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The Final Word

Job 38:4-10
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 “Where were you when I established the earth? Tell [Me], if you have understanding. [5] Who fixed its dimensions? Certainly you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? [6] What supports its foundations? Or who laid its cornerstone [7] while the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy? [8] Who enclosed the sea behind doors when it burst from the womb, [9] when I made the clouds its garment and thick darkness its blanket, [10] when I determined its boundaries and put [its] bars and doors in place?” (HCSB)

 The common theology in Job’s day was that God played favorites with his creation.  He prospered those who honored Him and punished those who didn’t.  Because Job lived righteously all his life, he couldn’t understand why God wasn’t shining His favor on him.  Or more to the point, why God was doing quite the opposite.  From Job’s perspective, not only had God turned His back on him, He had directed his wrath towards him.  Job suffered.  He lost his children, his wealth and his health—all that was left was his pain and a wife who told him to curse God and die.  That’s all he had.

 Actually, he did have something more, he still had some friends.  Our natural inclination is to run away from people who've just been struck by God's wrath. When we observe someone receiving evil from the hand of God, we tend to not want to make eye contact with God because we don't want to be next. Not Job's friends. You've got to hand it to them, they didn't run away-they ran to him in his hour of need. And when they came they did a wonderful ministry for him. That is until they opened their mouth. 

 For seven days and seven nights they sat with Job and said nothing, because they "saw his suffering was too great for words." (Job 2 13 NLT) Now that's friendship. To come beside a friend and enter into his suffering. Their presence clearly communicated their love for him, they didn't need to speak.  But after a while Job began to grieve out loud which prompted his friends to respond to his words. Really, they would have been better off just remaining silent and listening to their friend. Instead, they decided that their friend who was going through an amazing amount of suffering didn't need their support; rather, he needed a lesson in theology.

 They argued and they argued. Job claimed he'd done nothing to deserve this treatment, his friends, in effect, said, "of course you have, God wouldn't be doing this to you unless you deserved it." Like skillful prosecutors, each of them took their turn accusing this righteous man of sinning, and getting what he deserved. Job continued to defend himself, until God set the record straight, "And it came about after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is kindled against you and against your two friends, because you have not spoken of Me what is right as My servant Job has." (Job 42:7 NASB)

 If you’ve read the end of the story, you know that Job’s suffering was bringing glory to God and was serving an eternal purpose.  Yet, even though he didn’t know the purpose, Job remained faithful to God. God wasn’t picking on Job or punishing him, but God was allowing Job to suffer to prove to Satan that Job’s righteousness wasn’t connected to God’s blessings.  In other words, even if God removed His outward blessings from him, Job wouldn’t forsake God. 

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