Saxon Math, series of problems for each lesson; students love them, answers to odd-numbered questions in the back. Teacher’s edition even better – answers to both even and odd. Students not so happy when evens were assigned – no answers in the back! Job wasn’t interested in answers to algebra questions, wanted answers to some of life’s most perplexing questions. Job understood what Charlie Brown figured out: “In the book of life’s questions, the answers are not in the back.”
Problem with Job’s friends – when they looked for answers, came up empty, decided to fill in blanks from their own supply of wisdom. Actually did Job a favor; their help so inadequate and unhelpful it forced Job to look for answers elsewhere. Before we get into text of Chapter 13, good reminder for us:
whether it’s one of life’s large questions or small one, be sure you depend on reliable source for answers. For source to be reliable, must be directly traceable to God – ought to be chapter and verse that rightly applied backs up the answer.
answer may be “that’s one of God’s secrets”; there’s chapter and verse for that. Deut. 29:29. May be more detailed; either way, don’t settle for the world’s answer or solution. Go for the gold, the real treasure found in God.
Once again, Job gets after friends – charges them with misusing and misapplying their knowledge; warns them that God will see through their facade of sincerity; determined to find out satisfying answers, declares again that he will plead his case before God regardless of the risk; finally pleads with God to respond.
A. friends misused their knowledge v.1-5
reminds them once again: they were just repeating / restating standard answers, not offering anything he hadn’t already considered (1-2)
picture this scenario: godly, mature believer (like Job) called on without warning to endure extreme suffering / misfortune; seeking comfort and to understand God’s purpose – your answer: well, God is sovereign and remember Romans 8:28
is it any wonder Job begs his friends to just be quiet; life hard enough apart from dealing with shallow responses to deep questions
right facts but poor application, one that made for a small puppet God (3)
friends suffered from problem common today – say a lot of right things about God and then…falls apart in the application
declared God’s sovereignty, his majesty, his power and then defined his actions into a box of man’s choosing
God always blesses the righteous, therefore… you want to be healthy, wealthy, wise – follow these rules and God has to come through
the majesty of a God who can be manipulated like that is an illusion; God becomes a puppet, made to dance to man’s tune
Job didn’t want a God like that, didn’t want to hear from people whose god was like that; neither should we – our desire should be for God who has revealed himself to us in his Word, the Bible
Question 1: What is your only comfort in life and in death?
Answer 1: That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.
from perspective of human relationships, Job needed skilled physician who could soothe soul as well as body (4)
The great Physician now is near, / The sympathizing Jesus; / He speaks the drooping heart to cheer; / O hear the voice of Jesus.
B. God will find out their insincerity v.6-12
Job warned friends: need to be quiet and listen, you’re getting into deep and dangerous waters
is their defense of God for his glory or their good (6-8)
God has high standard for those who would speak for him:
Deut. 18:20 “the prophet who dares to speak in My name a message I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods-that prophet must die.”
James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.”
Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar’s statements sound like this: “I’m telling you what I think is supposed to be the right answer; I’m not sure it’s entirely true, but I don’t dare to say what I really think.”
probably didn’t think of God as highly as they ought, definitely didn’t treat Job in word or thought they way they should
given what they believed about how God works, preferred to chance offending Job rather than God
didn’t want to risk losing out on benefits that God “owed” them because of their righteous behavior
what if God examined them (9-12)
Job suspected friends’ motives not the best in charging him with wrongdoing – didn’t want to look stupid, not having an answer; didn’t have sufficient faith in God to stand with Job in his quest for answers
timely and well-deserved warning – God desires more than external conformity to his standard
desires our love first – remember Jesus’ answer to question about most important command: Mark 12:29-31
then he wants our obedience, this is important, obedience that flows out of love, is prompted by love, is outward expression of love
is that what God would find if he examined Job’s friends? Job was confident about himself; what about you?
their arguments don’t hold up to scrutiny
in fact, have no life left in them; all burned up, all goodness is gone – totally unable to provide needed comfort and help
arguments have no strength – are brittle like clay; have no substance – just an empty shell with nothing inside
typical of all the world offers when it comes to the big questions: who am I, where did I come from, why am I here, where am I going
C. it’s worth the risk v.13-19
it’s dangerous but also my only hope (13-14)
wasn’t only friends’ answers that were unsatisfying; Job realized his own view of God came up short
refused to give up seeking resolution to his mental and spiritual conflict, even if he lost his life in process
continues to have absolute confidence in God’s judgment – “let come on me what may!”
if God can’t be trusted, no one can (15)
obvious from this strong confession of faith that Job understood and knew God from basis of personal relationship
had experienced God’s goodness as well as his righteousness – was certain a good God would not condemn a sincere seeker for asking questions, for desiring to know truth
even if it did cost Job his life, Job could trust God to do what is right – not fatalism, rather confidence in a good outcome
if continued life the way God worked it out, that must be best; he could be trusted to supply whatever was needed
if life ended abruptly, that, too, would be best; since God is a good and righteous governor of his creation, whatever God decrees is best
I have a strong case (16-19)
Job was not acting recklessly; had thought through what he would say to God, questions he would ask
more important, two things Job knew about himself – root of his confidence, and his sincerity (16)
his faith not in his own merit, ability to follow rules, maintain a standard of life; faith, his confidence was in God – Job was entirely in God’s hands, his present and his future, and Job was ok with it
knew his faith and his love for God was genuine, regardless of what his friends said
Psalm 1:5Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
important to remember: Job never questioned God’s motives, God’s authority; Job wanted God to explain how his treatment was just, perhaps what the purpose of it all was
D. do two things for me, answer two questions v.20-28
stop bearing down so hard and terrifying me; stop being silent (20-22)
Job asked God to level the playing field – God could easily overwhelm, intimidate, confuse, crush Job just with his presence; God was terrifying at times to Job, even in silence
again Job asked God to respond to him; God’s apparent lack of response to Job more painful than any thing else
tell me how I’ve sinned, tell me why you treat me as your enemy (23-28)
Job didn’t see how past sin justified his present circumstances, but…was willing to take chance on finding out
since Job wasn’t in on scene in heaven we read about in chapters 1 & 2, still thought God was angry with him for some reason – not true but what he thought, what it felt like
even though Job had no idea why he was suffering, even though he believed his suffering was from God, he refused to give up his confidence in God, refused to look elsewhere for a solution, would be satisfied with nothing less than full reconciliation with God
So,… when God doesn’t answer and it seems like he’s being really hard on you, what then? Do you settle for answers the world’s wisdom supplies? Or do you persevere in seeking answers from God, even if they are foolish to the world? “the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Cor. 1:18) The answers to our questions about suffering will be foolishness to those who are perishing, too. But, when God did speak, Job was fully satisfied; you will be also.
Meanwhile, have life to live that is testimony to God’s love and grace, just like Job. Job trusted God with everything including his life. And he continued to do what was right in God’s sight. That’s what we must do – be certain our confidence is in God, and we obey him because we love him.