Day 141 – Thru the Bible
Today we continue Job and continue Psalms. Here is another video on Job and how it relates to the Wisdom books.
Video – Wisdom:Job
How does today’s video help you understand the wisdom books better?
Job 4 & 5 – The first intervention of Job’s friend Eliphaz is a mistaken speech, and on two counts. First, it is spoken under the heading of “If I were you, I’d . . .”. In other words, Eliphaz presents himself as superior to the sufferer in front of him. Sufferers are seldom able to hear such an attitude from another person no matter how well-meaning the person is. Eliphaz is telling Job what to do on the basis, supposedly, of Eliphaz’s deeper understanding. He therefore presents himself as superior from the start, disqualifying himself from any true empathy that would really help his friend.
Second, Eliphaz’s words reek of piety, in the negative sense of that word. Much of what Eliphaz says sounds good—and, to a Believer’s ear, true. But it is so full of platitudes that it falls flat. It sounds like one boasting of his own righteousness while giving a theology lecture about God’s nature (Luke 18:11), and by doing so demonstrating that he cannot really sense the seriousness of Job’s pain. Rather, Eliphaz is like one who says, “‘Peace, peace,’ when there is no peace” (Jeremiah 6:14; 8:11).
It is for us a good and graceful thing that the Word of God gives this example of Eliphaz, this portrait of a mistaken man. We can see in Eliphaz how NOT to go about comforting our fellow sufferers. We don’t detach ourselves from and thereby look down on the sufferings of another human being.
We can’t tell someone who is unwell that all will be well, even if we know that it is true. This is because unwell people will probably receive such encouragement as a judgment on their experience, and therefore close their ears. Sufferers do not require the theological statements of those whose lives are currently easy. They require the graceful presence of friends who are wise enough to “weep with those who weep” (Romans 12:15).
How do you comfort friends in need?
Job 6 & 7 – Job responds to Eliphaz’s words of “comfort.” Eliphaz has suggested that Job’s suffering may mean that he has been a fool (see 5:3–7). Job argues that a person such as Eliphaz who withholds kindness from a friend is himself acting unwisely (forsakes the fear of the Almighty).
If upright words are used properly, they can reprove a person and save him from foolishness. However, Job is a despairing man, pouring out his complaint before God. His friends are wrong to assume that he needs to be corrected.
For the first time, Job declares that he is innocent and deserving of vindication.
In 7:11 the three parallel statements of this verse (I will . . . ) mark the transition from Job’s response to Eliphaz to his response to God. That transition is also marked by the change in reference to God from the third person (“he”) in 6:9 to the second person (“you”) in 7:12.
“What is man, that you make so much of him echoes” Psalm 8:4 (“what is man that you are mindful of him”). However, where Psalm 8 marvels at how humanity has been crowned with glory by God, Job laments the weight of God’s watchful presence crushing him (7:20).
How do you keep from making assumptions about others when they are suffering?
Psalm 136 – This Psalm is unique in the Psalter in having the same refrain (“for His steadfast love endures forever”) for every verse of the Psalm. The Hebrew word translated “steadfast love” is hesed and refers to the covenant commitment and loyal, faithful love that originates in God and is resolutely expressed toward His people.
The psalmist reflects mostly on three areas of God’s work and ties each area to God’s steadfast love. After beginning with a note of thanksgiving to this God of steadfast love, he then declares that God created and rules over the heavens and earth, the sun, moon, and stars; that God saw the affliction of His people in Egypt and moved in to save them from their oppressors; and that God preserved His people in their wilderness wanderings, fulfilling His promise to them by bringing them into the Promised Land.
A final note of thanksgiving takes us back to where we began: “Give thanks to the God of heaven, for His steadfast love endures forever” (v. 26). Each of these three main areas—God as creator, redeemer, and protector/provider—elicit from the psalmist the same response: “for His steadfast love endures forever.” Were it not for the faithfulness of God to His people, they would have no hope.
God does not show His care to them, provide for them, protect them from harm, fulfill good for them, because they deserve these kindnesses from the Lord! Indeed, though they (and we!) are totally undeserving of any good thing from God’s hand, He nonetheless showers His people with His loyal and steadfast love. The steadfast love of the Lord is supremely revealed in the sending of his own Son to suffer and die for the sins of His people.
How does this Psalm lead you to worship Jesus?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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