Job, His Friends, and God

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by TexasSky, Jun 22, 2005.

  1. TexasSky

    TexasSky
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    Remember that God pointed Job out to Satan because God was so pleased with Job. So, when you study Job, you have to start on the assumption that he probably had some pretty sound theology.

    Satan gets God to remove God's protection from Job, and Satan destroys everything in Job's life.

    That's when Job's well meaning friends come into the picture; Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite.

    They heard about all the problems that suddenly hit Job, got together and said they would "sympathize with him and comfort him."
    (Job 2:11b)

    Eliphaz starts off like a God-fearing buddy. Just a nice guy counseling a friend.

    (4:2) "If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking?"

    Goes on and tells Job to remember everything he taught everyone, basicaly, in vs 5, he tells Job that he has no right to be upset. And in vs 7 he accuses job of sin.

    "Consider now: Who, being innocent has ever perished? Were the upright ever destroyed?"

    He spends the rest of Chapter 4, and Chapter 5 telling Job that God is obviously punishing him for some terrible sin. In Chapters 6 and 7, Job objects to being falsely accused.

    Job, the man that God pointed out to Satan as a man that pleases God, says.

    6:14
    "A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty."

    6:21 "Now you too have proved to be of no help."


    And then, in despair he cries out -

    7:20 "If I have sinned, what have I done to you, O watcher of men? Why have you made me your target?"

    Well, Bildad hops in on that one!

    8:2 "How long will you say such things?! Your words are a blustering wind. Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penality of their sin!"

    So, Bildad is saying, "Your kids deserved to die." He goes on with a lot of instruction to look at previous generations and justification for his view point.

    Job replies with,

    "How can a mortal be rightous before God?" (9:2)


    9 and 10 are Job's response to Bildad.

    Zophar speaks in Chapter 11.

    V2: "Are all these words to go unanswered? Is this talker to be vindicated? Will your idle talk reduce men to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock? "

    He tells him in vs. 13-15 "Yet, if you devote your heart to him, and stretch out your hands to him, If you put away the sin that is in your hand, and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame, you will stand firm and without fear."

    Job gets a little testy.
    12:2 "Doubtless you are the people, and wisdom will die with you! But I have a mind as well, as you; I am not inferior to you."

    He speaks in 13 and 14, then in 15 Eliphaz tries again. Tells Job that he is arguing with useless words and valueless speeches. Tells him that sin prompts his mouth, and that his mouth condemns him. Tells him he is ignoring the council of God. Swears he is just doing what God would want him to do, just pointing out Job's sin.

    Bildad gets testy in Chapter 18. Asks why Job considers him stupid.

    And in 19 (starting at 2) Job says,
    "How long will you torment me and crush me with your words? Ten times now you have reproached me; shamelessly attacked me. If it is true that I have gone astray, my error remains my concern alone. If indeed you would exalt yourselves above me, and use my humiliation against me, then know that God has wronged me and drawn his net around me. Though I cry, I have been wronged! I get no response, though I call for help, there is no justice.

    It goes on.

    And in 20 Zophar says, "My troubled thoughts prompt me to answer, because I am greatly distubed. I hear a rebuke that dishonors me, and my understanding inspires me to reply. " Give him a speech that more or less is the "pride goeth before a fall" speech.

    and ON and ON and ON it goes....
    Jobs friends attacking, Job telling them they are WRONG.

    Then Elihu steps in and starts in on him too.

    But in Chapters 38 and 39 , GOD speaks. This is part most of us know. Its where God asks who has the right to question God? Who can DO the things God does. And in 40 Job tells God that Job is unworthy to answer God.

    God continues questioning job in 40 and 41, and in 42 Job replies, among other words, with "Surely I spoke of things I did not understand."

    We usually skip this part.

    42:7
    After the Lord had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right as my servant Job has.
    So now take 7 bulls and 7 rams and go to my servant Job and sacricie a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer, and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has."

    Put it back in context. (Go back and read it, its a short chapter).

    What did the 3 men do and say that made God angry? Wasn't their message, over and over, "you sinned and God is mad at you?"

    Weren't they wrong?

    And weren't they saying that God was punishing Job? When in fact, God simply stopped protecting Job?

    There is a thin line between saying, "God doesn't like that sin," in saying, "God doesn't love you." I think crossing that line is sinful. I think attaching motives to God is wrong.

    Who has the right to judge the servants of God?
    Who has the right to speak for God?
     
  2. Bookworm

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    But didn't Job himself in chapter 19 say that God had wronged him. Was it improper of Job to have accused God of wronging him?
     
  3. TexasSky

    TexasSky
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    Bookworm,

    Personally, I believe it was. I don't believe a servant can ever judge a Master.

    I also think God calls Job on it in Chapter 40, vs 2

    "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!"

    And then God proceeds to ask Job many, many questions:
    "Do you have an arm like God's? Can your voice thunder like His? .. Can you pull in a leviathan with a fishhook? ....Or tie down his tongue with a rope?"

    And in Job 42:6, Job repents of that.

    "Therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes."

    However - you never see Job's friends repent for falsely attributing things to God that were not accurate until God orders them to, and God never condemns Job for the remarks Job makes. He basically says something like, (VERY free verse paraphrasing here - PLEASE go read it yourself), "If you're able to do all that I can do as God, then go for it. Spew out your wrath, dispense justice, otherwise, stop whining."

    I find it kind of fascinating that the bible never says God looked at Job in anger, but he did look at Job's accusers in anger.
     
  4. Bookworm

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    Suppose, hypothetically speaking, that Job had been faithful to God in all things except for, say, something regarding the way he treated his servants. Would the three friends have been wrong to bring that up? In your first post, you asked, "Who has the right to judge the servants of God?" Well, if the servant of God is disobeying, or has some area of their doctrine wrong, is it judging to point out that error to them?
     
  5. TexasSky

    TexasSky
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    Bookworm,

    Valid questions. The answer is right there in the text though.

    By the time the whole thing was over, Job was sinning, and some of the statements his friends made probably did apply. Job ~was~ questioning God. Job ~was~ calling God unjust. That looks pretty sinful to me.

    Didn't seem to matter to God when it came to the 3 friends. God handled Job, one on one. God told Job, "who are you to question me," and then He told the friends, "I'm angry at you."

    The friends pretended to speak FOR God, regarding how God felt about Job. They did so without the authority of God. They took it upon themselves to judge a servant of God.

    Now, what I think you are really asking is, "is it ever okay to correct." I think it is required of Christians to correct - WITH LOVE. Correcting is NOT judging if it is done right.

    I think you can tell the difference by how the message is delivered.

    Look at David and Nathan in II Samuel 12.
    David was on downhill roll in terms of obeying God.

    First David lusted after Bathsheba.
    Then David committed adultry with Bathsheba.
    Then David set up Uriah to be killed by putting him on the front lines of battle.
    He did that to hide his own sin with Bathsheba.

    The righteous judgmental viewpoint would say that God fearing people shouldn't associate with David, that they should drag David before the church and discipline (humiliate) him, and maybe even toss him out. They would probably be thinking, "You're a worse sinner than I'll ever be." They might be right.

    Nathan didn't handle it that way.
    Nathan didn't start off with, "You sinned and are going to hell," or "You sinned and you have a lot to answer for."
    Nathan gently lead David to the truth.

    "The Lord sent Nathan to David. When he came to him, he said, "There were 2 men in a certain town, one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle. But the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup, and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him. Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."

    (That's 2 Samuel 12:1-4 if you want to read it yourself)

    Vs 5 says, "David burned with anger against the man and said to Nathan, "As surely as the Lord lives, the man who did this deserves to die! He must pay for that lamb four times over because he did such a thing and had no pity."

    Notice - the one who is screaming, "Kill him for his sin," is the one who just committed a whole list of sins. The one out for blood is, as far as we can tell, the bigger sinner of the two men at that moment.

    The one who is apparently so right with the Lord that the Lord sent him to correct David has not said one hateful, cruel, angry word.

    He hasn't even accused, at this point. He lets David declare what the punishment should be for that sin, and then holds up a mirror of truth.

    Vs 7 Then Nathan said to David, "You are the man. This is what the Lord, the God of Israel says; "I annointed you king over Israel, and I delivered you from the hand of Saul. I gave your master's house to you, and your master's wives into your arms. I gave you the house of Israel and Judah. And if all this had been too little, I would have given you even more. Why did you despise the word of the Lord by doing what is evil in his eyes? You struck down Uriah the Hittite with the sword and took his wife to be your own. You killed him with the sword of the Ammonites. Now, therefore, the sword will never depart from your house, because you despised me and took the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your own. This is what the Lord says, "Out of your own household, I am going to bring calamity upon you. Before your very eyes I will take your wives and give them to one who is close to you, and he will lie with your wives in broad daylight. You did it in secret, but I will do this thing in broad daylight before all Israel."

    Now - Look how QUICKLY and how EASILY forgiveness comes!

    Vs 13a Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the Lord."

    Vs 13b Nathan replied, "The Lord has taken away your sin. You are not going to die. But because by doing this you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt, the son born to you will die."

    Nathan TAUGHT David.
    He guided him through it. "Would this behavior be wrong? How should it be judged?... Don't you see - you are that sinner, and God knows what you think no one knows."

    Nathan's message was more merciful than David's judgment. David wanted instant death to the man in the parable. God's justice was that what David did to someone else would be done to David. Remember, "Do unto others as ye would have them do unto you?" David took a man's wife, David's wives would be taken. Uriah respected and loved David. Someone that respected and loved David would take his wives.

    Notice that David wasn't required by Nathan to prove he had "really" repented.

    The very MINUTE that David said, "I've sinned against God," the response from God's prophet is, "Your sin is taken away."

    There was no, "Now prove you really mean it" test for men to see.

    The benefit of the sin was taken away as well of course. The child conceived in sin died.

    However, God's mercy is beyond comprehension. Bathsheba and David conceived the child Solomon when David was comforting the mourning woman over the loss of the child conceived in sin.

    Notice, though the REASON God gives for the punishment of taking the first child. It is NOT "because you committed adultry and killed Uriah."

    It was: "Because you have made the enemies of the Lord show utter contempt...."

    God does care what the unsaved think.


    Back to Job.
    If Job's friends had gone to Job and said, "Job, is there anything you can think of that caused this," and Job had said, "No," and they had left it at that, they would be counseling, not judging.

    If they said, "Job, I heard you teaching this, and I think you're mistaken, let me show you why," they would NOT be judging.

    To say, though, "You're going to hell," is really useless. It doesn't teach them what is wrong. It doesn't uplift them. It doesn't draw them closer to God. It hurts. It angers. It pushes away.

    "Why are you doing this? God loves you so much, and you're hurting him so much when you do this to yourself," ... which message would YOU respond to?

    It is one thing to say, "This sin displeases God."

    But to judge someone, to call them worthy or unworthy in the eyes of God - that's not our right. It is not our place.

    We don't know a man or woman's heart.
    We don't know GOD'S heart.


    Moses murdered someone.
    If we judged, we would say, "You broke a commandment of God and He's furious with you!"

    GOD said, "Lead my people out of Egypt."

    We have a right to say, "Moses, God said, thou shalt not kill."
    We don't have the right to say, "Moses is not a man of God because he killed."

    It may be a subtle difference, but it IS a difference.

    Correct - but don't JUDGE.
     

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