Job Chapter Twenty-Seven: How Should Job Respond to His Friends? In this chapter Job continues his last and final monologue. He describes his idea of divine retribution. He accuses his friends of being among the hypocrites and declares that hypocrites will suffer the direst fate at the hand of God. In truth Job is merely lobbing back at his friends the accusations that they have leveled at him – rather than showing mercy as ultimately God requires of him.
Today: [Job Twenty-Seven]
[Job 27:1-23 KJV] 1 Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, 2 [As] God liveth, [who] hath taken away my judgment; and the Almighty, [who] hath vexed my soul; 3 All the while my breath [is] in me, and the spirit of God [is] in my nostrils; 4 My lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. 5 God forbid that I should justify you: till I die I will not remove mine integrity from me. 6 My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go: my heart shall not reproach [me] so long as I live. 7 Let mine enemy be as the wicked, and he that riseth up against me as the unrighteous.
This is the second chapter of Job’s longest monologue where he continues to insist upon his own righteousness. He complains that God has not given him a fair hearing and that he has been denied just treatment in the court of heaven. He claims that God has vexed his soul in spite of the fact that he is a righteous man (in his view). The word “vex” here implies that God in Job’s view has made him “bitter, sad, irritated and exasperated”. Is this consistent with God’s character?
It is important to address Job’s shortcomings because without taking the whole of the book Job into consideration many come to the conclusion that Job was the epitome of righteousness and that as Job thinks he is in fact being tormented by God for some ineffable reason. God is not irritating and exasperating Job. In Job 1:11-12 the passage plainly shows it was Satan and not God who is originating Job’s suffering, yet not one time does Job give indication that he even realizes a creature such as Satan exists. John 15:26 tells us that God is a comforter. 1 Cor. 14:33 proclaims that God is the author of peace and not confusion. Rom. 15:33 says that God is the “God of peace”. It is not in God’s nature to torment or exasperate or embitter us.
Many claim that God can contradict His own promises because He is sovereign. Paul addresses this controversy:
[2Co 1:20 KJV] 20 For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
What this tells us is that God will never say “no” to what the cross says “yes” to. It is true that in every life that are contradictions to God’s promises but we are incorrect to believe that those contradictions originate in God’s dealing with us or in some way we are totally in faith but God has simply decided to pass on being faithful to us in return. We often contrive in our fallible, human rationale that because good may come from some terrible trial that it was God that brought the evil about as well. This is contrary to His nature. No matter what you go through God is still with you. He as Paul says “always causes us to triumph…” Just because we come through something victorious or with our testimony intact does not mean that God originated the trial in the first place. This is contrary to His character and His testimony of Himself in the scriptures.
8 For what [is] the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul? 9 Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him? 10 Will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God? 11 I will teach you by the hand of God: [that] which [is] with the Almighty will I not conceal. 12 Behold, all ye yourselves have seen [it]; why then are ye thus altogether vain? 13 This [is] the portion of a wicked man with God, and the heritage of oppressors, [which] they shall receive of the Almighty. 14 If his children be multiplied, [it is] for the sword: and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread. 15 Those that remain of him shall be buried in death: and his widows shall not weep.
Job describes how God should be treating him (as a supposedly righteous man) and now warns his friends that their hypocrisy will not go unpunished. He cautions them that the torments and rigors of suffering he has faced will now be visited upon them. In other words in his agony his sense of justice is totally offended that God would put him through this but he is absolutely prepared to see his friends struck with all his plagues – this would satisfy his sense of divine justice. He disagrees with God for allow (in his view) him to suffer but would be quite willing for his so-called friends to be stricken with the pestilence and plague he has endured.
16 Though he heap up silver as the dust, and prepare raiment as the clay; 17 He may prepare [it], but the just shall put [it] on, and the innocent shall divide the silver. 18 He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth [that] the keeper maketh. 19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he [is] not. 20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night. 21 The east wind carrieth him away, and he departeth: and as a storm hurleth him out of his place. 22 For [God] shall cast upon him, and not spare: he would fain flee out of his hand. 23 [Men] shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place.
Job goes further to declare that the wealth that his friends (who he sees as truly wicked) is only laid up in store for those that God would consider just. This language is all a veiled curse of Job against those that have come to him in his time of trial. True, Job’s three friends are not distinguishing themselves as comforters but that does not excuse Job from the thinly veiled deprecations he heaps upon them revealing how desperately he hopes to see them suffer as he does.
It is interesting that the final deliverance of Job comes when he relents this thinking and prays for his friends. Along with his fear that has come upon him there is deep in his heart a lingering resentment and lack of love toward these his closest companions. It is not until Job 42:10 when he forgives and relents and prays for his friends that his captivity is ultimately turned. In our own lives we would do well to monitor the levels of resentment that can surface in our lives when we are ill treated by others. The mercy you fail to extend to others becomes a measurement of the degree to which God’s mercy will not be your own experience. It is difficult to be merciful against those who malign, disdain and mock you in the midst of difficulty. It does happen however and the lesson of Job is to forgive, release and bless – lest we bind ourselves in to a time of trouble that would otherwise lift if we chose to show mercy to the unmerciful however unwarranted by their behavior.
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