Morning Light – March 16th, 2016

MLToday: [Job Twelve] Did Job Commit Blasphemy? In this chapter Job answers the accusations of Zophar, his third and most vehement critic. In so doing we find that it is difficult to distinguish the character of Job’s words from those of his friends. The only differentiation between Job’s diatribes and that of his friends is that his friends accuse Job and Job on the other hand accuses God Himself. Did Job blaspheme?
[Job 12:1-25 KJV] 1 And Job answered and said, 2 No doubt but ye [are] the people, and wisdom shall die with you. 3 But I have understanding as well as you; I [am] not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these? 4 I am [as] one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright [man is] laughed to scorn. 5 He that is ready to slip with [his] feet [is as] a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease. 6 The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth [abundantly]. 7 But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee: 8 Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.
Job has now heard from Zophar, his third friend and so-called comforter. At this point Job has been assaulted with ever deepening accusation from his companions and each time his response has led him further astray in his musings about his situation. At first he speaks from a place of vulnerability and pain. He then resorted to self pity and despairing of life. Then he staunchly defends himself suggesting that God is using him for target practice. Now in answering Zophar he descends into sarcasm and accusation himself against those he expected to be a support for him in a time of trial.
Let us say something about sarcasm. There is no place for sarcasm in the life of a believer. There is no place for pessimism in the conversation of one who walks in the kingdom. Pessimism and sarcasm are the last refuge of an unsanctified mind. Phil. 4:8 says “whatsoever things are good, pure, perfect, virtuous or lovely – think on these things…” That leaves no room for sarcasm, one ups-manship or debate. Job is responding in kind and in so doing capitulating to the spirit of the world that will only drag him deeper into crisis. What should Job’s response be? To pray for his friends. They need it. Jesus said this:
[Mat 5:44 KJV] 44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
In Luke 18 we find the parable of the Samaritan which Jesus says in the beginning is directed at those who despise others. It is very difficult not to return evil for evil but it is in our best interests when attacked not to retaliate in kind. Lay your hand over your mouth and pray lest you sow to the wind and reap the whirl wind. Always as yourself if you want to reap in kind what you sow out of the words of your mouth – even if you think you would be right to lash out.
9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this? 10 In whose hand [is] the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind. 11 Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat? 12 With the ancient [is] wisdom; and in length of days understanding. 13 With him [is] wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding. 14 Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening. 15 Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth. 16 With him [is] strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver [are] his. 17 He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.
At this point we cannot distinguish the character of Job’s words from the words of his three companions. In the final analysis Job is accusing God of breaking him down without remedy. He says that God has dried him up and withheld from him. He states that strength and wisdom belong to God but God has chosen to make a fool of him and lead him astray. In effect Job is accusing God of deceiving and misleading him. Job is questioning all he thought he knew about God and holding God responsible for his doubt and resulting skepticism.
Did God deceive Job? Was all of this that Job is suffering part of God’s plan to make a fool of Job? In reading the first two chapters of Job we see that exactly the opposite is true. God has regard for Job as a godly man. God thinks highly of Job and defends his character when it is attacked by Satan himself. Job has allowed the accuser to influence his words and to unjustly hold God responsible for contaminated motives for all that Job is suffering when nothing could be further from the truth.
God does not deceive us. God does not capriciously toy with us in our suffering. In John 8:44 Jesus said that Satan is the liar and the originator and father of all lies. The great strategy of the enemy in the situation recorded in Job is to convince men that suffering, and torment and pain originates with God Himself when in fact considering the whole of the book of Job and it’s narrative it isn’t God attacking Job for any reason but rather the enemy himself. This is important because we are taught to resist the devil and he will flee. How do we resist the devil when we think what we are going through isn’t the devil at all but God instead? The classical definition of blasphemy is to attribute the words of God to the devil. In this case all four men are attributing the works of the devil to God. Is Job blaspheming God? In his mind – yes he is; in his heart he is desperately hoping to be convinced otherwise.
18 He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle. 19 He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. 20 He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. 21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty. 22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death. 23 He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them [again]. 24 He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness [where there is] no way. 25 They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like [a] drunken [man].
In verse 18 Job accuses God of taking words of trust and faith out of his mouth. He accuses God of picking on him because he is old. This is a common refuge of those who wallow in self pity. “I’m only human!” or “I’m an old person – what else can you expect from me?” or “God you are picking on me …” Never forget that we in the New Covenant are new creatures in Christ. Our gender, age, ethnicity or economic status is no excuse for bad behavior or wallowing in unbelief. Never let the enemy steal your profession in Christ Jesus in the midst of pressure and contradiction to God’s promise in your life.
Job goes on to accuse God of pouring out contempt on the princes of the earth and seeking out their strength only to weaken them. Is this what God is doing? When king Asa was facing battle the prophet went to him and declared:
[2Ch 16:9 KJV] 9 For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in the behalf of [them] whose heart [is] perfect toward him…
It is the enemy and not God going to and fro seeking to devour the sons of men. Job along with his three friends and many today are in error when the think that it is God originating such calamity in the lives of men. James said this:
[Jas 1:17 KJV] 17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
This verse is an unequivocal affirmation of the goodness of God and the intent of God to bless and benefit us at all times. God in His immutability is unswervingly committed to bringing about good in your life. Do not yield to the blasphemous suggestion that the Father for any reason seeks to diminish or harm you in any way. Rather than the anguished confusion of Job let us agree with the words of the Psalmist:
[Psa 106:1 KJV] 1 Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for [he is] good: for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

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