Job 22-24

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

June 25, 2003



A congregation was having trouble with the preacher preaching far too long. They had a business meeting about the matter and it was decided that they would buy a gavel and after one hour, someone would tap on the pew to signal that time was up. The preacher agreed to this tap arrangement. The first night a young boy wanted the honors of keeping time and tapping on the back of the pew in front of him. After one hour, the boy was too embarrassed to make the noise of tapping on the pew. The preacher continued to preach on and on, and all the eyes of the congregation became focused on the boy. They all began to mouth the words to the boy, “Go on, go on.” He became angry, and tried to hit the pew with a loud knock; however, as he came down with the gavel, he hit the person on the head sitting in front of him. The wounded member as he was falling over in his seat said, “Hit me again, I can still hear him!”

Just like that preacher, the arguments with Job’s friends just go on and on and on. It never seems to end. They don’t say much that’s new, they just repeat the same old arguments again and again.

Trials are like that – we’d like them to end. We’d like someone to slam the gavel down and the trial will be over. We’d love to stop hearing or experiencing the same thing over and over. Yet the trial goes on.

Just as Job is having to endure these constant arguments from his friends, we need to learn to endure trials.

James talks about enduring tough times and he gives Job as an example to follow:

(James 5:7-11 KJV) Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain. {8} Be ye also patient; stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh. {9} Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door. {10} Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. {11} Behold, we count them happy which endure. Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.

When we hear of the “patience of Job”, we probably tend to think about how Job endured his loss of his wealth, his children, and his health. But I wonder if the “patience of Job” also has more than a little to do with Job enduring the kind of grief that his friends gave him. James says we are to “grudge not one against another
grudgestenazo – a sigh, to groan
Keep enduring.

Job 22

:1-4 Is God punishing righteousness?

:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said,

This is the third and final round of arguments, with Eliphaz the eldest starting.

:4 Will he reprove thee for fear of thee? will he enter with thee into judgment?

or, better …

(Job 22:4 NLT) Is it because of your reverence for him that he accuses and judges you?

Eliphaz is trying to say that since God is obviously judging and punishing Job, and yet Job has maintained his innocence, that it doesn’t make sense that God would be punishing Job for being good and righteous.


Actually, Eliphaz’ sarcastic comment isn’t too far from the truth here.

The problem is that God isn’t punishing or judging Job. But the difficult times have indeed come because of Job’s righteousness.
Satan’s challenge to God was that Job was only serving God because God was so good to Job. And if God ever allowed unpleasantness in Job’s life, then Job would curse God and stop following God.
The difficult times were coming exactly because Job was righteous, not because he was a sinner.

:5-14 Job’s sins

:5 Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite?

In other words, the reason Job is having such a hard time is because he is such an incredibly evil sinner.

:6 For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing.

He’s accusing Job of taking advantage of the poor.

Where did Eliphaz get this idea. I think he’s gotten it from something that Zophar said:

 (Job 20:19 KJV) Because he hath oppressed and hath forsaken the poor; because he hath violently taken away an house which he builded not;


From speculation to truth

It would seem that Job is going to suffer even more condemnation from his friends because what one friend has speculated about (Zophar), the other friend now picks up on as if it’s truth.
Be careful about speculating on people or their situation.
Sometimes people will take what you may say off the top of your head without thinking and assume it’s true.
Gossip sometimes takes on a life of it’s own.

The Town Gossip

Joan, the town gossip and self-appointed supervisor of the town’s morals, kept sticking her nose into other people’s business. Several local residents were unappreciative of her activities, but feared her enough to maintain their silence. However, she made a mistake when she recently accused George, a local man, of being an alcoholic after she saw his pickup truck parked outside the town’s only bar one afternoon. George, a dedicated Christian and man of few words, stared at her for a moment and just walked away without saying a word. Later that evening, he parked his pickup truck in front of her house and left it there all night. Her gossiping ceased.

:8 But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it.

As if Job thinks that only the strong survive, the earth belongs only to strong people, let the weak and poor people perish.

:13-14 And thou sayest, How doth God know? can he judge through the dark cloud? 14 Thick clouds are a covering to him, that he seeth not; and he walketh in the circuit of heaven.

the dark cloud ‘araphel – cloud, heavy or dark cloud, darkness, gross darkness, thick darkness

Thick clouds‘ab – darkness, cloud, thicket

Eliphaz seems to mock Job for thinking that God can’t see what is happening to him.

Job had said,

(Job 19:8 NLT) God has blocked my way and plunged my path into darkness.

:15-20 The wicked will perish

:15 Hast thou marked the old way which wicked men have trodden?

Haven’t you seen what God does to wicked people?

:18 Yet he filled their houses with good things: but the counsel of the wicked is far from me.

(NLT) Job 22:18 But they forgot that he had filled their homes with good things, so I will have nothing to do with that kind of thinking.

:19 The righteous see it, and are glad

The righteous are glad to see the wicked destroyed.

:20 Whereas our substance is not cut down, but the remnant of them the fire consumeth.

We’re obviously good people. Yet wicked people will always perish and their offspring will be consumed in the fire (just like Job’s children were).

:21-30 Repent and be restored

:21 Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee.

Job, you need to get to know God, and then everything will be okay in your life.


Find Jesus and life will be wonderful

There is some truth to this statement, but there can be some misleading things about it as well.
Some people will want us to believe that Christians should never have problems.
Then what do you do when you become a Christian and you do have problems?
Don’t misunderstand – there are plenty of troubles in our lives that are indeed caused by sin, and when we repent from our sin, many of those troubles go away.
Yet thinking that you’re going to have no troubles by simply being good is a fallacy.

:24 Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.

You’ll become wealthy if you just turn around and follow God.

There is nothing new about the “prosperity” doctrine.

:28 Thou shalt also decree a thing, and it shall be established unto thee

(NLT) Job 22:28 Whatever you decide to do will be accomplished, and light will shine on the road ahead of you.

decreegazar – (Qal) to cut in two, divide; to cut down; to cut off, destroy, exterminate; to decree

:30 He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.

The implication is that if Job turns from his sin, then his life will turn around, and God will be able to use Job to rescue others.

If a person does indeed have sin in their life that needs to be repented of, this is true. But Job doesn’t have sin in his life, and so we need to be careful about a misconception that comes with this thought:


“God only uses trouble-free people”

I think this is a misconception that some of us have.
We think that God will one day be able to use us when we get rid of all of our difficult situations.

I’m not talking about dealing with sin in our lives.

If there is an area of sin in your life that you are not dealing with, you need to take care of it.

But what I’m talking about is simply having difficult situations in our lives.

I have a dear friend who after having been ordained, found his wife filing for divorce. It was devastating. It’s been a long road for him, but he’s beginning to find out that God can actually use him, as a divorced person.

The truth is that God uses broken and hurting people.
It’s people who are weak that God can show His strength through.

Job 23

:1-7 I want to talk to God

:2 my stroke is heavier than my groaning.

strokeyad – hand

(NAS) Job 23:2 His hand is heavy despite my groaning.

:3 Oh that I knew where I might find him! that I might come even to his seat!

Job wants to know that if God isn’t hidden, where can he find him?

:5 I would know the words which he would answer me

Job wants to know what God would say in reply to him.

:6 Will he plead against me with his great power? No; but he would put strength in me.

“strength” is not in the original.

Job 23:6 Would He contend with me in His great power? No! But He would take [note] of me.

:7 There the righteous might dispute with him; so should I be delivered for ever from my judge.

If Job could just get an audience with God, he knows that he could be set free.

:8-12 God will find that I’m okay

:9 On the left hand, where he doth work, but I cannot behold him: he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him:

Anywhere Job turns, he can’t find God.

(NLT) Job 23:9 I do not see him in the north, for he is hidden. I turn to the south, but I cannot find him.

:10 But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.

triedbachan – to examine, scrutinize; to test, prove, try (of gold, persons, the heart, man of God)


God’s Refining

(1 Pet 1:6-7 NASB)  In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, {7} that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ;
Part of the process is to make metal more pure.
Part of the process of refining is to test to see if a metal is genuine.

God shows to the world that your faith in Him is real when you keep going in the difficult times.

This is exactly what God is doing in Job.

God is demonstrating to all of heaven that Job isn’t going to walk away from God when life gets tough.

Are you passing your tests?

:12 Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.

(NLT) Job 23:12 I have not departed from his commands but have treasured his word in my heart.


Obedience and the Word

Job sees a connection between his obedience to the Lord and having God’s Word in his heart.
This reminds me of the words of the Psalmist:
(Psa 119:11 KJV) Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
Charles R. Swindoll (The Christian Life, (Vision House, 1994), p. 79.) writes, Why is the expenditure of time and energy so worth the effort entailed in memorizing Scripture? Because our life is lived in our mind. More than 10,000 thoughts a day pass through that gray matter neatly tucked between our ears. Theologian A.W. Tozer once said, “Our thoughts not only reveal what we are, they predict what we will become. We will soon be the sum total of our thoughts.” The Holy Spirit feeds on the spiritual nourishment of the Word to rewire our mental computer, thereby effectively changing our attitudes and actions.
A pilot was flying his small plane one day, when he heard a noise which he recognized as the gnawing of a rat. Wondering what its sharp teeth were cutting through, he suddenly realized with horror that it might be an electric wire. Then he remembered that rodents can’t survive at high altitudes. Immediately he began climbing until finally he had to put on his oxygen mask. Soon the gnawing sound ceased, and when he landed he found the rat—dead.
One of the ways to gain help with handling bad stuff in our lives is to learn to fly at a higher altitude.
Dwight L. Moody said, “Sin will keep you from this Book or this Book will keep you from sin.”

:13-17 Who can challenge God?

:13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

Who can challenge God and make Him change His mind?

:14 For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me: and many such things are with him.


Don’t be afraid of God’s will.

Job is afraid because he is convinced that God must be out to get him.
What is God’s will for my life?
(1 Tim 2:3-4 KJV) For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; {4} Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

It’s God’s will, His desire, that all men be saved.

(2 Pet 3:9 KJV) The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

God does not desire that anyone should perish.

(Jer 29:11 KJV) For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

God’s plans for us are plans for good, not destruction.

(Rom 12:1-2 KJV) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. {2} And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

As we learn to yield ourselves to the Lord, we will find out that His will for us is good, acceptable, and perfect.

:16 For God maketh my heart soft, and the Almighty troubleth me:

maketh softrakak – to be tender, be soft, be weak; (Hiphil) to cause to be weak

troublethbahal – (Hiphil) to hasten, hurry, make haste; to dismay, terrify

:17 Because I was not cut off before the darkness, neither hath he covered the darkness from my face.

the darkness (1st)choshek – darkness, obscurity; secret place

the darkness (2nd)‘ophel – darkness, gloom; spiritual unreceptivity, calamity (fig.)

(Job 23:17 NLT) Darkness is all around me; thick, impenetrable darkness is everywhere.


Walking by faith

Job is learning to walk in darkness, to walk by faith.
Faith is trusting in someone or something that you don’t see.
(Heb 11:1 KJV) Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Faith is what pleases God.
(Heb 11:6 KJV) But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Yet if we’re going to learn to “walk by faith”, it means that we’re going to have to go through times that we don’t understand, and still trust God.
Last May we had our Men’s Retreat up at Idyllwild. I went up a little late and caught up with Greg and Caleb before we all drove up the mountain. It wasn’t quite dark yet, and I went up the mountain going at a pretty good clip because all I had to do was follow Caleb who was following Greg. I didn’t have to worry about how fast to take a curve on the winding road. If Greg’s truck didn’t go off the cliff, my car wouldn’t either.
But the next night, I came home late at night so I could do the morning services here at church. It was very dark, it had been raining all day, and the mountain was shrouded in a cloud, so the visibility was next to nothing. I wasn’t familiar with the road. And I drove pretty slow with my high beams on the whole way.

That’s what it means to “walk by faith” (or, “drive by faith”). You don’t know the road. Even if you’ve got your high beams on, you don’t see too far ahead. But you keep driving. You don’t stop. You don’t go backwards. You keep going.

Job 24

:1-12 Injustice for the poor

:1 Why, seeing times are not hidden from the Almighty, do they that know him not see his days?

hiddentsaphan – (Niphal) to be hidden, be stored up

Why does God take so long to respond to Job’s request for understanding?

This too is all about walking by faith.

Sometimes we don’t have the answers to the questions we have. And we must keep going.

:2 Some remove the landmarks; they violently take away flocks, and feed thereof.

remove the landmarks – a way of stealing a person’s land. People’s land was not marked off by streets, but landmarks such as rocks. If you wanted to steal some of your neighbor’s land, then move his landmarks.

Job is talking about wicked people who will mistreat the poor.

:5 Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work…

(NLT) Job 24:5 Like the wild donkeys in the desert, the poor must spend all their time just getting enough to keep body and soul together. They go into the desert to search for food for their children.

:6 they gather the vintage of the wicked.

The poor work in the fields of the wicked.

:8 They are wet with the showers of the mountains, and embrace the rock for want of a shelter.

The poor have no shelter from the weather.

:11 Which make oil within their walls, and tread their winepresses, and suffer thirst.

The poor do all the work for the wicked, but don’t get anything for their labor.

:12 Men groan from out of the city, and the soul of the wounded crieth out: yet God layeth not folly to them.

I find it interesting that Job is defending the poor who are hurt by wicked people, yet this is what Job’s friends have accused him of.


“God’s not just”

This is what Job is trying to say.
He’s telling his friends that if God judges wicked people, then why aren’t the people who oppress the poor judged?
Why doesn’t God listen to the cries of the poor?
The truth is, God does listen to the poor. One day God will make it all right.
James warns:

(James 5:1-6 KJV) Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you. {2} Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are motheaten. {3} Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days. {4} Behold, the hire of the labourers who have reaped down your fields, which is of you kept back by fraud, crieth: and the cries of them which have reaped are entered into the ears of the Lord of sabaoth. {5} Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaughter. {6} Ye have condemned and killed the just; and he doth not resist you.

:13-17 Wicked and Dark

:13 They are of those that rebel against the light

Job is going to talk about how wicked people do their deeds in the dark.

:16 In the dark they dig through houses

Breaking into a house at night that was scouted out in the daytime.

:17 For the morning is to them even as the shadow of death: if one know them, they are in the terrors of the shadow of death.

In the previous section, Job was talking about wickedness out in the country side, here he’s talking about wickedness in the city.


In the dark.

Job is implying that God is not fair in letting those who do their wickedness at night get away with their sin.
Jesus said that wickedness is done in the dark so it can’t be exposed.
(John 3:19-21 KJV) And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. {20} For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. {21} But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Do you want to be right with God? Get into the light. Let your evil deeds be exposed. Turn from them.
(1 John 1:7 KJV) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

:18-25 God will judge the wicked

:18 He is swift as the waters; their portion is cursed in the earth

(NKJV) Job 24:18 "They [should be] swift on the face of the waters, Their portion [should be] cursed in the earth, [So that] no [one would] turn into the way of their vineyards.

Through this passage, the New King James has more of a sense of Job putting a curse on the wicked rather than just stating what their end will be.

:20 The womb shall forget him; the worm shall feed sweetly on him

(NLT) Job 24:20 Even the sinner’s own mother will forget him. Worms will find him sweet to eat. No one will remember him. Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm.

:21 He evil entreateth the barren that beareth not: and doeth not good to the widow.

Taking advantage of childless people. Not helping widows.

:22 He draweth also the mighty with his power: he riseth up, and no man is sure of life.

(NLT) Job 24:22 "God, in his power, drags away the rich. They may rise high, but they have no assurance in life.

:25 And if it be not so now, who will make me a liar, and make my speech nothing worth?

This section could be looked at as Job saying that these things will simply happen to wicked people. But other translations have more of a sense of Job putting a curse on those who are wicked and get away with things.


Thinking of others

Sometimes when we’re going through tough times, all we can think of is our own problems.
Yet it would seem that Job is concerned about others who are victims of injustice.


The True Hero of the Titanic
John Harper was born to a pair of solid Christian parents on May 29th, 1872. It was on the last Sunday of March 1886, when he was thirteen years old that he received Jesus as the Lord of his life. He never knew what it was to “sow his wild oats.” He began to preach about four years later at the ripe old age of 17 years old by going down to the streets of his village and pouring out his soul in earnest entreaty for men to be reconciled to God.
As John Harper’s life unfolded, one thing was apparent...he was consumed by the word of God. When asked by various ministers what his doctrine consisted of, he was known to reply “The Word of God!” After five or six years of toiling on street corners preaching the gospel and working in the mill during the day, Harper was taken in by Rev. E. A. Carter of Baptist Pioneer Mission in London, England. This set Harper free to devote his whole time of energy to the work so dear to his heart. Soon, John Harper started his own church in September of 1896. (Now known as the Harper Memorial Church.) This church which John Harper had started with just 25 members, had grown to over 500 members when he left 13 years later. During this time he had gotten married, but was shortly thereafter widowed. However brief the marriage, God did bless John Harper with a beautiful little girl named Nana.
Ironically, John Harper almost drowned several times during his life. When he was two and a half years of age, he almost drowned when he fell into a well but was resuscitated by his mother. At the age of twenty-six, he was swept out to sea by a reverse current and barely survived, and at thirty-two he faced death on a leaking ship in the Mediterranean. Perhaps, God used these experiences to prepare this servant for what he faced next...
It was the night of April 14, 1912. The RMS Titanic sailed swiftly on the bitterly cold ocean waters heading unknowingly into the pages of history. On board this luxurious ocean liner were many rich and famous people. At the time of the ship’s launch, it was the world’s largest man-made moveable object. At 11:40 p.m. on that fateful night, an iceberg scraped the ship’s starboard side, showering the decks with ice and ripping open six watertight compartments. The sea poured in.
On board the ship that night was John Harper and his much-beloved six-year-old daughter Nana. According to documented reports, as soon as it was apparent that the ship was going to sink, John Harper immediately took his daughter to a lifeboat. It is reasonable to assume that this widowed preacher could have easily gotten on board this boat to safety; however, it never seems to have crossed his mind. He bent down and kissed his precious little girl; looking into her eyes he told her that she would see him again someday. The flares going off in the dark sky above reflected the tears on his face as he turned and headed towards the crowd of desperate humanity on the sinking ocean liner.
As the rear of the huge ship began to lurch upwards, it was reported that Harper was seen making his way up the deck yelling “Women, children and unsaved into the lifeboats!” It was only minutes later that the Titanic began to rumble deep within. Most people thought it was an explosion; actually the gargantuan ship was literally breaking in half. At this point, many people jumped off the decks and into the icy, dark waters below. John Harper was one of these people.
That night 1528 people went into the frigid waters. John Harper was seen swimming frantically to people in the water leading them to Jesus before the hypothermia became fatal. Mr. Harper swam up to one young man who had climbed up on a piece of debris. Rev. Harper asked him between breaths, “Are you saved?” The young man replied that he was not. Harper then tried to lead him to Christ only to have the young man who was near shock, reply no. John Harper then took off his life jacket and threw it to the man and said “Here then, you need this more than I do...” and swam away to other people. A few minutes later Harper swam back to the young man and succeeded in leading him to salvation. Of the 1528 people that went into the water that night, six were rescued by the lifeboats. One of them was this young man on the debris. Four years later, at a survivors meeting, this young man stood up and in tears recounted how that after John Harper had led him to Christ. Mr. Harper had tried to swim back to help other people, yet because of the intense cold, had grown too weak to swim. His last words before going under in the frigid waters were “Believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

Sources for this article: "The Titanic's Last Hero" by Moody Press 1997, Scriptures are quoted from the King Jams Bible. John Climie, George Harper, & Bill Guthrie from "Jesus Our Jubilee Ministries" in Dallas, Oregon

When we are in difficult times, are we thinking only of ourselves, or are we willing to be used by God to help others?