1281.) Job 11

March 31, 2014

Job11 v7

Job 11   (NLT)

Zophar’s First Response to Job

Zophar criticizes Job for his complaining:

Then Zophar the Naamathite replied to Job:

Zophar wastes little time boring straight to the heart of the matter (as he interprets it).  By comparison with Eliphaz and Bildad, he is almost brutal in his bluntness.  “Should thy lies make men hold their peace? . . . But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee . . . God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserveth” (verses 3, 5-6).  He appeals to God’s great wisdom and control, which dwarfs that of vain and ignorant men, and urges Job to return to God, where he will find both security and hope.

–Walk Thru the Bible Ministries

“Shouldn’t someone answer this torrent of words?
    Is a person proved innocent just by a lot of talking?
Should I remain silent while you babble on?
    When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?
You claim, ‘My beliefs are pure,’
    and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’
If only God would speak;
    if only he would tell you what he thinks!
If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom,
    for true wisdom is not a simple matter.
Listen! God is doubtless punishing you
    far less than you deserve!

Job11 Romans_11-33
“Can you solve the mysteries of God?

    Can you discover everything about the Almighty?
Such knowledge is higher than the heavens—
    and who are you?

It is deeper than the underworld—
    what do you know?
It is broader than the earth
    and wider than the sea.
10 If God comes and puts a person in prison
    or calls the court to order, who can stop him?
11 For he knows those who are false,
    and he takes note of all their sins.
12 An empty-headed person won’t become wise
    any more than a wild donkey can bear a human child.

Zophar’s advice to Job:

13 “If only you would prepare your heart
    and lift up your hands to him in prayer!
14 Get rid of your sins,
    and leave all iniquity behind you.
15 Then your face will brighten with innocence.
    You will be strong and free of fear.

It is arrogance on the part of Zophar to think that he knows why Job is suffering.  We know from the prologue that it was not because Job had sinned.  Job was called by God to join that grand company of innocent sufferers for the glory of the Lord.  (The Reformation Bible)

1 Peter 4:13   (ESV)

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

16 You will forget your misery;
    it will be like water flowing away.
17 Your life will be brighter than the noonday.
    Even darkness will be as bright as morning.
18 Having hope will give you courage.
    You will be protected and will rest in safety.
19 You will lie down unafraid,
    and many will look to you for help.
20 But the wicked will be blinded.
    They will have no escape.
    Their only hope is death.”



James tells us, “Draw near to God and he will draw near to you.  Cleanse your hands, and purify your thoughts.”  In our suffering, too often I am guilty of just wanting it to stop!  Enough already!  But do I pause and ask God to perfect His purposes in me through the suffering?  HERE  is a Lenten hymn to help us “purify our thoughts” and draw closer to Christ.   Isaac Watts’ “Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed”  is sung by the Sharon Singers of the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute in Pennsylvania.  The tune they use is unfamiliar to me but fits the hymn quite well, I think.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Can you fathom the mysteries of God.    http://wallpaper4god.com/en/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Job11_7.jpg
Romans 11:33.    http://www.kingjamesbibleonline.org/Inspirational-Images/large/Romans_11-33.jpg

1280.) Job 10

March 28, 2014

“Job,” by Jan (the Elder) Lievens, 1631 (National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa)

Job 10   (NLT)

Job Frames His Plea to God

What Job would say to God if he could:

“I am disgusted with my life.
Let me complain freely.
My bitter soul must complain.

Pity Party. 

A way of experiencing grief, in which you spend your time feeling sorry for yourself and whining endlessly about how crappy your life is.
Pity Parties can be just for one or for many people, such as your friends, who will try to comfort you or just be there for you while you keep asking yourself what did you do to deserve whatever it is that made you so sad in the first place.
Pity Parties require the proper outfit, which is usually pajamas because you don’t get all dressed up during those feeling-sorry-for-myself moments. Also you should have no make up on or just what remains from the night before; hair undone as well.
They also involve tissues — and comfort food such as ice cream, chocolate, potato chips, cookies, cake, and candy. Low fat food is banned.


2 I will say to God, ‘Don’t simply condemn me—
tell me the charge you are bringing against me.
3 What do you gain by oppressing me?
Why do you reject me, the work of your own hands,
while smiling on the schemes of the wicked?
4 Are your eyes like those of a human?
Do you see things only as people see them?
5 Is your lifetime only as long as ours?
Is your life so short
6 that you must quickly probe for my guilt
and search for my sin?
7 Although you know I am not guilty,
no one can rescue me from your hands.

Now Job reminds God that in creating humankind He has assumed responsibilities from which He cannot honorably escape!

–Harold St. John

8 “‘You formed me with your hands; you made me,
yet now you completely destroy me.
9 Remember that you made me from dust—
will you turn me back to dust so soon?

Genesis 2:7 (New International Version)

Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

10 You guided my conception
and formed me in the womb.
11 You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and you knit my bones and sinews together.
12 You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love.
My life was preserved by your care.

Psalm 139:14 (New International Version)

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
   your works are wonderful,
   I know that full well.

Job’s agonized question: “Why, God?”

13 “‘Yet your real motive—
your true intent—
14 was to watch me, and if I sinned,
you would not forgive my guilt.
15 If I am guilty, too bad for me;
and even if I’m innocent, I can’t hold my head high,
because I am filled with shame and misery.
16 And if I hold my head high, you hunt me like a lion
and display your awesome power against me.
17 Again and again you witness against me.
You pour out your growing anger on me
and bring fresh armies against me.

Job is searching for an answer to his suffering, an answer to the question of why bad things happen to good people.  His answer:  if it isn’t my fault, it must be God’s fault.  He claims God is out to get him.  If that is the case, then, what is the point of living?  What is life all about?

Job asks God to leave him alone:

18 “‘Why, then, did you deliver me from my mother’s womb?
Why didn’t you let me die at birth?
19 It would be as though I had never existed,
going directly from the womb to the grave.
20 I have only a few days left, so leave me alone,
that I may have a moment of comfort
21 before I leave—never to return—
for the land of darkness and utter gloom.
22 It is a land as dark as midnight,
a land of gloom and confusion,
where even the light is dark as midnight.’”



HERE  is a modern-day rendering of the same question:  Why do we live?  “Alfie”  by Burt Bacharach and Hal David, and sung by Dionne Warwick.

What’s it all about, Alfie?
Is it just for the moment we live?
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie?
Are we meant to take more than we give
or are we meant to be kind?
And if only fools are kind, Alfie,
then I guess it’s wise to be cruel.
And if life belongs only to the strong, Alfie,
what will you lend on an old golden rule?
As sure as I believe there’s a heaven above, Alfie,
I know there’s something much more,
something even non-believers can believe in.
I believe in love, Alfie.
Without true love we just exist, Alfie.
Until you find the love you’ve missed you’re nothing, Alfie.
When you walk let your heart lead the way
and you’ll find love any day, Alfie, Alfie.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Lievens.  http://popartmachine.com/artwork/NGC-NGC_.4093/0/Jan-%28the-Elder%29-Lievens-Job-1631-painting-artwork-print.jpg
pity party.  http://s2.hubimg.com/u/4593989_f496.jpg
first man Adam and perfect man Christ.  http://heavenlytours.us/images/creating_adam.jpg
newborn baby.  http://www.newbornbabyzone.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/09/newborn-baby-needs.jpg
question marks.  http://www.freeimagesarchive.com/data/media/34/10_question-mark.jpg

1279.) Job 9

March 27, 2014

Job — pen, ink, and wash, by Chuck Berk, 2011.

Job 9   (NLT)

Job’s Third Speech: A Response to Bildad

Job praises the wisdom and strength of God, though it means that God is beyond his ability to know:

Then Job spoke again:

2 “Yes, I know all this is true in principle.
But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight?
3 If someone wanted to take God to court,
would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?
4 For God is so wise and so mighty.
Who has ever challenged him successfully?

Romans 3:19-20 (New Century Version)

We know that the law’s commands are for those who have the law. This stops all excuses and brings the whole world under God’s judgment, because no one can be made right with God by following the law. The law only shows us our sin.

So Job begins to describe the powerful God he is up against:

5 “Without warning, he moves the mountains,
overturning them in his anger.
6 He shakes the earth from its place,
and its foundations tremble.
7 If he commands it, the sun won’t rise
and the stars won’t shine.
8 He alone has spread out the heavens
and marches on the waves of the sea.

9 He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.

10 He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles.

11 “Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him.
When he moves by, I do not see him go.
12 If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him?
Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’
13 And God does not restrain his anger.
Even the monsters of the sea are crushed beneath his feet.

There are many thoughts in this passage that connect with Jesus.

  • We read that God treads on the waves of the sea; Jesus walks on the water.
  • We read that God made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and star was made to announce the birth of Jesus.
  • We read that God does great things past finding out, yes wonders without number and Jesus did uncountable miracles and great things.
  • We read that God moves past, and I do not perceive Him, and Jesus could pass through an angry crowd as if He were invisible (John 8:59).
  • We read that no one can say to God, “What are You doing?” and in the life of Jesus it would come to pass that no one dared ask Him any more questions (Mark 12:34).
  • We read that God will not withdraw His anger, so we are not surprised that sometimes Jesus showed anger.
  • We read it is said of God, the allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath him, and so also evil spirits fell prostrate at the feet of Jesus (Mark 3:11).

“What wonderful irony there is in seeing Job set out to describe the immortal and invisible God, and in the process paint a stunningly accurate portrayal of the earthly Jesus!” (Mason)

–David Guzik

Job wonders how to answer such a mighty God:

14 “So who am I, that I should try to answer God
or even reason with him?
15 Even if I were right, I would have no defense.
I could only plead for mercy.
16 And even if I summoned him and he responded,
I’m not sure he would listen to me.
17 For he attacks me with a storm
and repeatedly wounds me without cause.
18 He will not let me catch my breath,
but fills me instead with bitter sorrows.
19 If it’s a question of strength, he’s the strong one.
If it’s a matter of justice, who dares to summon him to court?
20 Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty.
Though I am blameless, it would prove me wicked.

Why does a good God let bad things happen to good people?  Eliphaz had one explanation:  Job is not good.  We know that isn’t right because in chapter 1 both the author and God affirm Job as a good man.  So here in chapter 9 Job is flirting with a different opinion — that God is not so good because he is not fair, overwhelming mere mortals, sending punishment on both the righteous and the wicked.  But the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves irrevocably that power and goodness are united forever.  As the old saying goes:  God is good, all the time.  All the time, God is good.

He explains his own inability to defend himself before God:

21 “I am innocent,
but it makes no difference to me—
I despise my life.
22 Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to God.
That’s why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When a plague sweeps through,
he laughs at the death of the innocent.
24 The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked,
and God blinds the eyes of the judges.
If he’s not the one who does it, who is?

25 “My life passes more swiftly than a runner.
It flees away without a glimpse of happiness.
26 It disappears like a swift papyrus boat,
like an eagle swooping down on its prey.
27 If I decided to forget my complaints,
to put away my sad face and be cheerful,
28 I would still dread all the pain,
for I know you will not find me innocent, O God.
29 Whatever happens, I will be found guilty.
So what’s the use of trying?
30 Even if I were to wash myself with soap
and clean my hands with lye,
31 you would plunge me into a muddy ditch,
and my own filthy clothing would hate me.

Psalm 51:7 (New International Version)

Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.

Job longs for a mediator to help:

32 “God is not a mortal like me,
so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial.
33 If only there were a mediator between us,
someone who could bring us together.

If only!

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (New Living Translation)

For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.  He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.

34 The mediator could make God stop beating me,
and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment.
35 Then I could speak to him without fear,
but I cannot do that in my own strength.”



“If only!”  Such lovely pictures of Jesus in this Old Testament chapter!  “You are my all-in-all,”  sung  HERE  by Nicole Nordeman.  I hear it anew in the context of Job and his struggles.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Berk.  http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-nWTExPIUKF0/TY6hil_IR1I/AAAAAAAABeM/C5y0GcoThdM/s1600/Job_98.jpg
Jesus walks on water.   http://raynoah.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/jesus-walking-on-water.jpg
star of Bethlehem.   http://images.hellokids.com/_uploads/_tiny_galerie/20091250/star-of-bethlehem-wallpaper-source_bff.jpg
Jesus heals Jairus’ daughter.     http://blissphil.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/jesus_heals_jairus_daughter.jpg
not fair.  http://www.kathyhoward.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/its-not-fair.jpg
snow.   http://shoulderingmycross.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/shuksan-03-04-84-91.jpg
Jesus.  http://www.jehova.net/prayer/jesus-mediator.jpg

1278.) Job 8

March 26, 2014

Job8 v21
Job 8   (NLT)

Bildad’s First Response to Job

Bildad rebukes Job:

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied to Job:

This reply presents Bildad as a blunt and unfeeling man.  He had failed to hear Job’s cry for compassion (Job 6:13, 14, 26).  His message to Job is forthright:  He and his family have gotten what they deserve.  If only now he will repent of the shameless deeds that brought on this disaster, he can be restored to even greater prosperity and happiness than he had before.  (The Reformation Bible)

Bildad sees it all in black and white.  He prides himself on his no-nonsense manner.  Save us from Bildads when we are suffering!

“How long will you go on like this?
    You sound like a blustering wind.
Does God twist justice?
    Does the Almighty twist what is right?
Your children must have sinned against him,
    so their punishment was well deserved.

There is no indication that Job’s children were destroyed because of their transgressions, and even had there been, it was a cruel thing to say to a man in great sorrow and suffering.

–William MacDonald

But if you pray to God
    and seek the favor of the Almighty,
and if you are pure and live with integrity,
    he will surely rise up and restore your happy home.

Job8 mercy

So in Bildad’s view, God has mercy only when human beings deserve it by being pure and upright.   But by definition mercy is never deserved!  The Lord is not unwilling to be merciful!

Isaiah 30:18   (ESV)

Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you,
    and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you.

And though you started with little,
    you will end with much.

“Just ask the previous generation.
    Pay attention to the experience of our ancestors.

Eliphaz had appealed to revelation as his authority, even though that revelation came in a hair-raising dream (Job 4:12-17).  Bildad appeals to human tradition.   (The Reformation Bible)

For we were born but yesterday and know nothing.
    Our days on earth are as fleeting as a shadow.
10 But those who came before us will teach you.
    They will teach you the wisdom of old.

Bildad applies his common-sense wisdom to Job’s situation:

Job8 papyrus
“Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh?

Job8 lowcountry marsh
    Can marsh grass flourish without water?

12 While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut,
    they begin to wither more quickly than grass.
13 The same happens to all who forget God.
    The hopes of the godless evaporate.

Orb spider web; J Schmidt; 1977
14 Their confidence hangs by a thread.
    They are leaning on a spider’s web.

15 They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last.
    They try to hold it tight, but it will not endure.

Job8 rock_garden_yellow_flowers
16 The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine,
    its branches spreading across the garden.
17 Its roots grow down through a pile of stones;
    it takes hold on a bed of rocks.

18 But when it is uprooted,
    it’s as though it never existed!
19 That’s the end of its life,
    and others spring up from the earth to replace it.

20 “But look, God will not reject a person of integrity,
    nor will he lend a hand to the wicked.
21 He will once again fill your mouth with laughter
    and your lips with shouts of joy.
22 Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
    and the home of the wicked will be destroyed.”



Papyrus plants, marsh grasses, spider webs, lush plants — nature pictures to show truth!  HERE  is Rebecca St. James and “God of Wonders.”


New Living Translation (NLT)  Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
He will yet fill your mouth.    http://www.motivationalquotes.com/postcards/cards/Job8_21.jpg
God’s mercy.   http://thecrackeddoor.com/Main/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/mercy3.jpe
papyrus.    http://www.egyptgiftshop.com/images/cyperus_papyrus.jpg
marsh.    http://festivaresorts.files.wordpress.com/2011/02/marsh_picture-33395413.png
spider web.    http://www.nps.gov/features/yell/slidefile/arthropods/spiders/Images/06644.jpg
yellow flowers.    http://www.mnn.com/sites/default/files/user/132046/rock_garden_yellow_flowers.jpg

1277.) Job 7

March 25, 2014

Job7 knitting

Job 7   (NLT)

The comfortless suffering of Job:

“Is not all human life a struggle?

Struggle.  The word in Hebrew is descriptive of military service, hard service.  The Latin Vulgate translates, The life of man is a warfare upon earth.  The early English Coverdale translation has it, Is not the life of man upon earth a very battle?  The Complete Jewish Bible puts it, Human life on earth is like serving in the army.  With this Job communicated both the struggle of life, together with the idea that he has been drafted unwillingly into this battle.

–David Guzik

    Our lives are like that of a hired hand,
like a worker who longs for the shade,
    like a servant waiting to be paid.
I, too, have been assigned months of futility,
    long and weary nights of misery.
Lying in bed, I think, ‘When will it be morning?’
    But the night drags on, and I toss till dawn.
My body is covered with maggots and scabs.
    My skin breaks open, oozing with pus.

Job Cries Out to God

“My days fly faster than a weaver’s shuttle.
    They end without hope.
O God, remember that my life is but a breath,
    and I will never again feel happiness.

JOB mind-your-language

Job enriches our language. 

Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech: My life is but a breath.

You see me now, but not for long.
    You will look for me, but I will be gone.
Just as a cloud dissipates and vanishes,
    those who die will not come back.
10 They are gone forever from their home—
    never to be seen again.

Job’s complaint to God:

11 “I cannot keep from speaking.
    I must express my anguish.
    My bitter soul must complain.

Job7 v11

12 Am I a sea monster or a dragon
    that you must place me under guard?
13 I think, ‘My bed will comfort me,
    and sleep will ease my misery,’
14 but then you shatter me with dreams
    and terrify me with visions.
15 I would rather be strangled—
    rather die than suffer like this.
16 I hate my life and don’t want to go on living.
    Oh, leave me alone for my few remaining days.

17 “What are people, that you should make so much of us,
    that you should think of us so often?

Job, in his distress, wishes that God would leave him alone.  But the psalmist is not suffering, so his thoughts on this subject are positive.  He marvels that God cares so much for the creature He has made to reflect His own image.
(The Reformation Bible)

Psalm 144:1-4  (ESV)

Blessed be the Lord, my rock,
    who trains my hands for war,
    and my fingers for battle; (see verse 1 above)
he is my steadfast love and my fortress,
    my stronghold and my deliverer,
my shield and he in whom I take refuge,
    who subdues peoples under me.

O Lord, what is man that you regard him,
    or the son of man that you think of him?
Man is like a breath;
    his days are like a passing shadow.

18 For you examine us every morning
    and test us every moment.
19 Why won’t you leave me alone,
    at least long enough for me to swallow!
20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
    O watcher of all humanity?
Why make me your target?
    Am I a burden to you?
21 Why not just forgive my sin
    and take away my guilt?
For soon I will lie down in the dust and die.
    When you look for me, I will be gone.”



Job’s story gives courage and illumination to us as readers.  We know that his questions and complaints are not out of line, and that God is able to answer every one in a perfect way.  So when we, centuries after Job, find ourselves in those moments when so much seems dark and confused and lost — when life is so not what we had hoped for — I remind myself that Job found God to be faithful and so will I.  Then I turn to this song, one of my favorites by the wonderful Twila Paris.  HERE  is “I Will Listen.”


New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
knitting.    http://i76.photobucket.com/albums/j3/kempfyre21/knitting-1.jpg
Therefore I will not keep silent.    http://oneyearbibleimages.com/job7_11.jpg

1276.) Job 6

March 24, 2014

Job6 Job

Job 6   (NLT)

Job’s Second Speech: A Response to Eliphaz

Job laments his affliction:

Then Job spoke again:

Job’s friends were kind enough to sit with him in sympathetic silence for some seven days (Job 2:13). Job broke the silence with an anguished rant (Job 3), and Eliphaz responded with a poetic call to repentance (Job 4-5). Now Job will answer the words of Eliphaz the Temanite.

–David Guzik

“If my misery could be weighed
    and my troubles be put on the scales,
they would outweigh all the sands of the sea.
    That is why I spoke impulsively.
For the Almighty has struck me down with his arrows.
    Their poison infects my spirit.
    God’s terrors are lined up against me.
Don’t I have a right to complain?
    Don’t wild donkeys bray when they find no grass,
    and oxen bellow when they have no food?
Don’t people complain about unsalted food?
    Does anyone want the tasteless white of an egg?
My appetite disappears when I look at it;
    I gag at the thought of eating it!

Job6 egg whites

Job explains that there is a reason for his grief and complaint.  Eliphaz has offered him no real, tasty food, i.e., words of comfort.  (The Reformation Bible)

Job longs for God to grant the escape of death:

“Oh, that I might have my request,
    that God would grant my desire.
I wish he would crush me.
    I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me.
10 At least I can take comfort in this:
    Despite the pain,
    I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Job laments his weakness:

11 But I don’t have the strength to endure.
    I have nothing to live for.
12 Do I have the strength of a stone?
    Is my body made of bronze?
13 No, I am utterly helpless,
    without any chance of success.

Job challenges Eliphaz:

14 “One should be kind to a fainting friend,
    but you accuse me without any fear of the Almighty.
15 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook
    that overflows its banks in the spring
16     when it is swollen with ice and melting snow.
17 But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears.
    The brook vanishes in the heat.
18 The caravans turn aside to be refreshed,
    but there is nothing to drink, so they die.
19 The caravans from Tema search for this water;
    the travelers from Sheba hope to find it.
20 They count on it but are disappointed.
    When they arrive, their hopes are dashed.
21 You, too, have given no help.
    You have seen my calamity, and you are afraid.

Job4 friend Snoopy

Here is the heart of Job’s complaint against his friend:  you have given no help; you are afraid.    So often I have seen this, even within the church!  We hit a hard time in our life, and certain friends disappear.  They stay away because they don’t know what to say or do.  Example:  A friend of mine lost her daughter, son-in-law, and two grandchildren in a terrible accident.  She says people do not mention her family to her, because they don’t want to “remind” her of what has happened — “as if I could ever forget it,” she told me.  So she gets no sympathy or encouragement in her troubles . . . 

When people around us are in pain, let us be bringers of comfort and hope.  Let us pay attention to the stories of the loved ones who are now gone.  Let us offer the simple gifts of listening and friendship.  It is not our job to fix the problem or the person; our job is just show we care.  “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God” (1 John 4:7).

22 But why? Have I ever asked you for a gift?
    Have I begged for anything of yours for myself?
23 Have I asked you to rescue me from my enemies,
    or to save me from ruthless people?
24 Teach me, and I will keep quiet.
    Show me what I have done wrong.
25 Honest words can be painful,
    but what do your criticisms amount to?
26 Do you think your words are convincing
    when you disregard my cry of desperation?
27 You would even send an orphan into slavery
    or sell a friend.
28 Look at me!
    Would I lie to your face?
29 Stop assuming my guilt,
    for I have done no wrong.
30 Do you think I am lying?
    Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong?

The words “teach me,” “cause me,” “what does your arguing prove,” and “concede” are all demands for evidence and proof. He turns to Eliphaz and says, ‘You say that I’m suffering because of sin, but you’ve never pointed anything out specifically. Teach me and tell me what my sin is. But until you do, there’s no proof of your argument.”

–David Guzik



What a treasure we have in a good friend!  HERE  is James Taylor in “You’ve Got a Friend.”

(Note to self:  Who can count on me to be a true friend?)


New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Job’s misery.    http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k27/jakyl32/1-365%20Rosaries-%20FEBRUARY/job6.jpg
egg whites.    http://mightydelighty.net/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/Spinach-egg-white-salad-8.jpg
Snoopy.    http://ringlesswife.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/n4fb189fc06f24.gif

1275.) Job 5

March 21, 2014

Job5 v10

Job 5   (NLT)

Eliphaz’s Response Continues

“Cry for help, but will anyone answer you?
Which of the angels will help you?
2 Surely resentment destroys the fool,
and jealousy kills the simple.
3 I have seen that fools may be successful for the moment,
but then comes sudden disaster.
4 Their children are abandoned far from help;
they are crushed in court with no one to defend them.
5 The hungry devour their harvest,
even when it is guarded by brambles.
The thirsty pant after their wealth.
6 But evil does not spring from the soil,
and trouble does not sprout from the earth.
7 People are born for trouble
as readily as sparks fly up from a fire.

As the Sparks Fly Upward

The little babe I held upon my knee
Had not yet banished from his sleeping eyes
The dreams of some lost world from which he came,
Nor missed some angel-choirèd paradise.
Strange little soul that claimed me not his own
By glance or smile, but with no seeing gaze
Looked to me who, all timid, dared to call
This wonder mine, and held it in amaze.
I prayed, ‘When comes the light of consciousness
Of things that be to hold him so he seek
To know what place life now had set him in,
And at whose mercy left, so young and weak,
‘Let it be mine, the face he first shall see
Bent on him, full of welcome and of joy,
So that his smile, on thus beholding love,
The pain of coming tears shall half destroy.
‘Or if some day he looks to learn, and I
Am not beside, oh! let it be the sun
Or some fair thing shall greet his seeing eyes,
So he shall find life good and well begun.’
Beside the fire I held him close, and sang
Some sweet child ditty, bidding him to sleep,
And broke the log to make it flame and glow;
Then in his eyes I saw a wonder creep.
Now peeped the soul from out his startled gaze.
‘Look first on me,’ I cried, ‘my little child!’
But from my kiss he held his face away,
And as the sparks flew up he saw and smiled.

 — Dora Sigerson Shorter, Irish poet (1866-1918)

8 “If I were you, I would go to God
and present my case to him.

3)   Here is the third false assumption Eliphaz bases his argument on:  that Job, because he was suffering, must have done something wrong in God’s eyes.  Job must repent.

9 He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles.
10 He gives rain for the earth
and water for the fields.
11 He gives prosperity to the poor
and protects those who suffer.
12 He frustrates the plans of schemers
so the work of their hands will not succeed.
13 He traps the wise in their own cleverness
so their cunning schemes are thwarted.
14 They find it is dark in the daytime,
and they grope at noon as if it were night.
15 He rescues the poor from the cutting words of the strong,
and rescues them from the clutches of the powerful.
16 And so at last the poor have hope,
and the snapping jaws of the wicked are shut.

17 “But consider the joy of those corrected by God!
Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin.

Eliphaz reminds Job that God will graciously restore those who repent of their sins and turn to him.  This, of course, is absolutely true.

Psalm 91:9-10 (New Living Translation)

If you make the Lord your refuge,
      if you make the Most High your shelter,
no evil will conquer you;
      no plague will come near your home.

 18 For though he wounds, he also bandages.
He strikes, but his hands also heal.
19 From six disasters he will rescue you;
even in the seventh, he will keep you from evil.
20 He will save you from death in time of famine,
from the power of the sword in time of war.
21 You will be safe from slander
and have no fear when destruction comes.
22 You will laugh at destruction and famine;
wild animals will not terrify you.
23 You will be at peace with the stones of the field,
and its wild animals will be at peace with you.
24 You will know that your home is safe.
When you survey your possessions, nothing will be missing.
25 You will have many children;
your descendants will be as plentiful as grass!

Ouch!  Eliphaz, this seems cruel, given that Job has just lost most of his possessions and all of his ten children.

26 You will go to the grave at a ripe old age,
like a sheaf of grain harvested at the proper time!

Spurgeon preached a sermon on the words “You shall come to the grave at a full age, as a sheaf of grain ripens in its season.” These were his points of development regarding the death of a Christian: 

~Death is inevitable (You shall come) 
~Death is acceptable (You shall come)  
~Death is timely (at a full age)  
~Death is honorable (as a sheaf of grain ripens in its season)

27 “We have studied life and found all this to be true.
Listen to my counsel, and apply it to yourself.”

Again, the implication is clear. Eliphaz believed that the justice of God, at this present time, worked against Job because Job was in sin and refused to see it. If Job would only see this and repent! — perhaps the justice of God would once again work on his behalf.  Yes, Eliphaz had the answer to Job’s crisis, or at least in his arrogance he thought he did.

Job5 Peanuts cartoon_________________________


For all his misunderstandings, Eliphaz knew that God disciplines us when we do wrong for the sake of bringing us back to the right, and that God kindly restores us.  And we know, because of Christ and his gift to us on the cross, that God does this through LOVE that is marvelous and wonderful.  “I Stand Amazed”  sung by Christ Tomlin.


New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
HE provides rain.    https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/7392c-job-5-10-rain-800-x-600.jpg
“as sparks fly upward.”  http://williambradford.files.wordpress.com/2011/04/sparksinfire.jpg
“Create in me a clean heart”   http://rlv.zcache.com/create_in_me_a_clean_heart_poster-r9bc68f2058984b4e90a69963af9be999_wvq_400.jpg

1274.) Job 4

March 20, 2014

“Job is rebuked by his friends,” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

Job 4   (NLT)

Chapters 4 – 37:  Friends Question Job.

This begins a long section in the Book of Job where Job’s friends counsel him and he answers them. His friends speak in more or less three rounds, with each speech followed by a reply from Job. At the end of these speeches, God answers Job and his friends and settles the matter.

Eliphaz’s First Response to Job

Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied to Job:

Eliphaz came from Teman, a town south of the Dead Sea famous for its wise men.  In  this speech, he traces back all affliction to sin, through the natural operation of cause and effect.  Eliphaz speaks again in chapter 15, with a clear depiction of the punishment of the wicked.  Finally, in chapter 22, Eliphaz insists that Job has sinned and points out to him the path of restoration.

2 “Will you be patient and let me say a word?
For who could keep from speaking out?

3 “In the past you have encouraged many people;
you have strengthened those who were weak.
4 Your words have supported those who were falling;
you encouraged those with shaky knees.
5 But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart.
You are terrified when it touches you.
6 Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence?
Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?

Right away we see the direction Eliphaz is going to take:  It is Job’s fault.  He has lost faith in God and he has lost his integrity.

7 “Stop and think! Do the innocent die?
When have the upright been destroyed?

1)   Elphaz, for all his wisdom, bases his reasoning on this false assumption:  that a good and innocent person never suffers.

8 My experience shows that those who plant trouble
and cultivate evil will harvest the same.

2)   Why do bad things happen to good people?  Eliphaz says, They don’t.  He thinks Job must be a bad person. He thinks  Job’s trouble is his own fault.  This is his second false assumption:  that those who suffer are being punished for their past sins.

Job4 Sproul quote
A breath from God destroys them.
They vanish in a blast of his anger.
10 The lion roars and the wildcat snarls,
but the teeth of strong lions will be broken.
11 The fierce lion will starve for lack of prey,
and the cubs of the lioness will be scattered.

12 “This truth was given to me in secret,
as though whispered in my ear.
13 It came to me in a disturbing vision at night,
when people are in a deep sleep.

Eliphaz claims to have received this revelation through a hair-raising dream:

14 Fear gripped me,
and my bones trembled.
15 A spirit swept past my face,
and my hair stood on end.

JOB mind-your-language

Job enriches our language. 

Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech:  My hair stood on end.

16 The spirit stopped, but I couldn’t see its shape.
There was a form before my eyes.
In the silence I heard a voice say,
17 ‘Can a mortal be innocent before God?
Can anyone be pure before the Creator?’

18 “If God does not trust his own angels
and has charged his messengers with foolishness,
19 how much less will he trust people made of clay!
They are made of dust, crushed as easily as a moth.
20 They are alive in the morning but dead by evening,
gone forever without a trace.
21 Their tent-cords are pulled and the tent collapses,
and they die in ignorance.

“It is all very beautiful, but absolutely short-sighted. Eliphaz had no knowledge of those secret councils in heaven, and was making the mistake of attempting to press all things into the compass of his philosophy.”

–G. Campbell Morgan



Probably we all understand the helpless feeling when so many things are working against us for no good reason!  And then we have well-meaning friends come to tell us what we are doing wrong — yep, Job, we are there in the ashes with you!

But then what?

I think of Peter’s declaration — “Lord, to whom shall we go?  YOU have the words of eternal life.”  And then I remember this beautiful song.  HERE  is Selah and “You Are My Hiding Place.”  Let us be encouraged, dear friends, in the Lord Jesus!


New Living Translation (NLT)

Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake.   http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/b/blake/william/job/jobc10.jpg
Why do bad things happen.    http://paulhastings.me/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/why-bad-things-happen-to-good-people.jpg
Mind your language.    http://thegoddessacademy.files.wordpress.com/2010/02/mind-your-language1.jpg

1273.) Job 3

March 19, 2014

“Job Praying” by Marc Chagall, 1960.

Job 3   (NLT)

Job’s First Speech

Job wishes he had never been born:

At last Job spoke, and he cursed the day of his birth. 2He said:

3 “Let the day of my birth be erased,
and the night I was conceived.
4 Let that day be turned to darkness.
Let it be lost even to God on high,
and let no light shine on it.
5 Let the darkness and utter gloom claim that day for its own.
Let a black cloud overshadow it,
and let the darkness terrify it.

Birthdays are times of joy and celebration, yet Job wants the day of his birth — even the day of his conception! — to be blotted out in darkness.  God once said, “Let there be light.”  Job counters with, “Let there be darkness.”

6 Let that night be blotted off the calendar,
never again to be counted among the days of the year,
never again to appear among the months.
7 Let that night be childless.
Let it have no joy.
8 Let those who are experts at cursing—
whose cursing could rouse Leviathan—
curse that day.

In ancient days certain people could be hired to pronounce curses. 

Leviathan — a mythical sea monster or dragon that terrorized fishermen and sailors.

Psalm 104:26 (New International Version)

There the ships go to and fro,
   and Leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

9 Let its morning stars remain dark.
Let it hope for light, but in vain;
may it never see the morning light.
10 Curse that day for failing to shut my mother’s womb,
for letting me be born to see all this trouble.

Job says it would be better not to be born, than to live when separated from God by his trouble.

There is a very deliberate and intricate interweaving of emotions, pain, hyperbole, and figurative language in this chapter which has to do with the nature of Hebrew poetry.  The repetitive cadence is like a hammer hitting one on the head over and over. The repetitive images produce a more pronounced indentation of pain.  The reader “feels” Job’s pain and is left with an indelible mental and emotional mark, just as a physical impact leaves a bruise or scar.

Job longs for the grave as a release from his present misery:

11 “Why wasn’t I born dead?
Why didn’t I die as I came from the womb?
12 Why was I laid on my mother’s lap?
Why did she nurse me at her breasts?
13 Had I died at birth, I would now be at peace.
I would be asleep and at rest.
14 I would rest with the world’s kings and prime ministers,
whose great buildings now lie in ruins.
15 I would rest with princes, rich in gold,
whose palaces were filled with silver.

One of the world’s most famous tombs, the Taj Mahal  is a white marble mausoleum located in Agra, India.  It was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third wife, Memtaz Mahal. The Taj Mahal is widely recognized as “the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world’s heritage.”

16 Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child,
like a baby who never lives to see the light?
17 For in death the wicked cause no trouble,
and the weary are at rest.
18 Even captives are at ease in death,
with no guards to curse them.
19 Rich and poor are both there,
and the slave is free from his master.

20 “Oh, why give light to those in misery,
and life to those who are bitter?
21 They long for death, and it won’t come.
They search for death more eagerly than for hidden treasure.

My former mother-in-law told me, after her husband had passed away, that she woke up each morning disappointed that she had not died in her sleep.  Every day was a burden, filled with her muffled calls welcoming death.  It was so sad to see her like that, especially when she refused any comfort from the Scriptures or conversation about the Lord.  She lived the last years of her life in such emptiness.  I contrast this with my father, who opens and closes each day now, at age 98, as he has for decades:  “This is the day the Lord has made.  We will rejoice and be glad in it!”

22 They’re filled with joy when they finally die,
and rejoice when they find the grave.
23 Why is life given to those with no future,
those God has surrounded with difficulties?
24 I cannot eat for sighing;
my groans pour out like water.
25 What I always feared has happened to me.
What I dreaded has come true.
26 I have no peace, no quietness.
I have no rest; only trouble comes.”



“There is a place of quiet rest near to the heart of God” — a good reminder for us all!

Cleland B. McAfee was at Park Coll­ege, Park­ville, Mis­souri, for al­most 20 years as the chair of Christ­ian Phil­o­so­phy and col­lege chap­lain and choir di­rect­or.  One day in 1901, to his shock and horror, he received the news that diphtheria had just claimed the lives of his two beloved nieces. To comfort his own soul and the hearts of the suffering family, Cleland wrote this hymn. On the day of the double funeral, the Park College choir sang the hymn for the first time outside the quarantined house of his brother.  Cleland McAfee accomplished many good things in his lifetime, but he is remembered most for writing a simple message in the form of a song that reminds us that when bad things happen to good people, the best place to be is Near to the Heart of God.  Hear it  HERE.

There is a place of quiet rest,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where sin cannot molest,
Near to the heart of God.


O Jesus, blest Redeemer,
Sent from the heart of God,
Hold us who wait before Thee
Near to the heart of God.

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.


There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Chagall.  http://www.marcchagallprints.com/view_art.php?art_id=1481&min=0&max=10000000&portrait=&original=&sub=&sort_by=&sold=
birthday cake.  http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-XoR_sAgtZQk/TtMeeK-E2WI/AAAAAAAAAOg/6JEE6q8d9LA/s320/Cake%2BCandles-birthday-cake-with-candles.jpg
Leviathan.  http://www.fybertech.com/4thread/tg_1319933/1205338766443.jpg
Taj Mahal.  http://wallpapers.free-review.net/63__Taj_Mahal%2C_Agra%2C_India.htm
Choose life.  http://www.odessaapartments-ukraine.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/ChooseLifeLogo_colour.jpg

1272.) Job 2

March 18, 2014

“Satan going forth from the presence of the Lord,” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

Job 2   (NLT)

Job’s Second Test

The second act of the heavenly scene:

One day the members of the heavenly court came again to present themselves before the Lord, and the Accuser, Satan, came with them.

Revelation 12:10-12 (New Century Version)

Then I heard a loud voice in heaven saying:
    “The salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God
       and the authority of his Christ have now come.

   The accuser of our brothers and sisters,
       who accused them day and night before our God,
       has been thrown down.
And our brothers and sisters defeated him
       by the blood of the Lamb’s death
       and by the message they preached.
    They did not love their lives so much
       that they were afraid of death.
So rejoice, you heavens
       and all who live there!
    But it will be terrible for the earth and the sea,
       because the devil has come down to you!
    He is filled with anger,
       because he knows he does not have much time.”

2“Where have you come from?” the Lord asked Satan.   Satan answered the Lord, “I have been patrolling the earth, watching everything that’s going on.”

3 Then the Lord asked Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job?

God says, “Have you seen my friend Job?”  I love this line!  I hope God can use it about me!  “Have you seen her?  I know I can count on her.  Throw at her whatever problems you want, and she will turn to me in faith believing.  She will not deny my name or give up on my goodness.  She will not be swayed by present circumstances, for she has placed her trust in me.  She believes my word and she claims my promises with her whole heart, with her very life.” 

Oh, may it be so!

He is the finest man in all the earth. He is blameless—a man of complete integrity. He fears God and stays away from evil. And he has maintained his integrity, even though you urged me to harm him without cause.”

4 Satan replied to the Lord, “Skin for skin! A man will give up everything he has to save his life. 5 But reach out and take away his health, and he will surely curse you to your face!”

6 “All right, do with him as you please,” the Lord said to Satan. “But spare his life.” 7 So Satan left the Lord’s presence, and he struck Job with terrible boils from head to foot.

Job suffers affliction and shows integrity.

8 Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. 9 His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.”

“Job on the Dunghill and his Wife” by Albrecht Durer, 1503 (Städelsches Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt)

But let’s not be too hard on Job’s wife.  She has just lost all ten of her children, too, and her wealth.  In addition, it would be hard for her to see her husband suffer like this.  We can understand why she has lost hope.

10 But Job replied, “You talk like a foolish woman. Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” So in all this, Job said nothing wrong.

Job’s Three Friends Share His Anguish

“Job’s Despair,” by William Blake, 1805 (Morgan Library, New York)

11 When three of Job’s friends heard of the tragedy he had suffered, they got together and traveled from their homes to comfort and console him. Their names were Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. 12 When they saw Job from a distance, they scarcely recognized him. Wailing loudly, they tore their robes and threw dust into the air over their heads to show their grief. 13 Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and nights. No one said a word to Job, for they saw that his suffering was too great for words.

The Book of Job is not primarily about one man’s suffering and pain; Job’s problem is not so much financial or social or medical; his central problem is theological. Job must deal with the fact that in his life, God does not act the way he always thought God would and should act. In this drama, the Book of Job is not so much a record of solutions and explanations to this problem; it is more a revelation of Job’s experience and the answers carried within his experience.

–David Guzik

So here is the great question of Job, and it is our question, too:  Why do bad things happen to good people?  Or more to the point — if God is good, why does he allow evil?



“Words cannot express.”  Job’s friends knew this!   HERE  is “Silence Is Golden” by the Tremeloes, an English beat group founded in 1958 in East London, and still active today.  Which means — they are on the old side now!

Oh, don’t it hurt deep inside
To see someone do something to her?
Oh, don’t it pain to see someone cry?
Oh especially when someone is her
Silence is golden
But my eyes’ still see
Silence is golden, golden
But my eyes still see

Talkin’ is cheap, people follow like sheep
Even though there is nowhere to go
How could she tell, he deceived her so well
Pity she’ll be the last one to know
Silence is golden
But my eyes still see
Silence is golden, golden
But my eyes still see
How many times did she fall for his line?
Should I tell her or should I keep cool?
And if I tried I know she’ll say I lied
Mind your business, don’t hurt her, you fool
Silence is golden
But my eyes still see
Silence is golden, golden
But my eyes still see


New Living Translation (NLT)   Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

Images courtesy of:
Blake, Satan.   http://www.blakearchive.org/blake/images/but550.1.5.wc.300.jpg
Durer.  http://www.arthistoryarchive.com/arthistory/christian/images/AlbrechtDurer-Job-and-His-Wife-1504.jpg
Blake, despair.    http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-TunyR75qmig/TnAZshv21sI/AAAAAAAAAAo/H1DCuNL8ifI/s1600/Job%2527s_Despair_Butts_set_Blake_MorganLibrary.jpg