Job 29-31

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

July 9, 2003

Introduction

Job is being tested.  He has lived a wonderful, righteous life.  Satan challenged God by saying that Job only loved God because of God’s protection and goodness toward Job.  So God is allowing Satan to bring difficulty to Job in order to prove to Satan and the audience in heaven that Job is better than that.

As Job’s friends show up to comfort him, they end up feeling like they have to fix Job.  After all, it seems obvious to them that Job’s problems are a result of some sort of sin in his life, and these troubles are just the result of his sin.  Three friends each take a turn at hurling their accusations at Job, and one by one, Job responds to his friends.  The three have finished speaking, and we will listen as Job finishes up his defense before his “friends”.

Job 29 Remembering the past

29:1-6 Remembering better days

:2 Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me;

preservedshamar – to keep, guard, observe, give heed

Satan had made his challenge to God because God had placed a “hedge” about Job, a barrier to protect him:

(Job 1:9-11 KJV)  Then Satan answered the LORD, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? {10} Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. {11} But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face.

:3 When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness;

candleniyr – lamp

light‘owr – light

:4 As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle;

secretcowd – council, counsel, assembly; secret counsel; familiar converse, intimacy (with God)

tabernacle ‘ohel – tent; nomad’s tent, and thus symbolic of wilderness life, transience; dwelling, home, habitation; the sacred tent of Jehovah (the tabernacle)

(Job 29:4 NLT)  In my early years, the friendship of God was felt in my home.

:5 When the Almighty was yet with me, when my children were about me;

Remember, Job has lost all ten of his children.  What pain he must have felt that not a single child was still alive.

:6 When I washed my steps with butter, and the rock poured me out rivers of oil;

This is a picture of abundance, having an abundance of butter and oil.  This is similar to the idea of the Promised Land being a land of “milk and honey”.

Lesson

When God seems far away

Sometimes I’ve wandered away
Get back to your first love

(Rev 2:4-5 KJV)  Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. {5} Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.

Sometimes I just need to trust
Job hasn’t sinned.
There are going to be times when we feel like God has left us and we’re in the dark.
This is “walking by faith”, walking in the dark.
You may feel like God isn’t there, but He is.

28:7-10 Respect from the greatest

:7 When I went out to the gate through the city, when I prepared my seat in the street!

Job had been one of the city’s leaders, an “elder” who would sit as a judge at the city gates.

:10 The nobles held their peace

Lesson

The world loves a “winner”

But somehow, when you fall on hard times, people don’t come knocking on your door.
Yet it’s interesting to think of how many of what we might call “the world’s greatest people” have died penniless, perhaps thought of by their generation as “failures”.
Ulysses S. Grant died penniless.  Beethoven, Mozart, Van Gogh, and many others.  When I searched the internet for the phrase “died penniless”, there were over 39,000 hits.
Look at Jesus.
He died at the age of 33, after only three years of ministry.  He didn’t have a penny to His name.  He died a tragic death.  Some might think He was a failure.
My point is that your current situation is not necessarily a measure of who you are.

28:11-17  I’ve done good things

:13 The blessing of him that was ready to perish came upon me

 (Job 29:13 The Message) The dying blessed me, and the bereaved were cheered by my visits.

:17 And I brake the jaws of the wicked, and plucked the spoil out of his teeth.

This is all in contrast with the things that some of the friends had accused Job of.

Zophar had accused Job:

(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;

Eliphaz accused Job:

(Job 22:5-9 KJV)  Is not thy wickedness great? and thine iniquities infinite? {6} For thou hast taken a pledge from thy brother for nought, and stripped the naked of their clothing. {7} Thou hast not given water to the weary to drink, and thou hast withholden bread from the hungry. {8} But as for the mighty man, he had the earth; and the honourable man dwelt in it. {9} Thou hast sent widows away empty, and the arms of the fatherless have been broken.

They were wrong in their accusations.

29:18-25 My counsel was sought

:18 Then I said, I shall die in my nest, and I shall multiply my days as the sand.

nestqen – nest; nest (of bird); cells (like nests in Noah’s ark)

(Job 29:18 NLT) “I thought, ‘Surely I will die surrounded by my family after a long, good life.

:24 If I laughed on them, they believed it not

(Job 29:24 NLT) When they were discouraged, I smiled at them. My look of approval was precious to them.

:25 I chose out their way, and sat chief…

Lesson

Be careful – it’s true

Sometimes we get a little put off by people who try to justify themselves.
Yet in Job’s case, everything he’s said is true.  God has already declared in heaven:
(Job 1:8 NLT)  Then the LORD asked Satan, "Have you noticed my servant Job? He is the finest man in all the earth--a man of complete integrity. He fears God and will have nothing to do with evil."

Job 30 Job’s anguish

30:1-14 Mocked by the lowest

:1 whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.

People not fit to hang out with Job’s sheep dogs.

:11 Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me

(Job 30:11 NLT) For God has cut the cords of my tent. He has humbled me, so they have thrown off all restraint.

:14 in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me.

What a long way Job has come.  He used to be honored by the greatest of people.  Now he’s scorned and ridiculed by the lowest of people.

Lesson

What people think

I think it’s one of the hardest things in life to separate yourself from what others think of you.
It seems that we each have people in our lives that we long to have approve of us.
It’s not that we ought to feel this way, but truthfully we often do.
What Job is expressing is very, very real for most of us.  We long to have “important” people fawn over us.  About the lowest humiliation we can think of is to have people we consider to be stupid ridiculing us.
God’s hope is that we become more concerned about what He thinks of us than what people do.
(Mat 10:22-28 KJV)  And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Nobody likes to be “hated”.  Some of us will do anything to keep people from “hating” us.

{23} But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come. {24} The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. {25} It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household? {26} Fear them not therefore: for there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; and hid, that shall not be known. {27} What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in light: and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. {28} And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

If we would learn to have the proper “fear” of the Lord, then we would be less concerned about what other people are thinking about us.  Perhaps we would be more likely to do the things that God is wanting us to do because we are more concerned with pleasing God than pleasing people.

30:15-19 I’m miserable

:17 My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.

Some suggest this is descriptive of some of his disease’ symptoms.

:18 By the great force of my disease is my garment changed

 (Job 30:18 NLT) With a strong hand, God grabs my garment. He grips me by the collar of my tunic.

30:20-31 God is against me

:24 Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction.

(Job 30:24 NLT) “Surely no one would turn against the needy when they cry for help.

:26 When I looked for good, then evil came unto me…

(Job 30:26 The Message) But where did it get me? I expected good but evil showed up. I looked for light but darkness fell.

:27 My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me.

He might be talking about his heart, his emotions being in turmoil.

He might be talking about stomach ailments.

:29 I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.

dragonstanniyn – dragon, serpent, sea monster; venomous snake; some translations have “jackals” here.

owlsya‘anah – an unclean bird; owl, ostrich, literally translated as “daughters of the owl”

:31 My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep.

(Job 30:31 The Message) My fiddle plays nothing but the blues; my mouth harp wails laments.

Job 31

31:1-8 Innocent of Greed

:1 I made a covenant with mine eyes; why then should I think upon a maid?

covenant[email protected] – covenant, alliance, pledge

thinkbiyn – to discern, understand, consider

maid[email protected] – virgin

(Job 31:1 The Message) “I made a solemn pact with myself never to undress a girl with my eyes.

:3 Is not destruction to the wicked? and a strange punishment to the workers of iniquity?

Job knows that God will punish sin.

31:9-12 Innocent of immorality

:10 Then let my wife grind unto another, and let others bow down upon her.

grindtachan – (Qal) to grind, crush; perhaps the idea of his wife grinding grain for another man.

bow downkara‘– to bend, kneel, bow, bow down, sink down to one’s knees, kneel down to rest (of animals), kneel in reverence

Job is saying that if he has been unfaithful to his wife and committed adultery, then let another man commit adultery with his wife and she be given to another man.

:12 For it is a fire that consumeth to destruction, and would root out all mine increase.

(Job 31:12 The Message) Adultery is a fire that burns the house down; I wouldn’t expect anything I count dear to survive it.

Lesson

Don’t play with fire

Lust is a fire.  Don’t feed that fire.
(Prov 6:23-35 KJV)  For the commandment is a lamp; and the law is light; and reproofs of instruction are the way of life: {24} To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman. {25} Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids. {26} For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adulteress will hunt for the precious life. {27} Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? {28} Can one go upon hot coals, and his feet not be burned? {29} So he that goeth in to his neighbour's wife; whosoever toucheth her shall not be innocent. {30} Men do not despise a thief, if he steal to satisfy his soul when he is hungry; {31} But if he be found, he shall restore sevenfold; he shall give all the substance of his house. {32} But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. {33} A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. {34} For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. {35} He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.
What kinds of things feed the fires of lust?  For men lust often seems connected with the things we put in front of our eyes.
And Job has said that he’s made a covenant with his eyes to be careful about what he looks at.
Be careful where you take your eyes.
(Prov 7:6-27 KJV)  For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, {7} And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, {8} Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, {9} In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: {10} And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart. {11} (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: {12} Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) {13} So she caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent face said unto him, {14} I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. {15} Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. {16} I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. {17} I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. {18} Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. {19} For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: {20} He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. {21} With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. {22} He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; {23} Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. {24} Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. {25} Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. {26} For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. {27} Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.

31:13-15 Fair to servants

:15 Did not he that made me in the womb make him? and did not one fashion us in the womb?

Job says that the same God that made him made his servants, his employees.

Lesson

Kindness at work

Kindness and goodness should go both ways at work – to and from the employers and employees.
(Eph 6:5-9 KJV)  Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ; {6} Not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; {7} With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men: {8} Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. {9} And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.
Paul says it’s because we’re all created by the same God – the same principle Job used.

31:16-23 Kind to the poor

:23 For destruction from God was a terror to me …

Lesson

Helping the poor

Job made a point of helping the poor. So should we.
(Psa 41:1-3 KJV)  To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David. Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the LORD will deliver him in time of trouble. {2} The LORD will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies. {3} The LORD will strengthen him upon the bed of languishing: thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness.
(Mat 25:31-40 KJV)  When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: {32} And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: {33} And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. {34} Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: {35} For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: {36} Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. {37} Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? {38} When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? {39} Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? {40} And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

31:24-28 Innocent of greed, idolatry

:25 If I rejoiced because my wealth was great

Job was innocent of being a greedy, materialistic man.

(1 Tim 6:10 NASB)  For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith, and pierced themselves with many a pang.

:28 for I should have denied the God that is above.

This is a description of idolatry, falling in love with God’s creation rather than God.

Paul says that all men are aware of God because of the witness of creation around them.  It’s when men reject the truth about God that they turn to foolish things like worshipping the creation rather than the Creator.

(Rom 1:25 KJV)  Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

31:29-32 Loved enemies

:29 If I rejoiced at the destruction of him that hated me

Job loved his enemies – just like Jesus said we ought to do.

31:33-40 Somebody help me

:33 If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom:

Adam‘Adam – first man; could also refer to men in general.

Lesson

Hypocrisy

Adam and Eve sinned.  Then they hid.
(Gen 3:6-10 KJV)  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. {7} And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons. {8} And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. {9} And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou? {10} And he said, I heard thy voice in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.
Hypocrisy – covering up your sins instead of confessing and forsaking them.

:40 Let thistles grow instead of wheat, and cockle instead of barley. The words of Job are ended.

(Job 31:38-40 The Message) “If the very ground that I farm accuses me, if even the furrows fill with tears from my abuse, {39} If I’ve ever raped the earth for my own profit or dispossessed its rightful owners, {40} Then curse it with thistles instead of wheat, curse it with weeds instead of barley.” The words of Job to his three friends were finished.

Lesson

Don’t beat yourself up too much

Job is expressing what we’ve expressed many times when we don’t understand our circumstances.
We wonder, “What have I done to deserve this?”
If you don’t know, don’t go looking.
Some people follow this idea that there are some kinds of curses that are handed down from one generation to the next.
Yet the Bible says that each person will be judged for their own sins.

(Jer 31:29-30 KJV)  In those days they shall say no more, The fathers have eaten a sour grape, and the children's teeth are set on edge. {30} But every one shall die for his own iniquity: every man that eateth the sour grape, his teeth shall be set on edge.

(Ezek 18:1-4 KJV)  The word of the LORD came unto me again, saying, {2} What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge? {3} As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. {4} Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

What God has forgiven, God has forgotten.
If the Holy Spirit hasn’t convicted you of sin, I’m not sure you ought to be hunting for things in your life.
Job wasn’t experiencing God’s punishment. 
Job was being tested to show Satan that Job wouldn’t turn from God if things got hard.