Blogging through the Bible: Job 6-10

Friday, January 15, 2016

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Are you enjoying reading through the book of Job? I know I am. It's amazing how easy it becomes to make Bible applications to life when you're reading a certain book that discusses a particular theme.

This week's readings discussed the following:

Job 6: Job appeals to his friends for sympathy.

Job 7: Job appeals to God for relief.

Job 8: Bildad responds to Job: advises him to get things right with God

Job 9: Job's affirmation of God's power and questioning of God's justice.

Job 10: Job's plea to God.


The following are my observations as I read the aforementioned chapters. I am happy to hear your thoughts and observations as well, so feel free to share in the comments section below.

Job 6

This chapter is Job's answer to his friends words. What I gathered is that Job is displeased by the words of Eliphaz and all he requests is their sympathy for his suffering  rather than their judgement (Job 6:14).  For them knowing Job's character and to find him enduring such suffering must have made them question his righteousness. Imagine that, someone who they may have seen teaching others how to live a godly life, returning a faithful tithe, following the scriptures etc to be in such a state may have gotten their minds going as to what either in his younger years or in the secret of his home, he must have done to deserve such a punishment. 

Job is bold in his response to them. He states his disappointment and compares them to a stream that is not connected to a perpetual supply of water (Job 6:15-19). When I first read this, I didn't understand the comparison so I had to study it closer to get exactly what Job was saying here. Bible Commentators explain this text as follows: 

15. Those whom I regarded as "my brethren," from whom I looked for faithfulness in my adversity, have disappointed me, as the streams failing from drought--wadies of Arabia, filled in the winter, but dry in the summer, which disappoint the caravans expecting to find water there. The fulness and noise of these temporary streams answer to the past large and loud professions of my friends; their dryness in summer, to the failure of the friendship when needed. The Arab proverb says of a treacherous friend, "I trust not in thy torrent" ( Isaiah 58:11 , Margin). 

stream of brooks--rather, "the brook in the ravines which passes away." It has no perpetual spring of water to renew it (unlike "the fountain of living waters,"  Jeremiah 2:13 ,  Isaiah 33:16 , at the end); and thus it passes away as rapidly as it arose.


16. blackish--literally, "Go as a mourner in black clothing" ( Psalms 34:14 ). A vivid and poetic image to picture the stream turbid and black with melted ice and snow, descending from the mountains into the valley. In the [second] clause, the snow dissolved is, in the poet's view, "hid" in the flood [UMBREIT].

17. wax warm--rather, "At the time when." ("But they soon wax") [UMBREIT]. "they become narrower (flow in a narrower bed), they are silent (cease to flow noisily); in the heat (of the sun) they are consumed or vanish out of their place. First the stream flows more narrowly--then it becomes silent and still; at length every trace of water disappears by evaporation under the hot sun" [UMBREIT].

18. turned aside--rather, "caravans" (Hebrew, "travellers") turn aside from their way, by circuitous routes, to obtain water. They had seen the brook in spring full of water: and now in the summer heat, on their weary journey, they turn off their road by a devious route to reach the living waters, which they remembered with such pleasure. But, when "they go," it is "into a desert" [NOYES and UMBREIT]. Not as English Version, "They go to nothing," which would be a tame repetition of the drying up of the waters in  Job 6:17 ; instead of waters, they find an "empty wilderness"; and, not having strength to regain their road, bitterly disappointed, they "perish." The terse brevity is most expressive.

19. the troops--that is, "caravans." 

Tema--north of Arabia-Deserta, near the Syrian desert; called from Tema son of Ishmael ( Genesis 25:15 , Isaiah 21:14 ,  Jeremiah 25:23 ), still so called by the Arabs.  Job 6:19  Job 6:20 give another picture of the mortification of disappointed hopes, namely, those of the caravans on the direct road, anxiously awaiting the return of their companions from the distant valley. The mention of the locality whence the caravans came gives living reality to the picture. 
Sheba--refers here not to the marauders in North Arabia-Deserta ( Job 1:15 ), but to the merchants ( Ezekiel 27:22 ) in the south, in Arabia-Felix or Yemen, "afar off" ( Jeremiah 6:20 ,  Matthew 12:42 ,  Genesis 10:28 ). Caravans are first mentioned in  Genesis 37:25 ; men needed to travel thus in companies across the desert, for defense against the roving robbers and for mutual accommodation. 
The companies . . . waited for them--cannot refer to the caravans who had gone in quest of the waters; for Job 6:18 describes their utter destruction.
Imagine that. The moment Job needed a listening ear without judgement and just mere sympathy, he got a friends opinion of what he should do to rid himself of his suffering.  There are times when we find ourselves in the position of Job's friends and we offer advice-which at times may not be bad advice; however, there is a time and a place for everything. We must remember to ask God to bless us with a receptive heart, so that we can be keen and sensitive to the suffering of others and wise enough to determine when it is best to just sit in silence. 

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Like Job we too want to know the answers to "why" we are suffering. Most times it isn't for us to know the answer but to realize the lesson God is teaching us that will work in our favor to strengthen our faith.

I find it hard to look at a situation and to consider the lesson or to focus on what is being taught when I am knee deep in it, but what I have found to work is being alone with God, the Bible and pouring my heart out to Him asking for strength, clarity and appreciation of the lesson.


Job 7:

Despite Job's suffering he is fully aware that God is sparing his life and here we find Job questioning why he is being spared as he doesn't understand it (Job 7:1, 17, 20). 

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If you're like me, you find yourself questioning your existence. It may be because of a series of unfortunate events or consequences of your actions; whatever the scenario, it is hard to grasp why God sees it fit to allow us to see yet another day, another opportunity to make a new memory, another day where He grants us and our loved ones protection. 

The long and short of it is explained in Isaiah 55:8-9 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." It's simple as that. When we are deserving of punishment, He spares us; now that is true unconditional love. 

The story of Job is introducing me to the complexity of the present spiritual battle that is underway and that God is on my side through it all sustaining me. It is not up to me to figure out why I am still alive as He has already shown that to me, it is now up to me to choose if I will follow His purpose for my life, or create my own. Each day is a new opportunity to live a [Godly] purpose driven life. 


Job 8: 

In this chapter Bildad approaches Job requesting to know how long he would speak as one who has been defeated. It must have been hard for them to sit and listen as Job spoke. He must have sounded so depressed and like Eeyore-the donkey from Winnie the Pooh, after a while they must have gotten frustrated. 

Bildad's questions give the impression that at the back of his mind, Job must have committed a terrible sin and the only way to cease suffering, would be to confess (Job 8:5). 

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All in all, chapter 8 is where Bildad bursts into accusations (probably with a whole lot of hand gestures). His judgement comes as a surprise to me, as people tend to visit you when you are sick and quietly judge rather than expressing their thoughts regarding your suffering. 

Being a Judge Judy, comes easy. The hard part is not judging someone else. When I am faced with the opportunity to judge someone I always recite Matthew 7:1, 2 that says "Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again." How can you gladly judge someone after reciting that? I know I can and I wouldn't dare to. 

Job 9:

I found myself sympathizing with Job in this chapter. After everything he has experienced and not knowing the outcome and simply wanting to die than to live another day in excruciating pain. At this point in the story, I felt as though Job is afraid to blatantly question God (Job 9:1-2,14), because despite it being puzzling that as he is a just man, he is experiencing unwarranted suffering. Yes, he is fully aware that God is in charge (Job 9:5-9) and one to 'destroy the perfect and the wicked'; however he is not aware of the battle being fought for his life and hence his impression that God is angry with him punishing him out of anger. 

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Like Job, we experience discouragement especially in the thick of dire situations; unlike Job, we have his story to offer us encouragement and the Bible which is filled with others who have endured suffering because of the Great Controversy that is going on that we are not able of seeing. 

We have the best story of encouragement during our times of discouragement. Christ-sinless as He was-walked on earth as a man, and endured persecuted as did the prophets before, then we should not fret when we are being persecuted or experiencing our share of suffering. One of the most encouraging texts is Matthew 5: 3-16 and for emphasis regarding the discussion question verses 11-12: "Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

Try whispering (or loudly exclaiming) that text when you are discouraged. 


Job 10:

We find that Job's confusion is clearly evident and here he voices that. He acknowledges his understanding of pain and suffering and he believes as though he is on the verge of death. This is interesting to me because it shows that here Job's faith is being tested and although he knows the power of God, he doesn't seem to believe that he will be healed. 

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My prayer for myself and for you is that after reading the book of Job that we would have a greater appreciation for moments of suffering and faith building and we will stand on the word of God for encouragement when we are discouraged and that rather than allowing our discouragement turn into bitterness and self-pity we will remember that God's thoughts for us and His plans for us are not plans of evil but of peace and of prosperity (Jeremiah 29:11) all he is asking of us is to accept the purpose He has shown us and to taste and see for ourselves His goodness (Psa 34:8) that others in the Bible have experienced. 


As you prepare for another weekend, I encourage you to join me again as we read Job 11-15 and I am interested in knowing your thoughts as well. Be blessed. 

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