Job 3-4

Notes for January 8, 2012

We don’t know how much time passed between that horrible day when Job learned of the loss of his business and of his children, the day that Job was stricken with painful boils, and the day when he finally began to speak again.

Job 3

An outline:

1-10: And what does Job say when he does speak? He curses the day of his birth.

It’s important to remember that Job does not curse God. He merely expresses his thought that it would have been better if he had never been born.

11-19:  Job continues that if birth could not be prevented, then surely premature death would have been preferred to living with all of this trouble in his life.  Dead people, he suggests, are at rest.

20-26:  He doesn’t understand why this has happened to him, nor why he is still required/allowed to live.

Some comments:

a. Does not God appoint the time and place of our birth (Acts 17:26-27)? If we believe this, then cursing the day of our birth or wishing we were dead is but a veiled cursing of God. How is this unlike the believer who curses the rain but worships the God who sends rain?

Job’s grief was great.  But great grief should never be allowed to sway us from our confidence in God.

b. Suicide and suicidal thoughts, like all other sins, would steal God’s authority and abrogate it to ourselves, or they would deny God’s holy love and substitute our own interpretation of what is best for us.

c. Do the dead rest, do they have peace? Of course, the dead body is physically senseless; but is the flesh all there is to life? How often we desire to be relieved of physical pain but totally ignore the spiritual. This is the central point of the book of Job-that there is more going on than the physical events around us, that there is a great, unseen spiritual conflict that affects us in the physical world.

d. Satan had objected that God had hedged in Job and that Job was untouchable by trouble; now Job (verse 23) declares that God has hedged him in so that he was unable to be saved from trouble. Is either of them right?

e. Sometimes our worst fears are realized, and the suffering is compounded by our having dwelt so much on the possibility long before it ever occurred. The world says, “Think happy thoughts.” God says (Philippians 4:8),  “Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

f. Who has not lived as close to God as possible, diligently seeking to please Him, only to find that “yet trouble came”? Who has not had questions about why bad things have happened to us? TO US? We understand why bad things happen to other people; but why US? Try as we might, when the questions are about us the answers are more difficult to grasp and to accept.


Job 4

The friends take turns trying to help Job through this difficult time. We cannot fault them for their concern. But as we listen to them counsel Job, we will find that they often mix a little truth with a lot of confusion, conventional but errant human wisdom, and wishful thinking; and they fail miserably either to understand Job’s situation or to help him move on with his life.

Eliphaz speaks first.

3-5: Job, you have told lots of people how to deal with trouble in their lives; and now that a little trouble comes into your life, you fall to pieces.

7-8: There is an immutable law: whatever you sow, that shall you reap.  Since you are reaping trouble, you must have lived a troublesome life.

12-16: I’ve had a vision…

17: Do you think that you are better than God?

18-21: Do you think that you are better than the angels?

What does he say?

a. True, a faith that is only good for others is not real faith.

b. True, a man will reap what he sows (Galatians 6:7-8).

c. True, God has in time past spoken in dreams and visions and via angelic messengers.

But none of this is proof that Job’s faith wasn’t real, or that he had abandoned God. None of this proves that Job’s current problems were of his own doing. And none of this proves that the voice which Eliphaz heard was from God.

Test the spirits, for there are many false prophets in the world (1 John 4:1). And if they present any other gospel, let them be anathema (Galatians 1:8-9).

(to be continued…)