Job is the first of the books of poetry; Hebrew poetry does not rhyme, but uses parallel ideas, like the Iliad and the Odyssey. Job opens and closes in prose. Along with the combination of poetry and prose, we have both monologue and dialogue. Job is about suffering and affliction, pride and repentance. It helps us answer the question: Why does God allow suffering? We also get a behind-the-scenes look at God, at Satan, at what goes on in heaven.
The author of Job is unknown. The date is thought to be the patriarchal period. Some of the factors that indicate this dating include: names and places associated with that period, length of life, no reference to the Law or tabernacle or Abraham. It's possible that Job is another name for Jobab; there are several Jobab's in Genesis. One is in Gen. 10:29, which could place him before Abraham's time in the general time of Peleg (10:25, in whose days "the earth was divided").
Following the flood, we find that all men knew about the true and living God, and the requirements to live righteously (do good) and to offer blood sacrifice for sin. Noah died shortly before Abraham's time; Noah's next four generations were still alive when Abraham was born. Abraham was not a lone individual pulled out of godlessness to something new to him. Compare the knowledge of God of Job (apparently a contemporary of the patriarchs)and his friends, the Egyptian Pharaoh (Gen. 12:10-20), Melchizadek (Gen. 14:18), and Abimelech (Gen. 20). We see that Abraham's family was also idolatrous, as was Laban's family. When the Law was given, later, God dealt with this--"no other gods before Me" and "no graven images." So we find men in many places with knowledge of the true God, and also having idols.
1-5 What was Job like? Had his riches made him arrogant or humble? Was he sinless? Perfect (KJV) = blameless (NASB). Rich--the Bill Gates of the Orient. Even before the Law, we see sacrifices, as in Genesis. Who do we usually think of as offering the sacrifices? Apparently the father acted as priest for his family. Some mistakenly use this as an example that a father should function in that way in a family today, but this was before the Law. We--the church--are in a different dispensation today. We each go directly to God; no mediator is needed, why?
6-7 Who are the "sons of God"? Obviously angels. This term is used of angels also in Job 2:1, 38:7. This is a strong reason to believe the sons of God in Gen. 6:2-4 are angels, not godly men as some teach. (In the New Testament, believers are referred to as sons of God, but not in the Old Testament.)
What do we learn about angels here? They sometimes came before the Lord, apparently to report on their activities; doesn't God know? Then why would He have them do this? Would this include good and bad angels? So this book tells us that things are going on in the spiritual realm that we don't see. Is this still happening today? Is Satan omnipresent, omniscient or omnipotent like God?
In the KJV, Hab. 1:13 says God cannot "behold evil" or "look on iniquity" but Job tells us that this does not mean God can't look upon Satan or wicked angels. The NASB clarifies that God does not "look on wickedness with favor" or "approve evil." Is Satan dwelling in hell? He has access to God's presence, and they speak. What is he doing, I Pet. 5:8, Rev. 12:10? He is constantly accusing us before God, like he did Job. We see a courtroom scene; who is the prosecuting attorney? Who is the defense attorney? Who is the judge?
8 Who brings up the subject of Job? God holds up Job as His best example of a righteous man. In the Old Testament, do we see the terms "Christian," "saved," "born again," or "believer"? Those speak of salvation following the resurrection. In the Old Testament we see those who are righteous, upright, fearing God, turning away from evil, keeping the Law, offering sacrifices to the one true God.
9-11 Why does Satan think Job fears God? Why didn't Satan just go on his own to bother Job? Satan had accused God of paying people to love Him; would we trust and serve God even if there was nothing in it for us--would we do it simply because of who God is and that He saved us? Can this story be generalized to apply to all believers--that there is a hedge around God's own and that Satan must get permission to afflict us?
12 When God pointed out Job to Satan, did He know how Satan would answer? Why might God give His permission? Did God only permit Job's affliction, or did He initiate it? Or both? We sometimes wonder if our afflictions are a test from God or a temptation from Satan; can they be both? In every test, is there a temptation to not trust God, or even to disobey? In every temptation, is there an opportunity to trust God and grow in faith? God and Satan are both acting but with different motives. By the end of this book, we will learn what Job never knew--what went on behind the scenes. Why does God allow us to know the rest of the story? God set a limit on what Satan could do; we might feel like God has given us more than we can handle, but has He set a limit?
13-19 Somehow Satan is able in influence and use these kinds of things in our lives. Did Job see these events as "unfair" because he didn't think he deserved bad things to happen to him? How do we see our blessings and our things? If everything we are and have is from God, can He do what He pleases with it? Might God permit Satan to take from us our financial security, our emotional security, our health, our loved ones, that which we hold most dear or necessary in life? If so, can we still be OK?
20-22 Job's actions expressed his grief, in the culture of his day. Job's attitude is described by what word? Is worship a group activity that takes place in church? Is it singing or trying to feel close to God? According to the context, how might we define worship? Recognize, accept, and yield to God's will.
What does Job realize about his riches? Do we accept the fact that He has the right to take away--as much as He wants, whenever He wants? God blesses us by doing things for us; we bless Him with our words. Can we still bless Him when things are going badly? Does this mean Job doesn't have feelings? But do our feelings need to determine our lives, or overrule our faith in God? Blame (NASB) = charge God foolishly (KJV). So what would have been sinful, on Job's part, or is sin on our part?
1-2 Apparently this happens regularly, perhaps even frequently.
3-6 Might God allow trials in your life to prove something to Satan and the angels? So is life just about "me"? Are we players in the spiritual warfare between God and Satan? Do think Job is the only person who was tested this severely and for this reason, or might this scenario happen to many people?
11-13 Compare the names in 11 to Gen. 25:12-15, 36:10,11,34. This leads to the thinking that Job dates from the days of the patriarchs. When someone is grieving, is it necessary to do much talking? Don't we sometimes avoid going to a grieving person because we feel like we don't know what to say? Be there, hug, express your grief, recognize their pain, cry with them; words don't necessarily help. You can always tell them you will be praying for them, and point them to God's Word as a source of comfort.
Job obviously had more than three friends, but three in particular are spoken of in this book, who come to Job when they hear of his tragic situation. It is not known for sure where each lived, but they lived at a distance from him. They must have been his peers, in powerful positions, since Job seems to be something like a prince, based on his wealth, status, and references to his high position throughout the book; perhaps they also were something like princes in their realm. Because of Job's fame, word of him had traveled far and wide, and these three had corresponded and agreed to meet and travel together to visit Job. We see throughout the book that they too had great knowledge of God; knowledge of God was not limited, but would have spread everywhere after the flood, which was probably only several hundred years earlier.
This book gives us insight into how much people knew about God before the Law, before written revelation--what was passed down, or what God revealed of Himself to them, in whatever way. God had walked with Adam and Eve; they passed on knowledge. With extremely long lifespans, many generations were alive at the same time. They knew some things about God, but not as much as people would know later on. In the Bible we see "progressive revelation"--over time, God progressively reveals more and more of Himself. We must be careful not to judge those in earlier dispensations by the more complete knowledge of God that we have in our dispensation.
We're not going to go into detail about what everyone says in the remainder of this book. In general, we see that Job's three friends assumed that Job's troubles must be related to unconfessed sin; was this an unreasonable assumption? No, especially in the Old Testament, when God materially blessed those who were obedient to Him. We also learn that we cannot know all of God's purposes; they are inscrutable. We need to be careful what we assume about other people's troubles and about our own. We can't know why things happen. God does not promise us that kind of knowledge.
In Chapter 3, Job speaks. 1-12, what does he say about his birth? What does 13-19 speak of? Death, the grave. Might even Christians long for death when suffering? Do you think Job truly thinks these things, or might he just be venting? Do people sometimes do that in the midst of crisis? Is emotional reaction the same thing as "truth"? It helps to keep that in mind when listening to someone who is hurting or upset; we don't need to react to everything they say--allow them to let it out. Job's problems are great and we don't want to minimize what he is undergoing, but do people sometimes over-dramatize their problems and wallow in self-pity?
What possibility had Job already thought about that concerned him, 25? If God has given us earthly blessings, what should our attitude be?
Job's friends don't have all the answers, as we shall see. But that doesn't change the fact that they are wise men, and have much to say that is good and true. We often desire to turn to people instead of God, to tell our problems to, and to get advice or feedback or support. But will people tell you want you really need to hear? Only God knows what you really need. Be careful; don't accept human wisdom or counsel indiscriminately. Even if godly and well-intentioned, it may not be right. We should turn less and less to people, and more and more to God and His Word. Remember that when you are trying to help or advise someone with a problem. We don't know what we ourselves should do half the time; can we really know what someone else should do?
Many criticize these friends, but we don't know what attitude or tone of voice they have, so we will give them the benefit of the doubt. Also, keep in mind that in that day, intellectual debates were like a competition they enjoyed.
Who is speaking? Eliphaz.
1-2 He starts out tentatively, careful of Job's feelings.
3-4 What do we learn about Job?
5-6 Are we ever guilty of this--can we take our own medicine? Do we sometimes need to hear again what we already know?
7-8 In the dispensation of Law, did God promise that the righteous would be blessed and the wicked would be cursed? Yes. Job seems to predate the Law of Moses; we see no mention of the law, so we see that God had given this promise earlier. Is this promise given to the church? No; the church is promised spiritual, not physical, blessings, and is also promised tribulations. An understanding of the biblical concept of dispensations keeps us from mistakenly applying all Old Testament promises to the church. Did Eliphaz know what we know from chapters 1-2? His accusation is basically what Job's friends say throughout this book, even after Job refutes it. At the end, God corrects them--they are wrong, in this case.
9-11 Eliphaz elaborates on what he just said; this way of repeating the same thing in several parallel ways is an aspect of Hebrew poetry.
12-21 He had a vision; was it from God? A spirit, cold, fear, his hair stands on end? Not from God. Who else do we know is active in this situation regarding Job? Are all supernatural experiences from God? Does it say he heard a word from the Lord? Does Satan want us to clearly know that messages are from him? He is very tricky. If this message was from Satan, what do we make of it? Are Satan's half-truths plausible? What is Satan's purpose in planting these thoughts in his mind? 18 speaks of the angels; the second half speaks of which angels? Those who fell, and probably especially those who sinned egregiously in Gen. 6 and are confined in the abyss.
Is Satan casting doubt on God's justice and judgment regarding the angels? Is Satan telling Eliphaz that it is impossible that Job is really just, as he claims? Are we exposed to messages from Satan that sound good and plausible and seem to be from God, but that do not match what the Bible says? Which kind of messages are more deceptive--those that are obviously not right, or those that are "almost" right?
Who is speaking?
1-7 What is he saying about Job? 1, it's hopeless for Job to turn to who or who? God, angels. Apparently the false teaching of praying to angels or communicating with angels was already going on by that time. 3, foolish = wicked. 6, Eliphaz says trouble doesn't just happen; but isn't it true that our lives are characterized by troubles? Why? Because of Gen. 3. What is he implying about Job? So is he partly right and partly wrong about Job?
8-15 What is his advice, 8? Seek God. Is this good advice? Yet it seems to contradict what he said in 1. He then goes on to talk about what God is like.
16-17 Are these things true? Yet what is he implying about Job? 17 is quoted in Heb. 12:5-6. The entire Bible teaches that God sometimes uses trouble and pain for what purpose? So when man sinned in Gen. 3, was God's plan foiled? Because He gave us free will, He allowed man to choose sin and its consequences, but now He uses it for His purposes. Rom. 8:28 also teaches this.
18-27 In 18, is God the source of our pain and trouble? Who was responsible for Job's pain? But can Satan act without God's permission? Does God have reasons for giving him permission? Does this help us accept our pain and troubles with a better attitude instead of complaining and begging God to make it go away? What attitude what be pleasing to God? Humble acceptance: "Thy will be done."
He goes on to talk about how God heals and blesses the righteous. Is he speaking to and about the church? The church does not appear in God's plan until after the resurrection, and we do not find these promises repeated to the church in the epistles--the directions for the church. But this is what God did in Old Testament days.
So even though we know that Job's three friends are wrong about him, is everything they say wrong? Do they know quite a bit of truth about God? What do they not know that we know? What lesson is there for us?
Who is speaking?
1-4 Are grief and calamity a heavy load for us to bear? What is he experiencing from God's hand? Is this fact, or a conclusion based on how things look and feel? Remember, we know the facts; he doesn't.
5-7 He likens his response to life as having no appetite. Have you ever felt like that? Might Job be suffering from depression?
8-9 What does he want? Why might a suffering Christian look forward to, even desire, death? What are some reasons we look forward to the rapture? Job expresses the desire for God to end his life several times, but never speaks of the possibility of suicide.
10 But what was most important to Job? In our deepest pain, when life seems pointless, can this still be our goal--to know that our faithfulness to God pleases Him? Did he have any of the written Word? In the beginning, God's words were passed down orally. We have God's complete Word. It's also possible there was some sort of early written record.
11-13 Does he feel that he has any strength, any ability in himself, to endure? Do we need to "feel" strong to stay faithful?
14-23 What does he desire from his friends? How have they seemed instead? 16, there are several references to snow and ice in Job, perhaps evidence of the end of the ice age that followed the flood.
24-30 Is he open to hearing something helpful from them? He accuses them of being cruel and heartless, unjust, not believing him.
Who is speaking?
1-3 How does life look to him now? How long might this have happened before his friends showed up?
4-5 Do we sleep good when we are in pain or upset?
6-10 What is he saying about life? Brief. Before Christ's death for sin, all the dead went to Sheol: Hades, the grave, the place of the dead. There was a compartment for the unrighteous, and one for the righteous, called Abraham's Bosom, Luke 16:19-31.
11-16 He seems to be speaking to God; is he speaking of nightmares? Does he find restful comfort in his bed? Depressed, hopelessness, death looks good--cessation of pain.
17-21 Until I swallow my spittle: idiom meaning a brief time. What are some things Job knows about God? Does it sometimes seem that God is using us for target practice? What is really happening instead? If he has sinned, he wants to know. What is he questioning, 21?
Who is speaking? Bildad. (Bildad the who? the shortest man in the Bible!)
1-7 What is his message? People get what they deserve. Is he right or wrong? At that point in God's revelation to man, isn't this what they knew about God? So wouldn't this be Job's thinking too? This is why Job is confused and frustrated.
8-10 Who does he suggest getting counsel from? How does he compare their lifespan to past generations--the former age? 42:16, Job might have lived to what age? At least 200 years. Before the flood, lifespans were 900 years, so Bildad seems to be comparing to those before the flood. Their knowledge was still available--either passed down orally or as a written record.
11-22 What does Bildad say about those who do not trust in God? In the Old Testament, is 20-22 the way God operated?
Is Bildad all wet? Not really. Is he right, in Job's situation? No. Even though we know Scripture, can we know what God is actually doing in our situation or someone else's? We need to be careful in our conclusions. Trust God, do our best, leave Him the rest, whether we get it or not.
Who is speaking?
1-10 What is his opening comment in response to Bildad? Job agrees! He knows this is not possible, because man is what? Sinful. 5-10, "which" (KJV) - "who" (NASB). What do these verses tell us about what they knew about God? 5-6 especially imply knowledge of the great tectonic changes in the earth following the flood, or perhaps related to the dividing of the nations in Peleg's day, which some think refers to one original continent splitting apart; perhaps it had been in the recent past.
11-12 Job knew of God's omnipresence, His sovereignty.
13-16 Rahab (NASB): may be a reference to Satan the dragon. Might the "helpers" be Satan's fallen angels? What is he saying about God? About himself/man?
17-23 What is he saying about God?
24-31 What is he saying? 30, another reference to snow, possibly the end of the ice age following the flood.
32-35 Was this true then? Is it still true? Why not? Christ is the mediator; being fully man, He is able to represent us to God. Apparently there was no high priest yet. What was required for man to approach God, 1:5?
Who is speaking?
1-2 What is he still concerned about?
3-19 What would Job would like to say to God? This is what Job thinks. If we think God is unfair or unkind or unable to deal with our problem, but don't actually say it to Him, are we still criticizing/judging God? 3, is he questioning God's righteousness? Do we ever question His goodness? What is the difference between honest doubt and sinful doubt?
8-9, what does Job know about the origin of man?
15 If he is indeed righteous, what will he not do? Meaning what? So he would then be guilty of what? Does he think he is righteous? Does he think his head is lifted up? We shall see...
17 What does he accuse God of?
20-22 Where is he speaking of going? The grave. Does it appear that God has revealed much about the afterlife? We learn about Abraham's Bosom in Luke 16 as a place of comfort; does Job seem aware of that?
Who is speaking? Zophar.
1-20 What things does he accuse Job of? 7-11, are these things true? 14, is his advice good? Maybe he comes on so strong because he is ticked at Job for Job's brash talk about confronting God--wouldn't you be?
It seems that these three agree that Job is pretty much a righteous man, but that doesn't mean that there couldn't be some hidden sin in his life. Is that a wrong conclusion? Don't many people who are pretty good Christians, actively seeking and following God, have some sin they aren't dealing with? Doesn't God sometimes "force" us to deal with that sin? But if the person looks good, and says he's good, and is your friend, aren't they fine? If you suspected something like that in your friend's life, that he was hiding or refusing to deal with, would you as a true friend at least mention it, even at the risk of hurt feelings?
Are these guys really so far off? Do they have an understanding of human nature and God's nature? They know that we can't get by with sin, and that God WILL deal with sin. But, in Job's case, are they right? What is the lesson for us? Can we ever really know what is going on in someone else's life, or what God is doing in their life, or even in our own life? Be careful when counseling others. Rather than giving specific advice, what might be better? Direct them to relevant portions of Scripture.
Who speaks? Does he sound a bit sarcastic? Does he know and understand what they're saying about God?
14 on, he goes on about God's power to do whatever He wants.
15 Another hint that he may be living shortly after what major event?
16 on, what is his point about how God does things? His ways are inscrutable; do they always make sense to our limited perspective? Does that mean things are out of His control? Do we get the true facts from our five senses? From where? From what God has revealed: His Word.
1-2 Who is speaking? Still Job. What is he saying here?
3 Does he want to dispute with God or correct His thinking in some way, to get God to see HIS point of view? Do we ever feel that way? Is that valid? Doesn't that have us acting as God's judge? If we FEEL things are unfair, does that make it so? What should we think instead? Where do we get that way of thinking?
4-12 What is he saying?
13-16 What is he saying here? Is he being rather audacious? Does 15a refute what Satan thinks about Job? Does our faith in God has anything to do with "goodies"? 15b, BUT, what do we see in Job here? Godliness or self-righteousness? Can a godly person be self-righteous? Is this a danger Christians face?
15 is a little hard to interpret. Is Job talking about how greatly he trusts God? Or is he talking about how he is going to boldly confront God, even if God slays him because of it? Which does the context seem to support?
17-19 Is he humbly righteous, or brazen and cocky?
20-21 Does God remove His hand from us, or try to terrify us? We may fear that; if so, where does that fear come from? How can we know He doesn't do those things? From His Word, where we learn of His attributes and His ways.
22-23 Does he realize there might be something? Or is his tone of voice impudent? Is 23 good prayer for us also? God WILL answer it--be careful!
24-28 What does he wonder in 26? Perhaps he is reaping what he has sown in the past; does that ever happen? Even though we are forgiven for our past sins, might we still reap what we have sown? But sometimes does God graciously intervene so that doesn't happen?
Job speaks mostly about man in general.
1-2 Is this an accurate estimation of life?
3-4 What does Job know about the nature of man? Man is hopelessly sinful and subject to God's judgment.
5 Is this saying that God has decided how many days each individual will live, or that God has determined the basic lifespan of man?
6-13 What is he saying about the life of man? 11, he could be referring to the gradual receding of waters following the flood or later tectonic events.
14-15 What does Job know about the future? Resurrection, we shall be changed into our immortal state.
16-17 Job was a godly man; what did we see him doing in 1:5? What does Job know about confessed sin?
18-22 "But..." Are we subject to the law of decay? Job is fixated on the gloominess of death. Again, 18-19 may point to a time shortly after the flood, or the continental of Peleg's day, of great and rapid erosion and tectonic change.
This is the end of first round of the debate among Job and his friends. Job basically says: he's disappointed in his friends, yes God is great, he's disillusioned with God's ways, his despair/desire for death, he desires vindication from God, he doesn't think he deserves this—a little different from his initial response in CH 1-2). In each round, this is pretty much what he says. His friends don't focus on sympathy (typical men) but on what they believe they know about God (facts--typical men).
Who speaks? Eliphaz again.
1-6 Job, you're pretty what, 2? Windy! Full of hot air!
7-13 You young whippersnapper! Job was not old and wise; do we think we know it all when we're younger?
14 What does Eliphaz remind him--man is what?
15-16 What did they know about angels? Some had sinned and were wicked. So if even angels could be sinful, what does that say about man?
17-35 A long poetic way of saying that sinful men will get what? What they deserve.
1-8 Summarize Job's comments: No, YOU'RE windy! You're sorry comforters.
This brings up an interesting question: SHOULD we always be comforters to those in trouble? If, as they suspect, Job is hiding something from God, would they be true friends if they just tried to make him feel better? Does the right answer always make us feel better? Do people generally FEEL that their greatest need is to FEEL better? Should our priority be to make people feel better?
But are we called to comfort those in need of comfort? II Cor. 1:3-7.
9-14 Is this actually what God is doing to him? Does it feel/appear that way? What is the lesson for us? Who is actually doing it to him, with God's permission?
15-18 He still upholds what claim?
19-22 He realizes that man needs a what, 19? Someone where, who can plead his case before who? Can man approach God directly? Later, under the Law, what does God provide to meet this need? Priests, a high priest.
What might be a reason that God allows us to be disappointed and let down by friends or family? To accomplish what in our lives?
1-10 Job continues. "My breath is corrupt" (KJV) is more clearly translated "My spirit is broken" (NASB). Why does God allow this to happen to us? Is it a sign of God's favor when our lives go smoothly? Don't we tend to think it is? Does God want us to depend on Self and to believe that Self is enough? Compare II Cor. 4:7-11. Job complains how people are treating him; they, like Job's friends, are lacking what?
11 He speaks now of "my" what, what and what? Does God's purpose revolve around our plans and wishes? Is "me/my/I" a problem for most Christians? Why? What is the answer?
12-16 More wishing for what?
1-21 What does Bildad say about the wicked, that the Bible does indeed teach? The wicked reaps what he sows. What is his obvious conclusion about Job?
1-5 Who speaks? Who has wronged him?
6 Who else has wronged him? Do we ever think this? Is thinking it as bad as saying it? Isn't that judging God? Is Job getting bolder in defending himself? Does he know what is really going on? Are we ever like this?
7-12 Do we ever feel like this? Is this a typical scenario of what happens when God starts growing us up, taking us down that path called "dying to self"? Why does He take away the things we relied on, our expectations? So we learn to rely only on Him.
When we see this happening to a friend, should the focus of our help be about hanging on to or getting back these things that were so important to them? Is this what unbelievers are about? We should try to help them see what is happening (or what we think might be happening) and how to respond the way God would want. Read Rom. 6:6-11, II Cor. 4:7-11, 16-18.
13-19 Who all has turned against him?
20-22 So are these friends the only ones to actually be his friends, in spite of their misunderstanding?
23-24 Was writing known in patriarchal times? He desires that his words are preserved for posterity. Are they?
25-27 In the midst of his hopelessness, he hangs onto his faith. Can we also, even if there is nothing else left? What does Job know about God, in the time of the patriarchs, 25? How many great truths are found in the first half of 25? He knows that he has a what? What does a redeemer do? Redeem: buy back, usually by a near relative. What does he need to be redeemed from? So he knows man is what? Sinful. Who does he know is the Redeemer? That Redeemer lives; He is the living God (as opposed to an idol). Does he have an idea of the final outcome, of the endtimes? What will the Redeemer do at that time? He knows God is returning to reign over the earth. 26-27, what does he know? He will see God after his death, on earth, in a resurrected state. Is Job part of Israel? Is the kingdom just for Israel? We see it also includes other Old Testament saints. All the Old Testament saints will be resurrected at the beginning of the millenial kingdom. His heart longs for this to take place, because he knows he is not wicked but what? Righteous.
28-29 What does he remind his friends is coming? It's interesting that, following his statements in 25-27, he speaks of wrath and judgment. So had God revealed, from the beginning, His plan for mankind, from beginning to end, in skeleton form? He will fill in more details over time through the various writers of the Bible; this is called "progressive revelation."
Who speaks? More of the same. How does Zophar feel after Job's comments in the last two verses? What does he imply in 12-13? 24, was man primitive in earlier ages as evolutionists teach? What do we find in Gen. 4:22? What does he think about Job, 29?
1-6 Who speaks?
7-13 What has Job noticed? Don't the wicked often seem to do fine? Do we notice and wonder this too? Don't we tend to think it is only "fair" that believers should lived blessed lives and unbelievers should see troubles? Although this is the general rule under the promises and curses of the Law (which apparently had not come yet), is this promised in the church age? So what is Job saying about their theory?
14-16 Are all those in hell going to feel remorse about ending up there? This parallels the attitude in the seven years of tribulation among that group identified in Revelation as "those who dwell on the earth"--the hardcore wicked who never repent, who reject the truth and worship the beast. Do rich unbelievers take their riches with them after death?
17-18 Do we always see the wicked getting what is due them?
19-21 Does the Bible teach that God's punishes the sons for the sins of the father, or earlier generations? Some teach the concept of "generational curses," but the Bible does not teach this. It does teach that we are influenced by the sins of our fathers, whether as inherited tendencies to the same weaknesses, or whether by example.
22-26 What is his point? Death comes to all the same.
27-34 Job speaks not of eternal judgment, but of the common fate awaiting all men and earthly consequences of the righteous and wicked.
Who speaks now? Eliphaz.
1-4 Does God need our righteous acts?
5-11 Eliphaz accuses Job of sins that he has no evidence for.
12-14 What error does he accuse Job of? Thinking God doesn't see his sins.
15-20 He lumps Job in with the wicked, who think what about God? Do the wicked sometimes get undeserved physical blessings from God?
21-30 Does he give good general advice about turning to God?
Who speaks? Job.
1-7 Now we do clearly see Job's sin--what is it? Pride, bad attitude, judging God.
8-17 What are some truths he mentions? 8-9, can we see what God is doing in every situation? Is He acting even when we can't see Him acting? 10, what is God always doing in our lives? 11-12, this predates the law, but did men have knowledge of God's words and ways? 14, like the Lord's Prayer, "Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven." God is indeed working out His will. 15 speaks of God's holiness, which should lead to what response? The fear of God. 11-12, he maintains his innocence. Are we often blind to the pride we all struggle with? Or do we re-define it as something other than sin?
Why didn't Job talk directly to God, like he wanted to? Did people pray to God back then? Could they approach Him? Did they have a personal relationship with God, as do we in the church age? Why not? No mediator, no high priest. Apparently God initiated contact; people were to obey and sacrifice.
What do we find in Genesis about communication with God? God spoke to Cain, to Noah. Noah sacrificed, God spoke to him again, Gen. 9. 15, He spoke to Abraham several times--in 15, in a vision. 16, the angel of the Lord (Christ) spoke to Hagar. Every time the Lord appears to someone in the Old Testament, it must be Christ, as the angel of the Lord, because God the Father is Spirit and does not appear in physical form. 17, He appeared to Abraham and spoke with him. 18, the Lord appeared to Abraham and Abraham spoke to Him.
20:3, God appeared to Abimilech in a dream, and told him Abraham would pray for him, the first use of the word "pray," so the context becomes important in interpretation of the word. Strong's: to intercede, make supplication, entreat. Abraham prayed to God--the first time this is said. 31:11, God spoke to Jacob in a dream. Moses intercedes for the people of Israel. Exo. 33:11, God spoke to Moses face to face as a man speaks to a friend; might this mean as the angel of the Lord, rather than in dreams and visions? Later we read more of others who prayed to God: Hannah, Samuel, David, Solomon, Elisha and others.
Who is speaking? Still Job. Apparently he asks, 1, why doesn't God allow the to see the day of the wicked? Instead, the wicked just go on doing wickedly. 24, what will happen to them? 25, does he include himself with them?
What does he call the righteous, 1? What had God given to men, 13? How had men responded to that?
12 Elsewhere in these Bible studies, such as Gen. 5:17, Isa. 23-26 and Rev. 14:8, we have talked about how "the city" in the Bible often speaks of evil and the seat of commercialism--greed, materialism. Here also it is used as a place of wickedness.
19 Job has many references to ice and snow, again supporting the possibility that he lived shortly after the ice age that followed the flood. What else had God revealed to men?
Who speaks? Bildad. Does he have much to say? Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar had two go-rounds; Eliphaz and Bildad have a third; Zophar does not. From here on Job speaks, until another friend, Elihu, speaks later. 4, this is what Eliphaz said back in 4:17, apparently a message from a deceiving spirit, 4:15, that it's impossible that Job is righteous.
6, he compares man to a worm; we also find this comparison in Psa. 22:6 (David speaking) and Isa. 41:44 (God speaking). Today, self-esteem has invaded the church; Christians do not care for this idea but prefer to see themselves as having great worth. Some hymns with "offensive" wording have even been changed. In some hymnbooks, At the Cross no longer reads, "Would He devote that sacred head for such a worm as I?" but now says, "for sinners such as I?" or "for such a one as I?" Amazing Grace says God "saved a wretch like me," but may now read "that saved and set me free." Yet the Bible clearly says we are wretched sinners, Rom. 7:24 and Rev. 3:17. There are other changed hymns, also.
Job begins a lengthy discourse, through 31.
1-4 How is Job feeling about Bildad? (The "you" in 2-4 is singular in Hebrew.) What does he imply in 4? He may be referring to the spirit that spoke to Eliphaz, 4:15. He then goes on to speak of some other wicked spirits.
5-6 KJV: "Dead things are formed from under the waters, and the inhabitants thereof." NASB: "The departed spirits tremble under the water and their inhabitants." Dead things/departed spirits is "rephaim" in Hebrew--the giants spoken of earlier in the Old Testament, and connected with the Nephilim, who many believe are the wicked and powerful "mighty men" of Gen. 6:1-7. Their special fate is spoken of in I Pet. 3:19-22 and II Pet. 2:4-5. The water could speak of the waters of the flood that destroyed them. 6 speaks of Sheol (hell) and destruction (KJV)/Abaddon (NASB). Compare Rev. 11:7, 13:1 and 17:8. Perhaps Destruction is a compartment of Sheol.
7-14, Job, or man in general at that time, had some pretty scientific knowledge of God's ways, including heavenly bodies, weather cycles and the curvature of the earth. What looks to us like God's greatness is merely what, 14? Do we have any idea how great God really is? Is anything hidden from God? He is sovereign over everything, from Sheol to outer space--and man!
12 Proud (KJV)/Rahab (NASB), a different word than the word for the woman named Rahab. Strong's: proud, boaster, bluster, strength; capitalized, an epithet for Egypt. May refer to a fabled sea serpent or a constellation.
1-6 Instead of Zophar making his third reply, Job continues. Perhaps Zophar had no more to say. The "you" in 5 is plural in Hebrew; this is directed to all the friends. Who does Job blame for his bitterness, 2? 4-6, can any honest righteous person really claim this? Does he really think that he does not sin? Does he sound a little puffed up about his righteousness? So we see pride and self-righteousness. Do these sins plague Christians? Are they hard to see and admit in ourselves?
7-12 Is he calling them his enemies and wishing bad stuff on them?
13-23 Who is Job speaking about? Himself? His friends? The wicked? If the wicked get bad stuff, what does that say about Job? Does he know that he just agreed with his friends? Do any of them have the right answer--know what is really going on here?
1-11 What does Job speak of here? Did they have technology and knowledge back then? Man can find treat treasure in the earth.
12-21 What is hard to find? How valuable is it?
22 Back in 26 we read of these two; is wisdom found there, or by its inhabitants? Why not?
23-27 What do we learn here about God? Omnipresence, omniscience. Everything that happens is under God's knowledge and control.
28 How to get wisdom and understanding. This is a direct quote; apparently God said this to someone earlier and it has been passed on. Do we want to make understanding the basis of our acceptance of God? Understanding follows what?
1-6 Job longs for what? The good old days, when everything was going great.
8-25 What does Job think about himself? What three words are repeated over and over? What does this tell us about Job? Is it good to try to live pleasing to God? Do his good works place him above his fellow man?
Job was relatively young (no grandchildren, and later when God gives him more children, he lives to see the fourth generation). When we're younger, do we really understand what God intends to do in our lives? Does He want to take us further--into high school, and college, so to speak? Does the subject matter get more complex and the tests harder? Do we sometimes resent what is happening when our comfortable little Christian life isn't so comfortable anymore? Might we feel angry or rebellious toward God, and ask "why"?
What is happening, Rom. 8:13? Does Self want to die? Or to peacefully coexist with the new nature? Is that possible? When someone dies that we care about, what do we experience? Grief. A long and difficult grieving may set in, as we slowly come to terms with the daily dying to Self. Why does God put us through this? Do we crave a closer walk with God, more maturity? Is that process pleasant? Compare Luke 9:23-25.
1-15 Who mocks him? Job complains that he has become an object of ridicule even to the lowlifes. Part of this slow painful process of dying to Self, as God humbles you before Him, might be the humiliation of how you think you look to others, what they think of you. Is this pride? Is it desirable to be good? Is the flip side of that coin the sinful pride of being concerned that you look good to others? 11, does it sometimes feel like God is using us for target practice? Who is actually doing that? And who permits him to do that to us? Why?
16-18 His physical pain never ceases. Is his pain only physical, or also emotional and spiritual?
19-31 Is this honest reflection or is Job wallowing in self-pity? Is there a fine line?
23 He accepts that death eventually awaits him; is death random, or who is in control of that event and its timeline?
26 What is the "e" word here (NASB)? Along with physical pain, does this sum up a major part of Job's problem? As per the previous chapter, did Job have pretty high expectations of life by this time? Are expectations often the source of frustration, anger, self pity, and bitterness? If God ask us to give up our expectations and accept reality, might we experience anguish and grief? Expectations say: I deserve to be treated like THIS, I don't deserve for THIS to be happening, here's what "I" think should happen, here's how "I" think people should act. Do we deserve anything? Is this part of dealing with Self, with the Christian's old nature?
29 Dragons(KJV)/jackals(NASB) is from the Hebrew "tannin" and is probably what we would call dinosaurs. Many wonder where dinosaurs fit into the Bible because they don't seem to be mentioned; the word "dinosaur" was coined in the 1800s so is not found in the Bible. But various dinosaur types seem to be mentioned, as here, often by the term "dragon." Dragons are not mythical creatures, although they have been preserved for us in mythology, which may have kernels of truth that have been somewhat fictionalized as they have been passed down from ancient times.
Job recounts how he has lived a godly life to the best of his abilities; this chapter is a great description of the life of a godly person. So was God right in boasting about him to Satan?
1-34 1-12, sexual purity. 13-15, a fair employer. 16-23, generous to the needy. 24-25, not materialistic, even though he has much. 26-28, not an idolater. 29-34, hospitality.
33 Does he know that Adam is a historical figure? Job lived probably within the first couple hundred years after the flood; Adam died about 700 years before the flood; Methuselah, Noah's grandfather, who died just before the flood, was alive when Adam was alive. What important truth does he know about Adam?
35-40 But...he thinks those things entitle him to a certain standing with God. He thinks they are important; are they? Yes and no. Does he have any inkling of the fact that even a righteous person like himself sins and falls short? Is he proud of his righteousness, 35-37? (In Job's day, the righteous did not have the indwelling Holy Spirit and the two natures which war within.)
Are we to try to do and be our best before God? What is the difference if our efforts are from Self or through the power of the Spirit? For the New Testament Christian, with both an old nature and a new nature, does Self continually try to take over? Does Satan want us to think that Self isn't really ALL bad, that Self just needs fixed up a little? Are there pitfalls for living a godly life as well as for an ungodly life?
Does God sometimes let us struggle and even fail in our efforts to live godly so that we learn to have a distrust of Self, even a loathing for Self and its pride? We are nothing before Him, we are nothing without Him, we deserve nothing from Him. Yet He loves us and has given us worth, because of what He did, not what we do. Anything we can do that pleases Him is only through yielding to the empowering of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Because he lived in an earlier dispensation, Job's situation is not exactly like ours, but we can relate to his struggles and learn from them and from his responses.
Job has finished what he has to say; he has made his case. Or perhaps it just seems that way; now another friend speaks up, and then God Himself speaks. Perhaps, after listening to them, Job is left with nothing else to say.
Does Job think he is right? Does he think God is right, or unjust? Here is the crux of the book. Job is proud of his righteousness, and he has set himself as God's judge.
Now Elihu speaks. He will come closer to the answer than the other three did.
1-5 How does he feel (mentioned four times)? He sees Job's problem as what? Sinful attitude, not sinful actions. Do we tend to see ourselves as fairly righteous as long as our actions don't appear sinful? Do we tend to overlook attitude as just as big a problem of sin? Is Job as good as he thinks and says he is? His three friends now see him as what? Self-righteous. Elihu sees him as what? Arrogant before God. So what is Job's real problem? Pride. But isn't his pride justified, at least from a human standpoint? Yes. So can we ever escape sin? Can we be good without pride tripping us up? It's difficult. So whether we're good or bad, we're always sinful.
Why was Elihu angry at the three friends? Don't we love to speak authoritatively on things? Do we always know as much as we think we do?
6-9 Why does he wait so long? Are elders always the wisest?
10-22 "I must speak." 21, is this a common trap? Who may we be tempted to be partial to, rather than be honest?
Elihu has not begun his argument yet; these are his introductory remarks.
1-7 Elihu's first speech. He too is a godly believer. He makes that clear; might he also have some spiritual pride? Yet in 6-7 he seems humble. Were the three friends proud of their knowledge and insight and correctness? Is it good to be righteous and right? If we are, should we deny that in order to be spiritual and humble? But is it a good idea to focus on it, either in our own minds or in our speaking to others? Humility is not focusing on Self, no matter how good we are doing or what a good job we have done on something.
8-12 He quotes Job and says he is wrong: God is not unjust or unfair.
13-14 Does he agree that God is not answering Job? Do we ever miss the fact that God is indeed speaking to us, or has spoken to us, about our concern? He says God allows suffering for what purpose? Job's three friends said suffering was the result of what? Might both be right?
15-18 How did God speak to men in those days? How in later days? Through the law and the prophets (which were recorded and became the Old Testament), then through Jesus Christ (the living Word) and His apostles (whose words were recorded and became the New Testament). Now, God speaks through His entire written Word. We now have everything God has to say to us.
17 The book of Job is the first place the Bible uses the word "proud," in 40:11-12. Here it speaks of pride, which has already been mentioned several times in the Bible. What does this verse say about pride?
19-22 What is another way God speaks to men? Might pain and illness be for our learning? So other than speaking to men through words, does God "speak" to us through circumstances sometimes?
23-25 Again we see that they recognized the need for a what? mediator. A mediator could offer a what, 24? He could redeem them.
26-33 This is unclear, apparently due to the Hebrew language. It may be saying that Elihu is saying that he would be a mediator and pray to God for Job, that he might be restored, that Job would admit he has twisted God's ways, but is redeemed from death and enlightened in the process. Job does not speak; perhaps he tried to and Elihu discourages him. Or perhaps he doesn't know how to answer Elihu. Does Elihu come across as proud? Do they all have a problem with pride? Is this a pretty universal problem, even among believers?
The three friends had a narrow view of God: He ALWAYS does things a certain way. Was God larger than their picture of Him? Were there other reasons for His actions that they could not have imagined? Does God always fit into the "box" we have made for Him? How do we get out of that kind of thinking? Read and study the whole Bible and get a biblical view of who God is, what He does, how He works in people's lives. Because He did a certain thing for you before, will He do it that way again? Because He did something for someone else, will He do it that way for you? He is sovereign, and He knows what each person needs.
1-15 In Elihu's second speech, he takes on the three friends, Hebrew plural "you." If you have trouble understanding or accepting what God has said about something, or what He is doing in your life, or anything about Him, how do 10 and 12 answer this? Can God do wrong or make a mistake? What if it "seems" wrong to us or someone else? When we can't understand what God is doing, we can trust in His character, Psa. 7:11.
16-35 Now he addresses Job; "you" is singular in 16. 21, He knows all our what and what? 24-30, is God sovereign over rulers, powerful men, nations? 29, why is God sometimes silent, and sometimes He hides His face? II Cor. 5:7, what is God teaching us? 33, "your terms"--does God deal with us on our terms? But do we try this tactic sometimes? 35, Job needs to learn (instead of repent, as the others said). Compare Heb. 12:7.
36-37 The three friends said Job must have hidden sin. Elihu says this is Job's sin. Who is right? The friends draw conclusions based on how things look; Elihu bases his arguments on principles about God.
1-2 In Elihu's third speech, unlike the three friends, he doesn't charge Job with secret sin, but with what?
3-7 Does God gain or lose anything by our righteousness or sinfulness? Do we have anything of value to give Him? Is salvation "giving your life to the Lord" as is often taught? What is salvation? Accepting/receiving His gift of forgiveness of our sin--what He did for us. "Nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling."
8 If God is not affected by our good or bad actions, then, says Elihu, who is? Other people should be our motivation to do good and not evil.
9-14 Is God obligated to answer those who call Him? Especially not if your attitude is proud and self-righteous; God wants a humble heart that is open and willing to learn and be corrected. Compare Isa. 66:2. 10 speaks of God as what? And man as created higher than what?
15-16 Elihu accuses Job: Since God hasn't acted the way Job thinks He should, or even acknowledged Job's concerns and accusations, Job is just showing his ignorance. Is Elihu closer to the truth about Job than the three friends who accuse him of secret unrepentant sin?
1-6 Elihu's fourth speech. Is he starting to come across as pretty cocky? 4, is he impressed with himself, or just comparing himself to the other friends?
7-12 Did Job feel like God was watching over him? What do we learn about God's sovereignty? The Bible records many of God's dealings with kings and rulers.
13-16 He speaks about the godless, then who in 15? He brings the discussion back to Job, "you." 15, do we listen better when we have affliction?
17-23 He warns Job not to respond like the ungodly would. Do Christians ever do that? 20, is he reproving Job's desire for death as an escape? 21, do Christians sometimes blame God instead of accepting without complaint the affliction God has allowed?
24-33 God's greatness is shown in nature; it is visible to who, 25? 26, in their dispensation, did believers have a personal relationship with God? Why couldn't they, like we can? In the Old Testament they were to know that God is the Lord, the true and living God, but in the New Testament we are told that we can know Him, especially in the writings of John.
1-13 Elihu continues as if there is no chapter break. 1, what is his response to what he just described about God, and what he continues to describe? Should our hearts tremble in awe of God? Do we sometimes lose this in focusing on His love and mercy? Does nature reveal God's power? He controls all those things, and they serve His purposes. We see knowledge of weather patterns, while ascribing their origin to God. Mentions of snow and ice again make us wonder if this is not long after the ice age. 13, why does Elihu remind Job of all these things about God's power over nature? Can we know what is God's purpose in anything and everything that happens? But He has a purpose--we can trust in that.
14-20 Elihu's concluding remarks. He reminds Job that he does not know as much about God as he thinks he knows: 14, consider; 15, do you know; 16, do you know; 18, can you; 19, teach us.
21-24 Might 21-22 speak of the northern lights? He keeps pointing Job to God and what He is like rather than focusing on himself and his circumstances and troubles--do we have that same trouble? How does focusing on and understanding God's sovereignty help us accept whatever is happening that we can't understand? Elihu doesn't exactly say this, but is the message that we should just trust God?
24 What does the last statement mean? Pride? How does God feel about pride? What do most people tend to think are the most serious sins instead?
Did Elihu understand what was really going on in Job's situation? Did he have a better grasp of the problem than the three friends did? They thought Job was harboring sin, but Elihu thought God was using suffering to instruct Job.
1 Who speaks now? God speaks to Job in chapters 38-41. Where else do we have God "appearing" in a whirlwind? Elijah, chariots of fire. There are numerous references to God using whirlwinds, especially in judgment. The Bible indicates that God often uses forces of nature to accomplish His purposes. As we have seen in this book, all those forces are under God's control. We will see God claiming that every element of the creation is specifically ordained by Him and under His immediate control. We will now read the entire chapter to get the impact of what God says.
1-41 How does God deal with Job's arrogant attitude? What does He say about Job's words, 2? Are we ever guilty of this? 3, what does "gird up your loins" imply? They tied up their robes with a belt when working.
7 Does the phrase "sons of God" speak of men or angels? As we saw in 1:6, angels are in view, so we can conclude that this phrase refers to angels not men in that passage in Gen. 6:1-2, not righteous men (the "Sethite" view ie that "sons of God" were the righteous men of the line of Seth). "Stars" in the Bible sometimes speak of angels (Rev. 12:4), not literal stars. Given the context of "sons of God," would "morning stars" here speak of celestial objects or angels?
8-11 may speak of the flood; 22 and 29-30 may speak of the ice age following the flood.
16 "Springs of the sea": these sources of water at the bottom of the sea floor in the very deepest parts have only been recently discovered.
22-23 Does God sometimes use forces of nature in accomplishing His will on this earth, in bringing judgment? Rev. 16:21.
Does God sound almost sarcastic? Or demanding? He is definitely putting Job in his place. He doesn't mention pride, but is He addressing Job's pride?
Does God address Job's concerns, questions and demands? What is the purpose of His questions? What does He talk to Job about? He emphasizes His role as what? Creator--Sovereign over all. Does the creation witness to God's awesome greatness and power? Psa. 19, Rom. 1:18-19.
What was God's defining act in the Old Testament? Creation. It is evidence for all to see; its witness is clear enough that all who reject God are without excuse. The Sabbath was a weekly reminder of six-day creation. What was God's defining act in the New Testament? The cross, the resurrection. In speaking to those who do not believe the Bible and maybe do not even believe in God, we might start with creation as irrefutable evidence for the existence of God.
Do we sometimes question God, and wish He would just help us to understand what is going on and why? Does He explain that stuff to us? What can we learn from this chapter? How does understanding God's sovereignty help us trust and not doubt?
1-30 In the previous chapter, God spoke to Job about the earth, the solar system, and the forces of nature. Now He speaks to Job about various wild creatures He has made. Does Job have understanding of or control over any of the things God points out to him? What is God's point? What word that we talked about at the end of the previous chapter sums up what God is teaching Job in this chapter also? His sovereignty, over all His creation.
9 speaks of a unicorn (KJV), or wild ox (NASB). It was large and powerful and could not be domesticated. Some think this word speaks of a creature that is now extinct.
17 Do animals have the ability to reason and understand, to be wise? What did God give animals instead? They operate on instinct. Do many today see humans as just another animal? Do some believe in treating animals like humans? According to the theory of evolution, who came first--man or animals? Therefore man is a "johnny-come-lately" on the planet and is seen as taking rights and territory away from animals; man's presence and technology are seen as negative not positive. Environmentalism and animal rights are based on a belief in evolution and do not line up with the Bible.
19-25 What was the horse's main role at that time? We may think of horses as timid and fearful, but stallions were used for war because of their bold, aggressive nature.
Has God addressed Job's primary concerns? Did God think Job needed those particular questions answered? Might some of our questions also be "irrelevant"? If He doesn't answer those questions to our satisfaction, does that mean He doesn't care or isn't listening or answering? What does God think we need to know instead? "I AM." How will that knowledge help us with our questions and doubts? What should be our response to that knowledge?
1-5 God tells Job it's his turn. What does He accuse Job of doing? Here's the chance Job's been waiting for--how does he do? What is his response? "Behold": Job is greatly astonished! 4, "vile" (KJV) has the meaning "insignificant" (NASB). Strong's: made light, made small, trifling, vile, brought into contempt, cursed, despised, afflicted. Do we think our thoughts are extremely important? If we knew the whole picture, we would know how little we know. But the more we come to know God, the more we come to know our true selves. But has Job admitted any sin on his part? Has he taken back anything he said?
6-14 As at the first, God speaks from where? Does it sound like God is satisfied with Job's response? What does God accuse him of in 7-9? Is it true that because we can't figure out what God is doing, that means He is unfair? Has Job humbled himself to actually recognize, confess and repent of his audacity? Do we sometimes fail to confess a sin because we have not yet admitted it is sin? Do we sometimes look at ourselves with blinders on?
11-12 What does God specifically speak to Job about here? Often, the first time a word is used in the Bible is significant. It is interesting that in the KJV, the word "proud" is first used in Job. Several different Hebrew words are used; the word speaking of man's pride is found twice, here in 11-12, where God is confronting Job. What does God say must happen to the proud?
From 15 through the end of the next chapter, God tells Job of two more creatures--apparently the two mightiest and most amazing--perhaps because Job still needs to be brought down a peg or two? Job has seen he ought to shut his mouth and say no more, but God wants more from him.
15-24 Some translations, in the margin, or commentators, explain that Behemoth is a hippo, elephant, croc, water-ox, an unknown, extinct, or mythical creature, or a poetic description. His description sounds like a massive dinosaur; note his tail, 17. There is much evidence that after the flood, at least some dinosaurs still existed; it has probably only been a couple hundred years since the flood. Dinosaurs were on the ark because all creatures were created in the first six days; radical climate and tectonic changes following the flood would lead to gradual extinction of dinosaurs as they were not able to adapt. Why is the word "dinosaur" not found in the Bible? The word was not coined until the 1800's. There are many references to dragons in the KJV.
1-34 What does Leviathan sound like? Some commentators and margin notes say crocodile, a mythical creature, or a poetic description; it sounds more like a fierce, mighty, unassailable, dangerous sea monster, marine dinosaur, or marine/land reptile. Compare 7,15,18-21,22,31-33. This creature is also referred to in Psa. 74:14 and 104:26.
10-11 What is God's point as this relates to Job?
18-21 Why are there so many references to fire-breathing dragons in every culture's legends? It's very possible that some dinosaurs had this capability, as detailed in various creationist publications.
Isa. 27:1 also speaks of leviathan (a transliteration of the Hebrew word "livyathan" (serpent). What other two words are used to identify this creature? Piercing (fugitive, fleeing, crooked) serpent ("nachash"--snake, serpent). Dragon--the term that seems to speak of dinosaurs ("tanniyn"--marine or land monster, sea serpent, jackal). The phrase "in that day" often speaks of the endtimes--the day of the Lord; what might leviathan, the serpent, the dragon, have to do with that? So Levithan seems to refer both to a literal creature and symbolically to who? The great red dragon of Rev. 12:9. How will he be punished at that time--what the Lord's what? And what else will He do to him?
Compare 8 and 19-21 to Eph. 6:10-17. 15 speaks of his what? Compare Isa. 14:12-15, Eze. 28:15,17. What does 24 tell about him? The sea (or isles, or coastlands) often speak symbolically of the Gentile nations; what might 31 say about this? He stirs up the whole earth; this comes to a head in the seven years of tribulation.
33-34 What key word in 34 points us to Satan? What does this chapter tell us about Satan that we need to know? What is God speaking about in this description of Leviathan, that has to do with Job? What is God's point about pride? So what was Satan's downfall? Did he appeal to man's pride in the Garden of Eden? Is pride our biggest problem--for both believer and unbeliever? And for Job? Is it sometimes hard to see and admit and deal with pride--Self?
1-6 Job's response to God. He admits God's sovereignty. What change do we see in Job? What's the key word? Repent. What is he confessing, repenting of? His pride. The more clearly he sees God, the more he finally realizes how arrogant, ridiculous and unworthy he is. Is that true for us also? Did Job think he was sinful, or that he had unconfessed sin? Did he finally realize he deserved nothing from God? What can we learn from this? He quotes God's questions; what does he admit? That he has no answer for the questions God asked him. 5, apparently God had never appeared to Job before this, as He had to others in dreams and visions. Job sees God: this would be the pre-incarnate Christ, since the Father is spirit and cannot be seen.
6 NASB/retract, KJV/abhor myself. Strongs: abhor, cast away, condemn, despise, disdain, loathe, become loathsome, refuse, reject, vile person. Did Job come to terms with Self? Does this mean we need to see ourselves as a terrible person, outwardly speaking, that we should not take pride in a job well done? Or is it about our attitude to our inner self—seeing it as our own worst enemy, as unfixable, as vile, even as loathsome?
Is it OK to feel good about ourselves or be proud of things we have accomplished? Can we do this without sinning? But might it cause us to sin? What is the answer? Who has given us the ability to do those things? Is it biblical to focus on self-esteem? Psychology is about focusing on who? Self. Self is good, Self has all the answers within, Self is the most important pursuit in life--the worship of Self. Biblical Christianity is about focusing on who? Realizing that only God is good, has the answers, is the most important, is to be worshipped.
Does peace come when we stop asking why? Do we deserve anything from God--like happiness, having what we want, having a difficult situation end--the way we want? Might we realize it's true but not really accept it for ourselves? Until we do, might we struggle with anger, self-pity, resentment, bitterness? How did God help Job deal with this issue? He showed Job His greatness, His sovereignty. Does the sovereign God have the right to deal with you any way that He wants?
Does God tell Job what was really going on? Do we know if he knew? Was it necessary for him to know? Might he have learned later and been the writer of this book? Is it necessary for us to know? Job's trials were for whose benefit? Job, Satan, angels, everyone who reads the Bible. Can we know how God might use our trials? Does this encourage us?
Many people think this book is about patience--would you describe Job as patient? Why do people think this? Because in the KJV, James 5:11 speaks of the "patience of Job." Compare several phrases in 10-11: "an example of suffering affliction and of patience," "we count them happy which endure," and "the patience of Job." Compare the same phrases in the NASB: "suffering and patience," we count those blessed who endured," "the endurance of Job." The three phrases use three different Greek words. What is the difference between patience and endurance? Endure (Strong's): to remain, stay under, undergo, bear, persevere, abide, suffer, take patiently.
7-9 What happened to Job's three friends? Why is nothing said about Elihu? Was he closer to the truth than the others? Does God say Job spoke "right," 8, because Job repented and the other three did not repent? Or is God speaking about Job's remarks throughout the book?
We often need to comfort others; what can we learn from the errors of the three friends? Will He always act the same way in every situation with every person? Is 12 a promise that God will do the same for us? Do we have an advantage of knowing more about God than these people did?
10-17 Job is restored. Why did God only give Job the same number of children as before, when everything else was doubled? Maybe because he still had those first children--they were not gone.
This book deals with suffering, pride, repentance, endurance. Are these problems Christians continue to have? What are some reasons for suffering? Heb. 2:10, 2:18, 5:8, II Cor. 4:17. When we are suffering and enduring trials, might we be thinking or responding wrongly about God, about ourselves, about what is going on? We need to be careful in helping others who are suffering to get a better scriptural understanding or make needed changes. Did Job's suffering lead to his pride, or was pride already a problem?
Do we tend to see pride and self-righteousness (see chapter 29) as seriously as we see murder, lying, drunkenness, homosexuality, etc.? Job looked good on the outside; he thought he was better than others, and that his goodness should have earned him special status with God. God allowed Job's afflictions to show what was in his heart. Is God more interested in legalistic good deeds or relationship? Isa. 64:6, our righteousness is as what in God's sight? Filthy rags.
God allowed crushing affliction to bring into the open his attitude about his own righteousness and his faulty view of himself; then God was able to deal with him. Job learned that nothing he did earned special favor with God nor elevated him above his fellow humans; he had nothing to boast about. Now Job's humble and contrite spirit made him teachable. Psa. 51:17, Isa. 66:2. Does this help us understand, accept, and respond to our problems? Whether our problems are of our own doing or not, is God using them to bring about His best for us ultimately?
Copyright 2017 Jan Young
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