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Job: Written with Feeling (1)

Big Lessons on Life: Learning to Trust God, Job  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Suffering is the blight of life, and poetry is the language of the soul. The book of Job deals with suffering. Job's message about suffering is presented through poetry. It is a message written with feeling.

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As we go through life, God gives us opportunities to know Him better.
ASK What would you consider to be the biggest lesson you have learned about God?
ASK: What difference has that lesson made in your life since?
In the book of Job, we will discover a man who undoubtedly loved God, but one that God also allowed to go through intense trials, so that He could know God more. As we study through the Book of Job, my prayer is that it will affect our lives, and create in us a deeper trust in God, and that our Trust in Him will display itself on the outside.

I. Introduction to Job

The problem of human suffering is addressed throughout the Bible. records the roots of suffering (disobedience) and states the purpose of suffering (maturity). Both of these texts (as do many others in God’s Word) provide a succinct theological statement that can be understood and applied to life. The Book of Job, using a literary style rarely matched even in fine literature, provides the thoughtful reader with a depth of understanding concerning the profound issues of human suffering.

A. The Purpose of Job

In general, the book of Job addresses the problem of human suffering; more particularly the problem of suffering by the righteous person. The purpose of Job is to teach deep and profound lessons about God to those who trust in Him. In so doing, Job also teaches important lessons on how believers are to view and respond to their own suffering and to that of others.
Job s not a book for the faith of faith. It is not a ‘how to’ on hard times in daily life. it does not present a series of steps to take to overcome life’s down turns. (Other portions of Scripture provide help in these areas.) Job is a book for the strong of faith (or those who desire to be). It is a majestic presentation of God almighty and the wonder of Who He is . To some extent, Job does not seek to answer the ‘why ‘ questions of human suffering. It does, however answer the ‘who’ question of human suffering for the careful reader and seeking believer.
DISCUSS: What are some why questions of human suffering?

B. The Literary Style of Job

Throughout the Bible, particularly the Old Testament, we find areas that are poetic. There are several books of the Bible that are considered to be Poetic, one of these is the book of Job.
Many poems and poetic songs grace the Old Testament. These include Jacob’s blessing of His sons (), Moses’ Song of Deliverance (), the Song of Deborah (), David’s Lament over Saul and Jonathan (), the Oracles of Isaiah (; ), the Prayer of Jonah (), and the Praise of Habakkuk ().

1. Job is one of the Old Testament Poetic Books

The Old Testament Poetic books include Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon, and Lamentations. Job is a poetic narrative Drama. Psalms is the poetic hymnbook of the Old Testament. Proverbs contains wise maxims while Ecclesiastes is a poetic discourse on the Philosophy of life. Song of Solomon is a poetic love cantata and Lamentations includes poetic dirges lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem.

2. Job bears all the features of Old Testament Poetry

All Hebrew poetry in the Old Testament possesses three basic characteristics: Meter, Parallelism, and a rich use of figurative language. The writers incorporated these language tools under the Holy Spirit’s superintending ministry to present Truth with emotion. Meter is easier to detect in the Hebrew language than it is in our English translations of these poems. We can, however still observe the special structure that is unique to poetry and poetic form.
Actually, “Meter” is “a patter of stressed and unstressed syllables, establishing a line of poetry.” Perhaps the key word here is “pattern” Some English editions of the Bible have attempted to display the structure of poetic verse in these sections. Such rendering is done fairly easily, because the structure of poetry is related to meaning. It is sometimes obvious when one line of poetry stands alone (a so-called ‘mono-stitch’) or when two lines of poetry are related to each other (a ‘bicolon’ or ‘couplet’). Sometimes three lines of poetry are obviously related to each other (a tricolon) or even four (a so-called ‘quatrain’) or more.
Meter creates a general ‘feeling’ or ‘atmosphere.’ The ‘qinah’ meter (dirge meter) expresses sadness. other kinds of meter communicate other kinds of emotion, ranging from joy tot he adventuresome note of epic discovery. The book of Job appears to include a wide variety of meter, thereby expressing an entire spectrum of human emotion.
ASK: Why is understanding in our interpretation of Job the use of poetry in the book important?

II. Literary Feature of Job

A. Job’s Parallelisms

The basic linear unit in Hebrew Poetry is the couplet, which is two lines of poetry, usually of similar length and style and with parallel or related ideas. There are six major kinds of parallelism.

1. Synonymous parallelism

In synonymous parallelism, line two states essentially the same thought as line one. It may even use the same words and terms or similar words and terms.
Psalm 2:4 KJV 1900
He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: The Lord shall have them in derision.
Example: & - How does the repetition of thought in each couplet impact teh reader?

2. Synthetic parallelism

In a synthetically parallel couplet, line two further develops the idea of line one. That is, it either defines it, proves it, applies it, or adds further information. Synthetic parallelism gives further explanation or information in a striking way.
Psalm 95:3 KJV 1900
For the Lord is a great God, And a great King above all gods.
Read: & - How does line two in each case further develop the idea of line one?

3. Antithetic Parallelism

In antithetic parallelism, line two of a couplet contrasts the idea of line one, or gives the opposite perspective. Just as the whiteness of a pearl stands out sharply against a black velvet background, so an idea in a couplet like this stands out sharply against the background of its contrasting idea.
Psalm 1:6 KJV 1900
For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: But the way of the ungodly shall perish.
& is an example of antithetic parallelism. Elihu contrasts the wisdom of man with the wisdom that is from God.
Read: - How does antithetic parallelism in these verses help the reader?

4. Emblematic Parallelism

In these cases, the writer states a truth in one line and hives a figure of speech that conveys that same truth in the other line. In some cases, the truth comes in the first line and the symbol follows in the second. In other cases, the emblematic expression comes first; the the truth is stated.
Psalm 23:1 KJV 1900
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
In this case,t eh symbol comes first (the Lord is not a literal shepherd); the the truth follows: “I shall not want[lack].” The truth in line two conveys the idea inherent in line one. By saying “The Lord is my shepherd,” David was essentially testifying, ‘The Lord meets all my needs.”
Read: , - How does the emblematic parallelism help you understand what the speaker wants to communicate?

5. Formal Parallelism

Formal parallelism does not bear any particular semantic relationship, but simply uses poetic structure (meter) to emphasize the point.
Psalm 2:6 KJV 1900
Yet have I set my king Upon my holy hill of Zion.
Even in the English language, we can hear the poetic structure, or meter, in this couplet. But this couplet does not bear any of the other semantic features common to parallelism. While this couplet may appear to have synthetic parallelism, it is the simple completion of one thought
Examples: ,

6. Climatic parallelism

The final type of parallelism is called climatic. It normally requires at least a three-line stanza of poetry (known as a tricolon) or a four-lined poem (known as a quatrain). In climatic parallelism, all the lines of the stanza begin the same way except for the last line, which give the climactic statement or grand conclusion
Psalm 29:1–2 KJV 1900
Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, Give unto the Lord glory and strength. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.
God effectively uses climatic parallelism when He questions Job in . The poetic device helps Job understand his smallness in comparison to God.
Read: - Job uses climatic parallelism in his answer to his friends. How does teh method enhance your reading of these verses?
The message of Job is greatly enhanced through the use of poetry. Job, his wife, his friends, and even God braided their words together with strong emotions.

C. Job’s figures of Speech

Old Testament poetry uses not only metric structure and parallelism but also figures of speech. Just what is a figure of speech? It is a word of phrase used in a way different from its ordinary and normal usage for the sake of intensity, feeling, or emphasis. Every day everyone uses figurative language. Examples of figures of speech used today include “The White House said”; “That test was a bear”; “That noise drives me up the wall”; “Johnny is growing like a weed.”
The book of Job uses many types of figures of speech. Let’s consider four of them:
NOTE: Some Bible versions replace figures of speech with what the translators’ believe was the author’s intended meaning. Why is it important to use a Bible version that retains the original figures of speech?

1. Simile

A simile is a comparison, stating that something is like something else. You can usually identify a simile by the use of the word “like” or “As.”
Read - What do you learn about Job by the comparison of him to refined gold?

2. Metaphor

A metaphor is a comparison, sating that one thing represents another. You can usually identify a metaphor by such words as “are/is”; “were/was”; “shall be/will be.”
Read - What did Job mean by this metaphor?

3. Merism

A merism communicates one basic truth or idea by expressing two opposites or extremes. For example, someone might say, “I worried about you day and night.” “Day and night” is a merism for “all the time.”
Read - What merism is found in this verse?

4. Personification

Personification attributes the characteristics of personality to an inanimate object or to an idea.
Read - What is personified in this verse?
That God used poetry in His inspired Word serves as a reminder that emotion is a gift from Him. When God made man, He created male and female in His image - bearing the characteristics of intellect, emotion, and will. Certainly, humans are not to be driven or controlled by their emotions. We are to make decisions and choices with a will that is obedient to God’s truth, despite our feelings. But humans are emotional beings, and appropriate feelings will follow appropriate decisions. We will experience many feelings throughout life. A committed believer will certainly recognize those feelings. he or she will harness them in his or her devotion to God. The committed believer will work through them in a God-honoring way and will find resolve as he or she trusts God’s Word and obeys him.


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