor. Job had studied wisdom (chapter 28). So Job believed that words about God should not merely come from the human mind. Rather, such words should come from God’s Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21).

Bildad’s words about God were not accurate. Instead, Bildad was confusing the facts to make his own ideas seem correct. This is a terrible thing to do (2 Peter 3:16; Revelation 22:18-19). People who explain about God to other people must be very careful (James 3:1).

Job then showed Bildad what Bildad should have said. And we think that Job spoke the words in Job 26:5-14 by the power of the Holy Spirit.

·     In chapter 25, Bildad’s speech seemed to describe vast spaces. He spoke about heaven. He spoke about the moon and stars. He spoke about the soil. And he referred to graves. But Job’s reply seems to describe even more vast spaces. Job spoke about hell as well as heaven. He spoke about the sky and the clouds. He spoke about mysteries, for example the horizon and the rain. (Although we understand these things today, they seemed to be strange mysteries then.)

·     Job also spoke about some events in verses 12-13. We do not know much about these events. We may not even be sure whether these are past or future events. But the Bible seems to mention the same events elsewhere.

·     Some people think that Job was referring to stories from other ancient societies. For example, stories from the region called Mesopotamia. We do not agree. There were many ancient societies and they all had stories about their false gods. Job did not believe in these false gods. So he would refuse to listen to such stories.

God is powerful

·     v5 Dead people tremble painfully in a place that is deeper than even the sea. v6 But God sees that place. God even sees hell.

·     v7 Beyond the north, there is an empty space. God balances the earth on nothing.

·     v8 God puts the water in the clouds. The clouds do not burst, even when there is a great weight of water.

·     v9 God covers his throne (royal seat in heaven). He places clouds in front of his throne (so that men cannot see him).

·     v10 God placed the horizon on the sea. He separates light and darkness.

·     v11 When God is angry, the heavens tremble.

·     v12 God is powerful! He makes the sea calm.

·     God is wise! He kills his proud enemy.

·     v13 God’s Spirit is wonderful! He clears the skies.

·     A sword is in God’s hand! He kills his enemy as it tries to slide away.

v14 These are just a few things that God has done. We hear just a whisper from him. But his power is great, like the thunder. (Thunder is the loud noise that follows lightning.)

Nobody realises how great God is.

Verses 5-6

Job described hell. Elsewhere, Job was not sure whether hell exists (Job 3:13-14; Job 21:22-26). But in these verses, Job was not explaining his own ideas. Instead, he was speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Verse 7

Many ancient people thought that the earth was on poles. Even Job mentions these poles elsewhere. But Job’s words here are correct. Scientists have proved that an empty space surrounds the world. God balances the world on nothing.

Verse 8

God’s design of this world is wonderful. We need the rain for our crops. Nothing holds the rain in the sky. But the water in the clouds is often very heavy.

Verse 9

God’s royal seat is in heaven. We cannot see him. But he is still ruling. He is greater than any human king. And his rule will continue always.

Verse 10

God designed the day and the night. God designed the shape of the world. Wherever the sun shines, it is day. And in the shadow, it is night. This is God’s plan. He shares the daylight over the whole world in each period of 24 hours.

Verse 11

God is very powerful. He created the world by his words (Genesis 1:3-26). So God’s emotions are also powerful (Psalm 2:4-6). Nobody can successfully oppose God.

Verses 12-13

Verses 11-13 seem to describe a particular event.

The original language of the Book of Job is called Hebrew. To understand these verses we need to look at the Hebrew words.

·     The proud enemy in verse 12 is called RAHAB in Hebrew. This word is also in Isaiah 51:9. Isaiah seems to be describing a terrible sea animal. But he uses the animal as a description of the army from Egypt. Or, as a description of the sea. When the army from Egypt attacked God’s people, they could not escape because of the sea. But God made the sea dry. So God’s people escaped (Isaiah 51:10). But the army from Egypt drowned (Exodus chapter 14).

·     The enemy in verse 13 is called NACHASH in Hebrew. This word usually means a snake. In the garden called Eden, the devil appeared as a NACHASH (snake). And he told Eve not to obey God (Genesis 3:1-4). This word is also in Isaiah 27:1. Isaiah described the same event as Job 26:13. But in Isaiah, the NACHASH has another name too. This name is LEVIATHAN. The word LEVIATHAN is in Job 3:8 and Job chapter 41. We have translated LEVIATHAN as ‘crocodile’. A crocodile is a dangerous animal that lives in rivers. The crocodile seems to be the animal that God described in Job chapter 41. But in both Isaiah and Job, LEVIATHAN really seems to mean the devil.

So, in the end, God will punish the devil (Revelation 20:10). This is the event that Isaiah described in Isaiah 27:1. But the words in Isaiah 27:1 are similar to Isaiah 51:9. So we think that Job was describing the devil’s final punishment in verses 11-13.

Verse 14

God has done great things. But we do not hear about all his great deeds. God is much greater than we can ever imagine (John 21:25).

 

 

Chapter 27

Job continues his last speech

Job’s promise

v1 Job continued his speech.

v2 This is my promise:

·     I promise to God, because he lives. He is still my God, although he has not been fair to me. And he is my provider, although he has caused me to suffer.

·     v3 My promise will last for my whole life. My promise will continue while God allows me to breathe.

·     v4 I shall always speak the truth. I promise not to lie.

v5 My friends, I could never agree with your speeches. I must prove that I am innocent. And I will continue until I die. v6 I have chosen to do the right things. And I will continue to do the right things. For my whole life, my conscience will not upset me.

 

Chapter 27

Verses 1-2

Job had suffered terrible troubles. And Job supposed that God caused these troubles. But Job still trusted God.

Verse 3

Job’s friends insisted that Job was suffering because of his evil deeds. Job argued that this was not true. Job was a genuine servant of God. Job loved God. And Job refused to do evil deeds.

Verse 4

Chapters 27-31 are like the words of a man in a court. In chapter 27, Job promised to speak the truth. In chapter 29, he described his good behaviour before the troubles began. In chapter 31, he explained that he refused to do evil deeds.

In Job 23:1-7, Job explained that he wanted God to be his judge. So in chapters 27-31 Job was speaking as if God was already his judge. And Job was speaking as if he was already in God’s court.

Verses 5-6

Job was sure that he was innocent. He said that he would continue to argue this for the rest of his life.

Later, we see that Job’s attitude was wrong. Job should have insisted that God was right. But instead, Job argued that he himself was right (Job 32:2).

The fate of wicked men

v7 I wish that all my enemies suffered like wicked men. v8 When an evil man dies, he has no hope. v9 God does not listen to that man’s cry when such a man suffers. v10 That man does not receive any pleasure from God. That man does not pray constantly.

v11 I will teach you about God’s power. I will explain to you how God acts. v12 But you yourselves have seen these things. So, stop your foolish speeches!

v13 God has decided the fate of wicked men. He will give to an evil man the punishment that the man deserves. v14 The evil man may have many children. But they will die in a war. Or they will starve. v15 Or they will die because of illness. When they die, even their widows will not be sad.

v16 A wicked man may have piles of silver, like dust. And he may have piles of clothing too. v17 (But he will not enjoy his own possessions.) Good people will wear that man’s clothes. Innocent people will share his silver. v18 A wicked man’s life is like a house that he builds. But the building is weak. It is like an insect’s home, that the insect makes from silk. Or, the house is like a temporary shelter that a workman makes.

v19 That wicked man will lose everything in a single night. When he lies down, he is wealthy. When he wakes, he owns nothing. v20 His troubles are as sudden as a flood. During the night, there is a terrible storm. v21 A powerful east wind blows. The wind forces that man to leave his home. v22 But his troubles continue. The wind does not stop. The man runs to escape from the power of the wind. v23 The wind is like his enemy, who claps to frighten the man away. And his enemy calls so that the man must leave his home.

Verses 7-9

In chapter 21, Job argued that God does not seem to punish wicked people. In Job 24:1, Job thought that he was waiting in vain for God to act as judge. But in chapter 27, Job was speaking as if he was already in God’s court. Job knew that God is a fair judge. So Job knew that God would punish wicked people.

Verse 10

Job really loved God. Unlike wicked people, Job received pleasure from God (Job 23:12). Unlike wicked people, Job prayed often (Job 1:5).

Verses 11-12

In verse 12, Job recognised that his friends had already said such things. But their speeches were foolish because they were trying to accuse Job. For example, when Zophar spoke about wicked people (chapter 20), he was really thinking about Job.

Verse 13

These words are like Zophar’s words in Job 20:29. And Job’s ideas in verses 14-22 are also similar to Zophar’s ideas in chapter 20.

Job argued with his friends. But the friends were right about many things. For example, God will punish wicked people And, everyone should confess their evil deeds to God.

The friends were also wrong about many things. For example, they supposed that Job was suffering because of his evil deeds.

Verses 14-15

Perhaps Job thought that these children would be as evil as their father. Or perhaps Job thought that the children would suffer because of their father’s evil deeds. The Bible teaches that God will punish each person for that person’s own evil deeds. If the child of an evil person serves God, then God will not punish that child. See Ezekiel chapter 18.

Verses 16-17

When the wicked man dies, other people will receive his possessions. It is as if God is storing these possessions to give to other people.

Verse 18

In other words, the wicked man might seem powerful. But his life is weak. He can die in a moment (Matthew 7:26-27; Luke 12:16-20).

Verses 19-23

In Job 3:16-19, Job thought that death is like sleep. But in Job 26:5, Job had a different idea. He described how people tremble painfully in hell. So perhaps in verses 19-23, Job was also describing hell. When the wicked man wakes in hell, God has taken away that man’s wealth. The home in verse 21 is like that man’s body (see verse 18). But the man’s spirit has left his body. The man’s body might seem calm (Job 21:32-33). But his spirit is afraid and unhappy.

Or perhaps in verses 19-23, Job was describing the wicked man’s life after God punished that man. It is an awful description. It sounds like hell!

A wicked man needs to change his attitudes immediately. He must confess his evil deeds to God. And that man must ask God to forgive him. Otherwise, that man will suffer a terrible punishment.

 

 

Chapter 28

Job’s poem about wisdom

Chapter 28

This chapter is very special. In this chapter, Job described many wonderful things. He spoke about secrets. He talked about people who have great skills. And he spoke about the most beautiful things.

Finally, he spoke about wisdom, which is more wonderful than anything else.

v1 In the right place, there is silver.

There is also gold. But men must use fire to make pure gold.

v2 Men obtain iron from dust.

And they make copper (another metal) from the rocks.

Verses 1-2

All metals were precious when Job lived. Men seemed to make metals from ordinary rocks. But the process needed great skill. The workmen had to search for the right rocks. Then they would burn the rocks in the hottest fire. In the end, they would produce a tiny quantity of pure metal.

v3 A man carries his torch into the darkest places. He searches everywhere.

He looks for valuable rocks in the deepest darkness.

v4 He goes away from the town. He goes to places that other people have forgotten.

There, he bores through the rock. He descends into a deep cave. There, he hangs and swings round.

Verses 3-4

In fact, the rocks that men needed to make metals were special rocks. To find these rocks, a man would have to go underground. The man would squeeze his body through cracks in the ground. He would enter a cave. He would descend further on ropes. (That is, strong strings that men tie together in order to make them even stronger.)

v5 Food comes from the earth’s surface.

But everything is different underneath the surface.

Fire has changed everything.

v6 There are beautiful precious stones in the rocks.

There is gold in the dust.

v7 This is a secret that the birds do not know.

Birds do not visit such places. Birds cannot see these places.

v8 The proudest animals have not been there.

Lions do not go that way.

v9 But a man breaks those rocks.

A man explores beneath the mountains.

v10 A man breaks the rocks to see the precious things inside.

v11 He causes the rivers not to flow.

Then, he sees the things that the waters hid.

Verses 5-6

The soil where plants grow seems so ordinary. But nothing is ordinary underground. A man needs a torch to see anything. But, with his torch, the man may find precious things.

Verses 7-8

Animals do not live in such places. But men have learned the skills to go there.

Verses 9-11

But the man is not gentle when he enters this special place. He is like a thief. He breaks the rocks. He takes away everything that is precious. He destroys everything so that he may become rich.

v12 But the man does not discover wisdom.

He does not know how to be intelligent.

v13 He does not even realise that wisdom is valuable.

He cannot discover wisdom among the living things of the earth.

v14 He cannot discover wisdom in the sea.

Even if he went to the deepest places, he would not become wise.

v15 Nobody can buy wisdom.

Even the best gold and silver cannot make someone wise.

v16 Wisdom is more precious than the beautiful things from the rocks.

Wisdom is more precious than gold.

Wisdom is more precious than precious stones, for example onyx and sapphires.

v17 Wisdom is better than the purest things.

Wisdom is even more valuable than gold or glass.

v18 Wisdom is much better than the beautiful things that come from the sea, for example coral and pearls.

Wisdom is more valuable than the most expensive precious stones.

Verse 12

This man has many skills. But he is still a fool. He may discover gold and silver. He may become rich. But wisdom is better than gold or silver. If the man does not learn to be wise, that man is stupid.

Verse 13

This man does not appreciate wisdom. And he does not care about wisdom. He only thinks about his own wealth.

Verse 14

The man will not discover wisdom underground. Other men dive into the sea to find precious things (verse 18). But they will not find wisdom there, either.

Verse 15

Some things matter more than money. A wealthy man cannot buy wisdom. And a poor man may be very wise.

Verses 16-18

Wisdom is precious. Wisdom is perfect. And wisdom is valuable. In other words, wisdom is much better than anything else. Job was emphasising the importance of wisdom.

v19 In the distant country called Ethiopia, there is a precious stone called topaz.

But topaz is not as good as wisdom.

Even the richest person cannot buy wisdom.

Verse 19

The country called Ethiopia was a long way from where Job lived. And the precious stone called topaz was very, very rare. And so it was very expensive. But it is better to be wise, than to own much topaz.

v20 But people need to discover wisdom.

They have to know how to be intelligent.

v21 But no living thing can find wisdom.

Even the birds do not know where to look for it.

v22 You will not even become wise when you die.

In hell, people can only whisper about wisdom.

Verse 20

Topaz (verse 19) may be beautiful. But it is not useful. God and silver (verse 15) are valuable. But money cannot teach us how to trust God. So wisdom is better than all these things. But wisdom is not something that you can just discover. In fact, wisdom does not even belong in this world.

Verses 21-22

In verse 21, Job spoke about things that are alive. In verse 22, he spoke about people who are dead. Neither life nor death can teach you how to be wise.

v23 Only God understands wisdom.

He alone can teach you to be wise.

v24 Only God sees the whole earth.

Only God knows everything.

v25 He established the strength of the wind.

He measured the waters in the clouds.

v26 He decided how the rain would fall.

He chose a route for the storm and the lightning.

Verse 23

You may think that it is impossible to learn such wisdom. But wisdom is God’s gift to people (James 1:5). God wants everyone to learn to be wise (Proverbs 1:5).

Verses 24-26

These verses are similar to Proverbs 8:22-31. God himself used wisdom when he created the world.

v27 God saw wisdom!

God declared wisdom!

God prepared wisdom!

God tested wisdom!

Verse 27

Wisdom is not merely the thoughts of human minds. And wisdom is not clever ideas, like the ideas of Job’s friends.

God chose wisdom as a quality that people need.

God recognised that wisdom is important.

God made sure that wisdom is good.

Then, God recommended wisdom to us.

So God used a careful process when he recommended wisdom. This process is like the workman’s process to make metal in verses 1-11. But God achieved more than the workman did. God showed us how to be wise.

Wisdom will benefit our whole lives. And wisdom will bring us to heaven when we die.

v28 So, God said to people:

‘If you respect God, then you will be wise.

If you refuse to do evil things, then you will be intelligent.’

Verse 28

This is a very important verse. It explains how we can be wise. Like Job, (Job 1:1) we must:

·     respect God, and

·     refuse to do evil things.

See also Proverbs 1:7 and Proverbs 3:5-6.

This was also Jesus’ message in Mark 1:15. He told the people to believe God’s message. In other words, he told them to respect God’s words. And Jesus told them to stop their evil behaviour.

If we respect God, he will teach us. He will show us how to please him.

Then, we shall learn to be his people.

But, in order to respect God, we need to obey his commands. So, we should refuse to do evil deeds. We shall make many mistakes. But if we confess our errors to God, he will forgive us (1 John 1:9).


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