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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Facing Trials: Job [11]

Job's friends speak a final time.

Eliphaz opens the third and last cycle of discussion with wild accusations against Job: "You demand security from your brothers for no reason...You gave no water to the weary and you withheld food from the hungry...And you sent widows away empty-handed and broke the strength of the fatherless" (Job 22:6-9).

None of these charges are true.

Bildad has little more to add. He simply restates the power and righteousness of God and then describes man's insignificance.

As for Zophar, Job's most vehement accuser, he has nothing more to say at all.

So the three friends end their talks as they started. They have made no confession of faith, as Job has. Their trust is not in the Lord, but in their own righteousness. Although they knew about God, they do not know God, the Redeemer, the One who forgives.

What does that mean?

They understand a vengeful God, who hates and punishes sin, but they do not understand a loving God who wants to redeem the sinner. They do not understand the love God has for us.

There is an old saying that they could use here, "hate the sin, and love the sinner."
Paul speaks to this is in his letter to the church at Ephesus, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith--and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God--not of works, so that no once can boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9).

Job, however, gets it! Job had faith in God.

Meanwhile Job's thoughts dart from one subject to another.

He declares his desire to argue his case with God (Job 23:4). In spite of what sounds like hubris, Job still exhibits a quality his friends lack. While they are content to talk about God, Job's burning desire is to talk to God!

In his boldness Job foolishly accuses the Lord, "The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the souls of the wounded cry out for help. But God charges no one with wrongdoing" (Job 24:12) [translation- God all this stuff is happening, and You are not calling anyone to task, or making anyone "pay" for it]

Job has second thoughts about this, because he knows that God does indeed punish the wicked, "For what hope has the godless when he is cut off, when God takes away his life?'' (Job 27:8)

In other words, Job seems to come to the conclusion that it is impossible to determine a man's standing with God on the basis of outward appearances. People may be successful in life, but that is no sign of God's favor. The Lord may still condemn them.

This is a mistake we all still make. Outward appearance does not always give an indication of what is going on in someone else's life, mind, heart or spirit. 

God himself confirms this and warns us to never judge a person's spiritual condition by his physical and material circumstances. In 1 Samuel 16:7 he teaches, "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart."


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