Job: Suffering of the Righteous
of the Righteous
Satan's testing, Job and advisors, God's response.
Background: Set in the time of the Patriarchs Theme: The suffering of the righteous Outline: Satan's Test, Job's Dialogs with his Advisors, and God's Response Key Verse: "I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God." (Job 19:25-26, NIV)
Background Summary Questions
The Bible Knowledge Commentary (Vol I, Old Testament) is an excellent resource and is referred to as the BKC.
In Job, perhaps more than in any other Bible book, the context of each verse must be carefully considered. It would be easy to take one of the statements as truth, only to have it refuted by Job a chapter later. Always be aware of who is talking, and the general scheme of where the arguments are.
I. Prologue (1-2)
1:16-17 It is hard to see how a natural fire, started by lightning, could destroy the entire flock of 7000 sheep and the servants. Therefore I read the fire of God as being something else, a supernatural fire that consumed the sheep and the servants. I do not see the fire of God as being the fire starter, lightning, and the real destruction being accomplished by a resulting natural fire.
1:20-22 The central idea of naked I will depart is that we will take none of our material wealth with us when we die. Job realized that he had suffered great loss, but acknowledges that he would have lost it all at his death.
II. Dialogue (3:1-42:6)
A. Jobs Death Wish (3)
B. First Round of Speeches (4-14)
1. Eliphaz First (4-5)
2. Job to Eliphaz (6-7)
3. Bildads First (8)
4. Job to Bildad (9-10)
9:32-35 No being is greater than God, so who can judge between God and man? It is no use trying to convince our friends that God is wrong. Only God himself can resolve our complaints. In witnessing, we should try to bring our friends to God to have Him answer their objections.
10:8-10 God is the active agent in the creation and development of human life in the womb according to these verses. It is not simply a natural process.
5. Zophars First (11)
6. Job to Zophar (12-14)
12:22-25 In a much later case God would deprive the Babylonian, King Nebuchadnezzar, of his sanity and make him live like a wild animal for a few years.
C. Second Round of Speeches (15-21)
1. Eliphaz Second (15)
2. Job to Eliphaz (16-17)
3. Bildads Second (18)
4. Job to Bildad (19)
19:26 Based upon the Hebrew preposition, the verse may mean Job meant he would be in a resurrection body or simply see God after death apart from the body. In either case, Job believed in life after death.
5. Zophars Second (20)
6. Job to Zophar (21)
21:7-16 The temporary prosperity of some sinners is clearly seen in history and in current times. The wealth or health of a person tells us nothing of their spiritual standing. We see Job, a righteous man when he was wealthy and now a righteous man in poverty. We also see both poor sinners and wealthy ones.
D. Third Round of Speeches (22-31)
1. Eliphaz Third (22)
22:21-30 Eliphaz would have Job accept his teachings as Gods teachings. This is a common characteristic of false teachers.
2. Job to Eliphaz (23-24)
3. Bildads Third (25)
4. Job to Bildad (26-31)
27:7-12 Satan had accused Job of only serving God for profit. Here, Job describes the wicked as only praying when they are in distress. Our lives should be characterized by prayer in good times as well as when we are in need.
28:1-11 Hebrew poetry is based on ideas rather than rhythm ad rhyme as in English. Take a moment to review the form of 28-1-11 as given here. This section then contrasts with mans inability to find the richest treasure, wisdom! It requires prayer, reading Gods Word, meditation (careful thought), and putting into practice what we learn. It is far more valuable than our paychecks or anything we can find in a jewelry store! Do we truly understand the value of wisdom? Job lost everything but still had wisdom.
31:4 "Does he not see my ways and count my every step?" Job states that God is both aware of and takes an active interest in what we do. Job refused to look lustfully at women in part because God sees our ways. A holy life before God is not only external actions observable by men, but matters of the thought life and heart observed by God.
31:13-15 In modern terms perhaps we could apply Jobs treatment of his servants to managers treatment of employees. Quite often, those entrusted with the management of others become puffed up and think they are on a higher level. Job clearly saw in these verses and the following that his servants complaints would be heard by God.
E. Elihus Speeches (32-37)
1. Elihus First (32-33)
2. Elihus Second (34)
3. Elihus Third (35)
4. Elihus Fourth (36-37)
F. God and Job (38:1-42:6)
1. Gods First Speech (38:1-40:2)
38:4-28 It is interesting to consider how limited our knowledge of these areas still is today. We have gone to the moon and sent probes to and past a few planets, yet gather only a glimpse of the universe. The depths of our planet are practically unknown. We only imperfectly guess at our weather! God not only knows these things, He created them.
2. Jobs Reply to God (40:3-5)
3. Gods Second Speech (40:6-41:34)
4. Jobs Second Reply (42:1-6)
42:4-5 We, like Job, have only heard second-hand about many of Gods doings. For instance, we do not know the specifics of creation.
42:6 "God is not obligated to man." This is an important realization. This humbles us, that God owes us nothing, yet He "so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16).
III. Epilogue (42:7-17)
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Updated March 2012