JOB STUDY, PART II, 24.10.19

 

PART 2: SUPPORT THROUGH LIFE’S STORMS & TESTING

NOTE: 

PARTICIPANTS WOULD BE ENCOURAGED TO REVIEW ALL OF JOB ON YOUR OWN, AS THIS STUDY IS NOT DESIGNED TO NAVIGATE VERSE BY VERSE OR EVEN CHAPTER BY CHAPTER, BUT RATHER TO ZERO IN ON SELECTED, SPECIFIED ASPECTS OF THE JOB STORY/EXPERIENCE. THE STUDY TOPIC ALSO ASSUMES THE STUDENT’S FAMILIARITY WITH JOB’S STORY.

Where do you go when you are hurting? Who do you turn to for encouragement, assistance, and support when you are floundering in the midst of life’s trials and storms? Who can you trust when you are being tested?

Today STUDY CORNER will look at some examples of social interaction through Job’s trials and tribulations, to see what happened when Job looked to his friends for support. Keep in mind that STUDY GUIDE will probe deeper for individual, personal application, and what life lessons can be learned from Job’s experience; so be watching for these throughout the STUDY time.

Job consults with, and looks for encouragement and support from three key friends:Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. As any individual facing a harsh situation, Job was looking for emotional support, compassion, encouragement, some form of hope. Let’s take a look and see if what he did receive was helpful.

We will look at some selections of interactive responses and see what came out of them.

JOB 4:

JOB 4:5
But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart.
You are terrified when it touches you.

5 But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart.

    You are terrified when it touches you.

6 Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence?

    Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?

7 “Stop and think! Do the innocent die?

    When have the upright been destroyed?

8 My experience shows that those who plant trouble

    and cultivate evil will harvest the same.

9 A breath from God destroys them.

    They vanish in a blast of his anger.

10 The lion roars and the wildcat snarls,

    but the teeth of strong lions will be broken.

11 The fierce lion will starve for lack of prey,

    and the cubs of the lioness will be scattered.

12 “This truth was given to me in secret,

    as though whispered in my ear.

13 It came to me in a disturbing vision at night,

    when people are in a deep sleep.

14 Fear gripped me,

    and my bones trembled.

15 A spirit swept past my face,

    and my hair stood on end.

Look for signals in the above response by Eliphaz -i.e. what tone do you discern? Is there an encouraging, compassionate tone here or  does there seem to be a mocking tone – a derogatory, judgmental tone, even accusatory tone? (STUDY GUIDE will take this up more specifically).

In the next quote, Job’s friend, Bilidad made his pitch to Job:

JOB 8:

2 “How long will you go on like this?

    You sound like a blustering wind.

3 Does God twist justice?

    Does the Almighty twist what is right?

4 Your children must have sinned against him,

    so their punishment was well deserved.

5 But if you pray to God

    and seek the favor of the Almighty,

6 and if you are pure and live with integrity,

    he will surely rise up and restore your happy home.

 

Look for accusatory implications of blame in the above set. It sounds like Job is being blamed for what has happened to him. He surely must have brought it upon himself. Interestingly enough, it was wrapped up with a very positive prophetic word, which was fully realized at the end of Job’s plight: “though you started with little, you will end with much” (Job 8:7). Refer to question #8 on MENTORING CORNER’S STUDY GUIDE, and begin tying some things together as we go along. You may get more out of it by doing so.

 

Continuing on with more of the same, in JOB 8:

11 “Can papyrus reeds grow tall without a marsh?

    Can marsh grass flourish without water?

12 While they are still flowering, not ready to be cut,

    they begin to wither more quickly than grass.

13 The same happens to all who forget God.

    The hopes of the godless evaporate.

14 Their confidence hangs by a thread.

    They are leaning on a spider’s web.

15 They cling to their home for security, but it won’t last.

    They try to hold it tight, but it will not endure.

16 The godless seem like a lush plant growing in the sunshine,

    its branches spreading across the garden.

17 Its roots grow down through a pile of stones;

    it takes hold on a bed of rocks.

18 But when it is uprooted,

    it’s as though it never existed!

 

Interestingly, again, at the end of Bildad’s tirade, he wraps it up with a very hopeful prophecy

20 “But look, God will not reject a person of integrity,

    nor will he lend a hand to the wicked.

21 He will once again fill your mouth with laughter

    and your lips with shouts of joy.

22 Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,

    and the home of the wicked will be destroyed.”

And it all comes true at the end. What does that tell us?

 

Hear from Zophar in Job Chapter 11:

3 Should I remain silent while you babble on?

    When you mock God, shouldn’t someone make you ashamed?

4 You claim, ‘My beliefs are pure,’

    and ‘I am clean in the sight of God.’

5 If only God would speak;

    if only he would tell you what he thinks!

6 If only he would tell you the secrets of wisdom,

    for true wisdom is not a simple matter.

Listen! God is doubtless punishing you

    far less than you deserve!

13 “If only you would prepare your heart

JOB 11:13
“If only you would prepare your heart
and lift up your hands to him in prayer!

    and lift up your hands to him in prayer!

14 Get rid of your sins,

    and leave all iniquity behind you.

15 Then your face will brighten with innocence.

B    You will be strong and free of fear.

16 You will forget your misery;

    it will be like water flowing away.

17 Your life will be brighter than the noonday.

    Even darkness will be as bright as morning.

18 Having hope will give you courage.

    You will be protected and will rest in safety.

19 You will lie down unafraid,

    and many will look to you for help.

More assumptions, accusations, mocking, and condemnation come from Zophar. If Job was hoping for encouragement and compassion, this must have been extremely disappointing. And if these are Job’s friends, I’m relieved we’re not given to hear from his enemies.

REFERENCES:

Job 4:5-15

Job 8:2-6,11-22

Job 11:3-6,13-19

Scriptures taken from NLT

© 2019 by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.

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