JOB STUDIES 8
In Chapters 22-26 we have the third cycle of speeches. Eliphaz speaks, and is answered by Job. Then Bildad speaks very briefly (only six verses), and Job responds. But Zophar, for his own reasons, remains silent. Clearly, the arguments are running down.
1) What question does Eliphaz raise in 22:2-3?
INSIGHT: Eliphaz is saying, “It is only man’s wickedness that arouses God to action. When he is good, God is neither pleased nor benefitted. He is too high above man to even care.”
2) What do you think of this idea (compare Ps. 147:11; Mal. 3:16)?
3) What does Eliphaz believe is the reason for Job’s suffering (22:4-5)?
INSIGHT: Eliphaz seems desperate to prove that Job is guilty. Without offering a shred of proof, he now accuses Job of a whole catalogue of sins. It may be guesswork, or based on the kind of gossip that often surrounds great men. The problem is, of course, that Job’s consistently godly life is so well known in the community it is a simple matter to prove these things are not so.
4) What are five or six accusations Eliphaz makes in 22:6-9?
5) In 22:15-16 Eliphaz claims that Job has reached the same level of wickedness as what group?
INSIGHT: This incident is in keeping with Eliphaz’s insistence that “the wicked are cut down before their time.” They die an early death. He seems unwilling to face the possibility of the wicked living long and prosperously, as Job claims they sometimes do (21:7).
6) Eliphaz tries to put words in Job’s mouth, in 22:13-14. What does he claim Job has said?
7) What was really Job’s view on this (12:22; 23:10)?
INSIGHT: It could be Eliphaz is deliberately twisting Job’s words. Or it may be that his strong opinions cause him to hear what he wants to hear.
INSIGHT: In counseling another person--whether in a formal setting, or just as a friend--there are three key qualities that must be in evidence. 1) We must have the correct theological base, a proper understanding of the Word of God. 2) We must get to know and understand the person, and be discerning of what is happening in his life. 3) We must use an appropriate method. A practical and workable method of dealing with the need. Without these, the counsel is bound to go astray.
8) How would you evaluate Eliphaz in terms of #1 (see 4:7)?
9) How would you evaluate Eliphaz in terms of #2 (see 22:5 and 1:1)?
10) And what about #3 (see 5:3-4; 15:2, 7: 16:2)?
INSIGHT: In the latter part of Chapter 22, Eliphaz urges Job to repent. (“If you return to the Almighty, you will be built up,” vs. 23). Vs. 29-30 are difficult. The NIV is helpful. It reads: “When men are brought low and you say [to God], ‘Lift them up!’ then He will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be delivered through the cleanness of your hands.” Eliphaz is picturing Job as being effective in praying for others. (Is he perhaps hinting that Job was not able to pray for his children, because of sin in his own heart?) This lays a further burden on poor Job. In effect, it says that others around him continue to suffer because, as a wicked man, he is unable to pray for them.
11) According to 42:7-8, who really needs the special prayers of Job?
12) What is the anguished cry of Job in 23:3?
13) In spite of the fact that Job cannot sense the presence of God, of what three things is he absolutely confident (23:8-10)?
14) This also strongly implies his determination not to do what (cf. 2:5)?
15) What is Job’s personal testimony at this time (23:11-12)?
INSIGHT: If we are correct in dating the life of Job around the time of Abraham and Isaac, then the writing of the first books of the Bible was still some centuries away. How did Job hear God’s “commands” and “the words of His mouth” (23:12)? It is always possible that the Lord spoke to him directly. Or, it may be that men like Abraham, whom the Bible calls “a prophet” (Gen. 20:7), passed on messages from God in some way.
16) God not only knows what is happening to Job, but what else (23:14)?
INSIGHT: In Chapter 24, Job recognizes that there are many wicked people in the world who need to be punished. But God does not seem to act. In vs. 12 we see the compassion of Job. As a judge in the land of Uz, he is greatly concerned for injustice in his community. He says, “The dying groan in the city”–from the town come sounds of pain, the groans of the dying. Yet God seems to pay no attention. Job is puzzled that God is so slow to bring justice.
17) What does Bildad say about the greatness of God (25:2-3)?
18) As far as Bildad is concerned, what is Job like in relation to God (25:6)?
INSIGHT: Bildad asks a question that is found a number of times in the book: “How then can man be righteous before God?” (25:4). He is implying that it is utterly impossible for a man to have a righteous standing before his Maker. But that is not exactly right. It is true that, in himself, man is not righteous. All have sinned (Rom. 3:20, 23).
19) How does the Bible describe man’s attempt to be righteous by his own efforts (Isaiah 64:6)?
INSIGHT: God’s answer is not for man to try to be perfect in himself (Rom. 7:18). God’s answer is what is called “imputed righteousness” (Rom. 4:6) The righteousness of Another is credited to our account, by faith in a Substitute. The Substitute is innocent of sin, yet it (or He) dies, being punished as if being guilty. When the sinner puts his faith in the Substitute, his sins are put to that One’s account, and the righteousness of the Substitute is credited (imputed) to the sinner.
Christ is the final Substitute. “For He [God the Father] made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (II Cor. 5:21). But while the final answer awaited Christ’s coming, the Old Testament saints had a way to find cleansing and forgiveness, too. The sacrifices of former times served that purpose. The death of each lamb (an innocent substitute) was a picture of “the Lamb of God” to come. God accepted this, until the Saviour arrived. Job understood this (cf. 1:5), and by this means would have been cleansed of his own sin in the past, by faith.
20) What is Job’s challenge to Bildad (26:2)?
21) What good question does Job ask in 26:4?
21b) And what seems to be the answer (cf. Rev. 12:9-10)?
INSIGHT: True to modern scientific understanding, Job declares that the Lord “hangs the earth upon nothing” (26:7).
22) What does Job believe about man’s knowledge of God (26:14)?
INSIGHT: In physical training, it is when a muscle is exercised against resistence that strength increases. Here Job has exercised his trust in God against the resistence of terrible tragedy, excruciating pain, and harsh dogmatic critics. This experience has brought forth tremendous statements of faith.
23) These wonderful statements emphasize what key truths?