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

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