Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Gleanings from Job #8

...continuing in my devotional series on Job

How the Wicked Live (Job 15-17)

I have been considering the book of Job. It is the first book in the Wisdom literature of the Bible, with Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon being the others. Though Job is Wisdom literature, it tells the true story of a man who suffered severe trial. His closest friends come to him to offer comfort, but their encouragement is really critical and negative and never amounts to any true counsel for Job.

The argument of Job's three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, make against Job is that he is suffering these trials because he is a sinner. If only he would admit his wrong doing against God, confess his sin, then God would be sure to rescue him from his difficulties.

In response, Job has been faithful to rebuke them, asking them to show where he truly sinned. Each one of his friends has already attempted to convince Job of his wrong-doing with a first round of speeches. Chapter 15 begins the second round of speeches, with Eliphaz being the first one to speak. Just like his previous speech, Eliphaz assumes Job is suffering because he has sinned. It is the same theme for his second speech. His accusation is that Job is excusing or justifying his wickedness.

I. The Rebuke (15)

Eliphaz begins by rebuking Job for what he perceives as him justifying his wickedness.

1) He charges Job with being prideful and boastful (15:2-4)

2) He says Job is irreligious (4), a man who does not fear God. Later in vss. 12, 13 Eliphaz says Job "turns his spirit" against God.

3) Job is said to be dishonest with his friends (5, 6).

4) And Job spurns their counsel (11).

II. The Reproofs

After Eliphaz falsely accuses Job of justifying his wicked heart, he attempts to illustrate his charge as to how those who are miserable, in this case Job, are so obviously wicked with a series of reproofs. Eliphaz draws these condemnations from his own experience, "what he had been told and what he had seen" (vs. 17, 18).

1) The wicked have a painful existence (20). Those who pursue wickedness, a life ultimately in rebellion against God, cannot expect to live without oppression, especially from God.

2) The wicked are vexed with thoughts of paranoia (21, 24). Anytime there is trouble, the wicked man is thinking someone is out to get him. Every sound at night is a person coming to enact revenge against him. In our modern day, a criminal who sees a police car thinks it is coming after him. This reveals a guilty conscience; a person who knows he has done wrong.

3) The wicked is bound with thoughts of sudden death (22). Similar to the previous point, the one who is involved with wicked behavior will walk around thinking this day is his last because someone may get him.

4) The wicked fights against the Lord (25, 26) All his actions are defiant fightings against God. Eliphaz pictures an individual who is not only acting sinfully against God, but one who is willfully running toward Him in rebellion, who has taken up arms against God with a shield. I am personally reminded of Proverbs 19:3 where it says, The folly of a man brings him to ruin, but then his heart rages against God. In other words, his own wickedness destroys his livelihood, but he blames God for his problems.

5) He forgets God, by depending upon himself (27). The image of covering his face with fatness implies a person who is rich and capable of living on the best of foods. It is often used as a negative comment, because it invokes the image of person obtaining all his riches by himself without thought of God.

6) The wicked is truly alone (28). Because he runs from the law or from being held accountable for his criminality, he lives where no one else is. Such an existence speaks of a heart that hates any sort of authority. I am always amazed that all these little desert towns in Southern California where maybe 90 people make up the population, are mainly individuals who have had problems with the law in their past and refuse to be beholden to any authority.

7) The wicked may never enjoy prosperity (29). His possessions are spread all over the place. Either they have to pay off fines, or make up for past wicked behavior by being given to others, but what ever the case, the person doesn't have any legitimate inheritance to leave a family (32-24).

All of His reproofs are theologically correct. In other words, there is truth in the words he presents to Job about the wicked. Even we in our modern day see these things as true even for the wicked who prowl about in our societies. The problem, however, is that Eliphaz hatefully implies Job is truly the object of these thoughts without warrant. Just like the wicked, Job has done wickedly and is suffering as they do with the trials he is experiencing.

III. Job's Response

In response to Eliphaz's accusations, Job calls him and all his other friends miserable comforters. Rather than helping him, they are merely mocking him. In 16:6-17, Job describes with vivid word pictures how his so-called friends have become his enemies. They fight against him rather than help him.

But in spite of their attacks, Job appeals to his integrity to answer Eliphaz's charges.

1) He maintains a pure conscience (16:17) In spite of his friends accusations, he knows he had no violence in his hands. In other words, he did nothing against anyone to hurt him or her.

2) Additionally, his prayer life was pure (17). He prays to God with a heart of worship and devotion.

3) He calls upon any sin to be revealed (18, 19). In words speaking to Cain's slaying of Abel (Genesis 4:10), Job says he does not want the earth to cover any blood shedding he may had done. He wants there to be a total revelation of any genuine sin he had done against God and man.

4) He is confident God will vindicate him (17:1-3). He finishes out his response to Eliphaz by proclaiming how he is confident God will be a surety for him. Basically, that God will see to it that he is vindicated of any wrong-doing he is be accused of by his friends.



Blogger Kim said...

Thanks again, for this Fred.

I was hoping you'd post another of these soon.

I'm just starting chapter 38 today.

3:28 AM, March 10, 2008  
Blogger Joe Blackmon said...

I have found your posts on Job to be very encouraging. Great stuff.


5:57 AM, March 10, 2008  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

I am happy you guys enjoy it. My efforts were meager at best, because I am obviously not as thorough as I could be covering the entire text. However, I am glad to know some folks enjoy what I found to be encouraging from the book.


6:41 AM, March 10, 2008  

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