Job 24, 25, 26

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No longer content to follow blindly in the traditions of blind leaders of the past and consequently finding themselves in ditches of despair and confusion, believers are searching the Scriptures for themselves like the noble Berean Jews. God is revealing his Word in a clarity not witnessed since the first century as Christians are recovering the faith of Jesus and learning to be true worshippers by revering the Father in spirit and in truth, or in spiritual truth (as the hendiadys of John 4: 24 can be translated). – John D. Garr, Our Lost Legacy: Christianity’s Hebrew Heritage

So, for this end of the week blog, we continue with Job’s long monologue… As this story progresses, we see Job’s argument growing stronger and his three “friends” fading… On we continue with the emotionally charged rhetoric of the Book of Job…

“Why doesn’t the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment? Why must the godly wait for him in vain? 2 Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers.  They steal livestock and put them in their own pastures. 3 They take the orphan’s donkey and demand the widow’s ox as security for a loan. 4 The poor are pushed off the path; the needy must hide together for safety (Job 24:1-4 NLT).

Job questions why those who follow Jehovah God often do not see His Interventions. He points out that there are people who gain through nefarious means, who change boundaries according to their own will and not Jehovah God’s.  They even steal from orphans and widows, forcing the poor to huddle together in hiding for their own safety.  All this is directly contrary to God’s Word, and yet they seem to get by with it.

Like wild donkeys in the wilderness, the poor must spend all their time looking for food, searching even in the desert for food for their children. 6 They harvest a field they do not own, and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked. 7 All night they lie naked in the cold, without clothing or covering. 8 They are soaked by mountain showers, and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home (Job 24:5-8 NLT).

The plight of the poor, oppressed by the wicked, is very troubling to Job. It would appear that he had always had a heart for the poor and oppressed, and now that he can relate to them in way in more ways of circumstance, he is especially concerned about speaking up for them.

“The wicked snatch a widow’s child from her breast, taking the baby as security for a loan. 10 The poor must go about naked, without any clothing. They harvest food for others while they themselves are starving. 11 They press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it, and they tread in the winepress as they suffer from thirst. 12 The groans of the dying rise from the city, and the wounded cry for help, yet God ignores their moaning (Job 24:9-12 NLT).

Job wants Jehovah God to intervene immediately in the way of justice.

“Wicked people rebel against the light. They refuse to acknowledge its ways or stay in its paths. 14 The murderer rises in the early dawn to kill the poor and needy; at night he is a thief. 15 The adulterer waits for the twilight, saying, ‘No one will see me then.’ He hides his face so no one will know him. 16 Thieves break into houses at night and sleep in the daytime. They are not acquainted with the light. 17 The black night is their morning. They ally themselves with the terrors of the darkness (Job 24:13-17 NLT).

Job believes that the rebellious have no desire to know the Way of Jehovah God. So against God’s Boundaries are they, that they brazenly tempt death.

“But they disappear like foam down a river. Everything they own is cursed, and they are afraid to enter their own vineyards. 19 The grave consumes sinners just as drought and heat consume snow. 20 Their own mothers will forget them.  Maggots will find them sweet to eat.  No one will remember them.    Wicked people are broken like a tree in the storm. 21 They cheat the woman who has no son to help her.  They refuse to help the needy widow (Job 24:18-21 NLT).

Though their wickedness may thrive for a season, Job declares that ultimately it will be called to account.

“God, in his power, drags away the rich. They may rise high, but they have no assurance of life. 23 They may be allowed to live in security, but God is always watching them. 24 And though they are great now,   in a moment they will be gone like all others, cut off like heads of grain. 25 Can anyone claim otherwise?    Who can prove me wrong?” (Job 24:22-25 NLT).

Job appears to be saying that at times it seems like even the most wicked—those who oppress widows and orphans—are in safety and they rest in that safety. And then he says that it seems that God for a time watches the cruelties of oppressors without interference, not immediately punishing their conduct.  In fact, many of the wicked live out their lives seemingly experiencing no interference from God and even die natural deaths at a ripe old age.

And now Bildad offers a surprisingly brief rebuttal… This is by far the shortest chapter in the Book of Job…

Then Bildad the Shuhite replied: 2 “God is powerful and dreadful. He enforces peace in the heavens. 3 Who is able to count his heavenly army? Doesn’t his light shine on all the earth? 4 How can a mortal be innocent before God?  Can anyone born of a woman be pure? 5 God is more glorious than the moon; he shines brighter than the stars. 6 In comparison, people are maggots; we mortals are mere worms” (Job 25:1-5 NLT).

Bildad indicates here that he does not believe that a man can be justified by Faith in Jehovah God. He certainly does not believe that Job is justified by Faith, and he, not so subtlety,  refers to Job as a “worm.”

Then Job spoke again: 2 “How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the weak! 3 How you have enlightened my stupidity!  What wise advice you have offered! 4 Where have you gotten all these wise sayings?  Whose spirit speaks through you? (Job 26:1-4 NLT).

I think Job has a pretty good idea by now “whose spirit” speaks through these “friends.” Their lofty words, used to enlighten him of his stupidity, do not come from the Word of God, but from their own minds.

“The dead tremble— those who live beneath the waters. 6 The underworld is naked in God’s presence.    The place of destruction is uncovered. 7 God stretches the northern sky over empty space and hangs the earth on nothing. 8 He wraps the rain in his thick clouds, and the clouds don’t burst with the weight. 9 He covers the face of the moon, shrouding it with his clouds. 10 He created the horizon when he separated the waters; he set the boundary between day and night (Job 26:5-10 NLT).

Once again, Job goes all prophetic. He declares the Jehovah God Alone sets every  boundary, by His own fixed laws.

The foundations of heaven tremble; they shudder at his rebuke. 12 By his power the sea grew calm. By his skill he crushed the great sea monster. 13 His Spirit made the heavens beautiful, and his power pierced the gliding serpent. 14 These are just the beginning of all that he does, merely a whisper of his power. Who, then, can comprehend the thunder of his power?” (Job 26:11-14 NLT).

“His Power pierced the gliding serpent” is prophetic of Christ’s defeat of Satan at the Cross. It was predestined to happen, so Job could speak of it in past tense!  And Job indicates here that he has not enumerated half of God’s great works—he has only hinted at them.

Though a sinner do evil a hundred times, and his days be prolonged, yet surely I know that it shall be well with them who fear God, which fear before Him (Eccl 8:12 KJV).