Survey of the Old Testament - Lesson 28
Job | OT501-28
Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.
Job | OT501-28
B. Historical context
III. Main Characters
IV. Outline and Contents
B. Job's lament
C. Speeches of the friends
D. Themes from Job's speeches:
E. Wisdom poem
F. Elihu speeches
G. God's speeches and Job's response
V. The Gospel Promised Beforehand
- Dr. Miles Van Pelt is offering an opportunity to study the Old Testament and understand its overall message in more detail. The Old Testament consists of 2/3 of the Bible, and serves as a foundation for many teachings found in the New Testament. Its main purpose is to point towards Jesus who makes possible a new covenant with God's people. The structure of both Testaments follows a covenantal pattern that compels humans to make choices regarding their relationship with God, while demonstrating His patience and perseverance in doing so.
Knowing the purpose, structure and theological center of the Old Testament, will help you understand more accurately the character of God, and his purpose in the world and in your life. The Old Testament teaches you about Christ and describes his ministry. Colossians 3:15-16 reads, "Let the peace of Christ rule in your heart, let the word of Christ dwell in you richly."
What you decide is the theological center of the Bible will determine how you understand the Bible and apply it to your life. You can see unity in biblical authorship by the number of times the phrase, “thus says Yahweh” is used in the Old Testament. The person and work of Jesus is the theological center of the Old Testament. The living force of the canonical word must be the incarnate word. The proper nouns used in the Bible indicate the important characters and themes.
Jesus claims that the Old Testament finds its ultimate meaning in him. After his resurrection, Jesus meets two disciples on the road to Emmaus and gives them a lesson in biblical interpretation. The Father and the Scriptures testify about who Jesus is. In Romans 1:3, Paul refers to the Gospel being revealed through his prophets, in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son. Every book in the Bible teaches about Christ so every sermon should teach about Christ. Hebrews 11 refers to the great cloud of witnesses.
The Kingdom of God is the over-arching theme of the whole Bible. God governs his kingdom by his covenants. The covenant of grace is in effect throughout the Bible and has different administrations.
The form that our Bibles come to us in is meaningful for interpretation. The Hebrew Bible has a different order of the books than the English Bible.
The order of books in the English Bible and the Hebrew Bible is different because the criteria for determining the order is different. The order of the books in the Hebrew Bible reflect an emphasis on covenant, and also teaching important concepts then giving a practical example to illustrate how to put it into practice.
The three divisions in the Old Testament are the Law, the Prophets and the Writings. Genesis and Revelation are the introduction and conclusion to the Bible and have parallel themes. Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are the four covenant books that record the birth and death of the covenant mediator and contain his life and teachings. The former prophets record the history of Israel. The latter prophets call people to repent and return to God.
Your presuppositions about whether or not the authors who wrote the books of the Bible were inspired by God will influence your position the authorship of the Pentateuch. The traditional view is that Moses wrote the first five books of the Old Testament at about 1200 to 1400 B.C. The documentary hypothesis claims that there were four or more separate authors that wrote beginning in about 900 B.C.
Genesis is the covenant prologue and is both protological and eschatological. It is the most covenantal book in the Bible. One way to outline the book is into twelve parts, each beginning with the phrase, “these are the generations.” Creation is described using a theological order.
Chapter 2 is a detailed description of the sixth day of creation, culminating in the creation of woman. Chapter 3 describes the Fall and the consequences. Hebrew homonyms link the passages and intensify the descriptions.
Noah functions as a prophetic covenant mediator. God promises a remnant in his covenant with Noah and also renews the covenant of common grace. God continues his redemptive covenant with Abraham and his descendants. The book of Genesis ends with the narrative of Joseph.
This is the beginning of the formal documents of the covenant of God with the people of Israel. It begins with the birth of Moses and ends with the people of Israel coming out of Egypt.
Leviticus is primarily instructions to promote the holiness of God’s people. It provides a system that allows for a holy God to live among an unholy people. In the sacrificial system, there are 5 kinds of offerings. Jesus is the fulfillment of the observance of the Day of Atonement.
The book of Numbers is a record of the events of the forty years of wandering in the wilderness. The purpose is to contrast the faithfulness of God with the faithlessness of the Israelites. The time in the wilderness was a period of testing for the people of Israel.
This is a renewal of the Mosaic covenant in preparation for entering the Promised Land. It’s an encouragement to keep the Law and a reminder of blessings for obedience and cursings for disobedience. Deuteronomy points us to Jesus who ultimately fulfills the Law.
Joshua, Judges, Samuel and Kings describe the nature and purpose of the Sinai Covenant and the historical events of the occupation of the land. God know that the people of Israel would fail to obey the Mosaic Covenant, so he had planned from the beginning to establish the New Covenant when the time was right.
Joshua was the successor to Moses. The book of Joshua focuses on the Promised Land. The people of Israel enter the land, conquer the land, divide the land between the tribes and then renew their covenant with God. Holy war and covenant obedience are important themes.
Judges has two introductions, two conclusions, six major judges, six minor judges and one anti-judge. It can be described as the, “uncreation” of Israel. Their purpose was to judge the nations and to deliver the people of Israel from their oppressors.
The book of Samuel provides the answer to the crisis of kingship. Samuel, as the last judge and first prophet, anoints Saul as king. The people of Israel reject Yahweh as king. Saul is anointed by Samuel and serves as king but is later rejected because of disobedience. David is anointed king because God acts according to his own will. Solomon begins well and ends badly.
The book of Kings is the story of the monarchy in the nation of Israel. It begins with the united monarchy under Solomon, then after his death, is divided into the northern kingdom of Israel and the southern kingdom of Judah. We can learn about God’s character and the importance of living in a covenant relationship with God.
The Latter Prophets are covenant lawyers. They are executing the lawsuit of God against Israel for unfaithfulness to the covenant. Prophets use both oracular prophecies and sign acts to communicate their message.
Isaiah is sometimes described as the, “fifth gospel” because it is quoted so much in the New Testament. The themes in Isaiah are both timely for his generation and also point to their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus and the end of time.
Jeremiah’s call was to tell the people of Judah why they were going into exile and also to give them hope for future restoration. The book contains oracles, accounts of visions and symbolic actions, prophetic laments and historical narratives.
One key to understanding Ezekiel is the glory of God in the temple. The book begins with God appearing to Ezekiel, then God leaves the temple and, in the end, God returns. Ezekiel’s oracles and signs illustrate each of these.
In the Hebrew Bible, these 12 minor prophets are treated as one book. Each one is a covenant lawyer that is prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the unfaithful nation of Israel and also preaching a message of hope for restoration. The Day of the Lord is the day of the king’s victory over his enemy, either to crush an enemy or to save a people.
These books are about how you think and live in light of the covenant. The genres include narrative, poetry and prophecy. The Hebrew Bible order emphasizes teaching then example.
Covenant life is a life of worship. The book divisions in the manuscripts were purposefully arranged so the book as a whole has a meaningful narrative. It emphasized the kingship of Yahweh, the Davidic line and the temple. You can use specific patterns of construction for understanding lament, thanksgiving and hymns of praise psalms. You can also use the same patterns to help you respond to God and worship him.
Job deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. Job never knows what happened in heaven that resulted in his suffering. His three friends made correct theological arguments but they were misapplied. Job speaks about suffering and hope. God challenges Job at the end of the book, and also restores his possessions and children.
Solomon created a collection of practical wisdom sayings. Some were for instructing children, some for instructing kings, but they all are applicable to help everyone live in the light of the covenant of grace in the context of common grace.
Ruth follows Proverbs in the Hebrew Bible. Even though she is from Moab, she lives in Israel with her widowed Israelite mother-in-law to take care of her. She marries Boaz and is included in the genealogy of David and Jesus.
Marriage should be both rock solid in terms of covenant commitment and white hot in terms of sexual intimacy. If it is both, you can better resist temptation, endure hardship and promote wholeness.
The message of Ecclesiastes is that true knowledge, wisdom and meaning in life begins with the fear of the Lord. The author of Ecclesiastes, likely Solomon, tests this conclusion and is unsuccessful in finding ultimate meaning in activities, “under the sun,” like wealth, relationships, power, projects, etc.
Lamentations is a collection of funeral dirges lamenting the fall and exile of Jerusalem. The elegant structure of the book is a contrast to the chaos and destruction of the events that are taking place. Each poem gives you a different perspective on God’s character and his covenant faithfulness.
Esther is a story of living a life of faith in exile. It Bringing “shalom” into a hostile environment sometimes even requires risking your life. The festival of Purim commemorates God saving his people and is still celebrated today.
Daniel and Esther are examples of living a life of faith while in exile. Daniel was different than the writing prophets because he is not primarily a covenant lawyer prosecuting God’s lawsuit against the people of Israel. The first six chapters are biographical stories highlighting God’s power to save and his sovereignty over the nations. The second six chapters are visions of the future.
The book of Ezra-Nehemiah records the last events, chronologically, in the Old Testament. Ezra returned from exile with authorization to teach the Law of the Jews and institute the sacrificial system. Nehemiah returned to rebuild Jerusalem. They fail in their human attempt to rebuild heaven on earth, which encourages you to look forward to the city built by God.
The return from exile is not the greater one prophesied by the prophets. We still look forward to the return from exile with them in the resurrection. Chronicles traces the seed that was promised and gives an account of the return from exile.
Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give you an overall view of the Old Testament then discuss specifics about each of the books.
For instance, you might ask, "What kind of book is the Old Testament?" The OT is a single story told three times over: once in Genesis, once in Exodus through Nehemiah, and once again in Chronicles (just like day 6 in Genesis 1–2). The OT loves to repeat itself, repeat itself, repeat itself. This is how it teaches us. The Old Testament is about 2/3 of the Bible and is the basis for everything you read in the New Testament. The better you understand the Old Testament, the clearer you will understand the message of the Bible.
What is the Message of the Old Testament? The Old Testament points to the New Covenant. The teachings, prophecies and examples of covenant life point to Jesus who makes the New Covenant possible and inaugurates it. There are also examples in the Old Testament of how human efforts to create heaven on earth fall short, so that we will anticipate and yearn for our ultimate deliverance from exile.
What is the Structure of the Old Testament? The structure of the Old Testament, and the Bible as a whole, is covenantal. God offers to live in the covenant of grace with him and compels them to make that choice. The administrations of the covenant with Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus demonstrate God's patience and perseverance to include as many as are willing.
Survey of the Old Testament - Bible Study
Take this opportunity to study with Dr. Miles Van Pelt as he shows you patterns and themes that will help you understand the Old Testament and the whole Bible. He will give...
Dr. Miles Van Pelt
Survey of the Old Testament
I. Introduction (00:14):
This is the lecture on the book of Job. The book of Job is the second book in the writings, and it deals with the issue of human tragedy and suffering. It follows the book of Psalms, which has as its core issue, suffering and lament. Hardship expressed in the lament and thanksgiving psalms. So if you think about it, two of the dominant psalms in the book of Psalms, thanksgiving and lament, deal with tragedy and suffering. You express yourself in lament, in the midst of suffering, and then you give thanks after you've come through suffering. So lament and thanksgiving are connected by suffering.
A. Content (00:47):
When was Job written and who wrote it? Here's the answer, we don't know. But this gives scholars opportunities to write lots of papers discussing the issue. So the fact that the events of the book appear to fit the patriarchal era has some to conclude that Moses may have been the author.
The Hebrew text of Job that was discovered at Qumran was written in paleo Hebrew script, which is really old Hebrew script. Like the Pentateuch, which some argue supports Mosaic authorship. Others prefer the era of Solomon because wisdom literature flourished at that time. Job was mentioned by name in the book of Ezekiel, we may consider the era of this prophet as the latest possible date for composition. So they mentioned Job, they mentioned Daniel, and they mentioned Noah together as three righteous dudes. So anytime between Moses and Ezekiel, which is basically 1400 to 586.
Let me summarize to you the book of Job. It begins with a narrative about the life of Job and talking about some heavenly realities that are going on. The first two chapters are narrative. The last part of the book of Job, 42:7 and on is also narrative. It returns to narrative.
So you've got a narrative frame. Everything in the middle is poetic. So you've got Job's lament in chapter three, a wisdom psalm in 28, then you've got various speeches by Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar, and Elihu in the middle, then God speaks. Then you get that epilogue again. So something's going to happen in Job's life. We're going to talk about it in the middle, and then we're going to resolve it in the end.
The key to Job or understanding the book of Job is to know the end from the beginning. We know two things in this book as we go on. We know what happened in heaven, strangely enough, that precipitated Job's suffering. Job does not know that. His friends do not know that. His wife does not know that. Elihu does not know that.
We know that at the end, Job is vindicated by the way in which God blesses him. So it's important for us to know that we're driving that train, and so that's where it's going. That's going to help us make sense of the middle material. The middle material will be like that.
B. Historical Context (03:13):
In terms of the historical context, we already mentioned this a little bit, that the book of Job reflects a period that coincides with the patriarchal era. So roughly 2000 to 1700 B.C. That's a long time ago.
Why do we think this? Number one, Job's wealth was measured in livestock. You do that in the patriarchal era, not in the kingdom era when you've got silver and gold. Job functioned as a priest for his family by offering sacrifices on their behalf. You couldn't do that once the theocracy hit.
The death of Job is described like the death of Abraham in two ways. First, it was recorded that Job lived 140 years, which is in line with the length of the lives of the patriarchs. Abraham lived 175 years, Isaac lived 180 years, and Joseph lived 110 years.
Second, Abraham is described at his death as an old man and full of years. Job similarly is described as an old man and full of days. They habe very similar death notices. In terms of his person, it seems clear that Job was not an Israelite. He was from the land of Uz, which probably refers to the land of Edom. We know that the Edomites were famous for their wisdom traditions.
Lamentations 4:1 clearly associates Edom with Uz, and Job was called the greatest person of all the people of the east. This refers to the areas of Edom, Moab, and Ammon.
In terms of the language of the book, there's a lot of Aramaic type language in the book, Aramaisms, and the Hebrew text is full of all these borrowed words from that. We know that Uz in 1:1 is mentioned in connection with the Aramaeans in Genesis 12, Genesis 10:23, the Table of Nations. So we can think of it as east of Palestine in the southern region. He's from that area.
It is really amazing because you have someone who is faithful to and knows Yahweh in that area in a very long time. So Abraham wasn't the only person. But he's the person chosen to have the sea.
There are interestingly a lot of ancient near eastern parallels for Job. So this is not a new genre at all. It's just improved, like the Song of Songs.
One of the things we know about Solomon, for example, not only did he author wisdom literature, but he also collected it and then modified it. He used it for his own advantage. For example, in the book of Proverbs, there's collections not by Solomon. He collected, words of the wise and stuff like that, he imported them, and used them.
For example, there's one called A Man and His God, which comes from 2000 B.C. It is a first-person complaint to God concerning undeserved suffering. The hero claims that his God is neglecting him and that he seeks a hearing from his deity so that his suffering might be relieved. A confession of sin leads to restoration.
So there's some things in there. Job's not confessing any sin. He's confessing that he didn't have any idea and he's way below Yahweh. But Job is vindicated. He's blameless, it says in this.
There's something called the Babylonian Theodicy from 1000 B.C.. It is an acrostic dialogue between a sufferer and his friend. The sufferer relates his troubles to a friend, cites examples of injustice, and deduces that those who neglect God prosper while the pious become destitute, which is similar to The Odyssey. Why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper? The friend tries to restrain the sufferer's bitterness and recommends prayer and just conduct. So you can see the parallels there, Job and his friends.
Here's one that's called I Will Praise the Lord of Wisdom. This is also called the Babylonian Job from 1300 B.C., which is kind of right before Solomon. In this work, a wealthy man is suddenly reduced to horrible suffering and momentous condition in gruesome detail. Although he had lived piously, he suffered like the ungodly and the gods were not answering him. He's eventually restored and in gratefulness, he offers praise to Marduk.
So we can see Job is probably a very old and ancient tradition, just like the flood was. Then all the nations who lived around God's people there knew of these things and they wrote their own versions of them. Just like we have other creation stories, you had the Babylonian and the Sumerian creation stories. We have the Babylonian Genesis, or the Babylonian flood story. So the Bible is from a certain place and time and it either is the originator of it or it adapts and adopts it. With a different worldview, underlying worldview. It's a fear of the Lord worldview. So it's good to know that Job is just not something floating out there.
C. Genre (07:53):
In the broadest of categories, it may be said that the book of Job was comprised of instruction about human suffering and God. We already said it. This is called theodicy, which asks the question, "How can God be both good and sovereign in light of the suffering of the innocent and the prospering of the wicked?" While readers have the advantage of knowing about the heavenly scene of the divine council in the prologue, we must remember that Job and his companions had no such knowledge. Which is like us in life, generally. We don't know what's going on in heaven. We therefore have a special set of lenses through which to view the discussions of Job and his companions.
Much of what Job's friends said, listen to this, is theologically sound and true, but it did not necessarily apply to Job in this particular context. So that wisdom is taking truth and applying it to the right context. Not truth and applying it anywhere you want.
Finally, the message of Job does not conclude by rationalizing the justice of the Lord, but by proclaiming his sovereignty and incomparability. The Lord never has to apologize for anything.
So there's no doubt that the book of Job is about suffering, but the book does not answer the question of why there is suffering. So that's a key thing.
When God answers Job, He does not explain to him what went on in the heavenly council in chapters one and two. The book is more about how to respond to suffering, which is at the heart of the debate between Job and his friends. So that's what the book is about, how to respond to suffering.
II. Message (09:17):
The book of Job is wisdom literature. How to think and live in God's world according to His word, according to His truth. I'm just going to lay my definition of wisdom out here. We'll probably see it a couple times. I worked hard on this particular definition, and so we'll take a look closely at it.
Biblical wisdom literature teaches God's people how to live in God's world, according to God's truth. God's truth comes to us in two ways. It is revealed to us both in creation. So that's called general revelation. It is also revealed to us in scripture. That's called special revelation. So we're trying to connect these two in our worldview and apply them rightly. In other words, it is designed to help us understand how to live and think in light of the covenant of grace, in the context of common grace that maintains this fallen world in which we now live.
Remember that common grace, covenant grace thing? If we're in Christ, we're in the covenant of grace. But we live in the world that is sustained by common grace, which means the righteous and the wicked live together. So there's going to be a lot of bad things happening in this world. Even this world, right? The ground is cursed because of sin. So the world does not work right anymore. So the creator reveals to us in His work and in His word, how best to live in it. So it's like the ultimate instruction manual for wise living and how to avoid a lot of unnecessary suffering.
There's already in this world going to be regular suffering because there's wickedness and sin, but wisdom literature helps us really how to avoid unnecessary or self-inflicted suffering.
For example, my kids live in a world where it's going to be hard to get jobs, or hard to make money, or hard to sustain marriage. That's just going to happen. But how can they navigate that with making the fewest possible mistakes? Some stuff they can do to themselves. Some stuff this world is going to do to them. It's the way we handle that.
III. Main Characters (11:23):
Who are the main characters in the book of Job? Number one is Job. He was the well-to-do patriarch living east of the Jordan River at the time before the emergence of the Hebrew nation.
A. Job (11:34):
The meaning of Job's name is not exactly clear, but the best guess is, "Where's my father?" Or possibly, “no father”, which could suggest that he's either an orphan or he was an illegitimate child. We don't know. There's also Job's famous wife who was the only thing that wasn't taken from Job. She just made it worse as she suggested to “curse God and die”.
B. Eliphaz (12:00):
Number two. There was Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, the three main friends. Eliphaz was an Edomite from Teman, which was a well-known city for its wisdom culture. Eliphaz is probably the senior member of the three friends because he spoke first.
C. Bildad (12:14):
Bildad, this is another non-Hebrew name. Bildad, it sounds like a Hobbit name. Bildad is a non-Hebrew name, and he's not mentioned in any other place in the Old Testament. His name is that of a well-known pagan storm god. In the Shuhite tribes, who are descendants from Abraham through Keturah, inhabitants of the land of east. Remember, Keturah, Abraham's wife, one of his wives after Sarah.
D. Zophar (12:41):
Zophar. Scholars don't know where he's from or what he means, but they think he's an Edomite living in north Arabia or Edom. It's really an exercise in futility to try to figure out too much of this stuff, but I just want you to know.
E. Elihu (12:54):
Elihu, who is an interesting figure at the end, his name means "he is my God." It's the only Hebrew name in the book. He is also the youngest in the group. He is said to be a Buzite, according to Genesis 22:21. Uz and Buz were brothers. Buz was the son of Abraham's brother, Nahor. So they're all related. He spoke Aramaic, according to the numerous Aramaisms in his speech.
F. God and Satan (13:22):
I'm also going to add as main characters, God and Satan, or the accuser.
Know when I say Satan or the accuser, the word in Hebrew is satan. But it's ha-satan, the satan. So it could be a title or it could just be Satan in Hebrew just means the accuser, someone who accuses you. So scholars will debate that.
Probably it just seems like, because he has to be invited into the divine council, he can't just go on his own, that it probably is the Satan. But again, that's my view. That's Belcher's view. I'm fine with that view. If it's not, it doesn't break anything down for me. But we normally think of it that way. Kind of going to and from, roaming back and forth in a line, crouching, trying to get people in trouble.
IV. Outline and Content (14:09):
Let's look at the structure of the book. I have it here. There are eight sections to the book. So we're going to have the prologue, which is a narrative prologue, which gets us all started. It tells us who Job is, what happened in heaven, and what happened to Job. Then we get Job's lament, where he laments that he would never have been born, because his suffering is so bad. He wishes he would've just perished in the womb.
Then we get the cycle of speeches. Of course, you can see, that's 4:1 to 27:23. In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament, that is about 200 years prior to Christ, the Septuagint thinks these speeches are way too long and they try to shorten them as much as possible. Hebrew loves to repeat itself and come back to things and repeat itself. They just strip out all the repetitions and they get the Reader's Digest version of Job.
Then there's this wisdom poem, where we're back to wisdom, which climaxes the end, the fear of the Lord. For wisdom, right in the middle of it.
Then we get Job's last speech, the Elihu speeches, which God never rebukes. Then we get God's speeches and Job's response, and the restoration narrative, where he's got to pray for his friends because they were out of line. So what I'm going to do is then basically just now walk you through those sections with a little bit of content so that you can understand how it works. Then we'll talk about maybe a little bit of what that means for suffering at the end.
A. Prologue (15:31):
The prologue. The prologue has a couple of different things in chapter one. First, it describes Job as blameless and upright, someone who feared God and turned away from evil. So that's his moral quality or characteristic. He was blameless and upright, someone who feared God and turned away from evil. He was also extremely wealthy, had a large family, and cared for them spiritually. He offered sacrifices for them in case they would make any sins. He was covering them in case they had done anything unintentional like that, because they ate and partied together all the time. That's in verses 1:1-5.
In verses 1:6-12, there's the first divine council meeting. God takes the initiative with Satan by bringing up the character of Job. So it's important to know Satan doesn't come in and immediately ask for Job. It's the Lord who says when Satan comes, "Have you seen my servant Job?" So the Lord provokes this whole scenario. He knows what he's going to do. God affirms the character of Job as blameless and upright and calls him, "My servant," a term used for other followers of God such as Abraham, Moses, and David. So he's in a really tight group there.
Satan challenges the character of God. This is the bad thing. He challenges the character of God by implying that people only love God for what He does for them, which implies that God is unworthy of being loved by virtue of just who He is. The argument is Job only loves you and worships you because you've made him so rich. So Satan challenges this and says, "If you take it away, he'll curse you and you'll see that he really doesn't worship you for who you are." For that reason, the Lord says, "I give him into your hand. Take all that he has. Only don't touch his life."
Next, he suffers in verses 13 and 19, the loss of this great wealth. He loses all but a few servants. Most tragically, he loses all of his children in a single day. It's four times a servant comes. There's only like one escapee, and four times they come and tell Job, "Your fields are lost. Your animals are lost. Your houses are lost, and your kids' lives." It says before the last one was done speaking, the other one came. So you're talking about in 15 minutes, Job loses everything. It's not a prolonged experience.
Then in verses 20 to 21, we hear that Job arose, tore his robe, shaved his head, fell on the ground, and worshiped. That was his response. He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I shall return. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." So we can learn.
Then it says right in 1:22, "In all of this, Job did not sin or charge God with wrong." So when we experience suffering in life, that's the first thing we can say, right? Naked I came into this world, naked I'm going to leave this world. Blessed be the name of the Lord. No matter what, that's where you start.
Well, Satan gets mad about this and there's a second divine council meeting in chapter two, verses one to six. God says again, "Have you considered my servant Job?" He burned you. He showed you that you were wrong. Then Satan says, "Skin for skin. All a man has he will give for his life, but stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face." So the Lord says, "Have at it. Just don't kill him."
He becomes covered with boils from the soles of his feet. Boils are sores or some like it. From the soles of his feet, all the way to the top of his head. Of course, he'd become radically ceremonial, unable to worship God at this point, right? He's unclean to a hundred things. Satan afflicts Job's body, and his wife insights him to curse God then die. The narrator, once again, says, "In all of this, Job did not sin with his lips."
So you've got two statements of his righteousness, two statements of the fact that he did not sin, and then he's out sitting in the trash heap and his three friends come. All right? Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.
It's interesting to read this because it all starts out really good in Job 2:12-13, it says this, "And when they saw him at a distance, they did not even recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground for seven days and seven nights. And no one even spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was great."
I wish I had more time to go into this, but this is another great thing you can learn from Job is that when you have friends who are suffering, sometimes you can just go and be with them and be quiet. It's your presence that's enough for them in the midst of suffering. So naked I came into the world, naked I'm leaving. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Just sit and be quiet.
I have a good friend who suffers from severe PTSD. It shut him down for a year inside his bedroom. Then he's still recovering from it. But the only thing I could do with him is just get in the car and drive straight and just be quiet. Then the cracks began to come and we were able to make progress. But it's a real thing to learn from this kind of stuff. Not only how to endure suffering, but how to help people with suffering.
It is important to understand that Job was not suffering because he had done something wrong. Job is suffering because he's blameless and upright. That's a very important thing. If Job wasn't so blameless or upright, the Lord probably wouldn't have said, "Hey, how about this guy Job?" So he's suffering for the fact that he is indeed blameless and upright.
Ultimately, Job was suffering to vindicate the character of God before the accuser. This definitely reminds me of the suffering of Christ, who also was not just blameless and upright, but perfect and God himself. But he too vindicated God's character before the accuser, and now he serves as our advocate against condemnation. So Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because He sits at the right hand and declares us innocent." So we suffer like Job, right? The Lord doesn't punish us because of our sin. That would be unjust. But He does discipline us as children. So that's a big difference.
B. Job’s Lament (21:27):
In Job 3, he laments the day of his birth and wishes that it never happened. His lament portrays the extreme nature of his suffering. It is bad. In fact, I'll just read a first few lines just so you can get a sense. I wasn't going to read too much of it. It says, beginning in verse three, "Let the day perish on which I was born, and the night that said, 'A man is conceived.' Let it be a day of darkness. May God above never seek it nor light shine upon it. Let gloom and deep darkness claim it. Let clouds dwell upon it. Let the blackness of the day terrify that night. Let thick darkness seize it. Let it not rejoice among the days of the year. Let it not come into the number of the months. Behold, let the night be barren. Let no joyful cry enter. Let those curse it who curse it, and are ready to raise up." So it's very dark and the suffering is at his core and in his soul.
C. Speeches of the Friends (22:21):
This precipitates then the speeches in the book of Job with the three friends, that dominate the book from chapter four to chapter 31.The way it's arranged, it's three cycles of speeches with Eliphaz and Bildad speaking in each speech. Zophar makes only two speeches. So you really have like one, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, in the three cycles. Job responds to each one.
The friends make many true statements about God, but they stumble when they try to apply those statements to Job's situation. In other words, the main problem is the application of theology to this particular situation, which is what matters in wisdom. So you can have all the good theology in the world, the book is saying, but you can apply it in a way which makes you a very unhelpful person, right? You can make someone's suffering worse. That's why I would never sign up to be a counselor. I think that'd be way hard. Hebrew grammar and syntax is way easier than trying to fix a person's life, because you never want to know what's going on.
D. Themes from Job’s Speeches (23:20):
Several themes can be highlighted in Job's speeches as he confronts his friends. I've got four of them here. The first one is that Job desperately wants a chance to present the case of his integrity before God. But he also despairs that such an event will never happen. Or if it does take place, that he cannot hope to win the argument with God. So he longs for an audience with the Lord to say, "Lord, why is this happening?" He wants to know why. That's what I hear over and over when I hear that people experienced extreme suffering. They want to say, "Why, Lord? Why? I need an audience with you. It would help me overcome this suffering if I knew why." Guess what? The Lord never tells him why. So guess what? It will never help you overcome suffering. There's got to be another answer in the midst of that.
Second, Job continues to assert that he is indeed innocent, even as he perceives that God is part of his problem. Even though he knows that God is righteous, he knows that God is in charge somehow. So God is a hunter who pursues His prey so that death is Job's only hope. That's in 6:4-10.
God has no regard for the blameless or wicked, but destroys them both. He sees the righteous and the wicked, in fact. In fact, God mocks the calamity of the innocent. Such statements call into question God's judgment. That's how much he's suffering.
Third, Job explores the complexity of God's ways in the world so that his view of God is not limited to the mechanical view of deed and consequence that the friends present, which opens the door for hope and God's sovereignty. So his friends just say the righteous get blessings, the wicked gets suffering and curses. So because you're suffering this, you've done something. You can summarize the friends' argument by that. The friends think Job has done something to offend God, and therefore, he's suffering for it. The very opposite is true. Job is suffering because he's righteous and blameless before God. He is God's servant.
Fourth, Job speaks some surprising statements of hope in the midst of all of this. For example, "When he has tried me, I shall come out as gold," 23:10. "Though he slay me, I will hope in him," 13:15. And, "I know that my redeemer lives. In my flesh I shall see God." He's talking about resurrection there, 19:25-26.
So just like there is in the lament psalm, we see glimpses of hope. Do you know? In the midst of suffering, which I'm trying to connect with this, you have those cycles of dark despair and moments of hope, dark despair, moments of hope. What happens is hopefully the moments of hope start to increase, increase, and increase, and the moments of despair becomes shorter and shorter and shorter.
I remember a time when I lost my older brother in a car accident. I didn't think I'd do that. That the whole world went dark. But then it became lighter and lighter and lighter again as hope increased and despair decreased by doing this stuff.
E. Wisdom Poem (26:08):
Then there's this intrusion of a wisdom poem in the midst of all this. Here's the theme of the wisdom psalm, where can wisdom be found? That's how it opens. Where can wisdom be found? The poem on wisdom highlights that although human ingenuity can do a lot of good things, it does not know how to find wisdom on its own.
Here's the question. Ready? It occurs two times in Job 28:12, and in Job 28:20. It says this, "But where shall wisdom be found? And where's the place of understanding?" 28:20. From where then does wisdom come, and where is the place of understanding?
Answer comes in the last verse. Are you ready? And he that is God said to man, "Behold, the fear of the Lord. That is wisdom. And turn away from evil is understanding."
The center of the book is, once again like the book of Proverbs, we're going to see, it's the fear of the Lord. In some sense, you could say this book right here, Job and his suffering, is going to set us up for the book of Proverbs, because the first principle or the motto in Proverbs is the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge. This book is just the perfect prelude. You can see those hyperlinks between this wisdom psalm and what's coming up.
F. Elihu Speeches (27:22):
We now move to the Elihu speeches. Elihu isn't one of the three friends. We don't know how he gets there. Perhaps he was just from the same area or town. He sees the four of them sitting out there and he wants to go see what's going on. We don't know how long he's been there, but he just speaks up.
Elihu has not entered the discussion because he is younger than Job's three friends, but he becomes angry when the argument between Job and his three friends collapse. He is angry at the friends because they were not able to answer Job, even though they declared him to be wrong. He is angry with Job because he justified himself rather than God.
Here's the opening of the speech. In Job 32:1-5. So these three men cease to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes. “Then Elihu, the son of Barakel the Buzite, of the family of Ram, burned with anger”. He burned with anger at Job because he justified himself rather than God. He burned with anger at Job's friends because they had found no answer although they had declared Job to be in the wrong.
Now, Elihu waited to speak to Job because they were older than him. When Elihu saw that there was no answer in the mouth of these three men, he burned with anger. So he's like the young guy sitting there, seeing these older guys talking and not making any progress, and he just becomes fed up and he says, "I'm going to butt in."
So the fact that five chapters are devoted to Elihu, which is more than any of the other friends, must mean that he has something beneficial to say. The fact that God does not answer him seems to suggest that God is pleased with his argument. So God does not rebuke him. God does not mention anything about him. He had to pray for him. It's also interesting then this is the only Israelite or Hebrew name in here. Elihu means, “my God is Yahweh”.
The Elihu speeches function to demonstrate that human wisdom falls short, which shows the need for God to answer. If 25 chapters can be given over to a debate that collapses. Five chapters can be devoted to showing once again, the limits of human wisdom, which is what the wisdom poem does. Where is wisdom? How can it be found? A human doesn't have the ability to do it.
G. God’s Speeches and Job’s Response (29:29):
Then we get to the end with 38-42, where we get God's speeches and Job's response. The Lord answers Job out of the whirlwind or the storm, which means He's there theophanically. Like on Mount Sinai, that kind of thing. Wind and storm, thunder and clouds.
His first answer to Job runs from 38:1-42. So you get 38, 39, and a little bit of 40. Job is as my colleague would say, gob smacked. Here is the conclusion to the speech and Job's response. This is chapter 40, beginning in verse one. And the Lord said to Job, "Shall a fault finder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer." Then Job answered the Lord and said, "Behold, I am of small account," or, "I'm of no account. What shall I answer you? I lay my hands in my mouth twice, but I will proceed no further." So Job got the picture, right? He sinned with his mouth no more, or a sneeze.
The Lord's second answer begins in 40 verse six and runs through 41:34. In it, God asked Job, "Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?" See, now that's the whole issue right there. Job so much wants to blame God or to get God's advice on it because he thinks that it will make Job right, and making Job right will say that God is wrong.
So listen to that again. Will you condemn me that you may be in the right? The purpose of God's second speech is to convince Job that God is Lord of the moral order and that Job does not have the power to govern a world full of wickedness and injustice. That is, "Job, this world is broken and wrecked. I'm fixing it. You have no idea how to run things. I've got it under control."
Job's response to the second speech is similar to the first in temperament. It says, "I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted. Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge? Therefore, I have uttered what I did not understand. Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. Hear and I will speak. I will question you and you will make it known to me. I heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore, I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes." So he can see the difference between hearing God and seeing God, and coming into presence with His physical presence is amazing.
H. Epilogue (31:51):
That begins the epilogue that runs in the rest of the book, and 42 is the last chapter. We have here in 42:1-7, we have an account of the Lord's anger and Job's intercession. Then we have the restoration of Job's wealth and family, and it's twofold.
So listen to this. After the Lord had spoken these words to Job, the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My anger burns against you and your friends, for you have not spoken what is right of me, as my servant Job has." Do you see? So Job is, in some sense, a little bit vindicated. That's good. But it's not in any way like proving Job wrong or the Lord wrong.
“Now therefore take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves. And my servant Job shall pray for you, for I will accept his prayer not to deal with you according to your folly, which is the opposite of wisdom”. So they said the right thing, but they applied it to the wrong situation, and that's called folly.
For you have not spoken what is right, as my servant Job has spoken. So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite, okay, went and did what the Lord had told them, and Lord accepted Job's prayer. So Job is restored now that he's an intercessor again, just like he was for his kids.
Then it says, "And the Lord restored the fortunes of Job when he had prayed for his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had before." So he's already the wealthiest dude in town, in the whole area. Now he's twice as wealthy as that.
Then came to him all his brothers and sisters and all who had known him before, and he ate bread with them in his house. They showed him sympathy and comforted him for all the evil that the Lord had done to him. Each of them gave him a piece of money and a ring of gold. Welcome back.
Then it says that the Lord blessed him more at the end than the beginning. The Lord blessed the latter days of Job's life more than his beginning days, which is what we experienced in the upside-down resurrection thing. He had 14,000 sheep, 6,000 camels, 1,000 yoke of oxen, and a thousand female donkeys, just what everyone wants. Then he also had seven sons and three daughters, and he called the name of the first daughter, Jemimah, the name of the second, Keziah, and the name of the third, Keren-happuch. In all the land, there were no women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father gave them inheritance among the brothers, which is an amazing thing.
Now, notice this, that all of his animals and livestock are doubled. This is a subtle thing. But he only got seven more sons and three more daughters. That's not double. Which is a tacit reference back to Job's knowledge that there's going to be a resurrection. So he's going to get them back too and these. Does that make sense? So there is double. He got seven more and three.
So in some sense, that's why I think about my older brother too. Sure he's gone, but I get him back. Does that make sense? So it's going to be restored. You can miss that detail if you're going too fast.
V. The Gospel Promised Beforehand (34:42):
How is this the gospel promised beforehand? I found a guy, a lot of this I rely on in this chapter, a colleague of mine, Richard Belcher, who wrote the chapter on Job in A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament that I edited.
He says this, I'm going to quote him, "Job is presented in James 5:11 as a person who was steadfast under great trial. He is a picture of one who suffers unjustly. Just as his friends could not comprehend how someone who was blameless could endure such suffering, so those at the foot of the cross could not comprehend how one who was being crucified could be the son of God. They say, 'He trusts in God. Let God deliver him now if he desires for him. For he said, 'I am the son of God.'
Jesus' suffering is much greater than Job's suffering though, for Jesus suffered for the sake of others, with a great hope that he shall see his offspring and shall prolong his days, for the will of the Lord shall prosper in his hand. The followers of Jesus are promised that they too will suffer for his sake, and they see more clearly than Job saw the confident hope of vindication because of the resurrection of Christ. Not only does Jesus take upon himself our sin, our sickness, and our suffering, but he calls us to take up our cross daily to follow him. The coming restoration for the followers of Jesus will be such greater restoration than Job experienced, for we will experience the fullness of the kingdom of Christ when it comes again in glory."
Meaning this, you think having Job getting twice as much is great. When we get to heaven, we won't even be able to calculate the percentage of the blessing that's from here to there. It'll be incalculable.
So then our suffering then, current suffering can remind us not only of Christ's suffering, but it can also remind us of the day when that will be relieved, right? That's why Jesus says in Revelation 21, that He will begin by wiping away the tears. Does that make sense? It means it will be the end of great suffering.
VI. Conclusion and Questions (36:42):
So the book of Job is a wisdom book that helps us not only how to understand suffering and how to endure suffering, but then also how to help people with suffering. So it's a very practical book in that way.
All right, any questions on the book of Job? First, you have to sing the wisdom song. No, I'm just teasing.
My question is about when you read Job 42:11. In your translation, you said, "For all the evil that the Lord had brought upon him." That just struck me. I don't think of God as being able to bring evil. So is that a translation thing? In my translation it's adversity.
Yeah. The word, it's ra. You could say R-A and translations will do it differently. It can mean calamity, distress, evil. So when you have it paired with good, tov, tov wa-ra, good and evil. The tree of the knowledge of tov wa-ra, good and evil. But that same word can mean adversity or calamity. So that's just the translation that I was using.
But evil in terms of unfortunate circumstances. In the book of Isaiah, it says that God creates bara, the verb from Genesis 1, both tov and ra. So both good things and calamitous things. But He uses them to run His kingdom. It's not that it's morally wicked, but calamity can be judgment. Calamity can be vindication. Calamity can be a way to save someone. That's a great question.