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JOB - Chapters 4-14


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ELIPHAZ (ch. 4 - 5)

  1. (4:1-6) You should follow the advise you have given to others.
    1. In the past, you helped others with encouraging words.
    2. But now, when things aren't going your way, you impatiently give up.
    3. Shouldn't the righteous lifestyle/character you had in the past be sufficient to sustain you through your trials now?
  2. (4:7-11) It is not the innocent who suffer, but rather those who deserve it.
  3. (4:12-21) No man is capable of a totally righteous relationship with God.
    1. This is supported by a vision I once received.
    2. Angelic beings are impure in God's sight. How much worse off is man, with all his limitations!
  4. (5:1-7) Resentment of discipline is very unwise.
    1. No holy one (heavenly being) will change your circumstances.
    2. A stubborn refusal to learn from it will result in death.
    3. I've seen it happen before: A person living in folly is prosperous for a while... then he is suddenly destroyed. [In other words, your situation is not unique.]
    4. The source of the problem is not man's environment (circumstances), but man's heart.
  5. (5:8-16) Look to God for deliverance!
    1. God does wondrous things!
    2. He helps those who are hurt and oppressed, but destroys the wicked!
  6. (5:17-26) Accept the Lord's discipline! Learn from it, and God will bless you in might ways.
  7. (5:27) Job, please accept this faithful advice.

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  1. (6:1-7) My complaint is justified!
    1. If you could comprehend my anguish, you would understand.
    2. Look at what God has done to me! That's why I complain.
    3. Your speech is very inappropriate for the circumstances.
  2. (6:8-10) If only God would give me death (the only hope I've got left!). Then I could at least have the consolation that I had remained faithful to God - all the way to the end!
  3. (6:11-13) What other hope do I have? Why should I quietly wait for something good to happen, when all my resources have been destroyed?
  4. (6:14-23) You have failed in your obligations toward me.
    1. You ought to be devoted (loyal) to me... even if I were to give up expecting help from God.
    2. But you have proved undependable - like desert streams that dry up when they are most needed.
    3. The implications of my situation terrify you, and you have abandoned your loyalty to me.
    4. I am not asking too much from you!
  5. (6:24-27) Show me my errors, even if it hurts! You've accomplished nothing so far. Don't treat me like a "wind bag." That would be comparable to some of the cruelest things you could do!
  6. (6:28-30) Look at my sincerity! Don't accuse me without giving a good reason for doing so!
  7. (7:1-5) Men's lives are normally full of burdens, with limited joy... but I have a burden from which there is no relief.
  8. (7:6-10) My days are nearly over, with nothing good remaining. [Now talking to God:] Soon I will be gone - never to return, no matter how much you may desire it.
  9. (7:11-16) So, I protest! Why do you treat me like an enemy? You won't even let sleep ease my pain! I'd rather be dead. Give me a break!!!
  10. (7:17-21)
    1. Why so much attention on me? Won't you leave me alone even for a moment?
    2. Even if I did sin, it wouldn't hurt you. Why not, in that case, show mercy and forgive?
    3. Once I die (which will be soon!), it will be too late for you to do so.

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BILDAD (ch. 8)

  1. (8:1-7)
    1. Your words against God are a bunch of hot air. God doesn't distort what is right.
    2. Your children died because of sin. But if you repent, God will not give you death, but blessings beyond imagination!
  2. (8:8-19)
    1. All the wisdom of past generations has said this!
    2. The godless quickly perish, just like reeds that suddenly die when they lose their source of water. What the godless depend on is untrustworthy and frail.
    3. (8:6-19 - Two views, depending on interpretation of the Hebrew)
      • VIEW A (applied to the wicked): They will be uprooted, withered, and replaced by others (they have no hope).
      • VIEW B (applied to the righteous): When uprooted, they can rejoice, for they will sprout back again (they do have hope).
  3. (8:20-22) All of this illustrates my point: that you (if you repent) will be blessed, whereas evildoers will be shamed!

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JOB ' S REPLY TO BILDAD (ch. 9 - 10)

  1. (9:1-13)
    1. I agree that God doesn't pervert justice...but HOW can I demonstrate my righteousness to Him?
    2. I am no match for Him: He is too wise and too powerful to answer.
    3. Look at His power in creation! See how He works in catastrophic events and in the heavens! His works are beyond comprehension!
    4. And this is merely the effects of His presence. We don't even see God Himself!
    5. In all, God does as He pleases. No enemy can oppose Him or even question Him!
  2. (9 :14-20)
    1. Because of His greatness, I'm helpless to defend myself.
    2. In fact, if I tried, I'd probably be destroyed!
    3. He is just too great...none is above Him.
    4. In his sight I couldn't even utter a word without sounding guilty!
  3. (9:20-24)
    1. But nonetheless, I am blameless, and I want to die.
    2. God, for some reason, lets blameless people suffer just like the wicked.
    3. If it isn't God doing it, then who is it?
  4. (9:25-31)
    1. My days are ending. [Even though the agony seems to go on "forever" - see 7:3- 4]
    2. Wishful thinking ("positive thinking") cannot change reality. If I tried it, I would still end up suffering and being treated as guilty.
    3. In fact, anything I might do to prove myself innocent would be of no value.
  5. (9:32-35)
    1. I cannot approach God in a court as I would a man. (This puts me at a great disadvantage.)
    2. It would take some type of arbitrator to restrain God's actions against me; only then could I defend myself.
  6. (10:1-7) Why the injustice? ("Why, God, are you doing this to me?")
    1. I hate my life; I'm going to protest: "Stop condemning me until you have shown me my sin!"
    2. Do you somehow get enjoyment from attacking me, while at the same time favoring the wicked?
    3. Do you have a faulty, human perspective on things?
    4. Are you restricted by time (as men are) that you must resort to such actions, in order to "pry-out" sin that might be in my life? [Perhaps comparable to the "Inquisition" against Christians, several centuries ago. "Must you run me through an 'inquisition'?"]
    5. You know that I'm innocent and you know that I'm helpless before you.
  7. (10:8-12)
    1. It just doesn't make sense! Why would you make me, and then turn around and destroy me!
    2. Look at the commitment you once had toward me!
  8. (10:13-17)
    1. But it appears that you had evil motives! You would be eager to find even the tiniest sin that I might commit, so that you could punish me! [Probably not an accusation against God, but a description of how things appear.]
    2. If I am guilty, it would be hopeless for me; if I am not...I still face horrible affliction and humiliation. [A no-win situation]
    3. You continuously attack me.
  9. (10:18-22)
    1. So, why did you let me be born? I would rather be dead or non-existent!
    2. But since I'm alive, leave me alone for a little while, so I can have a little joy before my impending death. (At that time, it will be forever too late.)

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ZOPHAR (ch. 11)

  1. (11:1-6)
    1. Is it conceivable that such a wordy person (implying Job) could be in the right? [According to Proverbs, FOOLS are the ones who utter lots of words!] Can such impious speech reduce men to silence, so that you appear to have won the argument?
    2. You claim that your opinions and lifestyle are flawless! I wish that God himself would show you how wrong you are!
    3. If you were wise, you would gratefully realize "the other side" of your case: you are being punished for only PART of your sins!
  2. (11:7-9) Can you comprehend the unfathomable aspects of God? His knowledge and power surpasses the limits of creation! How does that compare with YOU?
  3. (11:10-12)
    1. If He judges sin, who is capable of opposing His actions? He knows the truth about what is going on.
    2. [Meaning uncertain - possibly: Job, you are hopelessly foolish!]
  4. (11:13-20)
    1. So, repent! Turn back to God and forsake your sins!
    2. Then you will experience wonderful blessings...the past will be totally forgotten!
    3. But the wicked (including you, if you don't repent) will have a tragic end.

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JOB'S REPLY TO ZOPHAR (ch. 12 - 14)

  1. (12:1-3) You people think you have a monopoly on intelligence; but I too, know something about these things. In fact, what you've said ANYONE can know.
  2. (12:4-6)
    1. Even though I am righteous and blameless, and have had fellowship with God, I am now an object of ridicule.
    2. This is because men in easy circumstances have contempt for those who have misfortune.
    3. And in contrast with me, wicked men are secure!
  3. (12:7-12)
    1. Ask any part of creation... it all is aware that this has been done by God, who is in control of everything.
    2. [12:11-12 - 2 views]
      • VIEW A (a command): Test the truth of this for yourself! After all, you "aged ones" supposedly have wisdom. [OR: After all, "the Aged One," (that is, God) is the source of all wisdom.]
      • VIEW B (a caution): The aged do have wisdom, but we must carefully test what they say.
  4. (12:13-25)
    1. God is more wise and more powerful than men. If He destroys something in judgment, its destruction is irreversible.
    2. He has power to conquer all - not only people who blindly follow their leaders, but also the leaders themselves!
    3. Nothing is hidden from Him - even what is done in darkness.
    4. He can exalt or destroy any and all. Even the greatest of men can be brought to nothing.
  5. (13:1-12) (Job plans to confront God.)
    1. (Talking to his "friends") I am equal to you all in intelligence.
    2. (I plan to pursue a course of action that is totally different from what you have recommended.) Since I consider myself innocent, I plan to confront God.
    3. But you, claiming that I am guilty, speak lies and worthless advise. Silence would be better!
    4. Why do you distort the truth in order to promote what you claim is "God's cause"? One-sided arguments and favoritism are wrong. Don't you know that God will eventually judge you for it?
    5. Your words have little value.
  6. (13:13-19)
    1. Let me speak without interruption, then let come what may!
    2. Why do I endanger my life by daring to confront God? Admittedly, he may destroy me!
    3. Yet I plan to defend myself... [Two interpretations of the Hebrew:]
      • VIEW 1 ("regardless of what happens"): ... even if my attempt proves hopeless (and I die). [What have I to lose?]
      • VIEW 2 ("I expect good to happen"): ... and I will hope that he vindicates me.
    4. Perhaps the very fact that I am willing to do this might testify to my innocence and result in my deliverance. No godless person would dare to do such a thing!
    5. So, pay attention; I'm ready to speak. And I am confident that I will win!
    6. Can anyone find sin anywhere in my past? If so, I will willingly be silent [a sign of defeat] and die!
  7. (13:20-27)
    1. I request these things from you, God: stop acting against me, and don't let your greatness terrify me. [ we can speak on equal terms].
    2. Then communicate with me! (You can even decide who speaks first.)
    3. Show me ANYTHING I have done to deserve such treatment. Why do you treat weak creatures this way?
    4. Look at what you are doing: You are bringing bitter charges against me. You even appear to be punishing me for things I may have done as an immature child, before I even had a chance to learn wisdom!
    5. You are restricting me and examining my every move, hunting for the tiniest mistake!
  8. (13:28; 14:1-6) [Here, Job speaks in general terms, but implies his own specific situation.]
    1. Man slowly rots away. [I obviously am!] He lives a short life - full of problems - and then dies.
    2. Why do you focus so much attention on him? Do you expect him to have absolute perfection? It's not possible!
    3. You have already determined that his days will be few, so why add to his suffering? Let him "do his time" until his days are ended.
  9. (14:7-12) Even a tree has it better than man does.
    1. When a tree dies, new shoots can sprout up. (It just takes the right conditions.)
    2. But when a man dies, it's all over for him. He is like water that evaporates and is gone.
    3. As long as this present system lasts, man will not come alive again.
  10. (14:13-17) If only it were possible to be like the tree!
    1. If only I could temporarily die and come alive again after your anger has passed!
    2. Suppose it were possible... I would put up with everything, waiting in hope for my renewal to come - when communion and fellowship would be restored!
    3. (v. 16-17) [Two interpretations]
      • VIEW 1 (a continuation of his wishful thinking): Then you would not hold against me all the things for which you appear to be judging me.
      • VIEW 2 ["back to reality"): But you are attacking me - holding against me all sorts of things.
  11. (14:18-22) Instead, man is like an eroding mountain.
    1. You destroy man's hopes and he dies.
    2. What happens to those left behind is meaningless to him. As he dies [OR: "After" he dies?] the only thing on his mind is what is happening to himself.

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Dennis Hinks © 1989