May 25th, 2021 - Job 25-28
Bildad’s speech in chapter 25 is the shortest in the book and he focuses on God’s power (v1-3) and justice (v4-6). It is disturbing to see how Job’s friends speak so knowingly about God when in the end God revealed they really didn’t know what they were talking about. Sometimes the people that speak the most about God, know the least about Him. Instead of what Bildad said how about this. God’s power is inherent in His nature. He has all dominion and fear/awe, and He reigns sovereignly in the heavens. He has everything under control and sees what is happening in all places. His army of angels is at His command and they are ready to obey His will. Who can resist Him? God’s justice is the outworking of His holy nature for God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Since God is holy and just, how can mere men claim to be righteous before Him? Job replies. In chapter 26 Job acknowledges God’s power. Chapter 27 finds Job questioning God’s justice and in chapter 28 Job seeks God’s wisdom.
First Job rebuked Bildad for giving him no help. Job had no power but Bildad didn’t make him stronger. And according to his friends, Job lacked wisdom, but Bildad didn’t share one piece of wisdom or insight. If Bildad’s words had come from God, they would have made a difference for him. After all, Job had been crying out for God to speak to him. So, Job concluded that what Bildad spoke was from him and of no use. For the rest of the chapter Job extolled the goodness and wonder of the Lord. He reminded his friends that God sees everything, even the realm of the dead. Job used three different words to describe the place of the dead: the waters, Sheol, and destruction. We will see destruction referred to as Abaddon in the Book of Revelation much later in our reading. Job’s point? If God can see what happens in the world of the dead, He can certainly see what is happening in the world of the living. And he reminds them that not only does God see everything, but He also made it and controls it. Perhaps Job’s three friends listened impatiently because they already knew these things, except they had not drawn the right conclusion from them. They saw God’s handiwork in nature and assumed they knew all about God. That qualified them to explain God to Job.
Job said just the opposite was true. What they saw and knew was just the fringes of God. In other words, they knew very little of God. Knowing just a few facts about nature was nowhere close to knowing God. At this point Job was just getting warmed up! He had much more to say to his three friends about God. Bildad had made it clear that since God is holy, no one can stand righteous in His sight. The corollary to this is that God is obligated to punish people for their sins otherwise He would not be a righteous God. If Job is suffering, he is sinning. Job takes an oath. In that time and place, among Eastern people, taking an oath was serious business. This was like inviting God to kill you if what you said was not true. Job was so sure of himself he was willing to take that risk.
We see Job repeat his charge that God was not treating him fairly, denying him justice. Job had asked God to state the charges against him, but heaven had been silent. Job had asked for an umpire to bring him and God together, but no umpire had been provided. This caused Job to declare that as long as he lived, he would defend himself and maintain his integrity. He would not lie just to please his friends, nor would he bribe God to restore his fortunes. In the East it was not enough for people who were accused to simply affirm their innocence. They also felt the need to call down curses, the wrath of God on those who had said they were guilty. Job’s enemies were any people who agreed with his three friends that he was guilty of sin and deserved to be punished by God. All the while this conversation was occurring, it is quite likely people had been gathering around the ash heap where Job was sitting. No doubt they were listening in and many of them probably agreed with Job’s three friends. Job could probably see them nodding their heads when one of the three made a poignant observation or point. And he was outnumbered. What Job had to say may sound cruel but in the sight of God, what he said was right. God had twice declared before the court of heaven that Job was a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil. Job’s enemies were wrong. He had the right to ask God to vindicate him. In fact, God was the only one who could prove Job right and his enemies wrong. Who else could Job turn to for help? His three friends had hammered on him the fact that the destiny of the wicked was terrible, so Job threw their words right back at them. Job envisioned them calling out for God and God not answering them.
Bildad had affirmed that God is just, and He punished those who disobey Him. But that does not mean that everybody who suffers is being punished for their sins. Sometimes we suffer because of the sins of others or because God is keeping us from sin. Jesus suffered not for his own sins but for ours, because He had none. From this Job embarked on a teaching lesson. The rest of chapter 27 is Job describing God’s judgement of the wicked. They will die and their widows will not mourn for them. This was a terrible insult in that time and place. Their children will be affected. They will lie down rich and wake up poor. Their housing will be destroyed. Their death will not be peaceful. Terrors will come at night and carry them away like flood waters. Worse yet, even if they try to run away the terrors will follow them. There will be no escape. Much of what Job said to them came directly from the friend’s admonishment of them. This was no doubt on purpose, and it served as a warning that they had better be careful what they say because they might be declaring their own judgement upon themselves.
Finally, Job seeks God’s wisdom. This chapter is a self-contained speech. Job asks questions at the beginning most likely because he was weary of the nonsense his friends were sharing with him. His friends had knowledge, but they lacked wisdom. Job maintained wisdom came from God. You cannot mine wisdom. Job takes us deep inside of a mine. In scripture precious metals and stones are often used as symbols of wisdom. Miners used to melt rock by burning a fire in a mine for days or even weeks to melt out the ore. Some alternated fire and cold water to split the rocks. Job is saying that though man can dig deep into the earth and find great wealth, though he can go places where birds and beasts would not dare to go, though he can even find the hidden source of the great rivers, man cannot find God’s wisdom by mere human effort. It takes more than courage and native intelligence; it demands humility and spiritual perception. You cannot buy wisdom. It does not matter how much money you have. Here in verses 12-19 Job mentions gold five times, silver once and he names seven different precious stones. But none of these treasures, individually or collectively can purchase the wisdom of God. Wisdom does not come cheap, and it does not originate among the living. Only God is the source of true wisdom.
Wisdom comes only from God. You can search high or low and you will not find it. Only God knows where to find wisdom, for God sees everything. When God looks throughout the whole earth, He sees His own wisdom in His creation. Job answers his where is wisdom question in 28:28. He states “the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding. Job called God ‘fear of the Lord’, a name for God found only here. Fear of the Lord is a loving reverence for God, who He is, what He says, and what He does., It is not fear that paralyzed but one that energizes. When you fear the Lord, you obey His commandments, walk in His ways, and serve Him. You are loyal to Him and give Him wholehearted service. Like Job when you fear the Lord you depart from evil. The fear of the Lord is the fear that conquers fear. Because if you fear the Lord, you need not fear anyone else. So, the first step toward true wisdom is a reverent and respectful attitude toward God, which also involves a humble attitude toward ourselves.
Job’s speech is not quite finished. In the next three chapters Job will review his life and then challenge God to either vindicate him or judge him. That will end the debate and usher in two new participants…Elihu and the Lord.
In His Grip
Pastor Matt W
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