This week we will be reading through the bulk of the book of Job, from chapter 6 to 31. Job has already been struck with monstrous trials: the loss of his material goods and livelihood, the loss of all 10 children at once, a painful disease that affects his entire body from his head to his toes, and a wife who tells him to curse God and die. We know that these ordeals were not a result of God’s judgement on Job for some large, grievous, hidden sin because in Job 1:8 we heard God’s description of Job – “he Is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” However, in this week’s reading we will hear many conversations between Job and his friends who came to console him, but then turned to some questionable counsel instead.
I admire his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, for coming alongside their suffering friend. Job 2:11-13 says when they heard of Job’s distress they made a plan to meet together to visit Job to sympathize and comfort. When they saw him they wept – and then they sat with him in silence for seven days and seven nights. To think, how often do I have trouble finding the time to send a card to a hurting friend? These friends had the best intentions and were giving of themselves in a time of crisis. But, good intentions are not always enough.
Along with their good intentions, they also were armed with some very true and accurate knowledge of God. Throughout the passages this week there will be many times where Job’s friends – and Job himself – will share solid truths about God, His majesty, sovereignty, love, justice and faithfulness. My favorite passage in today’s chapters of the truth of God’s majesty is from chapter 9, verses 4-12. I didn’t know that the constellations (the Bear, Orion and Pleiades) were named so long ago.
But sometimes, even starting with good intentions and a knowledge of the truth (or some truth), is not enough. This week I want us to look for instances where his friends (and sometimes Job) begin with their good intentions and a truth about God and mankind – but come up with false conclusions – such as – God is just and loving – so if you are suffering you must have done a terrible sin God is paying you back for. And, while we search for those truths that were then twisted in the ancient book of Job, let us also search our society, our community, our church, ourselves.
And – two verses that are a beautiful nugget too good to not repeat:
“He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,
that we might confront each other in court.
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,
someone to bring us together”
Job 9:32 & 33
The older NIV version in place of “someone to bring us together” says “to lay his hand upon us both”. I love the imagery. Thank you, God, for the gift of your Son Jesus who has a hand on us and a hand on you, that he sees us in our suffering and speaks to you on our behalf.
Stay in His Word as you Seek Grow & Love in 2020!
You can read or listen to Job 6-9 here – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Job+6-9&version=NIV
And you can print our Bible reading plan here – 2020 Chronological Bible Reading Plan