Monday, February 27, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 30

Job 30

-Job turns his attention away from the good ole days to his current malaise in this chapter. He is mocked by younger men now, whose fathers he wouldn’t even have allowed to be put with the dogs of his flock. These were contemptable people that were of no use to him. Their vigor, or might we say work ethic, had perished from them. They were gaunt scavengers, that from want and famine, went about gnawing “the dry ground by night in waste and desolation.” They plucked the plant of the salt marshes (called mallow) whose food is the root of the broom shrub. These were the ones driven from this ancient society because of their laziness and thievery. They dwelt in dreadful valleys, in the holes of the earth and of the rocks. They were fools without names, scourged from the land, crying out among the bushes and gathering together under the nettles. These despicables became Job’s taunt, and he had become a byword even to them. His humiliation was indeed great. They would stand aloof from him and abhorred him. They didn’t even refrain from spitting at Job’s face (Job 30:1-10).

-Why was this happening? Job says that the LORD had, “loosed His bowstring and afflicted me.” His enemies brood arose against this innocent man of God. They tripped Job up and built up against him their “ways of destruction.” They broke up the righteous man’s path and even profited from his devastation. No one restrains them as they do this. “As through a wide breach they come, amid the tempest they roll on.” What a plight. Terrors are turned against Job, he states, and these low lives pursue his “honor as the wind.” Job lets the reader know that his “prosperity has passed away like a cloud.” In a brilliant expression of what it’s like to go through this type of torment, Job proclaims that his soul is poured out within him. Days of affliction had seized him up like he was in a cage. There was no rest. At night, his suffering pierced his bones within him and gave him gnawing pains. By a “great force” his garment is distorted; it binds him about as the collar of his coat. God, he concludes, has cast him into the mire (Psalm 40:1-4; 69:2, 14), and he has “become like dust and ashes.” Job has called out to the LORD for help, but he’s gotten no answer up until this point. When he has stood up, Job feels the LORD has turned His attention against him. He really felt the LORD had become cruel towards him. By now he fully realized the full weight of persecution allowed by the Almighty. He states that he has been lifted up to the wind and carried away with it. Job felt kind of like a kite. Now he believed God had dissolved him in the storm. He just knew that God was bringing him to death, which he describes as “the house of meeting for all the living (Job 30:11-23).”

-Job poses a new question as the last section of the chapter starts, “Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand, or in his disaster therefore cry out for help?” He maintained his righteousness in saying that he wept for the one whose life was hard. His soul had been grieved for the needy. But, when he expected good, then evil came, and when he waited for light, the darkness came. This caused him to seethe within, and he could not relax. Days of affliction were confronting him. He went about mourning without comfort. He stood up in the assembly and cried out for help, but there was none. He relates his condition as “a brother to jackals, and a companion of ostriches.” His skin was turning black from the torture, and his bones burned with fever. His joyous harp had been turned into mourning and his delightful flute transformed to the sound of those who lament (Job 30:24-31).

-*Application* For Job, these were the worst of times. Sometimes, when we feel lost, disappointed, unsupported, or abandoned, we too cry out for help when there seems to be deaf ears and blind eyes. We start to wonder, “Will justice ever prevail? Will redemption ever come? Will the righteous ever be vindicated?” Sometimes it just seems so long in the offering when we are going through affliction. In these times, remember from the outcome of Job that God is still with us and that a new day will eventually dawn (Job 42:9-17). We sow in tears, but reap with abundant joyful shouting (Psalm 126:5). God is the God of the turnaround and the bounce back.

Verses to Memorize: Job 30:16, 27

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 29

Job 29

-Job’s glorious past was recounted in detail here in chapter 29. This is a wonderful recollection of good times gone by, but it also presents us with a Christian model for leadership, which was demonstrated by King Jesus Himself. As Job takes up his discourse again, he reflects on months and years gone by when God watched over him with great blessing. His lamp shone over Job’s head, and by His light Job walked through darkness unafraid and confident. He was in the prime of days, and God’s friendship was over his tent. The Almighty was with him, and his children were around him. Now they were gone. He was a grieving father of deceased children (Job 1:18-20). Job uses colloquial language of the time to demonstrate his favor saying, “My steps were bathed in butter, and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!” He had incredible respect from others in his domain. When he went out to the gate of the city and took his seat in the square among the elite, young men hid themselves and old men arose and stood in reverence. Princes stopped talking and put their hands to their mouth. The voice of nobles hushed and their tongue stuck to their palate when Job came in their presence. Job remembers, “When the ear heard, it called me blessed, and when the eye saw, it gave witness of me.” Why was he so blessed? He reveals the righteous things he did as a leader. He delivered the poor who cried for help and the orphan who had no helper. He blessed the ones ready to perish and took extremely good care of them. He made the widow’s heart sing for joy. He put on righteousness, and it clothed him. His justice was like a robe and a turban (complete covering). He was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. He was a father to the needy and investigated, as a sovereign, cases he didn’t know. He broke the jaw of the wicked and snatched the prey from his mouth. In other words, he was a hero for the good. He really had faith that his death would be in the security of his nest, which he had built with righteous acts of love and purity. He felt his days would be multiplied as the sand. He had an ongoing optimism of good fortune. His root was spread out to the waters and dew lay all night on his branch. He thought his glory was ever new and that his bow was always going to be renewed in his hand for power (Job 29:1-20).

-Those who he spoke to listened and waited keeping silent for his counsel. After he spoke, they did not speak again. His word was the final say. People would wait on him like they waited for rain and opened up to him as for the spring rain. He was patient with them, smiling on them when they didn’t believe him, and they did not cast down the light of his face. He chose a way for them and sat as chief. He dwelt as a king among the troops as one who comforted the mourners (Job 29:21-25)

-*Application* We’ve all had good times and bad times. In those times of distress, it is easy to look back at the good ole days when things seemed to work more in our favor. Sometimes we as humans forget about the difficulties along the way even when we were more victorious. What strikes me about this discourse is all the righteous things that Job noted himself for in the past. Here was a true man of God, even called blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil in the first chapter (Job 1:1). If God could put a man like this through the crucible, surely we can expect the same at certain points of our Christian walk. Bear up under the fire and persist in righteousness.

Verse to Memorize: Job 29:14

Friday, February 24, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 28

Job 28

-As Job continues on this lengthy speech that extends through chapter 31, he sums up the comparison between the earth’s treasures, which are attainable with much effort, and God’s wisdom, which is a more difficult matter to grasp. His conclusions are right on the money though we will see in the end. He begins with the fact that surely there is a mine (or source) for silver and a place where the people of the world refine gold. Iron is taken from the dust, and copper smelted from rock. Men will search high and low for these commodities, which are precious on this earth. He sinks a shaft far from habitation, digging deep for treasure. Job also comments on some earth features here, which are again consistent with what we know from scientific-observable facts. Food comes from the earth. Under the earth, if turned up to certain depths, is fire. From the rocks come sapphires and the dust contains gold. Man, unlike the lesser birds and beasts (he names falcons and lions specifically), overturns mountains in excavational work from the base hewing out channels through the rocks to find precious things. Man also dams up streams from flowing so that the things that are hidden in the current are brought out into the light (Job 28:1-11).

-But then, Job gets serious with an important question, “But where can wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding?” Man tends to devalue wisdom, and Job says it’s not even found in the land of the living. The deep of the earth speaks, “It (wisdom) is not in me.” The sea says, “It is not with me.” Pure gold, even the gold of Ophir, onyx, or sapphire cannot be given in exchange for wisdom, and wisdom does not find its value in these commodities. Silver cannot be weighed as its price. In fact, gold nor glass can equal it, along with coral and crystal. Job tells that "the acquisition of wisdom is above that of pearls.” The topaz found in Ethiopia cannot equal it, so where does wisdom actually come from? And where, pray tell, is the place of understanding? Job concludes it is hidden from the eyes of all the living and concealed from the birds of the sky. Abaddon ('abaddown- place of destruction, ruin) and death say that they have heard report of wisdom with their ears. But, God fully understands its way and know its place. He looks to the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens (God’s omniscience). At the beginning, when He imparted weight to the wind, meted out the waters by measure, set a limit for the rain, and the course of the thunderbolt, He saw wisdom and declared it. The LORD established it and searched it out. Thus, He told man, “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:12-28).”

-*Application* What we have here is a temporal-eternal dichotomy that plays out every day revealing the intentions of mankind’s heart. There is a worldly wisdom that leads to pride, greed, and death, but there is a Godly wisdom, based on the healthy respect, wonder, and awe of the LORD, that leads to life (1 Corinthians 1:20; 3:19). Departing from evil is understanding. Sadly, we live in a world that runs headlong into evil, which makes them essentially foolish with no sense of true direction. The ways of the LORD will prosper man and lift him up. The ways of the world will continually drag him down. Seek wisdom, it can be found in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:30).

Verse to Memorize: Job 28:28

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 27

Job 27

-Job continued his discourse with some righteous retribution aimed at his accusers. It may come across initially that he is upset with God, but this is not the case as we read further. He sees that the LORD has taken away his right and embittered his tormented soul. But, as long as he has life and breath, his lips will certainly not speak unjustly, nor will his tongue “mutter deceit.” It would be far from him to declare his friends right in their indictments. Till he dies he will not put away his integrity. This proves his dedication to the Almighty, even in supreme adversity. He sums up this section thus, “I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go. My heart does not reproach any of my days (Job 27:1-6).” This may seem a little bit conceited, but God venerates His servant in the end (Job 42:7-10). Job knew in his heart that he had done nothing wrong in this situation. He was at least at peace with himself. He had a clear conscience. Nevertheless, he was learning the way of suffering that the Sovereign, at one point or another, takes His people through.

-Job now chastises his enemies and opponents. He prays an imprecatory prayer upon them that the LORD consider them as wicked and unjust. “For what is the hope of the godless when he is cut off, when God requires his life?” Job then asks, “Will God hear his (the godless man’s) cry when distress comes upon him?” Then he ponders, “Will he take delight in the Almighty? Will he call on God at all times?” The rhetorical questions are answered in an assumed-emphatic, NO!!! Therefore, Job says that he will instruct in the power of God, and he will not conceal it. He further chastises his friends saying that they have seen it and questions why they act so foolishly in their counsel (Job 27:7-12).

-In the last eleven verses Job discusses the portion of the wicked man given by God, “the inheritance which tyrants receive from the Almighty.” Job claims that even though the wicked man’s sons be many, they are destined for the violence of the sword. His descendants will not be satisfied with the provision given them. His survivors will be buried due to plague, and their widows will not even be able to weep. Though the wicked man piles up silver like the dust and prepares garments as plentiful as the clay, the just will wear those clothes, and the innocent will divide his silver among themselves. The wicked man’s house is like a frail spider web or a shanty hut made by watchmen. He lies down rich, but it vanishes as he opens his eyes. Terrors begin to overtake him like a flood. A tempest swirls and steals him away in the night. “The east wind carries him away, and he is gone.” He is whirled away from his place of security. It will hurl him without sparing though he try to flee from its power. In the end, men will clap their hands in mockery at the wicked man “and will hiss him from his place (Job 27:13-23).”

-*Application* This is a powerful rhema word for those of us today who are persecuted without cause and undermined by a satanic enemy. If we have justified our case with the LORD through the blood of Christ, we are clear and free of the enemy’s accusations, threats, and lies. We don’t have to let our tongue mutter deceit in retaliation. We don’t have to defend ourselves. We certainly don’t ever need to let our integrity escape from us. So, keep instructing in the power of God and don’t ever conceal it. Our righteousness will eventually shine like the noonday (Psalm 37:5-6). Never let righteous go, and our heart will be above reproach as we self-examine before the LORD (2 Corinthians 13:5).

Verse to Memorize: Job 27:6

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 26

Job 26

-Job responds now to the short statement Bildad had spoken pertaining to God’s superiority to mankind in the last chapter with the longest section of his speaking in this dialog with his three friends. This section extends through chapter 31 of the book, and starts to build the case for Job’s innocence before the Almighty in powerful fashion. He begins with sarcasm in stunning poetic irony. He states, “What a help you are to the weak! How you have saved the arm without strength! What counsel you have given to one without wisdom! What helpful insight you have abundantly provided! To whom have you uttered words? And whose spirit was expressed through you (Job 26:1-4)?”

-Job now one ups Bildad with His speech about the Almighty. He begins with God’s power to make the departed spirits tremble in the afterworld. Then he makes a comment concerning nature, “He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing.” Job notes that God puts all His waters in the clouds without them bursting. An eloquent summary of evaporation processes. He insinuates moon phases and more cloud covering, and then makes a remarkable comment on the earth’s curvature. “He (God) has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters at the boundary of light and darkness.” Remarkably, this is something that scientists have not agreed on until the last few hundred years. Job’s knowledge, because it was given by the Holy Spirit, exceeded man’s natural understanding far and away. He denotes how the “pillars of heaven tremble (perhaps mountains and mountain ranges)” and “are amazed” when the LORD rebukes them. The Almighty quiets the sea from storms and whirlwinds with His incredible power. By His understanding, He shattered Rahab, who was the sea god in mythology (refer to Job notes in Chapter 9). His breath can clear the heavens, and His Hand can pierce the fleeing serpent (perhaps the sea creature called Leviathan, Isaiah 27:1). I believe this has prophetic spiritual implications in reference to the great adversary, Satan. These, Job proclaims, are just the “fringes of His ways.” Humans cannot even begin to fathom this God because He is incomprehensible (Job 26:5-14).

-*Application* Science has speculated, but God has spoken. When the Word of God, the Bible, speaks on issues, we can count on their factual accuracy, no matter what popular opinion may be. The LORD is the storehouse of knowledge and contains all truth. There is no error in His way. This is accurate prophecy. Trust in it. The Word tells us to defend and contend for the faith (1 Peter 3:15, Jude 1:3). It will prevail in this present confluence of mixed world-views and false assumptions. Christians need not make any apologies for the things they believe. In the end, what God has spoken will be proven to be right whether it be science, ethics, morality, or anything else.

Verse to Memorize: Job 26:7

Monday, February 20, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 25

Job 25

-Bildad the Shuhite answers with some precise thoughts on the holiness and mightiness of God. Dominion belongs to Him. Awe belongs to Him. The LORD establishes peace in His heights. He has limitless resources. His light shines on everyone. There is no hiding from His presence. The Almighty is omnipresent. Bildad asks the question again that Eliphaz previously asked (Job 4:17), “How then can a man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?” This is only possible through Jesus Christ, God’s perfect atonement for sin and corruption. Bildad says that even the moon, which has no brightness (a scientific fact here), and the stars are not pure in the sight of the ultimate King. “How much less man, that maggot, and the son of man, that worm (Job 25:1-6)!”

-*Application* Only Christ can purify mankind and make him what he was designed to be before his Creator (Hebrews 10:19-22). God is in the redemption business (Colossians 1:13-14). We should all be eternally thankful for that precious fact (Colossians 3:15).

Verse to Memorize: Job 25:4

Friday, February 17, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 24

Job 24

-Job offers some confusion in his speech through this chapter where he is contemplating what he sees God doing in the world he lives in. To Job, at this point in his life, God has ignored many of the wrongs on the planet and not taken up for people in misery. He asks first of all, “Why are times not stored up by the Almighty, and why do those who know Him not see His days?” This is a biblical contradiction in fact in the mind of an imperfect-depressed man (Daniel 2:21, 2 Peter 2:9). He then remarks on what he perceives the wicked men getting away with. He sees them removing landmarks (corruption), seizing and devouring flocks (stealing), driving away the donkeys of orphans (thieves), taking the widow’s ox for a pledge (conniving), and pushing the needy aside from the road (ruthless). The poor, Job says, are left to only hide themselves from these evil men. The destitute are left like wild donkeys in the wilderness going back and forth seeking food as scavengers for their children. They do slave labor for the wicked wealthy, and they end up spending the night naked, without clothing or covering, in the cold. These poor are wet with mountain rains and hug the rock in desperate want of a shelter. Then, Job returns to his expose of the wicked. They snatch orphans from the breast, and take pledges against the poor. In other words, they do people exceedingly wrong. Again, they don’t care if the poor go about naked without clothing, and they take sheaves from the hungry. Within walls, the poor produce oil for those they are indebted to. They tread wine presses, but they thirst. In other words, they are given no benefit from their labors. Job wrongly surmises, “From the city men groan, and the souls of the wounded cry out; yet God does not pay attention to folly (Job 24:1-12).” God actually does pay attention (Psalm 33:13-15; 94:11).

-Job continues on with his observations of the wicked. They are called rebels against the light, and they do not want to know the ways of light, nor abide in its paths. They are murderers who rise early in the morning to kill the poor and the needy. At night, they are like thieves, stealing away and pilfering. He mentions the adulterer, whose eye waits for twilight saying, “No eye will see me.” He disguises his face in his brazen acts of unfaithfulness. While it is dark, the wicked dig into houses and shut themselves up by day. Sounds kind of like an underground type of rebellion here, much like what we see with the organized crime outlets in diverse places in the world today. They are secretive and terroristic, not coming out to expose themselves to the righteous. In Job’s words, “They do not know the light.” Job goes on concerning the wicked, “For the morning is the same to him as thick darkness, for he is familiar with the terrors of thick darkness (Job 24:13-17).”

-One final stanza in this chapter furthers the marks of the evil ones and a possible recompense by the Father. Job calls them “insignificant on the surface of the water.” Their portion is cursed on the earth, and these wicked men don’t care to have stability, like planting a vineyard, where it takes work and sustained effort. Job sums them up like this in poetic language: “Drought and heat consume the snow waters, so does Sheol those who have sinned. A mother will forget him; the worm feeds sweetly till he is no longer remembered. And wickedness will be broken like a tree. He wrongs the barren woman and does no good for the widow (Job 24:18-21).” However, a contrast takes place as Job now focuses on the attributes of the LORD to correct this situation. God drags off the valiant by His own power. When He arises, no one has assurance of life. While the LORD provides the wicked with security and support for a season, His eyes are on their ways (see how Job has contradicted himself compared to earlier statements, refer back to Job 24:1, 12). They are exalted for a little while, but then they are wiped out, gone. They are brought low and like everything, gathered up as the heads of grain to be cut off. Job finishes with a bold assertion, “Now if it is not so, who can prove me a liar, and make my speech worthless (Job 24:22-25)?”

-*Application* God does pay attention to folly even though He is patient with the wrongdoer to bring them either to their: 1) full extent of an evil end, or 2) a chance for turning and redemption. We have all seen people, who prospered for a while as corrupt-vile creatures, finish with a climatic, cataclysmic, and infamous demise. We have also observed the heart-tugging and uplifting stories of those who started in sinful fashion only to repent and finish with a faithful flourish. God doesn’t give up on people. He calls out to them as long as they have breath. Even the Islamic terrorists who are wreaking havoc on the world’s stage these days can have a conversion and come to Christ, clean and freed from all the effects of sin and the crimes they’ve committed in the afterlife. Think about the thieves on the crosses beside Jesus, two men, two destinies, which illustrate this point beautifully (Luke 23:39-43).

Verse to Memorize: Job 24:23

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 23

Job 23

-Job replies with a heavy heart longing for the God who has seemingly abandoned him during this time of need. The LORD’s tests were arduous and enduring. He equivocated his complaint to rebellion, probably in reference to what Eliphaz had just said (see Job 22). Job felt the LORD’s heavy Hand upon him despite his continuous groaning in unrelenting pain. He couldn’t find the LORD. He wanted to come to His seat and reason these things out. In other words, he was desperately looking for answers to all his life’s problems. He wanted to present his case before the Almighty and actually argue with Him. He had a desire to hear, perceive, and learn the words of the LORD’s answer, but they were not forthcoming. God remained silent for this time, to prove Job’s faith. He reasoned, “Would He contend with me by the greatness of His power?” Then he answered his own question with a level of trust, “No, surely He would pay attention to me. There the upright would reason with Him; and I would be delivered forever from my Judge (Job 23:1-7).”

-Job continues to bemoan the fact that the LORD’s presence was nowhere to be found. He goes forward, but He is not there. He goes backward, but he can’t perceive Him. When God acts on the left, Job cannot behold Him. When He turns on the right, Job cannot see Him. However, Job realizes that God is aware and knows as to the way he would take. Job demonstrates great awareness with these words. He maintains his stance that when he is tried, he will come forth as gold, rich and pure. He discerned that his foot had held fast to the LORD’s path. He had not turned aside to false doctrines, ways, or means. The commands of God’s Lips he had not departed from. He had treasured the Father’s words more than his necessary food. But, Job realized that the LORD was unique, and wondered who could ever turn to Him? Whatever God wants in His soul, He does. Nothing can thwart Him. He performs what is appointed for His servant, and anyone else as well. Because of all this, Job concludes that he would be dismayed at His presence even if this was available. When he considers all these deep things, he is terrified of the All-powerful Majesty. He speaks again, “It is God who has made my heart faint, and the Almighty who has dismayed me, but I am not silenced by the darkness, nor deep gloom which covers me (Job 23:8-17).”

-*Application* It is known from Scripture that the LORD departs from us sometimes to see what is actually in our heart (2 Chronicles 32:31). This is a test that He knows the outcome to, but it makes us fully aware of the truth in our own heart. When these times of dryness or loneliness pervade, how do we respond? Let us long for God like Job, and many other righteous people, have done. God will come back. Actually, His presence never leaves us or forsakes us, so don’t worry. Instead, have complete and abiding faith even through all of life’s difficulties. He knows the way we take.

Verse to Memorize: Job 23:10

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 22

Job 22

-A third round of discussion starts here in this chapter with Eliphaz the Temanite speaking up once again. While this friend does beckon him repeatedly to cry out to God, his tone is still accusatory proving unhelpful in the situation. The accusations come first before the exhortation. He questions whether or not a vigorous man can be used of God and even if wisdom can be practical. He wonders whether or not there is any pleasure or profit to the Almighty even when a person is righteous or perfect in his ways. He is sarcastic when he blurts out, “Is it because of your reverence that He reproves you, that He enters into judgment against you?” This adversary, more than a friend, flat out calls Job wicked, and not only that, he calls his wickedness great (rab- many, more, abounding in, much, greater, a multitude) with a piercing adjective. He even states that Job’s iniquities are without end. Then he lists false accusations, a real no-no. He says Job has taken pledges of his brothers without cause, and stripped men naked of their sustenance. The weary were not given water to drink. The hungry were denied bread from his house. He deliberately implies that Job has acted in pride as a “mighty man” and hypocritical “honorable man” all the while leaving the widows empty and the orphans crushed. He says because of these things, snares surround Job and sudden dread terrifies him. Darkness and flooding waters cover this one seemingly abandoned by God. He moves on to state that Job has spoken against God, which is again untrue. His words are, “You say, ‘What does God know? Can He judge through the thick darkness? Clouds are a hiding place for Him, so that He cannot see; and He walks on the vault of heaven.’” Eliphaz uses more judgmental-attack language by asking Job how long he will keep to the ancient path that wicked men have trod. He compares his friend to those who have been snatched away before their time and had their foundations washed away by a river. These are the vile who told God to, “Depart from us!” They are also the ones who asked, “What can the Almighty do to them?” Now and strangely in this sequence, Eliphaz echoes Job’s words from the previous chapter regarding what he said about how sometimes the wicked have their houses filled with good things, but their counsel was far from him (Job 21:7-16). I believe Eliphaz says this to shame Job unfortunately. Eliphaz pompously concludes this section with this, “The righteous see and are glad, and the innocent mock them, saying, ‘Truly our adversaries are cut off, and their abundance the fire has consumed (Job 22:1-20).’” With all this condemnation, Eliphaz has some serious work to do in rebuilding any semblance of hope with his friend. He has arrogantly made himself and his friends out to be the righteous and innocent, while mutilating Job’s integrity during his distress.

-Now the exhortation begins, which gives some biblical hope in an otherwise dismissal display of friendship and counsel. This turn is stark, and we should pay heed to these words a bit more carefully than the previous. Note this section with the understanding that Job is innocent despite the assumptions:

"Yield now and be at peace with Him; thereby good will come to you (1 Peter 1:2). Please receive instruction from His mouth and establish His words in your heart (Romans 10:9-10). If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored (Isaiah 44:22, Joel 2:12-13); if you remove unrighteousness far from your tent, and place your gold in the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks, then the Almighty will be your gold and choice silver to you. For then you will delight in the Almighty and lift up your face to God (Psalm 37:4). You will pray to Him, and He will hear you (2 Chronicles 7:14); and you will pay your vows. You will also decree a thing, and it will be established for you; and light will shine on your ways (Isaiah 9:2, 1 Peter 5:10). When you are cast down, you will speak with confidence, and the humble person He will save (Proverbs 3:26, 2 Corinthians 3:4, James 4:6, 1 Peter 5:5). He will deliver one who is not innocent, and he will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands (Job 22:21-30)."

-*Application* Often times Job’s friends demonstrated a partial understanding of God’s decrees and character, but they had trouble accurately imparting it into their friend’s life with precise-meaningful application. The reason for this lies in the fact that they jumped to conclusions without having full wisdom in the situation. We can do this too when we have limited understanding and insight into a problem, or shall we say, dysfunction. The only way we can know the truth of a matter is to seek God’s perspective through the Holy Spirit. He is the only One with perfect wisdom (Ephesians 1:17, James 1:5). Something for us to think about today as we seek His wisdom is this: It’s not just what we say that is important, but how and when we say it that can be so crucial to the spiritual success.

Verses to Memorize: Job 22:21-22, 29

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 21

Job 21

-As Job responds once again in this back and forth narrative with his friends, we see the fortitude of heart and disdain for the wicked in Job’s words. He beckons once again for his friends to listen carefully to his speech so that it would be their way of consolation. He begged them to bear with him while he spoke, and then they could continue mocking him in his depravity. He begins with the issue of his complaint. He asks, “As for me, is my complaint to man?” Then he wonders, “And why should I not be impatient?” He asked them to look at him. He was a complete wreck resulting in the petition to cover their mouths with their hands when they see him. Even when Job remembers his past, he is disturbed and horror has taken over his bodily flesh (Job 21:1-6).

-Now he extrapolates his disdain for the wicked and their ways. He opposes Zophar’s view in the last chapter by stating to the contrary on numerous observations. He personally has seen the wicked still live with their sin continuing on to become very powerful. He sees their descendants becoming established in their sight. He, unlike Zophar (Job 20:28), believes their houses tend to be safe from fear, and the wrath of God, so far, leaves them alone. This provides for a great theological principle relating to the patience of God to draw men into repentance and give them every opportunity for conversion. Not only that, but Job observes that their livestock reproduce without problems. There is much rejoicing and merriment with the families of the wicked, and “they spend their days in prosperity.” But, then they pass from this earth and are judged in Sheol. They had said to God, “Depart from us!” They had no desire for the knowledge of His ways. They didn’t want to serve Him, but pleased themselves with their own interests. They see no gain in entreating the LORD. Job summarizes thus, “Behold, their prosperity is not in their hand; the counsel of the wicked is far from me (Job 21:7-16).” Despised, rejected, and abandoned Job still holds to his faith. This is the fortitude of a champion. He has the right kind of heart.

-Job continues his quest to demonstrate the plight of the wicked and the patience of the Almighty. He questions, “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out, or does their calamity fall on them?” God’s anger isn’t as swift as Zophar had spoken. They aren’t exactly the straw and chaff that his friend had made them out to be. Sometimes evil prospers for a season. Job refutes their wisdom all the while maintaining that the ways of the wicked lead them to eventual destruction, though it be in the long-run sometimes. He asks a serious question to them, “Can anyone teach God knowledge, in that He judges those on high?” Some, he says, die in full strength being wholly at ease and satisfied, while others die with a bitter soul never tasting anything good. Together, they lie down in the dust when they pass from earth, and worms cover them (Job 21:17-26). Only in the judgment will the truth be known. This is when all things are revealed (Matthew 12:36, Romans 14:10, Revelation 20:11-15).

-Job’s main message in the last pericope of this chapter is that “the wicked is reserved for the day of calamity.” They indeed will be led forth to obliteration at the day of fury. God is the One who will repay, though it take some time and questioning. No one can avoid death however it may look during the course of life. In the end, Job reveals that he feels that his friends’ comfort has been vain and their answers full of falsehood given their limited knowledge of the situation (Job 21:27-34).

-*Application* As hard as we might try, this life is impossible to quite figure out. Why do evil people prosper sometimes? Why do the righteous suffer so? Things really don’t seem fair at all sometimes if we are totally honest. At times like these we must remember this passage of Scripture and entrust everything to God in His supreme judgment at the end of time. He knows all and will reveal all in the final analysis. The evil ones will not get away with anything then, and the righteous by faith in Christ will be in euphoria.

Verse to Memorize: Job 21:22

Monday, February 13, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 20

Job 20

-Zophar the Naamathite provides another observation in response. He goes on a tirade concerning the brevity of the wealthy and wicked man’s good times. It is not absolutely clear that he has Job in mind with this denunciation, but these words are certainly taken critically by the suffering friend. Zophar’s assessments of the wicked man are true and accurate according to the Word of God, but he has misappropriated them if he is accusing Job. Zophar felt insulted by Job’s remarks and reproofs. He believed he had a spirit of understanding in his answer, which is in part correct. The triumph of the wicked is short-term, not long-term, their godless joy is momentary (Psalm 49:16-17, James 1:11). His loftiness, though it touches the clouds and the heavens for a season, will perish forever like his refuse. People will ask where he went and not care. He flies away and is chased away like a dream and vision of the night. His sons end up poor, and his hands end up giving back his wealth. He is even known to die young (Job 20:1-11)

-Though the wicked man tastes sweet evil in his mouth and won’t let it go, his food changes in his stomach like a venomous cobra within him. “He swallows riches, but will vomit them up; God will expel them from his belly.” His business ventures soon fail too. He cannot enjoy a thing for he has oppressed the poor and forsaken them (Zechariah 7:9-10). He has stolen things like houses, which he has not built (Exodus 20:15). He lives with inner turmoil. No quiet-peace is within him. He cannot retain anything he desires. In time, nothing remains for him to devour, but his prosperity does not endure. “In the fullness of his plenty he will be cramped; the hand of everyone who suffers will come against him.” Though his belly is full with food, God will send His fierce anger on him, raining down tumult and trouble even while he eats. He will trust false security measures, but find that the LORD has outwitted him with weapons that can penetrate. Terrors come upon the wicked man out of the blue. “Complete darkness is held in reserve for his treasures, and unfanned fire will devour him; it will consume the survivor in his tent.” Zophar goes on to say that, “The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him. The increase of his house will depart; His possessions will flow away in the day of His anger. This is the wicked man’s portion from God, even the heritage decreed to him by God (Job 20:12-29).”

-*Application* Once again we find that Job’s friends are making false assumptions regarding Job’s morals and character. The insinuations during rough stretches in life can be overwhelming if we are not centered in Christ Jesus for our righteousness. Imagine how Job must have felt listening to these words knowing that they were not indicative of him at all. Well intentioned platitudes can have very negative effects upon people’s hearts and minds when we make false assumptions. Zophar would have been well-advised to take a wiser, more congenial, approach with his words here. What we see as the readers, knowing the full story, is that Job was not the person Zopar was potentially making him out to be. Zophar could have invited Job to inspect himself to find if any of these things were true in his life without the ruthless-accusatory tones. We certainly can learn lessons on how to counsel people from Zophar’s mistakes.

Verse to Memorize: Job 20:22

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 19

Job 19

-Job, feeling isolated and insulted, speaks again of his terrible situation, which the LORD had allowed to infect his life. He begins with the torment he sustained from his friends due to their wounding words of condemnation. Crushing blow after crushing blow he had to hear and endure as they really thought he had done something to actually deserve this suffering. They were not ashamed to wrong him. This was Job’s opinion of them. The fellowship wasn’t exactly stellar we could say. Job appears to acknowledge, in his humility, that he could have erred, though he doesn’t particularly know what he did to deserve this fate. He can’t seem to find forgiveness even though he is willing to acknowledge any waywardness. He assured his counselors that, “If indeed you vaunt yourselves against me and prove my disgrace to me, know then that God has wronged me and has closed His net around me (Job 19:1-6).”

-*Application* This is the conflict we can all relate to during times of confusion and perplexity when things go against us. We have a tendency to feel God’s wrath and well as a ganging up on us from people that we used to count on and have comradery with.

-Job continues on with “everything is against me” mentality. He cries, “Violence!” but gets no answer; “he shouts for help, but there is no justice.” Job believed that God has walled him in so that he could not escape his situation of distress. The LORD had put darkness on all his paths. This is the lost feeling he grappled with during this season. His honor had been stripped. His crown of glory removed from his head (authority). He was broken down on every side. He was gone in his mind, uprooted by God with no hope of connection, just like a tree. Job knew in his heart, which was misguided, that the Almighty had kindled His anger against him. He reiterated from previous statements how He has considered him as His enemy (Job 10:16-17; 13:24). In Job’s way of thinking, God’s troops had come together and built their way against him, camping all around his tent (Job 19:7-12). Powerful, emotional language here to identify with in times of searching.

-Job also felt lonely as we can see from this next section. Distress can strain our relationships in so many ways. He believed his brothers had been removed far away from him. His acquaintances were completely estranged. His relatives had failed him, and his intimate friends had forgotten him. Even those who lived in his house and were his maids considered him a stranger. He felt like a foreigner in their sight. He got no answer when he called for his servants. He had to implore them with his mouth. No one wanted to be around him in his presence. His breath was offensive to his wife, and he was loathsome to his own brothers. Even young children fled from him, despising him and speaking against him. His business associates abhorred him, and the ones he loved turned against him. Just his bone clung to his teeth and flesh. He had no one to support and encourage. He asks for pity from his friends. He certainly wasn’t finding what he needed from them. The Hand of God had struck him, and he felt just as persecuted by those around him in the human element (Job 19:13-22).

-*Application* We have all heard the “misery loves company” mantra. Misery loves company, but company doesn’t love misery might be more apropos. We need to consider how we as Christians can be different in regard to attending people’s needs when they are suffering greatly. We must offer more than a superficial word or gesture in passing by. People who are despondent need our utmost and abiding attention. They need true friends and encouragement.

-Job ends the chapter with a bit of an uptick in his tone. He wants his words written down and inscribed in a book, which did happen by the way J. He wanted his message in “iron stylus” and “lead,” engraved in the rock forever. He then proclaims some forever prophetic truth in an anthem, “As for me, I know my Redeemer lives, and at the last He will take His stand on the earth. Even after my skin is destroyed, yet from my flesh I shall see God; whom I myself will behold, and whom my eyes will see and not another.” Ironically, he turns back to the negative after this statement. He talks of his heart fainting within him and bemoans the feeling of persecution he is receiving from his friends. At last, he warned these counselors that they should be afraid of the sword themselves, “For wrath brings the punishment of the sword, so that you may know there is judgment (Job 19:23-29).”

-*Application* Let’s worship God today with this anthem ourselves. Our Redeemer does live. Because He lives, we can face tomorrow. We can have His victory in the eternal hope of resurrection to a new and perfect existence in the afterlife. Keep our eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:1-2, watch “Fix My Eyes” by King and Country at

Verse to Memorize: Job 19:25

Friday, February 10, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 18

Job 18

-Bildad the Shuhite speaks up now for the second time. He will lay a discourse out with biblical thoughts on the estate of the wicked. I am not sure whether or not he has Job in mind here, but he rebukes the troubled friend at the beginning of the chapter. He personally wanted to see more understanding from Job; then, they could converse better. He felt like he and his friends were being regarded as beasts and stupid in the eyes of Job. Bildad accused Job of tearing himself in anger and being really selfish (Job 18:1-4).

-Now he makes some comments on the wicked of the earth, which does line up as truth from other Scriptures. “The light of the wicked goes out, and the flame of his fire gives no light (Proverbs 13:9).” Jesus, on the other hand, is Light and gives light (Matthew 5:14, John 8:12). Bildad goes on to speak of the vigor of the wicked man’s strides in life, and how they are shortened as his own schemes bring him down. He is “thrown into the net by his own feet, and he steps on the webbing. A snare seizes him by the heel, and a trap snaps shut on him. A noose for him is hidden in the ground, and a trap for him on the path.” This also relates to wisdom from other biblical passages (Esther 7:9-10, Psalm 35:8; 37:7-17; 69:22; 141:10). All around terrors will freak out the wicked man, and “harry (puwts- to break up, dash to pieces, disperse, scatter, aggravate) him at every step.” His strength is famished, and his calamity is constant. His skin is covered with disease that devours and death is prevalent. Again, this is confirmed by other cross references as fact (Psalm 32:10, Proverbs 10:27; 11:8; 21:15, James 5:3). The wicked have their security taken from their land and houses, and they are made to walk before the king of terrors. Their roots are dried up below, and their branches are cut off above (Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21, Mark 4:5-6, 16-17, Luke 8:6,13, John 15:6). These are forgotten, and his name is not mentioned abroad. “He is driven from light into darkness, and chased from the inhabited world.” He will have no offspring or any posterity among his people (Psalm 37:37-38). No survivors will be found in the places he has sojourned. All around people will be appalled at the wicked man’s fate being seized with haunting horror. Bildad ends with this, “Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, and this is the place of him who does not know God (Job 18:5-21).”

-*Application* While all these things are true and can be verified from a plethora of biblical passages concerning the wicked man, this friend’s assessment will prove false if he is accusing Job of such misdeeds as not knowing God. We must be really careful about our judgments when it comes to people. God does judge the wicked, this is a fact. However, when we make assumptions about people’s character on the basis of hardships in their lives, we absolutely run the risk of the LORD’s condemnation for such atrocities (2 Thessalonians 1:4-6). Let the LORD do the judging. He knows all and can rightly give justice.

Verse to Memorize: Job 18:21

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 17

Job 17

-Job tell us that his spirit is broken and his days are extinguished as chapter 17 starts. The grave is for him; he truly believes this in his despair. The mockers were with him, and his eyes were gazing on their provocation (marah- to be contentious, be rebellious, be refractory, be disobedient towards, be rebellious against). He wanted to lay down a pledge at this point with the LORD. He asked painfully, “Who is there that will be my guarantor (surety, stand up for, security, literally ‘to shake hands with’)?” Job recognized that God was keeping his friends’ hearts from understanding, and that He was surely not going to exalt them in anything. I actually see Job’s confidence returning here in the passage. He provides a proverb, “He who informs against friends for a share of the spoil, the eyes of his children also will languish (Job 17:1-5).”

-God has made His servant “a byword” of the people. This is the same designation David one time used of himself for the zeal of the LORD’s House (Psalm 69:11). Derision has encompassed Job like it would one day be applied to Jesus as men spat at him (Matthew 26:67; 27:30). His eyes were growing dim from grief, and his body parts felt like a mere shadow of his former glory. He purported that the upright would be appalled at this, and that the innocent would stir up himself against the godless. But, not to worry, “Nonetheless the righteous will hold to his way, and he who has clean hands will grow stronger and stronger.” Job couldn’t find a wise man among the crowd. His days were past, his plans torn apart, even the wishes of his heart. He digressed and scoffed at false hope that some were giving saying that his night would turn to day and that the “light is near” even when he was in the presence of darkness. He looked for Sheol to be his home. He made his bed in darkness during these days of torment. He called to the pit, “You are my father,” and to the worm of the ground, “My mother and my sister.” He wondered where hope was and who regarded his hope. It seemed to go to the grave with him, into the dust of the deceased (Job 17:6-16).

-*Application* Nobody likes to be the object of ridicule, or the proverbial punching bag. It’s tough to be a “byword” among men or the one being spit upon. When we follow Christ fully, this will inevitably happen though. This is the LORD’s testing ground, so be sure it is coming one way or the other. When this happens, we must hold our ground in righteousness, not departing to the right or to the left (Deuteronomy 5:32). The one who has clean hands by the blood of Jesus Christ will grow stronger and stronger in the inner man (Ephesians 3:16).

Verse to Memorize: Job 17:9

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 16

Job 16

-Job answers in a confounded manner telling his friends that they are “sorry comforters,” every single one of them. He saw no limit to their “windy words.” He wondered what plagued them that they would answer in such a way. He maintains that if the roles were reversed, he could carelessly speak thus against them and shake his head negatively at them, but to the contrary he would strengthen them with his mouth and give solace with his lips to lessen their pain instead (Job 16:1-5).

-Job feels like the LORD has shattered him in this time of conflict. Though he speaks, his pain is not lessened. We’ve all felt that that at times if we admit it. He questions that if he holds back, “what has left me?” Job claims that God has “exhausted” him and “laid waste” all his company. He felt like the Almighty had “shriveled” him up, leaving him dried out and full of “leanness.” These things were witnessing and testifying against him. God’s anger had “torn” him and “hunted” him down in this beaten man’s thoughts and words. Job felt “gnashed at” by the LORD’s teeth in this personification of the literature. God was “glaring” at him in his mind. Then, he turns his attention back to his friends (plural). “They,” he says, “have gaped at me with their mouth, they have slapped me on the cheek with contempt; they have massed themselves against me.” He then, almost humorously, says, “God hands me over to ruffians and tosses me into the hands of the wicked.” Job remembered when he was at ease and the world was good. But, then the LORD “shattered” him. In Job’s words, he tells of how God “grasped” him by the neck and “shook” him to pieces setting him up as a “target.” He felt the ridicule of the accusers, just like Jesus would in a later time. Job believed the “arrows” of God surrounded him and without mercy his kidneys were “split open.” Graphic language here, but it was not literal. He went on to say that the LORD had poured out his “gall (mĕrerah- bile, symbolically as from bitterness) on the ground.” The Almighty has “broken through” him with “breach after breach.” Job felt God running at him “like a warrior.” He was overwhelmed with sadness and grief. The emotion was intense. The phrase, “I have sewed sackcloth over my skin and thrust my horn in the dust,” refers to his giving up of authority and hope. He concludes, “My face is flushed from weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids, although there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure (Job 16:6-17).”

-He now begs the LORD for mercy from: 1) the torment of his distress, and 2) the affliction his friends are bringing to the chaos. He wants not the earth to cover his blood, nor let there be a resting place for his cry. His witness is in Heaven, and his Advocate is “on high.” He chastises his friends as “scoffers” and keeps weeping before the LORD wondering if a man can plead his case with the Almighty as “a man with his neighbor.” He finishes with the fact that after a few short years, he will go the way of no return, speaking of the grave (Job 16:18-22).

-*Application* At this point, we could surmise that Job seems to be in a hopeless and helpless situation being compounded by worthless friends and bad advice. Nihilism appears to be ruing the day. The question we must ask ourselves here as we delve into this is: How much should we buy in to the words being spoken over us? Job is going through an identity crisis because of the negativity he is receiving from his friends, or might we call them counterparts? We can almost feel the drain ourselves as we empathize with Job’s plight. This world can be a beast with a sucking out of life and passion. Who we are depends on what God says about us, not the nonsense from the crowd of uninformed witnesses. We must not let discouragement get to us. We must trust our identity to the LORD (2 Corinthians 5:17, Revelation 21:5). For great movie tie-ins to this concept, watch the films “Eddie the Eagle” or “Hidden Figures.”

Verses to Memorize: Job 16:16-17

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 15

Job 15

-The second round of discussions over Job’s calamity and heart-state begins with Eliphaz the Temanite responding to Job’s words. The theme here in the first part of the chapter can be titled, “Eliphaz’s Presumptions Concerning Job’s Attitudes Towards God.” He calls Job’s words “windy knowledge,” meaning that this wise man has spouted off only vanity. He thinks Job is full of the “east wind,” with his musings. He considers his talk “useless” and “not profitable.” He felt that Job had done away with reverence (yir'ah- fear, respect, terror, dread) and had hindered meditation before God. Eliphaz declared Job “guilty,” and that he had chosen the “language of the crafty.” He truly believed that Job’s own words from his own mouth and lips condemned him and testified against him. Eliphaz didn’t think he was finding fault at all by his pointing out of all of Job’s discretions. In the Temanite’s mind, it was obvious from Job’s speech what the verdict was (Job 15:1-6).

-Eliphaz degrades his friend now claiming that, in other words, Job wasn’t so special. He really didn’t know the secret counsel of God, which was, to a degree, accurate. He felt like everyone had wisdom and that it wasn’t limit to only Job. He surmised their understanding was just as valuable as his. In fact, older gentlemen were there, even older than Job’s father. They were the elders, and Eliphaz felt they were being forgotten in their analysis. He even accused Job of neglecting the consolations of God, as if they were too small for him. The gentle word of God was being shunned in Eliphaz’s opinion. He believed Job’s heart was carrying him away to a dangerous place. The phrase “Why do your eyes flash?” represents a cultural idiom of sarcasm and ill-content, much like we would relate it to “The rolling of the eyes.” Eliphaz accused his friend of turning his spirit against God and having demeaning words ushered against the Sovereign LORD. He rightly deduced that man was impure and unrighteous before the Almighty and that even the spiritual beings (i.e. demons and the devil) were not to be trusted and not pure in His sight. Eliphaz flat out called mankind, of which Job was a part, “detestable” and “corrupt,” drinking “iniquity like water (Job 15:7-16).”

-The second part of this chapter can be titled, “What Eliphaz Has Seen, He will Declare.” This is the phrase he begins with here in this section. He wants Job to listen up to what wise men have told and not concealed from their fathers. These men of old were given land and no alien has passed among them. They were secure in their lives in other words. In contrast, Eliphaz has seen the wicked man writhe in pain all his days from misfortune and disaster. He states that the ruthless man’s years are numbered. The wicked can expect terror in his ears, and while he is at peace, the destroyer comes upon him. He doesn’t believe he will return from darkness, and he is destined for nothing but the sword of violence. He wanders about looking for food knowing that evil has befallen him. “Distress and anguish terrify him, they overpower him like a king ready for the attack, because he has stretched out his hand against God and conducts himself arrogantly against the Almighty.” This wicked man rushes headlong at the LORD with his massive shield. His face is covered with wanton fat, and his thighs are heavy with flesh. This is another way of saying that his physical is feeling the effects of his lifestyle. He is being eaten up with his evil. His cities and habitations are destined to become ruins. He will not become rich, and even if he gains something, it will not endure. There is no escape from the darkness, and the flames of judgment will wither him physically and spiritually. By the breath of God, the wicked man will go away. Eliphaz rightly says that this one who is in iniquity should not trust in emptiness, so deceiving himself. If the wicked does trust vanity, then emptiness will be his reward. This is what Eliphaz has seen in life. He goes on some more. The sinner will accomplish nothing before his time, and “his palm branch will not be green (i.e. his works are cut off and dead).” His unripe grape will be dropped off from God just like a vine does in the physical as it sheds worthless fruit. He will be cast off like a flower from the olive tree. “For the company of the godless is barren, and the fire consumes the tents of the corrupt. They conceive mischief and bring forth iniquity, and their mind prepares deception (Job 15:17-35).”

-*Application* This indictment against Job is malicious, yet it contains some truth. The wicked will not prosper, that is a biblical guarantee (Psalm 1:4-6), but Job really was innocent of all this condemnation (Job 42:7-9). What we should be allowing God to do in us is exercise more kindness, while still speaking the truth into a situation (Ephesians 4:15). In other words, be careful not to jump to conclusions. People may be dealing with more than we realize, and God is always at work in the situation to teach, instruct, discipline, and grow. We must always watch our words and consider how they will make the most impact on people for the Kingdom of God. Careless words can really hurt (Matthew 12:36).

Verse to Memorize: Job 15:34

Monday, February 6, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 14

Job 14

-Job speaks more nonsense mixed with truth in his grieving state during the final message to his friends in round one of their conversation. Verse one is famous to the despondent, “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil.” How often have we as human felt like this? Can anyone identify? Job sees life as a quickly fading flower that blooms and then disappears. Life flees as a shadow and does not remain. The poetic language is so thought provoking here. God sees all, that is emphasized again. Man is brought into judgment with God, Himself. Job asks the question that we as believers in Christ can easily answer, “Who can make the clean out of the unclean?” Job thinks it is, “No one!” However, he is wrong in this assumption. Maybe his depressed state is affecting his words. He does seem to recant this thought later in the chapter (Job 14:14-15). Job then contemplates the determination of days in mankind’s life by the Almighty. God sets His limits on our lifespan, which is true. Job just wants rest at this point. He wants God to leave him alone until he fulfills his days “like a hired man (Job 14:1-6).”

-Job goes natural with some tree and water metaphors in the next section. He postulates that there is more hope for a tree that can rebound from a cutting down by resprouting into new life.

Dried out plants will revive when water is added, and they spring forth back to life. “But man dies and lies prostrate, man expires, and where is he?” Job is thinking purely in the natural and neglects the spiritual with this observation. He continues, “As water evaporates from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dried up, so man lies down and does not rise.” Then he seems to connect with the spiritual at least to a degree, “Until the heavens are no longer, he (mankind) will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.” We must be careful not to make too much of Job’s theology here. What he seems to insinuate is the concept of soul sleep with awakening in the eschaton, but this can be viewed in conflict with other Scripture (2 Corinthians 5:5-10). Job wants to be hid by God in Sheol (shĕ'owl- the underworld, the abode of the deceased from earth). He longs to be concealed until God’s wrath upon this world is completed. He begs for the LORD to set a limit for him in regards to his suffering (which God did do) and remember him. Job poses the eternal question in his misery, “If a man dies, will he live again?” Then he answers his own question positively, “All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes.” He maintains that he will answer the call of God upon his life and keep longing for the redemptive work of His Hands. This is truly a remarkable confession of hope in the midst of grave adversity. Job must be commended here. He hasn’t totally lost sight of the truth. By no means has he given up totally. He just asks for the Sovereign to number his steps and pardon him from his sin and iniquity (Job 14:7-17).

-However, Job turns again to make some observations from nature in relation to this calamity of his life. The falling mountain crumbles away and the rock moves from its place. Water wears down stones over time and washes away the dust from the earth. In the same way, God “destroys man’s hope,” Job says in a return to wishy-washy negativity. Job admitted the LORD’s overpowering ways in how He changes man’s appearance. Man is sent departing and away by the tumults of time. Man’s sons receive honor, but in his departure from earth he will not know it. If his son’s become insignificant, the deceased will not perceive it. His body pains him, and he mourns only for himself Job deduces (Job 14:18-22). Job completes his return to futility with these words, which will ignite more conversation from his friends in a forthcoming second round of discussions (Job 15ff).

-*Application* When things go terribly wrong, our thoughts seem to scatter and become unwound. God is the only One who can keep us together in times like these. He is our Rock (Psalm 71:3, 1 Corinthians 10:4). He is our Fortress (Psalm 91:2). He is our Deliverer (Psalm 70:5; 144:2). He is the One who can keep us clean by His blood (Revelation 1:5). Let’s trust in Him when we reach our deepest depths.

Verses to Memorize: Job 14:1, 14

Friday, February 3, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 13

Job 13

-Job continues to defend himself verses his friends’ opinions throughout this chapter. He considers their memorable proverbs as ashes and their defenses as clay (Job 13:12). His eye has seen everything that has happened. His ear has heard, and his mind has understood. What his friends know, he also knows. He maintains that he is not inferior, or a second citizen, to them (Job 12:3; 13:1-2).

-Job desired to speak directly to the Almighty and even argue with Him. He perceived that his heart was blameless, but his friends had smeared him with their lies. Job called them “worthless physicians.” He wanted them to shut up and be completely silent. That, he figured, would become their wisdom. He pleaded with them to hear his argument and listen to the contention of his lips. He considered their speech as “unjust for God,” and “deceitful for Him.” He felt like they were taking God’s side in this argument by showing Him partiality and contending for Him. Job asks frankly revealing their hypocrisy, “Will it be well when He examines you?” Then he sarcastically remarks, “Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man?” Job was sure, and he was correct in this (Job 42:7-9), that God would surely reprove them for secretly showing partiality. He theorizes that His majesty would indeed terrify them, and the dread of Him would fall upon them (Job 13:3-11).    

-Job keeps going on, with conviction, that he will be vindicated in the end. He reiterated his desire for them to be silent so that he could speak. He was courageous and convinced enough to say, “Then let come on me what may.” He was absolutely secure in his relationship with God, or it could have been that he was just incredibly angry about the way things were going. Anyways, he’d had quite enough. He was ready for a showdown to get things straight. His next words reflect this thought:

"Why should I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in my hands? Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless, I will argue my ways before Him. This also will be my salvation, for a godless man may not come before His presence. Listen carefully to my speech, and let my declaration fill your ears. Behold now, I have prepared my case; I know that I will be vindicated. Who will contend with me? For then I would be silent and die (Job 13:14-19).”

-Job asks the LORD for only two things from Him not to do to him. If these requests are granted, he promises not to hide from the Face of God. First, he asks Him not to remove His Hand from him. Second, he petitions to not let the dread of the LORD terrify him. If these requests are approved, God can call and Job will answer, or God could let him speak and then he would answer. This bargaining with God is audacious, but it works. Job asks, “How many are my iniquities and sins?” Then, he comments, “Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.” He wondered aloud why God had hid His Face from him and considered him His enemy. He felt driven out like a leaf from a tree. Would God make one like this tremble? Would He continue to pursue to dry chaff (worthless stalks of the grain plant)? These were the musings of Job’s troubled heart during his grief. Job went on to declare that the Almighty had written bitter things against him, and He had made him to inherit the iniquities of his youth. Sounds much like some confession here. Job felt bound now. He realized that the LORD had put his “feet in the stocks,” and that He was watching all his paths in life with strict limitations, while he was decaying “like a rotten thing, like a garment this is moth-eaten (the moth is a biblical symbol of the one who destroys, Job 13:20-28, Isaiah 50:9; 51:8, Matthew 6:19-20, Luke 12:33, James 5:1-2).”

-*Application* How often have we contended with God when things get rough? We must admit, in most cases, that we are akin to Job’s decrees. The question becomes, “Are our contentions justified, or not?” This requires intense self-examination, including introspection, revelation, and complete confession, before an Almighty and All-knowing Sovereign. The heart must be right for us to make any case with God in regards to our suffering or trials. We must allow God to teach us through the process and keep our hope in Him, though He slay us. This, by the way, is the Way of the Master: victory through suffering, the redemption through the cross, the glory through the agony. God is overcoming. He will not take His Hand off of us. He will not let the dread of Him terrify us. When He calls, He gives us the courage to answer positively (1 Peter 2:9). He lets us speak and then replies with wisdom (Matthew 7:7, Luke 11:9).

Verse to Memorize: Job 13:10, 15, 24

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 12

Job 12

-It is now Job’s turn to chide his accusers after he had heard all their thoughts on God and his supposed shortcomings. Job forcefully starts the opinion that their wisdom is dead, if that’s what they call it. He has intelligence too, and he makes his case that he is certainly not inferior to them in his circumspection. Job maintains that he is a joke to his friends. He was the one who called on God, and God answered him. He says of himself, “The just and blameless man is a joke.” It is easy for the one at ease to hold calamity in contempt, “as prepared for those whose feet slip.” In other words, it is simple to accuse when you are not the one feeling the bludgeoned of the Almighty. To Job at this down point of his life, it seemed so factual that the tents of the destroyers prospered and those who provoked God were totally secure. God actually was bringing these people to power in Job’s twisted imagination (Job 12:1-6).

-Job continued to defend his position as an aged man with wisdom and understanding over the next six verses. Even the beasts, the birds, the earth, and the fish could teach of these things: “That the Hand of the LORD has done this, in whose Hand is the life of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” He says further, “Does not the ear test words, as the palate tastes its food?” Job obviously saw his friends as narrow-minded and incorrect in their assessments (Job 12:7-12).

-Job, with excruciating force, went on speaking of the power of God with His wisdom and might. To Him belonged all counsel and understanding. When He tears down, it cannot be rebuilt. When He imprisons someone, there can be no release. When He restrains the waters, they just dry on up. When He sends out the waters, they inundate the earth. His choice. He holds all strength and sound wisdom. The misled and the misleader both belong to Him, or are under His sovereignty. “He makes counselors walk barefoot and makes fools of judges.” God is the One who loosens the bond of kings and “binds their loins with a girdle.” He also makes priests walk barefoot, and He overthrows the secure ones. He can deprive the trusted ones of speech, and He can take away the discernment of the elders. If it is His will, He can pour out contempt on nobles and loosen the belt of the strong (in other words make them weak). He is the One who reveals mysteries from the darkness and brings the deep darkness to light. With nations, God transcends making some great with enlargement, then leading them away to destruction in the passage of time. The LORD is in total control. He deprives, at His discretion, the intelligence of the chiefs of the earth’s people. He makes them wander in a pathless waste (Daniel 4:24-37). God can make them grope in darkness with no light at His choosing, and He can make them stagger around like a drunk man (Job 12:13-25).

-*Application* Jobs affirms for us that no worldly leader has any real and abiding wisdom apart from the Almighty God. Righteousness exalts a nation, nothing else (Proverbs 14:34). America needs God more than ever, else we are on the path to His destruction. We can count on that. Listen carefully to the prophetic words of the ancient wisdom. We should never put our trust in man.

Verse to Memorize: Job 12:23

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bible Study Notes in Job- Chapter 11

Job 11

-Job’s third friend, Zophar the Naamthite, finally speaks, but he is the most arrogant and disparaging in his synopsis of the situation. He, like the previous two friends, assumes Job has sin in his heart that has brought on this calamity. He begins with this, “Shall a multitude of words go unanswered, and a talkative man be acquitted?” So much for mercy here, right? Job had just poured out his heart in deep-distressful emotion. Sure, not all he said made sense or could be justified, but such was the state he was in due to the onslaught of Satan’s activities. Job had defended his position, but Zophar, in particular, was not sold on his righteousness. He accused Job of boasting and scoffing. He felt it his duty to speak up and rebuke this. Job had maintained that his teaching was pure, and that he was innocent (Job 6:10; 10:7). Zophar wanted the LORD to speak and display the secrets of His wisdom into this matter, which was the right thing to beseech, but his motives become clear as we find that he only wanted God to open His lips against Job. How insensitive, how gravitas! It is unclear where he is going with his concept of wisdom having two sides and God forgetting a part of Job’s iniquity (Job 11:1-6). When the LORD forgives, He does it completely and His wisdom is a finalized whole (Psalm 103:12, Romans 11:33). Anything else, even if it comes from a friend, should be disregarded. Almost sounds like a post-modern philosopher here if you ask me.

-The next six verses give the reader some good theology if nothing else. Zophar asks, “Can you discover the depths of God? Can you discover the limits of the Almighty?” The answer is an obvious “No!” His was ways are as high as the heavens and deeper than Sheol. What can man know or do to compete with that? The answer is, “Nothing!” God’s measure is longer than the earth and broader than the sea, both of which were immeasurable in the day of this text’s writing. None can restrain God if He decides to pass by, shut up, and/or call an assembly. God knows everything including false men, which again has accusatory tones by Zophar, and He sees all iniquity without investigating. Zophar sees the potential for conversion in verse 12 however, when he states, “An idiot will become intelligent when the foal of a wild donkey is born a man (Job 11:7-12).”

-Zophar tells Job that if he will “direct your heart right and spread out your hand to Him,” and “if iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and do not let wickedness dwell in your tents; then, indeed, you could lift up your face without moral defect.” If Job comes clean, Zophar theorizes, he could have steadfastness and not fear any more. He thinks Job can actually forget his trouble like waters that pass on by. Job’s life could potentially be brighter than noonday (a reference back to Job’s complaint in Job 10:21-22), and his darkness could be like morning when the sun appears. Zophar is convinced that if Job repents with trust, there would definitely be new hope. Job could look around and rest securely. He could lie down and none would disturb him. Many would even entreat his favor. This is all true. But, then he counters back to his judgmental spirit when he chides, “But the eyes of the wicked will fail, and there will be no escape for them; and their hope is to breathe their last (Job 11:13-20).” This last statement is so counterintuitive to the constructs of Scripture. There is absolutely no hope for the one dying with iniquity. The lake of fire will be their destiny (Revelation 20:14-15). Only a Savior can give hope in the afterlife, and that Savior is Jesus Christ. He is the only One who can truly cleanse our sin and unrighteousness and thus give us hope in the afterlife (Titus 3:5-7).

-*Application* Although Zophar may have had the right intentions, the tone of his message was demeaning and counterproductive. Talking down to people is never right, and in this case, Job’s friend was totally wrong. His accusations were unfounded. His perceptions were way off even though many of the things he said were true theologically. We can be like this to if we are not very careful and totally led by God’s Holy Spirit. This is known in our day as a “holier than thou” attitude. No one appreciates it, and it doesn’t achieve the righteousness of God very often. Let’s remember the New Testament principle of “speaking the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).”

Verses to Memorize: Job 11:14, 18