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07-09-06 Prayer Of Job

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Job 25-27:6

 1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,

2 “Dominion and awe belong to Him

Who establishes peace in His heights.

3 “Is there any number to His troops?

And upon whom does His light not rise?

4 “How then can a man be just with God?

Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?

5 “If even the moon has no brightness

And the stars are not pure in His sight,

6 How much less man, that maggot,

And the son of man, that worm!”

Job 26

1 Then Job responded,

2 “What a help you are to the weak!

How you have saved the arm without strength!

3 “What counsel you have given to one without wisdom!

What helpful insight you have abundantly provided!

4 “To whom have you uttered words?

And whose spirit was expressed through you?

5 “The departed spirits tremble

Under the waters and their inhabitants.

6 “Naked is Sheol before Him,

And Abaddon has no covering.

7 “He stretches out the north over empty space

And hangs the earth on nothing.

8 “He wraps up the waters in His clouds,

And the cloud does not burst under them.

9 “He obscures the face of the full moon

And spreads His cloud over it.

10 “He has inscribed a circle on the surface of the waters

At the boundary of light and darkness.

11 “The pillars of heaven tremble

And are amazed at His rebuke.

12 “He quieted the sea with His power,

And by His understanding He shattered Rahab.

13 “By His breath the heavens are cleared;

His hand has pierced the fleeing serpent.

14 “Behold, these are the fringes of His ways;

And how faint a word we hear of Him!

But His mighty thunder, who can understand?”

Job 27

1 Then Job continued his discourse and said,

2 “As God lives, who has taken away my right,

And the Almighty, who has embittered my soul,

3 For as long as life is in me,

And the breath of God is in my nostrils,

4 My lips certainly will not speak unjustly,

Nor will my tongue mutter deceit.

5 “Far be it from me that I should declare you right;

Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.

6 “I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go.

My heart does not reproach any of my days.

 Introduction

 

Bildad’s brief speech concludes the sayings of Job’s friends.

Bildad holds that God established order in the material and moral universe.

As he shines brighter than any creation material,

man in comparison is a moral worm.

So all Job’s claims of purity are meaningless! (25:1–6)

Job dismisses Bildad with scathing sarcasm (26:1–4).

In powerful poetry he affirms God’s majesty.

Surely we can hardly comprehend even the “outer fringe” of so great a God, much less squeeze Him into the friends’ comfortable categories (vv. 5–14).

I.       Man a maggot? (25:6)

Job 25:6

6 How much less man, that maggot,

And the son of man, that worm!”

A.    This thought seems right and for some it’s a theological teeter-totter.

B.   If God is to be exalted, man must be degraded

C.   But as Job saw, this is terribly wrong

D.   Yet only in Christ do we realize how wrong Bildad was

E.   Christ chose to become a real human being, “made a little lower than the angels,” but raised again to bring “many sons to glory”

Hebrews 2:9-10

Jesus Briefly Humbled

     9     But we do see Him who was made for a little while lower than the angels, namely, Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, so that by the grace of God He might taste death for everyone.

     10     For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.

F.    God’s love for us proves man is no maggot

G.  Love marks us out as beings of infinite worth

II.     Job 26 well intentioned but lacking

Job 26:1-4

Job Rebukes Bildad

     1     Then Job responded,

     2     “What a help you are to the weak!

How you have saved the arm without strength!

     3     “What counsel you have given to one without wisdom!

What helpful insight you have abundantly provided!

     4     “To whom have you uttered words?

And whose spirit was expressed through you?

A.   Before magnifying God’s great power in the universe

B.   Job first rebuked Bildad for giving him no help

C.   Job had no power, but Bildad’s words didn’t make him stronger

D.    According to his friends, Job lacked wisdom; yet Bildad didn’t share one piece of wisdom or insight

1.     In fact he only repeated what one of the other counselors had said

2.     What Job had already conceded to 

E.   “Who has helped you utter these words? And whose spirit spoke from your mouth?” (v. 4,)

1.     If Bildad’s words had come from God, then they would have done Job good; for Job had been crying out for God to speak to him

2.     The conclusion is that Bildad’s words came from Bildad, and that’s why they did Job no good  

3.     The three friends must have listened impatiently because they already knew the things Job was talking about; but they hadn’t drawn the right conclusion from them.

4.     Because they saw God’s handiwork in nature, they thought they knew all about God; and therefore they could explain God to Job

5.     Job said that just the opposite was true.

“Behold, these are the fringes of His ways; and how faint a word we hear of Him! But His mighty thunder, who can understand?” (v. 14)

F.    “We truly know God perfectly when we find God incomprehensible and unable to be known.”

G.  The more we learn about God, the more we discover how much more there is to know!

H.   Beware of people who claim to know all about God, for their claim is proof they know neither God nor themselves       

III.  Job questions God’s justice (Job 27)

Job 27:1-6

Job Affirms His Righteousness

     1     Then Job continued his discourse and said,

     2     “As God lives, who has taken away my right,

And the Almighty, who has embittered my soul,

     3     For as long as life is in me,

And the breath of God is in my nostrils,

     4     My lips certainly will not speak unjustly,

Nor will my tongue mutter deceit.

     5     “Far be it from me that I should declare you right;

Till I die I will not put away my integrity from me.

     6     “I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go.

My heart does not reproach any of my days.  

A.   Bildad had made it clear that since God is holy, no man can stand righteous in His sight (Job 25:4-6)

B.   The corollary to this proposition is that God is obligated to punish people for their sins; otherwise, He would not be a righteous God

C.   If Job is suffering, it must be that Job is sinning

D.   Once again, Job stood fast in affirming his integrity

E.   What a temptation to say what we think others want to hear

1.     Job declared that, as long as he lived, he would defend himself and maintain his integrity

2.     He would not lie just to please his friends or to “bribe” God into restoring his fortunes

a)    Satan would have rejoiced at that!

3.     Job had to live with his conscience (“heart,” v. 6) no matter what his friends said or his God did to him  

F.    The pious platitude often covers up an aching heart or painful doubts

G.  Job has taken a courageous course and will not desert it

H.   However great the pressure, he will be honest with God and honest with others

I.        Job gave an oath:

“As God lives” (27:2)

1.     Among Eastern people in that day, taking an oath was a serious matter

2.     It was like inviting God to kill you if what you said was not true

3.     Job was so sure of himself that he was willing to take that chance

4.     Job also repeated his charge that God was not treating him fairly

“[He] has denied me justice,” v. 2, NIV)

5.     Job had asked God to declare the charges against him, but the heavens had been silent

6.     Job had called for an umpire to bring him and God together, but no umpire had been provided

a)    Silence does not mean agreement

b)    It means wait you are not in charge of the time line…. 

J.    The fierce honesty that Job chose did not produce any easy or quick answers

K.   But in the end, as we will see, it won commendation from God

L.    In the sight of God, Job was right

M. God had twice declared before the court of heaven that Job was

“a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8; 2:3)  

IV.Suffering for nothing…..

A.   This does not mean that everybody who suffers is being punished for his or her sins

B.   Sometimes we suffer because of the sins of others (e.g., Joseph)

C.   Or because God is keeping us from sin (e.g., Paul in 2 Cor. 12)

D.   Jesus suffered, not for His own sins, for He had none, but for the sins of the world (1 Peter 2:22-24; 3:18);

E.   Because of His suffering and death, sinners can believe and receive eternal life

V.   Technology yes, wisdom no (28:1–11).

A.   Man had demonstrated amazing technological proficiency, even in Job’s time

B.   Metals were mined and smelted, tunnels drilled through the rock, and the sources of rivers and streams explored

C.   The mysteries of the material universe have fallen one by one to the probing genius of humanity

D.   Today an explosion of technological advances makes us wonder if there is anything in this universe humanity cannot master

E.   The problem is that technological advances are not matched by advances in wisdom—here defined as the capacity to penetrate the moral mysteries of the universe

F.    In the moral realm man is utterly lost and totally inadequate.

VI.God understands (28:28).

A.   God is the source of wisdom in the moral universe even as He is the Creator of the material

B.   What we cannot grasp, God knows completely

C.   Far too many people are quick to make moral pronouncements:

1.     Practicing homosexuals march for pride

2.     Abortion is merely a matter of a woman’s personal freedom

3.     Sex educators distribute condoms to teens and never mention abstinence

4.     The church needs to be more politically active

5.     Fat bald preachers don’t like anyone

6.     is that really the point????????????   

D.   All loudly proclaim their position is “moral,” while ignoring God’s understanding as expressed in Scripture

E.   The only hope for any of us is to abandon human notions of morality and be subject to God

1.     We need to abandon our legalist as well as our liberal views and embrace God’s view according to scripture

2.     If we have no basis in scripture for our opinion we have no real opinion     

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3. Job seeks God’s wisdom (Job 28)

“But where shall wisdom be found?” (Job 28:12) “Where then does wisdom come from? Where does understanding dwell?” (v. 20, NIV) Job asked these questions because he was weary of the cliches and platitudes that his three friends were giving him in the name of “wisdom.” His friends were sure that their words were pure gold, but Job concluded they were tinsel and trash. The three men had knowledge, but they lacked wisdom.

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge,” said Charles Spurgeon. “To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as the knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.”

In this poem about wisdom, Job gives three answers to his question, “Where shall wisdom be found?”

You cannot mine wisdom (Job 28:1–11). Job takes us deep into the earth where brave men are mining gold, iron, copper, and precious stones. Precious metals and precious stones are often used in Scripture as symbols of wisdom (Prov. 2:1–10; 3:13–15; 8:10–21; 1 Cor. 3:12–23). Once you have found it, you must “refine” it in the furnace and “mint” it for practical use. Paul said that the opposite of God’s wisdom is man’s wisdom—“wood, hay, and stubble”—materials that are not beautiful, durable, or valuable (1 Cor. 3:12). You can find wood, hay, and stubble on the surface of the earth; but if you want real treasures, you must dig deep.

Job describes how men work hard and face great danger to find material wealth. They tunnel through hard rock and risk their lives to get rich. Why will men and women not put that much effort into gaining God’s wisdom? The Word of God is  like a deep mine, filled with precious treasures; but the believer must put forth effort to discover its riches. It takes careful reading and study, prayer, meditation, and obedience to mine the treasures of the Word of God; and the Holy Spirit of God is willing to assist us. Why are we so negligent when this great wealth lies so near at hand?

Though man can dig deep into the earth and find great wealth, though he can go places where birds and beasts would not dare to go, though he can even find the hidden sources of the great rivers, man cannot find God’s wisdom by mere human efforts. It takes more than courage and native intelligence; it demands humility and spiritual perception.

The fact that a person succeeds admirably in one area of life doesn’t mean he or she is qualified to speak about other areas of life. Advertisers use athletes to sell razors and automobiles, or actors and actresses to sell medicine. When famous scientists (who have never studied the Bible) speak authoritatively about spiritual things, their opinion is as valuable as that of any other untrained amateur theologian.

You cannot buy wisdom (Job 28:12–19). Modern society thinks that anything can be obtained or accomplished if only you have enough money. Government agencies ask for a bigger slice of the annual budget so they can do a better job of fighting crime, ending pollution, providing jobs, and building a better environment. While a certain amount of money is necessary to survive in modern society, money is not the do- all and be-all that the world says it is. It’s good to enjoy the things money can buy (1 Tim. 6:17) if you don’t lose the things that money can’t buy.

In these verses, Job mentions gold five times, silver once, and names seven different precious stones; yet none of these treasures individually, nor all of them collectively, can purchase the wisdom of God. The real problem is that man doesn’t comprehend the price of wisdom and thinks he can get it cheaply (Job 28:13). “[Wisdom] is more precious than rubies, and all the things you may desire cannot compare with her” (Prov. 3:15, NKJV). True wisdom is expensive. It is not received automatically just because you listen to a cassette tape, attend a seminar, or listen to a dynamic speaker.

Wisdom comes only from God (Job 28:20–28). Go as high as the birds can fly, and you won’t find wisdom there. Go as deep as Abaddon and death, and wisdom is not there. Only God knows where to find wisdom, for God sees everything. (He doesn’t have to dig into the earth to see what’s there!) God has the wisdom to adjust the pressure of the wind and measure the amount of water in the atmosphere. If these proportions were changed, what disturbances in nature might result! God knows how to control the rain and guide the storm as it moves across the earth. Flashes of lightning and peals of thunder may seem arbitrary to us, but God controls even the lightning and thunder.

Job answers his where-is-wisdom question in Job 28:28: “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding” (see Ps. 111:10; Prov. 1:7; 9:10). This was God’s description of Job (Job 1:8; 2:3); so, in spite of what his friends said about him, Job was a man of wisdom.

What is “the fear of the Lord”? It is loving reverence for God, who He is, what He says, and what He does (Mal. 2:5- 6). It is not a fear that paralyzes, but one that energizes. When you fear the Lord, you obey His commandments (Ecc. 12:13), walk in His ways (Deut. 8:6), and serve Him (Josh. 24:14). You are loyal to Him and give Him wholehearted service (2 Chron. 19:9). Like Job, when you fear the Lord, you depart from evil (Prov. 3:7–8). The “fear of the Lord” is the fear that conquers fear (Ps. 112); for if you fear God, you need not fear anyone else (Matt. 10:26–31).

So, the first step toward true wisdom is a reverent and respectful attitude toward God, which also involves a humble  attitude toward ourselves. Personal pride is the greatest barrier to spiritual wisdom. “When pride comes, then comes  shame; but with the humble is wisdom” (Prov. 11:2, NKJV).

The next step is to ask God for wisdom (James 1:5) and make diligent use of the means He gives us for securing His wisdom, especially knowing and doing the Word of God (Matt. 7:21–29). It is not enough merely to study; we must also obey what God tells us to do (John 7:17). As we walk by faith, we discover the wisdom of God in the everyday things of life. Spiritual wisdom is not abstract; it is very personal and very practical.

As we fellowship with other believers in the church and share with one another, we can learn wisdom. Reading the best books can also help us grow in wisdom and understanding. The important thing is that we focus on Christ, for He is our wisdom (1 Cor. 1:24) and in Him is hidden “all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 2:3). The better we know Christ and the more we become like Him, the more we will walk in wisdom and understand the will of the Lord. We must allow the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our heart so we can see God in His Word and understand more of the riches we have in Christ (Eph. 1:15–23).

Job’s speech is not yet finished. In the next three chapters, Job will review his life and then challenge God to either vindicate him or judge him. That will end the debate and usher in two new participants—Elihu and the Lord. 

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25:1–3  God possesses dominion and fear, and His armies are without number.

25:4–6  When even the moon and the stars are not pure in God’s sight, what hope is there for man, a mere maggot and worm? Bildad’s words are true and beautifully stated, but they are spoken without love and comfort, and so they have not ministered to Job’s needs.

4. Job’s Response (Chap. 26)

26:1–4  First of all Job counters Bildad’s argument. Even granting that Job is without power and has no strength or wisdom, how has Bildad helped? His words have been futile, insensitive, and a total failure as an answer to Job’s arguments.

26:5–13  The rest of the chapter gives a marvelous description of God’s power in the universe: the evaporation/precipitation cycle; the density of the clouds; the cycle of light and darkness; the storm at sea; and the stars and constellations by which His Spirit has adorned the heavens.

While Bildad stressed God’s glory in the heavens, Job here dwells on His power in the depths: under the waters, Sheol, and Destruction.

Job describes—centuries before science taught it—that God hangs the earth on nothing (which is a poetic depiction of the earth’s position and movement in the solar system).

How immeasurably above the cosmogonies of the heathen philosophers are these few grand words! In them we have as in germ the discoveries of a Newton and a Keppler. It is a great mistake to think Scripture does not teach scientific truth. It teaches all needed truth, even if not in scientific language, yet with scientific accuracy.

26:14  If these wonders are only the edges of His ways, and a mere whisper we hear of Him, Job asks, what must the full thunder of His power be if not incomprehensible?[2]

25:1-3. Since God rules (has dominion) He should be respected (awe), and Job, Bildad may have hinted, was not doing that. In His greatness God establishes order or harmony in heaven (so He is just; cf. 8:3). He rules over countless forces, probably referring to angels (so He is omnipotent). Also His light (the light of the sun) pervades everything, picturing His omniscience.

25:4-6. Here Bildad, rather than responding to Job’s concerns about injustice (chaps. 23-24), simply repeated Eliphaz’s twice-trumped-up theme (4:17-18; 15:14-16) that man (’ěnôš, ”weak, mortal man“; cf. 25:6 with comments on 4:17) cannot possibly be righteous or pure. (In using the phrase one born of woman as a synonym for weak man, Bildad intentionally picked up Job’s wording in 14:1; cf. 15:4.) As Eliphaz had said (15:15), ”Even the heavens“ in all their brilliance ”are not pure.“ The moon only reflects light, and the stars (cf. 22:12) lack purity before God because, in comparison with His glory, they are dim. How then could puny man (’ěnôš; cf. 25:4) or a son of man, suggesting man’s creation from mere dust, hope to stand before God? Man is so much smaller than the starry universe and is only a maggot and a worm. This disgusting suggestion may have intentionally harked back to Job’s words about his many sores being covered with worms (7:5).

Bildad sought to humiliate Job, to awaken him to his own unworthiness. But this unkind speech accomplished nothing because Job had already admitted the facts of God’s majesty and of universal sin.

A review of the speeches of Job’s associates shows that they were poor counselors. They failed in several ways: (1) They did not express any sympathy for Job in their speeches. (2) They did not pray for him. (3) They seemingly ignored Job’s expressions of emotional and physical agony. (4) They talked too much and did not seem to listen adequately to their advisee. (5) They became defensive and argumentative. (6) They belittled rather than encouraged Job. (7) They assumed they knew the cause of Job’s problems. (8) They stubbornly persisted in their views of Job’s problem, even when their ideas contradicted the facts. (9) They suggested an inappropriate solution to his problem. (10) They blamed Job and condemned him for expressing grief and frustration. Counselors today do well to be sure they do not fail in similar ways.

4.   job’s third reply to bildad (chaps. 26-31)

In contrast with the shortest speech in the book (chap. 25) chapters 26-31 comprise the longest. Job replied first to Bildad (”you“ in 26:2-4 is sing.) but later (in chaps. 27-31) to all three (”you“ in 27:5, e.g., is pl.).

a.    Job’s description of God’s majesty in nature (chap. 26)

Here Job sought to show Bildad that he, Job, knew more about God’s majesty than his pugilist did. But first he sarcastically rebuked Bildad, hinting that Bildad, not Job, was the puny one.

26:1-4. In stunning irony, Job mocked Bildad’s futile attempt to help him. Bildad had treated Job as if he were powerless . . . feeble (cf. 18:7), and without wisdom (cf. 18:2). But Bildad, Job asserted, had not supported him, or strengthened him, or given him any helpful advice or insight at all. About all Bildad could think about was what happens to the wicked (8:8-19; 18:5-21) and about man’s debased condition (25:4-6). No one helped Bildad with his words, which obviously were of no value. He and his cohorts were ”worthless physicians“ (13:4) and ”miserable comforters“ (16:2).

26:5-6. Some commentators ascribe verses 5-14 to Bildad, to make his third speech longer, or to Zophar to give him a third verbal assault. However, it was typical of Job to outdo his disputers in statements about God’s transcendence. Did Bildad think he knew something of the majesty of the Almighty? (25:2-3) Then he ought to listen to what Job knew of the Lord’s supremacy!

God is over death (26:5-6), outer space and the earth (v. 7), the clouds (vv. 8-9), light and darkness (v. 10), things on the earth (mountains and the sea, vv. 11-12), and the sky (v. 13).

Before God the dead are lying in anguish (an indication of conscious torment; cf. Luke 16:24) beneath the waters, where the dead were envisioned to be, and in še’ôl (”sheol“) or Destruction (”Abaddon,“ a synonym of sheol; cf. Job 28:22; 31:12).

The word ”dead“ (”departed spirits,“ nasb) translates the Hebrew word rep̱ā’îm, which sometimes is used of a people known as the ”Rephaites“ and sometimes is used to refer to the dead. The Rephaites were tall like the Anakim (Deut. 2:20-21). At least four giant Rephaites are mentioned by name in the Old Testament: Og (Deut. 3:11; cf. Josh. 12:4; 13:12); Ishbi-Benob (a descendant of Rapha; 2 Sam. 21:16); Saph (2 Sam. 21:18; spelled Sippai in 1 Chron. 20:4); and Goliath (2 Sam. 21:19). Second Samuel 21:20 refers to another tall Rephaite, who is unnamed. Rephaites are mentioned in Genesis 14:5; 15:20; Deuteronomy 2:11; 3:13; and Joshua 17:15.

In Ugaritic, Rephaites were the chief gods or aristocratic warriors, apparently called that because both groups were seemingly giant-like in their power. When rep̱ā’îm in Ugaritic was used of the dead it seemed to suggest ”the elite among the dead.“ In Hebrew it may suggest the elite among the dead (cf. Isa. 14:9, ”those who were leaders in the world“) or it may simply be a synonym of other common words for the dead. Rep̱ā’îm occurs in Psalm 88:10b, ”those who are dead“; Proverbs 2:18, ”the spirits of the dead“; 9:18, ”the dead“; 21:16, ”the dead“; Isaiah 14:9, ”the spirits of the departed“; 26:14, ”departed spirits“; 26:19c, ”dead.“ Job’s point in Job 26:5 seems to be that even the elite dead are in anguish because God knows and sees them.

26:7-10. God sustains the skies (cf. v. 13) over empty space and supports the earth on nothing—statements amazingly in accord with facts not known or agreed on by scientists till a few hundred years ago. In the clouds in the sky God gathers up water (ev