This book is another that seems more illuminated to me this read through. Here is the theme I see emerging in Job: Job is truly righteous, but not righteous enough to make a difference in the end. Though Job is righteous, he is still not righteous enough to approach God and plead his case. In his state, he feels the deep disappointment and futility of life, believing that the grave is the only blessed rest that awaits him (remember that Job probably lived around the same time as Abraham, and hence probably BEFORE the promises were given for a future Kingdom). Death was as good as it gets for someone like Job, and death looked pretty good in light of his suffering! Job wrestles and laments, "If only I had a mediator, then I could plead my case with God (tomorrow's reading)." So as we see, Job is an important figure for all mankind. Our righteous acts will never make us good enough for God, and our only hope of pleading our case for mercy was a mediator. We were set up! Job introduces the most elemental problem, and without his realizing it, the only satisfactory solution for all mankind! What a beautiful story!
What kind of friend was Job?
4:3-4 "In the past you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak. Your words have supported those who were falling; you steadied those with shaky knees.
And how do his friends treat him when he is in need?
4:5 But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart. You are terrified when it touches you. Hint: guilt and condemnation. With friends like that, who needs enemies? Job's friends provide the CONTRAST to the mercy he finds in God.
4:7 "Stop and think! Do the innocent die? When have the upright been destroyed? Well, only the death of one innocent and upright Person counts, and that is on the schedule to happen in about 2,000 years (from Job's days)!
4:17 Can a mortal be innocent before God? Can anyone be pure before the Creator? Eliphaz speaks truth applied with foolishness! Set up: But again, God uses Job's friends to orchestrate his set up to see his need and to point to the answer!
5:6-7 But evil does not spring from the soil, and trouble does not sprout from the earth. People are born for trouble as readily as sparks fly up from a fire. You might think this is a stretch, but I think there might be something hidden here. Check out YLT: For sorrow cometh not forth from the dust, Nor from the ground springeth up misery. In following the principle "let Scripture define Scripture," it was pointed out to me that "dust" can also mean man, because it is the same word used in Genesis when it says "Then the Lord God formed man of dust from the ground..." To me, this verse could be implying that our sorrow and misery do not come from ourselves, but from God. We are born for these things at the hand of God, but it is all for good in the working of His plan to reveal our need of healing, and the miracle of the Healer. See verses 17-18!
5:13-15 He traps the wise in their own cleverness so their cunning schemes are thwarted. They find it is dark in the daytime, and they grope at noon as if it were night. He rescues the poor from the cutting words of the strong... Considering that it is still Eliphaz speaking these words, I find his blindness to his own words ironic!
5:17-18 But consider the joy of those corrected by God! Do not despise the discipline of the Almighty when you sin. For though he wounds, he also bandages. He strikes, but his hands also heal. Yes! This is true...God's correction brings joy, not sorrow and condemnation. Funny how these truths were present in the beginning.
6:1-3 Then Job spoke again "If my misery could be weighed and my troubles be put on the scales, they would outweigh all the sands of the sea." I wonder if this is how God's heart feels about His children struggling in sin and despair, whom He said would one day number the sands of the sea.
6:11 But I don't have the strength to endure. I have nothing to live for. Set up: No hope, no Savior.
6:15-17 My brothers, you have proved as unreliable as a seasonal brook that overflows its banks in the spring when it is swollen with ice and melting snow. But when the hot weather arrives, the water disappears. The brook vanishes in the heat. I absolutely love the amazing metaphors and word pictures in Job. It is so clever.
6:26 Do you think your words are convincing when you disregard my cry of desperation? Have you ever felt shot down, or kicked while you're down? I sure have. If we have not love, we are a clanging gong or a noisy symbol.
6:29-30 Stop assuming my guilt, for I have done no wrong. Do you think I am lying? Don't I know the difference between right and wrong? They are BOTH right here. Job has lived a righteous life, but he is still guilty before God. If you have broken the law in just one point, you are guilty of breaking the whole law! Set up: There is no one without sin, no matter how righteous.
7:1-3 "Is not all human life a struggle? Our lives are like that of a hired hand, like a worker who longs for the shade, like a servant waiting to be paid. I, too, have been assigned months of futility, long and weary nights of misery. Set up: futility of life without a Savior.
7:6 My days fly faster than a weaver's shuttle. They end without hope. Set up: Without God's promises, no hope.
7:17 What are people, that you should make so much of us, that you should think of us so often? Set up: He DOES make so much of us and think of us so often. It is a precious mystery, because we are taken out of Him. We ARE His own BODY.
7:20-21 Why make me your target? Am I a burden to you? Why not just forgive my sin and take away my guilt? For soon I will lie down in the dust and die. When you look for me, I will be gone." YES! You are a target Job, but not a burden. Set up: He will pardon your guilt. You will die, but you don't know the wonderful truth yet that you will live again! You are a teacher, that is why you were set up as a target-so we could see this beautiful truth of God's plan of redemption for mankind!
Summary: Job was THE BEST HOPE OF MANKIND for righteousness reaching God, yet he fell short. His best of the best was still not enough. BUT JESUS.
14:24-25 But if all of you are prophesying, and unbelievers or people who don't understand these things come into your meeting, they will be convicted of sin and judged by what you say. As they listen, their secret thoughts will be exposed, and they will fall to their knees and worship God, declaring, "God is truly here among you." An important confirmation of the gift of prophecy is that it should convict people of sin (truth telling). I have seen this idea abused in churches who use it all for promise of blessing, and no conviction of sin (read: false gift).