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October 20, 2017

As I recorded in my previous blog, Satan is no longer in the picture. Job is now in the hands of his dear friends who sat with him for seven days without uttering a word; however since he voiced his sentiments (Job 3) his friends feel at liberty to speak.

As it is in all our lives when we experience problems, we question “why” and we try to determine what happened in our lives to bring about the problems. We not only do this to ourselves but to others that we see are experiencing hardship. Job’s friends will now begin to express their feelings on why Job is in this predicament.

Job chapter four through thirty-one shares three cycles of debatable speeches that take place between Job and his three friends, and for the next several weeks I will share a synopsis of each one of these cycles starting with the first cycle which is found in chapters four through fourteen. In these debates, each one of Job’s friends expresses their opinion of Job’s suffering with Job responding to what he heard.

Eliphaz the Temanite who is believed to be the eldest of Job’s friends addressed Job first by reminding him that when others were in trouble Job would give them counsel and now it was his turn to receive it and to apply the council he had given to others to himself. Eliphaz suggested since the innocent did not suffer Job must be guilty; therefore, he recommends Job to repent of his sins so that God would restore him. Also, he supports his opinion with a fearful vision that he previously experienced about God’s supremacy over man.

Job believed Eliphaz was condemning him because of the sentiments he voiced, and he expresses his disappointment with his friends’ inability to emphasize with him. Again he declares his innocence and ends his response talking about the physical pain he is experiencing, his wish to die and asking God to reveal to him his sins.

Next to speak was Bildad the Shuhite who implied Job’s children died because of their sins; however, if Job was righteous, his suffering would soon end for God does not pervert justice. He recommended Job seek God who embraces the guiltless and rewards them accordingly.

Job responded to Bildad by acknowledging God’s justice and man’s sinfulness and states his belief that God destroys both the wicked and the innocent. Job ends his response to Bildad maintaining his innocence while further appealing to God for mercy, lamenting over being born and welcoming death.

Finally, Zophar the Naamathite who was the youngest of the friends severely reproves Job by telling him the suffering he experienced should have been greater for the sins he committed, and he encourages Job to repent which will cause God to forgive, restore and banish his fears and sufferings.

Job ends this cycle of debate telling his friend their words were not comforting, and they were forgers of lies, physicians with no value, and deceitful defenders of God. Then Job addresses God emphasizing his mortality and weakness and request God not to leave him. He makes a declaration that all of us need to adhere to in chapter 13:15a, “Thou He slay me, yet will I trust Him.” Additionally, he makes me believe two crucial statements in chapter fourteen. The first speaks to the life of every individual born on this earth, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble” (14:1) and the second is wise council “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (14:14).

I conclude this blog with these reflections:

  1. Our conclusions to “why” is often wrong.
  2. Friends are not always comforting.
  3. Don’t despair and lose faith in God.
  4. Humans are frail beings.
  5. Left to our thoughts and devises, we will go astray.
  6. When we are in trouble, we want to hear from God.
  7. Though God may be silent, he is still present.
  8. God does not necessarily respond to us during our time of suffering.
  9. Suffering and righteous exist simultaneously.
  10. Desolation can be magnified over time.
  11. Trouble will come into everyone’s life.
  12. Don’t give up but patiently wait for change to come.


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