Job Chapters 40-42 – John Karmelich
1. The perfect title for this lesson is "God just chewed me out, now what?" The "now what" is going to be good news for Job. After two chapters of, "Now that we know who God is, and just who we are in comparison to Him, here comes the good news". In these chapters, God Himself gives us two specific, strange animal examples that I'd argue teach Job about God's power over the world. It's as if God says, "I'll wrap up this book by explaining the evils that exist in the world I created and then I will focus on your future for putting up with all of this!" It's God's way of saying thanks for putting up with My bet with Satan, and putting up with your friends who let's face it made lots of bad accusations about you. God's effectively saying, yes Job you'll be rewarded for tolerating all of this stuff. He's telling Job of his rewards for being one of His. The book will end with Job getting his health back, getting twice as much stuff as he had before all this began, and yes twice the children that he had before it started. More on all of that later.
a) OK John, I'm glad Job gets a happy ending. Why should I care? Nothing I enjoy more than answering that question. Because Job's happy ending is also our happy ending. So it does it mean we'll get twice as many children and lots of stuff in this lifetime? No, it means if we're trusting God to guide our lives and we use it to glorify Him, we'll share in His glory for all of eternity. That's what makes whatever suffering we endure in this lifetime to be worth the trouble. Yes, I'll explain that better through this lesson.
b) What if you're thinking, "Yes, but I'm not as godly as Job. I haven't suffered like him so I won't get a great reward!" My response is you don't grasp God's grace. Grace is when we get blessed just because God wants to, not because we deserve it. What I like to say is we can't change our past. All we can do is learn from it, so we can use whatever time that we've got left to live to make a difference for Him in the world. That's why He created us in the first place! To explain how God will bless us, if we've dedicated our lives to being His servants and trusting in Jesus' payment, let me discuss these last three chapters:
2. Chapter 40 opens with God saying, "OK Job, what about it?" God lectured Job over the last two chapters on the topic of "I'm God, you're not and who are you to question Me?" Job makes a brief comment to say, "Sorry I questioned You, I'll be quiet now". God goes on for most of Chapter 40 as well as Chapter 41 mainly to focus on two strange animals and how they affect our world. I'd argue that the purpose of describing these two animals is not to continue the "zoo lecture" of Chapter 39. They're meant to be prophetic of the sinful powers that exist in this world. They're meant to say, here's the horrid aspects that exist in this world, but by trusting in Me, one can win over them. Yes, we're getting into one of those weird parts of the bible where scholars debate the issue of what's being described here. I'm positive the exact nature of these animals are not nearly as important as the dark spiritual forces that these animals represent.
a) Let me explain that a little better. Bible scholars debate over the specific type of animals being described in Chapters 40 to 41. Some scholars are convinced they are dinosaurs that living at the same time as man. Others are equally convinced they're some specific type of animals that are around today. I'm not going to solve that debate. What I'm convinced of, is whatever animal God is describing, they are also describing some sort of a demonic and dark influences over our world and our lives.
b) I remember when my daughter was little, she asked me why did God create Satan? What I told here was, "To prove God's greater than him. It is for us to trust in God because His power is greater than whatever demons can do in the world." That answer also applies to these chapters. It's as if God's saying, "Hey Job before I get to your happy ending, it's very essential that you first understand the demons that exist in the world I created". They're here to show that I'm greater than the world in spite of all the damage they do, and that includes the damage you Job had to suffer!
3. OK then, that's it for the bad news. The final chapter is the really good news for Job. This is God's way of saying, "Sorry I allowed you to go through all of that, but I'll make it up to you!" The final chapter sees Job getting back twice as much stuff as he lost. I don't think God snapped his fingers and then lots of animals appeared. God gave Job the ability to be financially successful and when God gave Job his health back, Job's personal "animal farm" grew mightily once again.
a) If you compare the amount of cattle Job lost in the opening chapter of this book with what Job got in the final chapter, the numbers are exactly double of what Job lost. This is God saying, "Sorry about all of that, let me double your past blessing for putting up with all of that and being a good witness for Me". Yes, it's meant as an example of "God's grace" and it's a reminder that our eternal heavenly rewards are worth whatever suffering we must put up with in this lifetime.
b) Also note that God never explains the bet to Job! Why is that? Because then we'd demand an explanation for everything that went wrong in our lives. It's God's way of saying we're to go through good and bad times in our lives. I'll still be with you to guide you through all of that, but it's My business whether or not you're allowed to know why it occurred.
c) I'm just saying God didn't owe Job an explanation for His actions and neither are we!
d) Here's the fun fact to consider about the last chapter. While the number of animals in Job's "private farm" double, he "only" gets the exact number of children he had before. Back in the opening chapter of Job, he lost his ten children. Here in the final chapter, Job will get ten new children. So why isn't that number doubled as well? It is! The first ten children were never lost. They'll be in heaven for eternity. Therefore, Job did double his number of children. Since it requires nine months to have a baby, to have ten new children means this "reward" covered a good ten years at the least.
e) What about Job's three friends who chewed him out through most of the book? The final chapter makes the point of humbling them. God tells Job that his three friends also didn't understand God's purpose for "the bet". It wasn't so much that they were wrong as it was that they were "incomplete" in their knowledge of God. Bottom line is we're going to read of God humbling Job's three friends that they must make sacrifices to God through Job as Job will pray to God for them for their forgiveness. This is God saying, "No humans know all things" so yes, the debate didn't explain why Job had to suffer so much. It's ok Job, I'm making it up to you by making "them" suffer for all of those false accusations.
f) In summary, Chapter 42 is the happy ending, to make up for a lot of suffering.
4. As I said earlier, "OK I'm happy for Job. I'm glad he's out of pain. I'm glad God's communicating with Job again. I'm glad he got his stuff back and got a new family to enjoy life with. What does any of this have to do with my life? Is God going to take it all away from me too, and after I have had to suffer, will I get twice as much stuff in this lifetime? That's rarely how this life works. I'm not putting it past God to do any of those things in our life. What I do believe is that God desires to guide our lives for His glory. Yes that can include letting us go through all sorts of things as to lead us down a specific path He desires for us. Yes, that can include a lot of suffering in this life. What I'm positive of is no matter what we must go through in this lifetime, it's "worth it" because if we're using our lives to glorify God, we will win in the end. That's the Job promise we all get if we're trusting Him to lead and guide our lives! That's the purpose of this book!
a) Ok with that happy speech out of my system, time for details. Hope all of you enjoy this final lesson on Job as well as this entire study. It's been a pleasure going through this book and as usual, I've learned a tremendous amount of things myself.
b) Since this is my final lesson, there is a bibliography as a supplement on the last page. OK then, let's start on the details and thanks again for reading. Let's begin:
5. Chapter 40, Verse 1: The LORD said to Job: 2 "Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!"
a) Technically this is the end of God's speech that ran through Chapters 38 and 39. Here's the first question God asks where He actually expects Job to answer Him!
b) One of the tough things to grasp in life is what exactly are we accountable to for God? We tend to think of sin as say stealing or murder. Here God accuses Job of the sin of wanting to "contend" with Him for an explanation! I don't know about you, but I know I'm guilty of asking God to explain why He's working "this way" when I desire He work "that way".
c) Before I say anything else, if we're a Christian and we're being accused of all sorts of sins when we're judged, the correct answer is, "Guilty as charged, however Jesus paid for all of my sins, so that's that!" It's amazing to consider that every time we sin we're adding to the number of sins that Jesus had to suffer for on the cross! I'm not positive exactly how God's judgment will literally occur, I just know I want to plead "Guilty as charged" and I'd like Jesus to pay for all my sins! That's the only way we make it into heaven. Hopefully, we're all living that way now, before it's too late to plead that request when we're judged.
d) Meanwhile, Job's the one on trial here, not us. This isn't "the" trial for Job, it's kind of a preview of what to expect. Here God just asks a good question, "Hey Job, who said you've got a right to question what I do in the first place?" After a two-chapter lecture on all the things God created, none of us have anything we can say in defense to the question of do we have a right to question God? OK, then, let's read of Job's response:
6. Verse 3: Then Job answered the LORD: 4 "I am unworthy--how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. 5 I spoke once, but I have no answer-- twice, but I will say no more."
a) Job's responding by saying, "Yes earlier in the book I demanded an audience with You. I am now putting my hand over my mouth as a symbolic way of saying it was wrong of me to question why You do things in the first place. I'll just "shut up" now, and let You talk!"
b) In that sense, that's how we should respond to God's accusations against us? Be quiet and plead the blood of Jesus! We're guilt of all the things we think we're guilty of and a whole lot more! That's why I too, want to put my hand over my mouth as a response when I am hearing or if I'm hearing all the ways I've ever offended God in all my life.
c) This is the second to last thing Job says in the book. We'll get some comments in the final chapter about things Job will do after God's speech, but he'd pretty much done talking. It is to say, "The last thing I want to say in my life is "God's right, I'm wrong, and I'll be quiet and do as He desires." So what does God want us to do now? What's our "now what"? It is to live as He desires. It's to do what's logical without violating His laws on how God is expecting us to live and use our lives to glorify Him. OK then, back to God talking.
7. Verse 6: Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm: 7 "Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
a) Apparently Job's not getting off that easy! It's one thing for Job to say, "I'll shut up now" It is another for Job to stop pondering why God has the right to do whatever it is He does!
b) I don't know about you, but if I were Job, I'd be really scared right now. He just had God ask him for two chapters, "Can you explain this or that?" Now God once again say to Job, in effect, "Brace yourself for Round 2, because I'm going ask you to explain more things of how the world works! Hey Job, whether you like it or not, you're about to get another big round of Me asking, "Can you explain this or that""? I'd be very nervous right about now!
8. Verse 8: "Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? 9 Do you have an arm like God's, and can your voice thunder like his? 10 Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty.
a) Whenever we start thinking, "I'm a pretty good person, or my good deeds are far greater than my bad one's", in a sense, we're denying God's right to be in charge of our lives. We are saying, "I'm the judge of my behavior and not God". In a sense, Job did do that while going through all of the debate chapters, because Job was trying to justify his life to those three friends who debated with Job through this book!
b) Here God is saying, "You want to mess with the big boys? Tell me, can you Job do what it is that I do? Are you covered with "glory, splendor, honor and majesty"? God's giving us His characteristics as God here. It's another "He's God, we're not" type of statement.
c) I'm betting that Job's trying to think back through all of the debate chapters about what he had said and thought, "OK, I did go to far in my self defense!" This dialogue is a reminder that God knows all things, here's all things we say and we're accountable to things we say about God but about ourselves in defense of our lives. I don't know about you, but I'm at a point where I'm feeling two inches high thinking about my life, realizing that He knows of all the horrid thoughts I've had over my lifetime! Again, all we can do is "Plead Jesus" at this point. Unfortunately, Job's not getting out that easily. God continues:
9. Verse 11: Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at every proud man and bring him low, 12 look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand. 13 Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave.
a) God's saying, "You want to be Me? Unleash the fury of your wrath and bring men down to nothing, and then we'll talk. Humble the proud, crush the wicked, end the lives of the people who've hurt others and then we'll talk."
b) Obviously, there's no way for Job to answer these questions, and that's the point. I suspect we all need times when we need to remember, "God's in charge of justice, not me! God is the one who can handle this situation, but I can't". If you study the bible miracles you'd notice they're all things we can't do for ourselves! For example, when Jesus raised Lazarus up from the dead, Jesus didn't just make the grave cover disappear, he asked someone to remove it, so He could raise Lazarus. My simple point is that God never does for us the things we can do for ourselves, but if we trust Him, He will guide us and does things that we can't do for ourselves! I bring that up here, because I want us to grasp His justice. Yes, we have policeman, armies and judges to enforce laws and bring justice to the world. Yet without God being in charge, none of it will happen. The point is God's the one ultimately executes justice in the world in ways that are beyond our ability to do as people!
c) Ok, I'm interrupting God again. I'm going to suffer for that big time one of these days!
10. Verse 14: Then I myself will admit to you that your own right hand can save you.
a) God ends this little section by saying, "Hey Job if you can do any of that, I'll bow down to let you be in charge! In the meantime, let Me be God as that's My job!" It's the admission that only God can eternally save us. It's another "He's God and we're not" moment.
b) With that said, God's going to switch topics in Verse 15:
11. Verse 15: "Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. 16 What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! 17 His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. 18 His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron.
a) Let me begin by saying bible scholars have debated for millenniums what animal is being described here. Some scholars are convinced it's a hippo. Others are sure it's an elephant. Others will argue to their dying day it's describing a dinosaur! The dinosaur argument is based on the strong tail comment, which both the hippo and the elephant lack. Whatever it is, we're talking some sort of large animal.
b) I believe God's giving a lot of details so that whatever it is He's thinking of, it's something that Job would be familiar with! When I meet Job in heaven, this is a questions I'd like to ask him, what animals was God describing in the final chapters of the book?
c) The far more important question is why is God describing whatever "this" is? We will get a clue in the next verse. My personal suspicion along with many scholars, is it represents "our flesh" which is a way of describing our desire to do our will, and not His will.
12. Verse 19:He ranks first among the works of God, yet his Maker can approach him with his sword.
a) Whatever this animal is God's saying that only He can defeat Him! It's the argument that whatever it is, it's unconquerable by people! It's almost as if God's saying, "I'm proud that I made this one as it shows that I'm more powerful than it, as only I can defeat it!" It's like when my daughter asked why did God create Satan? The answer is so God can show that He is greater than all the things that He has created!
b) So when the text says, "He ranks first", can't it jus mean this is the biggest creature or it is the most powerful? Of course! However, the second sentence is the question. Why does the text say only His maker can approach Him with a sword? The text is saying only God is capable of defeating whatever "it" is. That's why I'd argue that this animal isn't literal. It is something so powerful that only God can defeat it. That's why I'm sure "it" represents our "flesh". My point is our desire to do our will is something we can never defeat based on willpower. Meanwhile, God wants to give more description of whatever "it" is.
13. Verse 20: The hills bring him their produce, and all the wild animals play nearby. 21 Under the lotus plants he lies, hidden among the reeds in the marsh. 22 The lotuses conceal him in their shadow; the poplars by the stream surround him. 23 When the river rages, he is not alarmed; he is secure, though the Jordan should surge against his mouth.
a) Those who argue it's some sort of literal animal like a hippo, like these verses. Hippo's do exist in the Nile River. Some argue that they migrated north to be in the Jordan river as it is stated in Verse 23. Others argue that God's talking about dinosaurs that still existed at a time when Job walked the earth. Whatever this creature was, the rising and falling of any river based on different seasons when rivers rise, doesn't alarm whatever animal this is!
b) The underlying point is whatever this animal is, or was it what it represented is powerful and we on our own power, can't defeat it or mess with it. My proof text is the next verse:
14. Verse 24: Can anyone capture him by the eyes, or trap him and pierce his nose?
a) Whatever this animal is, God's claiming it can't be defeated by human efforts. That's why I am arguing whatever it is, it's much "bigger" than some animal that exists. I'm convinced it represents something demonic and represents our sinful desire to do our own will!
b) Time for the important question. Why? Why lecture Job about this animal, whatever this thing is? Why bring it up as we're close to wrapping up the book? I think it's God's way of saying there are forces in this world that can't be defeated by human efforts. A reason we need God is so such forces can be defeated only by our trust in the God who can do for us, what we can't do for ourselves.
c) OK, if all of this isn't weird enough, God goes "off the deep edge" in Chapter 41.
15. Chapter 41, Verse 1: "Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope? 2 Can you put a cord through his nose or pierce his jaw with a hook? 3 Will he keep begging you for mercy? Will he speak to you with gentle words?
a) In Chapter 41, we switch from a "behemoth" to a "leviathan" as if that explains things!
b) The word leviathan literally means, "twisted one" again, as if that helps.
c) Whatever it is, this creature is "sea based". Again, scholars are debated. Some think it's a crocodile or maybe a large shark. Some argue some sort of dinosaur like sea monster! It's amazing to consider that such creatures are common in mythology all over the world and the visual images of dragons are similar worldwide. It's an argument that it's possible such a literal creature did exist at one time!
d) Whatever it is, it's so powerful that it can't be caught with a fishhook or rope. It cannot be pierced. Further, if such a creature is in our grasp, we can't beg for mercy from it! That is why some argue it's a crocodile or a shark. Whatever it is, I don't ever want to get so close as to find out what it is.
e) OK, since we're getting weird here, let me "go all the way". When you read Revelation, it actually speaks of two horrid beasts. One was from the "land", and the other rising out of the sea! (See Revelation 13:1 and 13:11 for these two beasts!) I just want you to consider the possibility that since God's wrapping up this book, He wants us to grasp that He's far more powerful than anything He created including whatever "beast" Revelation describes in that chapter. My point is God wants Job to know that He's more powerful than any or all things He's created and that includes the "weird stuff" that we're reading about here in the final chapter of "God speak" in this book. OK, then I'll let God continue now!
f) Also this beast is mentioned by Isaiah. He says "God will punish leviathan and He will punish that dragon that is in the sea". (Isaiah 27:1, KJV). My point is both leviathan and a dragon are symbols of Satan. That's why I'm convinced this creature described here is far more than any literal sea creature. It's symbolic of what Satan is and what he's doing in the world. OK, speaking of the ultimate "bad guy", let's look at the next few verses.
16. Verse 4: Will he make an agreement with you for you to take him as your slave for life? 5 Can you make a pet of him like a bird or put him on a leash for your girls? 6 Will traders barter for him? Will they divide him up among the merchants? 7 Can you fill his hide with harpoons or his head with fishing spears?
a) Do I think this is some literal beast that once existed in the sea? Probably, but who knows? Whatever it is, the point is mankind can't defeat him. We can't compromise with all of the damage he does. We can't reason with him. Verse 7 gets back to literal aspects as if to say we can't defeat him with weapons.
b) I admit, I can't stop thinking of really bad science fiction movies: The kind with a strange creature is terrorizing people. The movie usually mentions how conventional weapons or even nuclear weapons won't work. Then there is always some strange solution to defeat it. That "strange solution" for us is trusting in the Cross as our complete sin payment. All I'm saying is as strange as those movies are, so is the idea that we're simply to trust in the God we can't see for eternal salvation. (Bet you never saw that analogy coming!)
c) Something else crossed my mind. In these final chapters, God never condemns Satan for the bet in the first place! After all, it was his idea to do all of the damage to Job. In effect, we are reading of why God allows Satan to "do his worst here". Again, it's for us to trust in God through all things. Yes Satan is a created being. Yes, God knew he'd rebel against Him. God allows Satan to do his worst simply so people will trust in God as he's greater than any and all damage that Satan does in this world. What about all the people killed by evil deeds? It doesn't restore their lives! Yes, but if they're trusting in God's payment for their sins, eternity is a whole lot longer than this life. I can't explain all evil. I just know God allows it for His purposes in the world.
d) The reason I'm getting into all of this, is the references to the beast and the dragon as well as "leviathan" are pretty consistent throughout the bible and I'm positive whatever it is, it represents something far greater and something far more evil than whatever animal bible scholars might think it represents. Speaking of this creature, this description of him will continue for the rest of this chapter.
17. Verse 8: If you lay a hand on him, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! 9 Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering.
a) For those who think this is a crocodile or a shark, consider these verses. They say anyone who tries to subdue it will never try it again! Yes, many people have figured out ways to catch and stop crocodiles and sharks. That's another reason why I'm convinced God's describing something far more sinister than even those two animals can be!
b) Know that God's just getting warmed up there. Chapter 41's got 34 verses and all of them are about whatever leviathan is!
18. Verse 10: No one is fierce enough to rouse him. Who then is able to stand against me?
a) This verse reads as if God's proud of leviathan! He's bragging in effect that only God has the power to defeat him. So if Satan does all that damage, why is God so proud of him? It's not about the damage Satan does. It's about the fact that we as people can overcome all of Satan's power by trusting in God's power to overcome what Satan can do!
b) Since we're discussing Satan, let me ask, "what's in it for Him? What does he get by all his rebellion against God? Why does Satan want to destroy us? Truthfully, a lust for power. He rules over this world and he gets to rule until Jesus "sets up shop". Satan's doing all he can to delay that event. That's why he wants us to be a bad witness for Jesus! It about the fact Satan wanted angels to be the center of God's love, not people, so the rebellion exists!
c) Anyway, the point here in Verse 10 is that God created Satan as an entity too powerful for any person to defeat! In a way, it's like those bad science fiction movies where nothing is able to defeat this "beast". OK, then let's continue:
19. Verse 11: Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.
a) This is God saying in effect, "Who are we as people to say whether or not I've got the right to make such a beast?" Whether it's literal or figurative, either way, evil deeds occur and it is in effect a sign of God's power that something greater than that evil created it!
b) This verse asks in effect, "Who are we to say what God can and cannot make?" Satan has a purpose and that purpose is to drive us close to God so we can serve Him and nothing that God created including evil forces themselves. OK, on that dark note, let's continue:
20. Verse 12: "I will not fail to speak of his limbs, his strength and his graceful form. 13 Who can strip off his outer coat? Who would approach him with a bridle? 14 Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth? 15 His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; 16 each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. 17 They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted.
a) We got to admit, whatever this is, we don't want to mess with it! It appears very literal as it is describing its literal features. As I stated earlier in the lesson, we have dragon images all over the world and they're all similar in design. It makes us wonder if such a literal creature did exist at one time.
b) Stop and think about the fact that God's speaking to Job and his buddies. I'm sure they've all heard legends about dragons. Even if God's describing something not literal, we have to admit, whatever this is, it's a scary looking thing! It's as if all the worst aspects of some of the most ferocious beasts were combined into one entity! These verses describe rows of teeth that can't be opened. It describes an outer coat that can't be caught. It describes rows of shields (think of shields over flesh) so tightly woven, no air gets between them!
i) My point of all of this is whatever it is or was, it's a horrid picture of something we would all be afraid of and can't be defeated by man's efforts.
ii) So if such a creature really existed, why isn't it around today? Don't know. Maybe it's simple a picture of the horrid things Satan does in this world! Maybe if it was literal, it somehow got defeated. All I know is I wouldn't want to mess with it, no matter what it is! It's another reason to stick close to God through everything!
iii) Well, if this isn't strange enough, the description goes off the deep end again next:
21. Verse 18: His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn. 19 Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. 20 Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds. 21 His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth.
a) Well we've all heard stories of fire breathing dragons? Who knew it was biblical? (Yes, I'm making a joke here.) Whatever this beast is or was, it has the ability to spew out fire out of it's mouth. So much for the argument that it's just a crocodile or a shark!
b) So does this mean Satan can spew fire out of his mouth? Never seen him, so I don't know. I suspect the main purpose here is simply to show that whatever this is, it's not something we want to mess with! Even if we could hold it down, it spews fire out of its mouth. All I am saying is whatever this thing is that God created it's beyond our ability to fight!
c) Near the end of the book of Revelation, it talks about Satan's defeat in Chapter 20. In that chapter, it refers to a dragon that John (the writer of Revelation) says is Satan. That's why I'm convinced that whatever God's describing here in Job 41, ties well to the description of Satan we have throughout Revelation! In short, we're describing something so fierce, it is not to be messed with. OK then, let's continue:
22. Verse 22: Strength resides in his neck; dismay goes before him.
a) We're now about two thirds of the way through this. I sort of wonder as Job wrote all this down, was he thinking things like, "Strength in his neck? Are you sure?" It ties to images we have of dragons and having long and powerful necks!
23. Verse 23: The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable.
a) As we go through this, I keep thinking, why does God go "on and on" about this? By now we all get the picture this is a fearsome and horrible beast. Why give a 32 verse speech all about him? Thought you'd never ask! God's trying to paint a picture of something that is so gruesome, we would never want to mess with it. It gets into the question of if God's so good, why does He allow evil to exist? The short answer is free will and to prove that He is greater than any and all evil that exists in the world. Yes we must deal with the damage done by that evil, but the underlying point here is that evil exists, and we can't defeat it by our own ability! Yes He eventually triumphs over evil, but it's because of our dependence on Him that this creature is defeated, not by our ability to "change things"!
b) OK, enough philosophy here, let's get back to the literal aspects of these verses. This one says that his flesh is "so tightly joined" it's "unmovable". The picture being painted here is that this animal can't be caught! OK, let's continue. The "happy ending" is coming soon!
24. Verse 24: His chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone. 25 When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing. 26 The sword that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin. 27 Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood. 28 Arrows do not make him flee; slingstones are like chaff to him. 29 A club seems to him but a piece of straw; he laughs at the rattling of the lance.
a) By now, we get the idea that whatever "this" is, it's undefeatable. Again, I keep thinking of bad science fiction movies that say, "We tried shooting it, we tried nuclear weapons and a few other things, but we can't defeat it no matter what!" In effect, we're reading what it is that could be tried by ancient weapons. The underlying point is whatever this creature is, it can't be defeated by conventional weapons.
b) Ok, so how do we defeat evil, and don't just say "by trusting God". Yes we must do what's practical. Yes we have police and army forces because let's be honest, evil exists. I've seen many horrid things in my life that I can't explain. In wars, millions of lives were lost as to defeat horrid desires. Many "first responders" have given their lives to protect those who can't protect ourselves. Yes defeating evil begins on our knees. Yes practical things can be done as well. The unfortunate truth is that evil exists, we have to be cautious (as opposed to paranoid) to protect ourselves and our loved ones. A reality is that God allows this to exist, if for no other reason to prove that God exists because He's greater than whatever it is we must face in life, including the existence of evil itself.
c) Yes this is dark stuff, that we'd rather not think about. The good news is there's only five more verses of this "stuff", before we get to Job's "happily ever after" ending. It's as if God needs to describe in detail "evil", before God gives Job's example of how we can have our victory over such evil forces that yes, do exist in this world.
d) OK then, onto the last five verses of this demonic "thing".
25. Verse 30: His undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge. 31 He makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. 32 Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; one would think the deep had white hair. 33 Nothing on earth is his equal-- a creature without fear.
a) Here's the last of the verses that describe whatever "it" is. The final verse coming up is in effect a summary comment on the whole thing.
b) I can get into gruesome details here, but the essential point is whatever "it" is, we aren't to mess with it! That picture has been painted clearly in this chapter. This is a chapter that's describing Satan as a horrid beast that's beyond our ability to defeat, but I've beaten that point to death by now! In these verses, the description is all about how this beast "moves" in our world. It's using word pictures that people of the ancient world could relate to as a description of something unstoppable or something we can't catch!
c) Let me quickly ask, how does Satan "move"? He has access to God, so he goes quickly. He can't be everywhere at once, but He can move quickly from place to place.
d) Personally, I think we give Satan "too much credit" and our own sinful desires not enough credit. Satan has a legion of demonic angels that work in "ranks". The reason they turned against God is ultimately they desire to rule and oppose God's plan to make people as the center of His redemptive plan and not angelic beings! The way I view it, is if I'm making a difference for Jesus and I'm getting spiritual resistance, I'm pretty positive it's not Satan himself, but some "low ranking demonic creature" that's part of that army. I'm equally as positive that what I do wrong is much more about doing my own sinful desires than any demonic being "making me" do what isn't God's desire. OK, enough darkness, one more verse of this and then it's happy ending time!
26. Verse 34: He looks down on all that are haughty; he is king over all that are proud."
a) As I read this, I keep thinking what Jesus said about Satan in the gospels. Three times in the Gospel of John, Jesus refers to Satan as the "prince of this world" (John 12:31, 14:30 as well as John 16:11). The point is that Satan rules over this world and until one gives their lives to Jesus, whether one realizes it or not, Satan rules over them!
b) It's sort of strange to think about say, if we were dining in a restaurant, most of the people around us are under Satan's influence. It doesn't mean that everyone around us is acting in a demonic way. It' just means ultimately, Satan is in control of those who refuse to turn their lives over to Jesus. The sad part is when we're not doing God's will, whether we are aware of it or not, our pride is kicking in, and yes as this verses says, Satan is king over all who are proud. Yes, that's a hard reality and I assume most of us Christians know this all to well. If we can remember who's "controlling us" at any given moment, it should drive us back to God, which is always His will for us.
c) OK, enough darkness for one lesson. Time to get happy for a few pages!
27. Chapter 42, Verse 1: Then Job replied to the LORD: 2 "I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.
a) Keep in mind while God's been going on and on, effectively about the evil forces that exist in the world (our flesh and demonic forces), Job and his three buddies have been listening to all of this. Do you think they got it all? Don't know. I do know that by studying these chapters, it becomes pretty obvious they're describing something greater than any animal that exists on earth. So here's Job thinking, "OK, God I give up. I can't go against what is Your plans for my life or for the world! So what do I do now? We'll get to that! First Job has an overwhelming urge to confess his sins, which is always a good place to start when we're focused on our relationship with God!
28. Verse 3: You asked, `Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. 4 "You said, `Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.' 5 My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. 6 Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."
a) Let's be honest. Job got the audience he wanted with God and Job got much more than all he expected! Job thought God would explain why he had to suffer. He thought God will punish Job's three friends and say Job was right all along. Instead, God says to Job what it is He'd say to us, "I'm God, your not, deal with it and here's how the world works!" That's a summary of the last four chapters in a single thought!
b) Now Job is saying in effect, "Now that I realize Your in charge and You'll to do whenever You want, all I can do is shut up and accept Your will." It's the type of complete surrender that God desires of each of us. Job repents of demanding an audience with God to defend his life and says in effect, "OK, God, whatever you say, I'll accept"
c) Stop and consider Job is still broke, still in horrid pain and still lost all his family. Yet he's realizing that God's will for him is done and Job must accept that. He never got an answer for all the suffering he's endured. He just knows he got the privilege of God explaining in detail how He works, how the world works, and how we're part of that plan! All Job can do at this point is be quite and accept all of this.
d) Let me comment briefly on Verse 6. To repent "in dust and ashes" was a cultural thing. It is a little like when we wear black clothes to a funeral. It's the strongest way in his culture that Job could think of to say he's sorry for demanding God to explain Himself to Job.
e) OK, now that Job's truly sorry for ever wanting to question God (there's a clue for us), and he's fully trusting God for whatever the future holds, now we'll read how He will reward Job (and us) for fully trusting Him with every aspect of our lives!
29. Verse 7: After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has. 8 So now take seven bulls and seven rams and go to my servant Job and sacrifice a burnt offering for yourselves. My servant Job will pray for you, and I will accept his prayer and not deal with you according to your folly. You have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has." 9 So Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite did what the LORD told them; and the LORD accepted Job's prayer.
a) OK, time to focus on Job's three "friends" one last time. The first thing to catch here is that God is humbling them to no end. God doesn't say, "Pray to me, and I'll forgive you". He's saying, "offer a sacrifice in front of Job and he will forgive you!" OK, what's the deal here?
i) First let's discuss the sins of Eliphaz and company. It wasn't that they were against God, they were just incomplete in their knowledge of His plans for our lives. They have to repent not of doubting in God's existence, but in assuming they've got the right to assume how God is going to work in any of our lives. If we are to trust in God for every aspect of our lives, it also means we trust in Him for how He's going to treat other people!
ii) So to humble them, and show that they were wrong about what they thought Job did wrong, God in effect, made them show repentance in front of Job!
iii) Let me also comment why God singled out Eliphaz. Apparently he was the oldest of the three, so God is saying in effect, "You take charge of all three of you, and go do what I say, because I "say so"".
b) Recently I heard a comment about the bible that I liked. It said in effect, "Hey God is God. If the bible says I have to stand on my head for 30 minutes a day to get into heaven, who am I to argue with that?" The point is He's God and we're not, so we must accept His will no matter what it is. Therefore if the God of the universe says to Job's three friends they've got to offer these sacrifices to be in good standing with God, "I'd be saying, hold on while I go get a bunch of cows and rams to sacrifice!"
c) So why seven bulls (think cows) and seven rams? Remember Job was written before His laws were formalized in the Old Testament. The number seven represents "completeness" as in God rested on the seventh day. I suspect these three guys got that. Either way, they must have figured God's in charge, we're not and if God says, "offer seven of these, who are we to argue?"
d) Time for another theological question: Why have them pray to Job and not God directly? Why is it necessary for Job to forgive them? A number of reasons. One is to humble them and make them realize they're knowledge of God is incomplete. Another's for Job himself to let go of any anger he had against them. It's like when Jesus says that if we want God to forgive us, we need to forgive others. (See Matthew 6:15 as an example.) The point is God wants us to have peace in our lives. That means forgiving people who have hurt us, even and especially if it's legitimate. For what it's worth, that takes time. I've had to pray for people daily for a long time to forgive them of legitimate ways they've hurt me!
e) The last thing I want you to catch about these verses is that Job complied! I'm sure it was hard for Job to do this. I'm sure he still had anger at them after a book long debate. Given that Job complied shows his total commitment to God. It's as if Job thought, "OK God You want me to pray for them! I'm on it!" I'm positive God loves obedience and that's why the text makes a point of emphasizing Job's obedience here.
30. Verse 10: After Job had prayed for his friends, the LORD made him prosperous again and gave him twice as much as he had before. 11 All his brothers and sisters and everyone who had known him before came and ate with him in his house. They comforted and consoled him over all the trouble the LORD had brought upon him, and each one gave him a piece of silver and a gold ring.
a) My first thought as I read these verse is, "Job had brothers and sisters? Where were they through all of this suffering? Why didn't they step up to the plate to help Job?" All that we can do is take the text at face value. What commentators do suspect is that when Job's health came back, they said, "Wait a minute, whatever suffering Job experienced, he's now talking to God, so if we want to be in good standing with God, we better help Job! I'm not positive that's what happened, but I suspect that they're thinking, "Ok Job's tight with the God of the universe, we better get on Job's good side and bring him a gift!"
b) Speaking of commentators, many suspect that Job's wealth came back by using these gifts to start up his "farm business" again. Do we know that for sure? Of course not. It's just a theory based on the facts presented. The text also says that his family and friends came to Job's house. So I don't know if Job lost his house or if he just didn't want to live there with all of his pain. All we know is he's back in his house again and now his friends and family from before all of this started want to get on "Job's good side" and bring him gifts!
c) A false view that many Christians hold is we literally expect God to "rain blessings on us", as if He can't work through people! My point is Job accepted these gifts and I'm sure that Job realized God's working through these gifts to restore his life!
31. Verse 12: The LORD blessed the latter part of Job's life more than the first. He had fourteen thousand sheep, six thousand camels, a thousand yoke of oxen and a thousand donkeys. 13 And he also had seven sons and three daughters.
a) If you go back to Chapter 1 of Job, it said he had 7,000 sheep. Now in Chapter 42, it says Job got 14,000 sheep. The same doubling applies to all the animals. Again, I don't picture God "snapping His fingers" and all these animals appeared. I think Job just went back to doing what He knew how to do before all this began, raise animals. Over time, Jobs' farm grew to twice it's number before all this began. I'm positive that fact wasn't lost on Job as he realized this was God blessing his life and making up for all the damage!
b) What you also may catch is the number of children were "not doubled". Technically that's not correct. Job's original ten children are alive in heaven. Therefore for Job to get 10 new children is a doubling of what he had before. This also implies that Jobs' wife is now back in the picture. Apparently, now that Job got his health back, and maybe she saw all those gifts people brought back and she figured, "OK, time to be with Job again, he's back!"
c) I can't stop thinking about Job's wife. Her only line in this whole book was to tell Job "why don't you curse God and die?" It's her way of saying, "Give up, die and I'll go on as I too, have nothing since He took away our children and our possessions". Did she just go back to being his wife as if nothing happened? Don't know. Losing all of that stuff and her children must have been hard for her too. It appears she went back and that's that!
d) OK then, "where's our double blessing?" Why don't we get twice as much stuff in this life after we've suffered? The answer is we get far more than that. One of the amazing things to realize about giving our lives to Jesus is we get everything He's got when our real life's starting in eternity! (See Ephesians 1:3). My point is the grace of God is something literal and whatever it is, we'll get it for all of eternity. That means that whatever it is we have to put up in this life is "well worth it". That doesn't mean we're to suffer on purpose. It does mean we're to trust God for every aspect of our lives, and make the best decisions we can with whatever is the situation is in front of us! In short, we will get Job's "double blessing" based on our trust in Jesus not only being God, not only dying for our sins, but by trusting Him for ever aspect of our lives.
e) With that said, we now get a strange comment about Job's three new daughters.
32. Verse 14: The first daughter he named Jemimah, the second Keziah and the third Keren-Happuch. 15 Nowhere in all the land were there found women as beautiful as Job's daughters, and their father granted them an inheritance along with their brothers.
a) Ok, the big question here. Why did God single out the girls? There is no mention of Job's new seven sons being blessed. What's the deal here? It's a cultural thing. Only sons got an inheritance while the daughters are married off. By pointing out that Job also gave gifts to his daughters, it's a way of saying they were blessed by Job as well as the sons.
b) Back in the opening chapter, the text said the sons had each other over on their feast day. (Probably their birthdays), but there was no mention of the daughters also as a part of that celebration. I wonder if this is God humbling Job as to say the girls are just as important as the boys. I don't know for sure. I just know the girls are being singled out here in these verses and there's no other mention of the seven sons for what they get as an inheritance.
c) The text also gives the daughter's names but not the son's names. Without giving details, let's just say the meanings of their names also have blessings! There are some interesting theories about the meanings of their names, but I'll just say it is a positive thing and leave it at that.
d) Does this mean Job's children never had to suffer, or develop their own relationship with God? I'm sure that they did. That's not the point. The point is Job got blessed far greater than the way he had to suffer through most of the book.
e) OK two verses left to wrap up the book. Let's go for it:
33. Verse 16: After this, Job lived a hundred and forty years; he saw his children and their children to the fourth generation. 17 And so he died, old and full of years.
a) Scholars suspect that Job was seventy years old at this time. It fits the "double blessing" of now getting to live another 140 years. That ties to the arguments that he lived around the same time as Abraham. Time for one last strange theory. When you read of peoples ages prior to the flood, they lived close to a 1,000 years. Bible scholars believe when the flood occurred, a water vapor covering existed over the earth that kept harmful sun rays from doing the damage that they do to our bodies. After the flood, the time length people lived declined in life spans to what is normally now a 70 to 80 year life. (See Psalm 90:10.)
i) My point is if Job lived 210 years, that fits the time period we read of those who've lived around the time of Abraham, that's that, and enough strange stuff for now!
b) The important point is Job's life was blessed far more than it was harmed throughout this book. It shows that when we're willing to trust God with our lives, whatever suffering we go through is not forever. It does come to an end. He promises by His grace to bless us in ways far greater than we ever had to suffer in this lifetime. The point is "It's all worth it. I would rather bet my eternity on God's existence than to simply try to enjoy whatever I get in this lifetime." That's why living the Christian life is worth it. However the main reason we live as God desires is simply because "He's God and we're not" and if God says we've got to "stand on our head for 30 minutes a day" as I jokingly said earlier, who do we think we are to even question how it is God expects us to live? Whatever blessing we get over and above that to me is a bonus. All we can do in the meantime is live as God desires and use or lives to make a difference for Him.
c) On that positive thought, I'll close in prayer. On the next page is a list of sources that I've used to prepare these lessons. Feel free to read if you're interested in what influenced me or you're interested in further studies. Thanks as always for reading. With that said, it's time to close in prayer:
34. Heavenly Father, I can't begin to relate to whatever ways people have suffered in this lifetime as a witness for You. All I know is in effect, "what choice do we have?" You've called us to live to be a witness for You in all that we do. Help us to use our lives to glorify You in all that we do. May we trust that You're guiding us as we let You take charge of every aspect of our lives. Help us to surrender every aspect of our lives to you. We ask this in Jesus name, Amen.
"If I have seen further, it is because I have stood on the shoulders of giants." (Isaac Newton)
Without prayer and the guidance of the Holy Spirit, all these commentaries are useless. My prayer as I prepare these lessons was for God to show me the things He wanted me to learn, and second, the lessons He wanted me to pass on in my writings. I have quoted many sources throughout these lessons. If any of these writers appeal to you, I invite you to read or listen to them further via the places listed below. I have also quoted other sources not listed, and those names are usually listed in the lessons. These other authors were usually quoted from the materials listed below and taken from those sources.
First and foremost, the greatest commentary on the bible is the bible itself. Here are the bible versions I use in preparation of my lessons. I mostly quote The New International Version (NIV), Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society; The New King James Version (NKJV), Copyright © 1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.; The King vVersion (KJV) (no copyright on that version); the English Standard Version. (ESV). The copyright information for the ESV is in point #5 below. The Living Bible (TLB) Copyright © 1971, 1986 by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL 60189; "The Message" copyright © 1993 by Eugene H. Peterson. All rights reserved. All the bible text used in these lessons (except the ESV) is taken from Parsons Software: Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 1999, Parsons Technology, Inc., all rights reserved and from Zondervan Reference Software (32-bit edition) Version 2.6, Copyright © 1989-1998 The Zondervan Corporation.
Here are the commentaries I have referenced over these lessons. The specific commentaries on the books of Job are listed first, and then bible-wide commentaries. They are listed in alphabetical order by author. The reference to audio commentary means the information was gathered in MP3® Format, unless otherwise stated:
1. Commentary on Job by Jon Courson. It is in book form from Harvest House Publishing. It is also available in MP3® format at http://www.joncourson.com/.
2. Commentary on Job by Bob Davis. They are available for free in MP3® format at http://northcountrychapel.com/studies/.
3. Commentary on Job by David Guzik. It is available for free in audio and text format. The web address is http://www.enduringword.com/library_commentaries.htm Mr. Davis quotes a lot of famous authors from the 19th and 20th Century on these books and sometimes I refer to those quotes.
4. Commentary on Job by Chuck Missler, available at K-House Ministries 1-800-KHOUSE1. The web address is http://www.khouse.org.
5. The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason. Copyright 1994 by Mike Mason. Published by Crossway Books. ISBN 1-58134-449-X (Electronic version, downloaded.)
6. The English Standard Version Study Bible; Copyright (2005-2009) The Standard Bible Society. The version itself is copyrighted 2008 by Crossway Bibles, a publication of "Good News Publishers".
7. The Expositor's Bible Encyclopedia, Zondervan Publications, (via CD-ROM 1998 release). This is a multi-volume encyclopedia with notes on every bible verse. It is available through Zondervan. Paperback books are published on individual Bible books from this same source. The actual text that is copied and pasted is taken from this source.
8. The Life Application Bible, Zondervan Publishing: www.zondervanbibles.com/0310919770.htm.
9. The MacArthur Study Bible with commentary by John MacArthur Nelson Bibles (1997) ISBN: 0849912229.
11. My apology if I have quoted someone else and I have forgotten to include them here.