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Job 18-21

Thursday Evening Bible Study

May 28, 2015


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 5000 words   Video = 75 wpm

Job is going through the worst time anyone could imagine.

He’s lost all his possessions.

His children have died.

His health has failed.

What makes all this even more confusing is that Job is a good guy.

God has decided to allow Job to go through this difficulty because He is proud of Job, not mad at him.

God wants to show the world what a godly man will do when he is going through a difficult time.

Keep a couple of things in mind as we study Job:

Sometimes Job is wrong in his conclusions.

Sometimes Job’s friends are also wrong.

They can even say things that are true, but they might not be true about Job.

Be careful about building doctrine upon some of the things said in the book of Job.

Neither Job’s words nor those of his friends are meant to build doctrinal truths on.
They simply show us how people respond to difficulty.

There are three rounds of debates with Job’s three friends.

A friend will speak and Job will answer.

We’re now in the middle of the second round.

18:1-4 Bildad:  Be quiet

:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

Bildad is friend number two.  He’s the small one (“shoe-height”).

:2 “How long till you put an end to words? Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak.

:2 Gain understanding, and afterward we will speak

He wishes that Job would just shut up until he knows what he’s talking about.

:3 Why are we counted as beasts, And regarded as stupid in your sight?

:4 You who tear yourself in anger, Shall the earth be forsaken for you? Or shall the rock be removed from its place?

(Job 18:4 NLT) You may tear out your hair in anger, but will that destroy the earth? Will it make the rocks tremble?

Tearing his hair out isn’t going to change his circumstances

18:5-10 Bildad:  The wicked are caught

:5 “The light of the wicked indeed goes out, And the flame of his fire does not shine.

:5 the light … the flame

Bildad now will launch into a lesson of what kinds of things are awaiting the wicked. The wicked will be snuffed out.

Hebrew Poetry

Hebrew poetry is not like English poetry. In English, our poetry seems to put a lot of attention on the rhyming of sounds. In Hebrew, the idea is a rhyming of ideas. In each line you will see either two parallel ideas that say the same thing, or you will see two contrasting things that are opposite of each other. You can learn more about each idea as you compare and contrast the ideas that are paired together.

:6 The light is dark in his tent, And his lamp beside him is put out.

:7 The steps of his strength are shortened, And his own counsel casts him down.

:8 For he is cast into a net by his own feet, And he walks into a snare.

:9 The net takes him by the heel, And a snare lays hold of him.

:10 A noose is hidden for him on the ground, And a trap for him in the road.

:10 a trap for him in the road

Bildad’s point is that a wicked person is going to get caught. There is some truth to this.

This is sometimes exactly what happens:


A motorist was unknowingly caught in an automated speed trap that measured his speed using radar and photographed his car. He later received in the mail a ticket for $40 and a photo of his car. Instead of payment, he sent the police department a photograph of $40. Several days later, he received a letter from the police that contained another picture... of handcuffs. The motorist promptly sent the money for the fine.

or …

Drug Possession Defendant Christopher Jansen, on trial in March in Pontiac, Michigan, said he had been searched without a warrant. The prosecutor said the officer didn’t need a warrant because a “bulge” in Christopher’s jacket could have been a gun. Nonsense, said Christopher, who happened to be wearing the same jacket that day in court. He handed it over so the judge could see it. The judge discovered a packet of cocaine in the pocket and laughed so hard he required a five minute recess to compose himself.

18:11-21 Bildad: Terror for the wicked

:11 Terrors frighten him on every side, And drive him to his feet.

:11 Terrors frighten him on every side

Terrorsballahah – terror, destruction, calamity, dreadful event

There is nothing but horrible things ahead in the life of the wicked person.

:12 His strength is starved, And destruction is ready at his side.

:13 It devours patches of his skin; The firstborn of death devours his limbs.

:14 He is uprooted from the shelter of his tent, And they parade him before the king of terrors.

:15 They dwell in his tent who are none of his; Brimstone is scattered on his dwelling.

:15 Brimstone is scattered on his dwelling

(Job 18:15 NLT) The homes of the wicked will burn down; burning sulfur rains on their houses.

Keep in mind that part of the trouble that Job has endured included fire from heaven (Job 1:16)

(Job 1:16 NKJV) While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

:16 His roots are dried out below, And his branch withers above.

:17 The memory of him perishes from the earth, And he has no name among the renowned.

:18 He is driven from light into darkness, And chased out of the world.

:19 He has neither son nor posterity among his people, Nor any remaining in his dwellings.

:19 He has neither son nor posterity

Job has lost all of his children at this point. He had seven sons and three daughters, now all dead.

:20 Those in the west are astonished at his day, As those in the east are frightened.

:21 Surely such are the dwellings of the wicked, And this is the place of him who does not know God.”

:21 the place of him who does not know God

Do you think Bildad has anybody in particular in mind when he’s describing all the calamities that await for a wicked person? He’s talking about Job.


Tell me to my face

Bildad is talking about the things that will happen to “the wicked”.
But his implication is that he’s talking about Job.
Some folks like to talk to you about things, but do it in a way where they don’t just come out and say that you’re bad, but you still get the message.
It’s not good communication.
A farmer walked into an attorney’s office wanting to file for a divorce. The attorney asked, “May I help you?” The farmer said, “Yea, I want to get one of those dayvorces.” The attorney said, “Well, do you have any grounds?” The farmer said, “Yea, I got about 140 acres.” The attorney said, “No, you don’t understand, do you have a case?” The farmer said, “No, I don’t have a Case, but I have a John Deere.” The attorney said, “No, you don’t understand. I mean do you have a grudge?” The farmer said, “Yea, I got a grudge. That’s where I park my John Deere.” The attorney said, “No sir, I mean do you have a suit?” The farmer said, “Yes sir, I got a suit. I wear it to church on Sundays.” The exasperated attorney said, “Well, sir, does your wife beat you up or anything?” The farmer said, “No sir, we both get up about 4:30.” Finally, the attorney says, “Okay, let me put it this way. WHY DO YOU WANT A DIVORCE?” And the farmer says, “Well, I can never have a meaningful conversation with her.”
I think that one of the things necessary for “meaningful conversation” is to get to the point. Say what you mean. Mean what you say.

19:1-7 Job: I’ve been wronged

:1 Then Job answered and said:

:2 “How long will you torment my soul, And break me in pieces with words?

:3 These ten times you have reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me.

:4 And if indeed I have erred, My error remains with me.

:5 If indeed you exalt yourselves against me, And plead my disgrace against me,

:6 Know then that God has wronged me, And has surrounded me with His net.

:7 “If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard. If I cry aloud, there is no justice.

:6 God has wronged me

Job is incorrect with this thought.

God is not the one that attacked Job, Satan is the one who has brought so much harm.

19:8-22 Job:  Everyone is against me

:8 He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass; And He has set darkness in my paths.

:9 He has stripped me of my glory, And taken the crown from my head.

:9 taken the crown from my head

crown‘atarah – crown, wreath

If Job is speaking literally here, this might be additional proof that Job is the man spoken of in Genesis (“Jobab”), listed as a king of Edom (Gen. 36:33)

(Genesis 36:31–34 NKJV) —31 Now these were the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before any king reigned over the children of Israel: 32 Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom, and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 33 And when Bela died, Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his place. 34 When Jobab died, Husham of the land of the Temanites reigned in his place.

:10 He breaks me down on every side, And I am gone; My hope He has uprooted like a tree.

:11 He has also kindled His wrath against me, And He counts me as one of His enemies.

:11 He counts me as one of His enemies

Not so, Job.


Jesus loves me

We’ve talked about the “anchors” we need in our lives to help us navigate the storms of life.
This is one of them.
We can know He loves me simply by the cross.
(1 John 3:16a NKJV) By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us.
And if He loves us, then we can put all these silly thoughts of God being against us aside.
(Romans 8:31–34 NKJV) —31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32 He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? 33 Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. 34 Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.

:12 His troops come together And build up their road against me; They encamp all around my tent.

:13 “He has removed my brothers far from me, And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me.

:14 My relatives have failed, And my close friends have forgotten me.

:14 my close friends have forgotten me

This shouldn’t be when we go through trials.

We need each other.

We just read about Jesus’ love for us, and our love for one another ought to be similar.

(1 John 3:16 NKJV) By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.

:15 Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants, Count me as a stranger; I am an alien in their sight.

:16 I call my servant, but he gives no answer; I beg him with my mouth.

:17 My breath is offensive to my wife, And I am repulsive to the children of my own body.

:17 My breath is offensive to my wife


Put A Sock In It

A young couple decided to wed. As the big day approached, they grew apprehensive. Each had a problem they had never before shared with anyone, not even each other. The Groom-to-be, overcoming his fear, decided to ask his father for advice. “Father,” he said, “I am deeply concerned about the success of my marriage.” His father replied, “Don’t you love this girl?” “Oh yes, very much,” he said,” but you see, I have very smelly feet, and I’m afraid that my fiancé will be put off by them.” “No problem,” said dad, “all you have to do is wash your feet as often as possible, and always wear socks, even to bed.” Well, to him this seemed a workable solution. The bride-to-be, overcoming her fear, decided to take her problem up with her mom.” Mom,” she said, “When I wake up in the morning my breath is truly awful.” “Honey,” her mother consoled, “everyone has bad breath in the morning.” “No, you don’t understand,. My morning breath is so bad, I’m afraid that my fiancé will not want to sleep in the same room with me.” Her mother said simply, “Try this. In the morning, get straight out of bed, and head for the kitchen and make breakfast. While the family is busy eating, move on to the bathroom and brush your teeth. The key is, not to say a word until you’ve brushed your teeth.” “I shouldn’t say good morning or anything?” the daughter asked. “Not a word,” her mother affirmed. “Well, it’s certainly worth a try,” she thought. The loving couple was finally married. Not forgetting the advice each had received, he with his perpetual socks and she with her morning silence, they managed quite well. That is, until about six months later. Shortly before dawn one morning, the husband wakes with a start to find that his socks had come off. Fearful of the consequences, he frantically searches the bed. This, of course, wakes his bride and without thinking, she asks, “What on earth are you doing?” “Good grief,” he replies, “you’ve swallowed my sock!”

(Job 19:17 The Message) My wife can’t stand to be around me anymore. I’m repulsive to my family.

:18 Even young children despise me; I arise, and they speak against me.

:19 All my close friends abhor me, And those whom I love have turned against me.

:20 My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.

:20 escaped by the skin of my teeth

Here’s the origin of the phrase, “skin of my teeth”.

There’s not much “skin” on your teeth.

The idea is that Job has just barely, narrowly escaped.

:21 “Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has struck me!

:22 Why do you persecute me as God does, And are not satisfied with my flesh?

19:23-29 Job’s hope

:23 “Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book!

:24 That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever!

:23 that they were inscribed in a book

Job is going to get his wish.  His words are going to be recorded in the world’s best-selling book.

:25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth;

:25 my Redeemer lives

redeemerga’al – to redeem, act as kinsman-redeemer, avenge, revenge, ransom, do the part of a kinsman

liveschay – living, alive

from chayah – to live, have life, remain alive, live forever
God’s name, “Yahweh” (or, YHWH) can be translated – “the existing One”
fromhayah – to be, become, come to pass, exist, happen, fall out
It’s interesting to look at the usage of God’s name in the book of Job.  The first two chapters are filled with God’s name (Yahweh).  The end of the book, starting in chapter 38, when God finally speaks, again God’s name starts to be used again.  But in the middle section when Job argues with his friends, God’s name is only found ONCE, and it is Job that uses God’s name.  Job’s friends never call God by name.

at last‘acharown – behind, following, subsequent, western; behind, hindermost, western (of location); later, subsequent, latter, last (of time)

(Job 19:25 NASB95) “As for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, And at the last He will take His stand on the earth.


Job’s redeemer

Job has a concept that someone, somewhere will be on his side.  This person will be around on the last days of earth and will stand up for him.
Jesus is our redeemer.
Though some may look at Jesus today as either a fanciful myth, or at least an historical person of the past, the truth is that Jesus still lives.
He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven.
He is alive at this present moment.
For those of us who have lost loved ones who were believers, this is our hope too.
Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know that we too will rise from the dead.

(John 11:25–26 NKJV) —25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

:26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God,

:27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!

:26 after my skin is destroyed

destroyednaqaph – (Piel) to strike off skin

:26 in my flesh I shall see God

Job states the essence of the doctrine of the resurrection.

He’s saying that his flesh will be destroyed, but he will one day see God in his flesh.
He’s expecting that God will one day raise him from the dead.
It’s an interesting contrast with some of the other things he’s said when he’s expressed hopelessness.
(Job 16:22 NKJV) For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return.


Job’s hope

Keep your eyes on the end of the race.
We can keep going if we keep our eyes on the end.  Keep remembering what it’s all for.
We look forward to the day when Jesus says, “Well done, good and faithful servant.
Paul wrote,
(2 Corinthians 4:16–18 NKJV) —16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. 17 For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 18 while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

:28 If you should say, ‘How shall we persecute him?’— Since the root of the matter is found in me,

:29 Be afraid of the sword for yourselves; For wrath brings the punishment of the sword, That you may know there is a judgment.”

:29 Be afraid of the sword for yourselves

(Job 19:28–29 The Message) —28 “If you’re thinking, ‘How can we get through to him, get him to see that his trouble is all his own fault?’ 29 Forget it. Start worrying about yourselves. Worry about your own sins and God’s coming judgment, for judgment is most certainly on the way.”


Judgement or Mercy

When we find ourselves forming judgmental or critical attitudes towards other people, we need to be careful to look in the mirror and examine ourselves first.
Sometimes we don’t really know enough to properly judge another person.
Video:  Don’t Judge too quickly - Ameriquest - edited
The ways that we treat other people are going to come back and haunt us.
(Luke 6:30–38 NKJV) —30 Give to everyone who asks of you. And from him who takes away your goods do not ask them back. 31 And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. 32 “But if you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. 35 But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.
We need to be kind to people, even if they’re not kind to us.  This is a part of treating other people in a way that we want to be treated.
36 Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful. 37 “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”
We’ve all probably heard some of those sermons about giving money that might quote this verse.  Perhaps we’ve thought that this is all about giving money to the church and then getting rich off of it.
But don’t forget that the lesson is actually all about giving mercy and grace to people who don’t deserve mercy and grace.  And when we give lots of grace, we will find lots of grace coming back to us.
39 And He spoke a parable to them: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher. 41 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the plank in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the plank that is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
It’s not that we don’t ever attempt to take a splinter out of another person’s eye.  There is a place for helping others grow in their deficiencies.  But before we do, we ought to be careful to examine ourselves first.
Perhaps the only reason we see the splinter is because we’re good at spotting wood, after all, we may have lots of wood in our own eye.
Dale Carnegie, in his book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, writes,
Mark Twain lost his temper occasionally and wrote letters that turned the paper brown. For example, he once wrote to a man who had aroused his ire: “The thing for you is a burial permit. You have only to speak and I will see that you get it.” On another occasion he wrote to an editor about a proofreader’s attempts to “improve my spelling and punctuation.” He ordered: “Set the matter according to my copy hereafter and see that the proofreader retains his suggestions in the mush of his decayed brain.”

The writing of these stinging letters made Mark Twain feel better. They allowed him to blow off steam, and the letters didn’t do any real harm, because Mark’s wife secretly lifted them out of the mail. They were never sent.

Do you know someone you would like to change and regulate and improve? Good! That is fine. I am all in favor of it. But why not begin on yourself? From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others-yes, and a lot less dangerous. “Don’t complain about the snow on your neighbor’s roof,” said Confucius; “when your own doorstep is unclean.”

20:1-9 Zophar: The wicked will perish

:1 Then Zophar the Naamathite answered and said:

The third friend speaks for his second time.

:2 “Therefore my anxious thoughts make me answer, Because of the turmoil within me.

:3 I have heard the rebuke that reproaches me, And the spirit of my understanding causes me to answer.

:3 the spirit …causes me to answer


But I feel like …

Sometimes we say to ourselves, “But I feel like I just have to do this …” 
Sometimes we are only telling ourselves this as an excuse to do something impulsive.
You really don’t have to do anything.
Sometimes we get spiritual and excuse our impulsive behavior by blaming it on the “Spirit”
But Paul wrote,

(1 Corinthians 14:32 NKJV) And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.

The “spirit of the prophet” is actually under the orders of the prophet himself.

The Holy Spirit doesn’t take away your control.  I do not believe a person is forced to roll on the floor and bark like a dog by the Holy Spirit.

The fruit of the Spirit includes “self-control” (Gal. 5:23)
(Galatians 5:22–23 NKJV) —22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control…
When the Spirit is really working, He gives us the ability to bridle the wrong “have to’s”.
self-controlegkrateia (“in” + “strength”) – self-control (the virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, esp. his sensual appetites)

:4 “Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth,

:5 That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?

:6 Though his haughtiness mounts up to the heavens, And his head reaches to the clouds,

:7 Yet he will perish forever like his own refuse; Those who have seen him will say, ‘Where is he?’

:8 He will fly away like a dream, and not be found; Yes, he will be chased away like a vision of the night.

:9 The eye that saw him will see him no more, Nor will his place behold him anymore.

The wicked person will one day be destroyed.  True.

20:10-22 Zophar: The End of the Wicked

:10 His children will seek the favor of the poor, And his hands will restore his wealth.

:11 His bones are full of his youthful vigor, But it will lie down with him in the dust.

:11 youthful vigor … in the dust

(Job 20:11 NLT) Though they are young, their bones will lie in the dust.

The insinuation is that wicked people will die young.

Wicked people are not the only ones that die young.

David Brainerd was a missionary to the Indians in the early 1700’s.  He died at the age of 29.
Henry Martyn was a missionary to India around 1800.  He died at the age of 31.
Jim Elliot, a missionary to the Auca Indians in South America in the 1950’s died at the age of 24.
Keith Green was a Christian musician that impacted the lives of many in our generation, he died at the age of 28.
Jesus died at the age of 33.

:12 “Though evil is sweet in his mouth, And he hides it under his tongue,

Like hiding candy under your tongue.

:13 Though he spares it and does not forsake it, But still keeps it in his mouth,

:14 Yet his food in his stomach turns sour; It becomes cobra venom within him.

:15 He swallows down riches And vomits them up again; God casts them out of his belly.

:16 He will suck the poison of cobras; The viper’s tongue will slay him.

:17 He will not see the streams, The rivers flowing with honey and cream.

He will not see good times any more.

:18 He will restore that for which he labored, And will not swallow it down; From the proceeds of business He will get no enjoyment.

:19 For he has oppressed and forsaken the poor, He has violently seized a house which he did not build.

:19 he has oppressed and forsaken the poor

Zophar feels like he has stumbled upon the real reason for Job’s problems.

Job must have cheated the poor people.  That’s why he was so wealthy, because he took advantage of the poor.
These are just baseless accusations.

:20 “Because he knows no quietness in his heart, He will not save anything he desires.

:21 Nothing is left for him to eat; Therefore his well-being will not last.

:22 In his self-sufficiency he will be in distress; Every hand of misery will come against him.

20:23-29 Zophar: Terrors for the wicked

:23 When he is about to fill his stomach, God will cast on him the fury of His wrath, And will rain it on him while he is eating.

:24 He will flee from the iron weapon; A bronze bow will pierce him through.

:25 It is drawn, and comes out of the body; Yes, the glittering point comes out of his gall. Terrors come upon him;

:26 Total darkness is reserved for his treasures. An unfanned fire will consume him; It shall go ill with him who is left in his tent.

:27 The heavens will reveal his iniquity, And the earth will rise up against him.

:28 The increase of his house will depart, And his goods will flow away in the day of His wrath.

:29 This is the portion from God for a wicked man, The heritage appointed to him by God.”

:29 the portion from God for a wicked man

Again, just like Bildad, Zophar is accusing Job of being a wicked man who needs to repent, yet he’s doing it without directly accusing Job.  He just talks vaguely about “the wicked”.

21:1-6 Job:  Please Listen

:1 Then Job answered and said:

:2 “Listen carefully to my speech, And let this be your consolation.

:3 Bear with me that I may speak, And after I have spoken, keep mocking.

:3 Bear with me that I may speak


Comfort by Listening

Sometimes people need our ears more than they need our words.
During the darkest hours of the Civil War, Lincoln wrote to an old friend in Springfield, Illinois, asking him to come to Washington. Lincoln said he had some problems he wanted to discuss with him. The old neighbor called at the White House, and Lincoln talked to him for hours about the advisability of issuing a proclamation freeing the slaves. Lincoln went over all the arguments for and against such a move, and then read letters and newspaper articles, some de­nouncing him for not freeing the slaves and others de­nouncing him for fear he was going to free them. After talking for hours, Lincoln shook hands with his old neighbor, said good night, and sent him back to Illinois without even asking for his opinion. Lincoln had done all the talking himself. That seemed to clarify his mind. “He seemed to feel easier after that talk,” the old friend said. Lincoln hadn’t wanted advice. He had wanted merely a friendly, sympathetic listener to whom he could unburden himself.
That’s what we all want when we are in trouble.

- Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

(James 1:19 NKJV) So then, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath;

:4 “As for me, is my complaint against man? And if it were, why should I not be impatient?

:5 Look at me and be astonished; Put your hand over your mouth.

:6 Even when I remember I am terrified, And trembling takes hold of my flesh.

21:7-16 Job: The Wicked Prosper

:7 Why do the wicked live and become old, Yes, become mighty in power?

Wicked people don’t always die young.  Sometimes they live to be quite old.

:8 Their descendants are established with them in their sight, And their offspring before their eyes.

:9 Their houses are safe from fear, Neither is the rod of God upon them.

:10 Their bull breeds without failure; Their cow calves without miscarriage.

:11 They send forth their little ones like a flock, And their children dance.

:12 They sing to the tambourine and harp, And rejoice to the sound of the flute.

:13 They spend their days in wealth, And in a moment go down to the grave.

:14 Yet they say to God, ‘Depart from us, For we do not desire the knowledge of Your ways.

:15 Who is the Almighty, that we should serve Him? And what profit do we have if we pray to Him?’

:16 Indeed their prosperity is not in their hand; The counsel of the wicked is far from me.

:15 what profit do we have if we pray to Him?

Some wicked people feel that they don’t need to repent because life is so good for them.


Patience and repentance

Yet the truth is that God is being kind and patient with them in order to give them a chance to repent.
(Romans 2:4 NKJV) Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance?
(2 Peter 3:9 NKJV) The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

The reason God hasn’t brought judgment yet is to give more people a chance to repent.

21:17-26 Job: God isn’t fair to the wicked

:17 “How often is the lamp of the wicked put out? How often does their destruction come upon them, The sorrows God distributes in His anger?

The next three verses are just much smoother in the NLT:

(Job 21:17–19 NLT) —17 “Yet the light of the wicked never seems to be extinguished. Do they ever have trouble? Does God distribute sorrows to them in anger? 18 Are they driven before the wind like straw? Are they carried away by the storm like chaff? Not at all! 19 “ ‘Well,’ you say, ‘at least God will punish their children!’ But I say he should punish the ones who sin, so that they understand his judgment.

Though the wicked often “get away” with things, Job is wrong because God doesn’t “skip” them. 

He is patient, but there will be a day of reckoning. 
Job is speaking out of his own frustration, everything seems better for the wicked than it does for him.

:18 They are like straw before the wind, And like chaff that a storm carries away.

This and the previous verse are meant to be rhetorical questions, expecting a “no” for an answer.

(Job 21:18 NLT) Are they driven before the wind like straw? Are they carried away by the storm like chaff? Not at all!

:19 They say, ‘God lays up one’s iniquity for his children’; Let Him recompense him, that he may know it.

:20 Let his eyes see his destruction, And let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty.

:21 For what does he care about his household after him, When the number of his months is cut in half?

Job doesn’t see what good it would be if God punishes the children of the wicked.  After all, after a wicked person is dead, what would they care about what happens to their family?

:22 “Can anyone teach God knowledge, Since He judges those on high?

Job it thinking:  No one can tell God what to do.  He sits far above us in heaven and just does what He wants anyway.

:23 One dies in his full strength, Being wholly at ease and secure;

:24 His pails are full of milk, And the marrow of his bones is moist.

:25 Another man dies in the bitterness of his soul, Never having eaten with pleasure.

:26 They lie down alike in the dust, And worms cover them.

:26 They lie down alike in the dust

Both the poor and the rich will one day die.  Again, Job is sinking in his despair, thinking of the hopelessness of death.

It’s hard to have a correct perspective on life when all you are looking at is yourself.

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21:27-34 Job: False Comfort

:27 “Look, I know your thoughts, And the schemes with which you would wrong me.

:28 For you say, ‘Where is the house of the prince? And where is the tent, The dwelling place of the wicked?’

:29 Have you not asked those who travel the road? And do you not know their signs?

:28 Where is the house of the prince?

Job is accusing his friends of just picking out the stories that fit their theology, of wicked people who had hard times.

:29 Have you not asked those who travel the road?

They should be asking people who have travelled and seen a bit more of the world.

:30 For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; They shall be brought out on the day of wrath.

:31 Who condemns his way to his face? And who repays him for what he has done?

:32 Yet he shall be brought to the grave, And a vigil kept over the tomb.

:33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him; Everyone shall follow him, As countless have gone before him.

:33 The clods of the valley shall be sweet to him

Job wonders who will confront the wicked.  If death is the time when they will pay their debts, all Job can see is that the wicked man will have a nice death.  It doesn’t seem fair.

Yet we need to keep in mind that when a wicked person dies, we don’t see what happens after death.

:34 How then can you comfort me with empty words, Since falsehood remains in your answers?”

:34 comfort me with empty words


Appropriate truth comforts

We’ve seen that Job’s friends do speak things that are in some ways true.
But they just aren’t true or appropriate for Job.
They have gone through life with these ideas about wickedness and suffering and have never been challenged to think of the truth of their statements.
(Proverbs 25:11 NLT) Timely advice is lovely, like golden apples in a silver basket.