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Thoughts on Job's interaction with Zophar and Eliphaz in Job 20-24

For the last month or so we have been walking our way through the Book of Job

-Job the most righteous man on earth
-God was really pleased with Job
-Satan appears before God and charges that Job only follows God because of all the blessings of God.
-God allowed Satan to afflict Job, confident that Job would remain faithful to him and bring glory to His name- even in the midst of suffering
-Job afflicted, stays faithful- but struggled mightily with the WHY question?
-To make things worse, Job had some 'friends' who came to comfort him. Instead of comforting him with their words, they tormented him with their accusations.
-Presently we in the middle of the speeches that Job had with his 'friends'- Job asserting his innocence and wrestling with the big questions of life that come in the midst of hardship, his friends continually trying to drive home the point that he was a big sinner who needed to repent.

The only way to make sense of the sufferings of Job

See Job as a righteous sufferer who is a type for Jesus- the ultimate righteous sufferer. This leads us to see and understand that to suffer for righteousness sake is to identify with Christ.

Today: A survey of Job 20-21 with snippet of thoughts from Job 22-24

Over the course of these 5 chapters first Zophar (for the 2nd time) and then Eliphaz (for the third and final time) lace into Job.

The themes of Job's detractors remain the same: Job has sinned. God is rightfully punishing Job. Job's only hope is to repent- and if he does so, he will be restored. Over and against this, Job maintains his innocence and continues to call for an audience with God- certain that he will be vindicated.

As it regards the righteousness of Job- I found a really cool set of verses in Job 23:10-12 "But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.



READ JOB 21

In this chapter Zophar delivers his second (and last) speech. One thing you might observe is how flowery his speech is. From a mere human perspective, its a well put together speech- and yet a nice speech and truth are two different things-- if you doubt this, just tune in and listen to some of speeches that come from the mouths of certain politicians and actors/actresses.

A summary of Zophar's speech

1. He offended by what Job said
2. He mocks Job
3. He asserts that the joy of the godless/wicked is but for a moment and that for every evil man that inescapable judgment is just around the corner
4. He makes the statement that the children of the wicked will have to pay for the sins of their parents (while subtley said, this was aimed at Job)
5. He infers that Job is being judged

Rather than me answering the errors that Zophar puts forth listen to what Job says in reply- READ Job 21

What issues does Job raise?

1. As a counter to Zophar's foolish notion that the joys of the wicked are short lived, Job wonders why God allows the wicked to live, prosper, and grow old. -Job 21:7

"Why do the wicked live on, growing old and increasing in power- Job 21:7

Job builds on this in his next speech in Job 24 as he contemplates the evil that he sees all around him- theft, stealing of property, attacks on widows, abuse of the poor, child slavery, disregard for the suffering.

Job is bothered by the things that bother a lot of people-why do people who mistreat and abuse others get away with what they are doing, why doesn't God put a stop to it all?

In trying to work this out, Job asks this pointed question in Job 24:1 "Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?" (I'M GOING TO COME BACK TO THIS)

You and I ask this very same question. Why does God allow this? Why does God tarry? Where are His righteous judgments that we long for?



2. Job is shocked that God allows people to say to God "Leave us alone! We have no desire to know your ways. Who is the Almighty that we should serve him? What would we gain by praying to him?" Job 21:14-15

This thought is reflected in Malachi 3:13-15 wherein God says; ""You have spoken arrogantly against me," says the Lord. "Yet you ask, 'What have we said against you?' 14 "You have said, 'It is futile to serve God. What do we gain by carrying out his requirements and going about like mourners before the Lord Almighty? 15 But now we call the arrogant blessed. Certainly evildoers prosper, and even when they put God to the test, they get away with it.'"

Why does God put up with this?

It shows the great mercy of God who takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked. (Ezekiel 18:32)

It shows the great mercy and love of God who desires that all be reconciled to Him.

2 Peter 3:9 helps explain; "The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance."


3. Job rebuts Zophar's notion that God punishes the children of the wicked for the sins of their parents. Read Job 21:19-21

The idea that God punishes children for the sins of their parents is an idea that lives on today. I've seen it, I've heard people say it, there are whole cultures that reflect it.

However- it's not true. Children are not disabled or poor or abused because God is directly punishing them because of their parents sins.

Job's contention is backed up by the word of the LORD in Ezekiel 18:1-4,20 wherein it says; "The word of the Lord came to me: 2"What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: "?'The parents eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'?
3"As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. 4For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child-both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.

We are all individually accountable to God.

When it comes to the judgment day and a person who has rejected Christ and the offer of salvation that is found in him alone, when they appear before God- it will be for their sin (and not the sins of another or their parents) that they are judged and cast into the lake of fire.


4. A CLOSER LOOK AT JOB 24:1 which says; "Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment? Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?" -that time has come for it connects directly to what I just said.

Job, longing for the justice of God and the judgments of God to be poured out on the wicked asks a question that is sometimes in our minds -Since God is so just and perfect and holy, why is there not a regular time for judgment? Why doesn't everyone appear before God- say, even once a year, how about every other year or every 10 years?

Surely there would be a drop in crime? Would rapes still occur? Would the poor continue to be oppressed? Would judges be bribed and render injustice in courts? Would politicians continue to lie?

Without Christ as my Savior I'm not sure I could live in a world where a judgment day happened every year or every other year or even every 10 years?

Imagine the angst. Imagine the dread. Would people follow God willingly, from the hearts or would absolute terror grip every heart all the time-- for who, apart from the righteousness of Christ, could stand before God on a yearly basis and be declared righteous and just-- for know this- God doesn't just hold a person accountable for the things we do, but also for our motives and thoughts.

When people cry out to God for justice and justice right away- I'm not sure most people know what they are asking for?

A big truth

-There is a Judgment Day that is coming. There is a day that has been fixed by God the Father. It is mine to avenge, I will repay-- says God.
-People should be concerned about this Day to come. It will be a day of judgment, wrath, and perfect justice
-Lying, stealing, adultery, bitterness, unforgiveness, abuse, hatred, unrighteous anger, the way we have treated our parents- for all these things we will be held to account

Since the Day of Judgment approaches it is imperative that one be reconciled to God! This is thru Jesus alone.



THE TRUTH THAT THERE IS A JUDGMENT DAY TAKES US BACK ALSO TO JOB 21:14-15

Re-visiting Job 21:14-15- What does one gain by serving God?

When the crowd asked Jesus "What must we do to do the works that God requires" Jesus "Believe in the one that he has sent" John 6

What does one gain by believing in and turning to Christ? What does one gain by not living for themselves but instead living for God/Christ? ETERNAL LIFE. THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS. HEAVEN AS ONES HOME. ASSURANCE THAT THE DAY OF JUDGMENT WILL NOT BRING HARM TO THEM- for there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ (Romans 8:1). See also Malachi 3:17-18

If you are not a follower of Christ what should you do? Now is the Day of Salvation. Do not delay. Be reconciled to God. Confess your sin- which you are accountable to God for. Confess it and take it to the cross of Christ- who shed his blood for the forgiveness of sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved


For us who are the followers of Christ- how are we to live in light of the Coming Day?

-Patiently
-Faithfully- holding unswervingly to the hope we profess
-Living holy lives, keeping our "hands clean" and our "hearts pure"
-Maintaining the regular fellowship of the saints. Hebrews 12:24-25 says; "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching
-Telling others about Christ and how to be saved- For we are to love those around us


CLOSING SONG- And can it be?

BENEDICTION

For today I leave you with Hebrews 12:35-37

"So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For, "In just a little while, he who is coming will come and will not delay."