“From the beginning God is seen to be conscious of Job and his integrity and concerned for Job’s life. During Job’s long test at the hands of Satan, his friends and even Job himself often acknowledged that God is just and the giver of that which is good. While the book of Job never fully addresses the solution to the problem of suffering, nothing in the book is out of harmony with general scriptural teaching on the subject. Thus the story of Job reminds us that suffering can be a sacred trust allowed by God to bring the sufferer to full dependence on and trust in God. Indeed the meaning of Job’s name (“where is the father”) may reflect the deeper purpose of the book. Rather than asking “Where is God when I need Him?” the more basic question may be “Is God sufficient for everything in life?” The answer is a resounding yes. God, not man, is alone the true source for strength, guidance, and success. Sufferers should realize that God’s power is available for all of life, even to carry them through their severest trials. When we see that God is truly the God of all life, we have a comforting assurance that, whatever may happen, God’s good purposes for our lives will be accomplished. All of life is for God’s glory and for human good. So it is that when Job came to a realization of God’s sufficiency rather than his own, God’s greatest blessing followed.”(HCSB)

1:8-12, “Then the LORD said to Satan, ‘Have you considered My servant Job? No one else on earth is like him, a man of perfect integrity, who fears God and turns away from evil.’ Satan answered the LORD, ‘Does Job fear God for nothing? Haven’t You placed a hedge around him, his household, and everything he owns? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions are spread out in the land. But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he owns, and he will surely curse You to Your face.’ ‘Very well’ the LORD told Satan, ‘everything he owns is in your power. However, you must not lay a hand on Job himself.’” “God’s justice and integrity were not impugned by allowing Satan to inflict suffering upon an innocent man. Only a genuine test could demonstrate to Satan whether Job’s devotion was real or was, as Satan insinuated, the result of God’s having protected and blessed Job beyond that of most human beings. More important than proving something to Satan, God had purposes for Job’s good that could only come through this arduous path of testing. The charge that God and Satan were playing games, with Job as the pawn, is insensitive and erroneous. Job’s ordeal was intensified to test the depths if his faith and to achieve an end that could only come through these trials.”(HCSB)

Job lost most of his family and his fortune and his reaction in 1:20-22 is very admirable: “Then Job stood up, tore his robe and shaved his head. He fell to the ground and worshiped, saying: ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will leave this life. The LORD gives, and the LORD takes away. Praise the name of the LORD.’ Throughout all this Job did not sin or blame God for anything.” At this point of the book, despite his significant suffering from all that he has lost, he still worshiped God. Job had an excellent perspective in the beginning but starts to backslide a little later on.

Within Job’s opening speech there are a few verses that should be pointed out, which are 3:13,17-19,23, 26: “For then I would have laid down in peace; I would be asleep. Then I would be at rest…There the wicked cease to make trouble, and there the weary find rest. The captives are completely at ease; they do not hear the voice of their oppressor. Both the small and the great are there, and the slave is set free from his master…Why is life given to a man whose path is hidden, whom God has hedged in? I cannot relax or be still; I have no rest, for trouble comes.” We see in these verses that Job’s pain as gotten to him and is at the point of depression where he longs for death to come and take him. The good news for Christians today is that it is true that the weary find rest and the captives are set free. Today, we do not need to wait for death for this to happen because we can experience rest and freedom through Jesus Christ who overcame death for us. It is in Him that we can truly live as He lives in us.

Eliphaz responds to Job, 5:2,8,11,15-18,22: “For anger kills a fool, and jealousy slays the gullible…However, if I were you, I would appeal to God and would present my case to Him…He sets the lowly on high, and mourners are lifted to safety…He saves the needy from their sharp words and from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth. See how happy the man is God corrects; so do not reject the discipline of the Almighty. For He crushes but also binds up; He strikes, but His hands also heal…You will laugh at destruction and hunger and not fear the animals of the earth.” Job replies to Eliphaz, 6:24-25: “Teach me, and I will be silent. Help me understand what I did wrong. How painful honest words can be! But what does your rebuke prove?” In 10:11-12, Job says to God, “You clothed me with skin and flesh, and wove me together with bones and tendons. You gave me life and faithful love, and Your care has guarded my life.”

In 11:13-18, Zophar tells Job, “As for you, if you direct your heart and lift up your hands to Him in prayer—if there is iniquity in your hand, remove it, and don’t allow injustice to dwell in your tents—then you will hold your head high, free from fault. You will be firmly established and unafraid. For you will forget your suffering, recalling it only as waters that have flowed by. Your life will be brighter than noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. You will be confident, because there is hope. You will look carefully about and lie down in safety.” In other words, Zophar is telling Job to talk with God, turn from whatever sins there has been found, and remember that it is always the darkest before the dawn. Job responds to Zophar in 13:4-5, 15-16 by saying, “But you coat the truth with lies; you are all worthless doctors. If only you would shut up and let that be your wisdom! Even if He kills me, I will hope in Him. I will still defend my ways before Him. Yes, this will result in my deliverance, for no godless person can appear before Him.” There is some truth in what Zophar had said, the only “cover” is when he tells Job that if he were to remove iniquity and reprimand the injustice, then he will be able to hold his head high free from fault. Looking at that comment from a Christian perspective, I would see that as claiming to be saved by works and not faith. Once a person accepts Jesus Christ into their lives, in a way, they are free from fault, however, it is important to repent of one’s sins, and present justice to all. If a Christian holds their head up high, then it is important to give God the acknowledgment of what He has done, and not what we have done. Chapter 15 explains a little more and is important to remember that, “Eliphaz’s philosophical rambling that nothing is pure in God’s eyes does not reflect the Bible’s full teaching on the subject. Those who truly believe and exercise total trust and faith in God are counted as righteous. Made righteous in God’s sight through Christ’s atoning death; and taken into union with Christ, believers can live virtuous and faithful lives through Christ who lives through them.”(HCSB)

In chapter 20, “Although Zophar’s second speech reflects many biblical truths concerning the wicked, it does not guarantee that his words were given in true biblical spirit. Zophar painted pictures of the certain failure and disastrous end of the wicked but left Job to make the application to himself. Words have the power to wound or heal and need to be used in a positive manner. Believers are to be ready to give a defense of their faith, but their apologetic needs to be spoken with all due propriety and truth, bathed in love.”(HCSB)

In regards to chapter 21, “Skeptics point out that Job’s characterization of the success of the wicked, despite their godless lives contradicts biblical teaching. But Job’s issue here was given voice elsewhere in Scripture. Biblical writers did not gloss over the seeming contradiction between the prosperity of the wicked and God’s promise of blessing for those who obey Him; but their answer came from a change of perspective in which they realized the ultimate destiny of those who disregard God. The book of Job is a dialogue in which the speakers, including Job, encircled the main issue—God’s righteousness—approaching it from a variety of angles. Along the way some negative (Job) and superficial (the friends) ideas came out, but they should never be taken as the author’s final teaching. Although seemingly reminiscent of the innocent sufferer’s lament in other ancient documents, including one known as the Babylonian Theodicy, Job’s remarks were a true report of his feelings at this stage of the discussion, not the book’s final position.”(HCSB)

In regards to chapter 22, “Eliphaz’s false accusations are a reminder that texts must be read in context and compared with other passages so as not to be incorrectly cited as proof. Verses 6-10 are a true report of Eliphaz’s speech, but Eliphaz’s words are not to be read as the truth concerning Job.”(HCSB) In other words, text without context is pretext.

23:10-12: “Yet He knows the way I have taken; when He has tested me, I will emerge as pure gold. My feet have followed in His tracks; I have kept to His way and not turned aside. I have not departed from the commands of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my daily food.” Once again, Job has the right perspective, but like any human being, his mind wanders a little more. In chapter 23, “Job’s complaint concerning the inaccessibility of God does not contradict the biblical teaching of God’s omnipresence and nearness to those in need. Job’s cry arose from what he considered to be unjust suffering. His remarks reflected accurately his perspective of things but does not guarantee theological accuracy.”(HCSB)

In chapter 25, “Bildad’s question should not be understood as a denial that man’s reconciliation with God is impossible. Bildad returned to where the dialogue began, and he repeatedly surfaced in stating that weak, flawed human beings cannot hope to be so morally perfect that they are pure in God’s sight. His statement was designed to counter Job’s claim that were he to present his case before God, his innocence and righteousness would be established. Bildad asked better than he knew. The Scriptures answer the question by declaring that sinful people can be just in God’s sight by meeting God’s terms, faith in the substitutionary death of Christ for sins.”(HCSB)

Job’s hymn to wisdom is found in chapter 28, and I particularly would like to highlight verses 27-28 where he talks of God, “He considered wisdom and evaluated it; He established it and examined it. He said to mankind, ‘Look! The fear of the Lord—that is wisdom, and to turn from evil is understanding.’” Job gets this truth right on the button. Jesus Himself stated that we should seek first the kingdom of God, and everything else would be provided to us.

Chapter 32 is amazing, especially verses 1-3, 6-9, and 18-20: “So these three men quit answering Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. Then Elihu son of Barachel the Buzite from the family of Ram became angry. He was angry with Job because he had justified himself rather than God. He was also angry with Job’s three friends because they had failed to refute him, and yet had condemned him. Elihu replied: ‘I am young in years, while you are old; therefore I was timid and afraid to tell you what I know. I though that age should speak and maturity should teach wisdom. But it is a spirit in man and the breath of the Almighty that give him understanding. It is not only the old who are wise or the elderly who understand how to judge. For I am full of words, and my spirit compels me to speak. My heart is like unvented wine; it is about to burst like new wineskins. I must speak so that I can find relief; I must open my lips and respond.’” Anyone who claims to be self-righteous is just asking for trouble. It is critical that the friend of the “self-righteous” person confront him/her in a loving way by noting that it is only through God in Christ can anyone be righteous, and at that point, the glory goes to God. Despite Elihu’s age, he had the strength of character to confront Job.

Elihu continues to speak throughout the next few chapters. 33:14, 27-28; 34:21-22; 36:5-6, 15: “For God speaks time and again, but a person may not notice it. A person will look at men and say, ‘I have sinned and perverted what was right; yet I did not get what I deserved. He redeemed my soul from going down to the Pit, and I will continue to see the light…For His eyes watch over a man’s ways, and He observes all his steps. There is no darkness, no deep darkness, where evildoers can hide themselves…Yes, God is mighty, but He despises no one; He understands all things. He does not keep the wicked alive, but He gives justice to the afflicted…God rescues the afflicted by afflicting them; He instructs them by means of their torment.”

“Elihu’s remarks should not be understood as indicating that God is callous, frivolous, or inconsistent in dealing with people’s prayers. God is under no obligation to answer prayer but the Bible indicates that He does answer prayers that are in accordance with His will. The answer may not be what the petitioner is seeking but it will be that which is best. Many believers testify to God’s gracious answers to prayer.”(HCSB)

42:1-7, 16-17: “Then Job replied to the LORD: ‘I know that You can do anything and no plan of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this who conceals My counsel with ignorance?’ Surely I spoke about things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak. When I question you, you will inform Me.’ I had heard rumors about You, but now my eyes have seen You. Therefore I take back my words and repent in dust and ashes. After the LORD had finished speaking to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “I am angry with you and your two friends, for you have not spoken the truth about Me, as My servant Job has…Job lived 140 years after this and saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. Then Job died, old and full of days.”

In 42:1-7, “This crucial passage reveals the key to the entire book of Job. Job finally received the answer to the question of his unjust treatment, but the answer did not come in the form of a logical argument that vindicated either his righteousness or his friends’ accusations against him. Instead—thanks, in part, to Elihu’s intervention—Job came to a revelation of God’s overwhelming majesty and, what is more, God had spoken to him at last. Job saw that, in questioning God’s justice, he had spoken out of turn; God does the questioning. Job had “seen” the God of whom he had formerly only “heard rumors.” This revelation moved Job to repentance. He had made much of his own integrity, failing to recognize Who was really in charge of the discussion all along. In 42:7-17, God confronted Job’s friends that what they failed to do—and which Job did—was to deal directly with God about the issue instead of just talking about Him. They felt they had to defend God, while Job “dared” God to speak for Himself—because God needs no defense.”(HCSB)

Another excellent example found in the New Testament concerning who is really in charge is found with the story of Lazarus. According to a commentary in the HCSB, “Lazarus was likely in the prime of his life. He’s a good man and a close friend of Jesus. Lazarus becomes ill and dies. The citizens of his village, Bethany, could see such an evil and after three days of mourning come to the conclusion that there is no reason for this. Therefore, God doesn’t exist. Then Jesus comes to Bethany. Lazarus’s sisters, Mary and Martha, chastise Jesus for not getting there sooner. As we read John’s account, we see that unbeknownst to Mary and Martha, Jesus had reasons for delaying. Moreover, there were reasons Lazarus was permitted to die in the prime of his life. When Jesus arrived at Lazarus’s tomb, He prayed and then called Lazarus to come out of the tomb four days after his death. The reason for Lazarus’s sickness, death, Jesus’ delay, and Lazarus’s resuscitation was that God’s glory might be seen. The pattern that we see in this and numerous other biblical cases shows that there are times when we can’t say, “If God had a reason to allow this particular case of evil, we would probably know what it is.” There are two reasons we can’t always make this claim. First, we can figure out reasons that God might have for many (perhaps most) of the evils in the world. For example, both human freedom and a stable, cause-effect universe are necessary for any meaningful action. Meaningful action, then, may be a reason that God allows various kinds of evil. Second, it is reasonable to think that God will have reasons that we cannot grasp for allowing evils in our lives. In fact, to think that we should be able to figure out God’s reason for allowing every case of evil implies that we think God is not much smarter than we are. If God is the almighty creator of the universe, there will be evil the reason for which we cannot discern. This is exactly what we should expect if there is a God. It cannot be counted as evidence against God.”

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