JOB 25:1 – 27:23 and ROMANS 10:1–21
Bildad now makes his final comments in these exchanges. This brief response is very similar to comments that Eliphaz has made in some of his previous speeches. The other friends have given up and one can see that Bildad should have done the same thing. His few comments are feeble and weak in light of the exchanges that have been taking place. His words have very little relevance and meaning at this juncture. It goes to show the futility of further exchanges between Job and his comforters. In the end Job’s three friends are confounded and make no further attempt to speak with him. Job will continue to speak on all the way through chapter 31. It becomes clear that he is seeing himself as righteous in his own eyes (Job 32:1).
Job responds in a quick and biting manner. Even though he is going through such torment and suffering he has a certain wit and presence of mind about him. He speaks back to Bildad as to where he has obtained his wisdom and ability to counsel? Where are you drawing your counsel that you so freely dispense to others? He seems to suggest that it must be from Eliphaz because of the citing of many similar phrases. One seems to get the sense that this posturing of Job to his friends is somewhat of a remedy and tonic for him. In other words, misery loves company.
Job made clear that he was not inferior to his friends in previous chapters (Job 9, 12) as they spoke of God’s majesty manifest upon the earth and in the heavenlies. Job now speaks of God ability to see into hell and to be acquainted with its existence. This is absolutely true and there are many scriptures that back this up (Isa 14:9).
Psa 139:8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.
The valley and path that the Lord has allowed to come into Job’s life is more than likely aiding him in having this revelation. He has been allowed to have a “taste” of hell’s fury. It is real and painful and we can be sure that a heart of compassion is being developed within him.
In verses 7-12 we see Job speaking of many of the creative aspects of God. It is a picture of the creation as seen in Genesis. His words give testimony to the power that resides in His ability to establish boundaries upon the earth and in the heavenlies. His understanding can cut through the proud, making a distinction amongst the people. He also attributes His hand as the creator of the crooked serpent (vs 13). Let’s make a few comments on that last point.
God is the creator of Lucifer who was chief amongst the angels. He was given beautiful attributes which primarily lent themselves to worship. The Bible calls him the “anointed cherub” (Eze 28:14). The Bible also states that he was placed upon the holy mountain of God, walking up and down in it. So to say that God is the creator of Lucifer who later became known as Leviathan, Satan or the crooked serpent is true. God however was not the author of sin and iniquity which became his nature; the nature which then came upon man when he sinned in the garden. He was anointed and blessed until iniquity was found in him (Eze 28:15). How did that iniquity come about? The chief sin given to Lucifer is that of pride; the very issue that is beginning to be detected in Job. He assumed himself to be as God as he became enraptured in his beauty and anointing. His attempt is to try and get man to fail in the same very areas so he can make the case that God is not fair and that he is being unfairly singled out. He succeeded in getting man to bite into his poison but he failed in his attempt to thwart the Son of God (Math 4:1-10). He is attempting to get Job to fall in the very same way he did. Job would be a prized catch for Satan hence his attempts to separate him from God. We must see the bigger picture to fully appreciate this narrative. Job continues his discourse in chapter 27.
The Bible mentions that there is a pause which may have been an opportunity for one of the three friends to again speak. If the rotation and turn of the speakers were to stay consistent it would be Zophar who would be next up. Neither Zophar nor the others would presume to speak again. Either they saw the futility of trying to reason with Job seeing that he was obstinate and non-changing or they were coming to the place of recognizing that Job was more than they made him out to be. Zophar probably did not want to be seen like Bildad in chapter 25 who really had little to say to Job. In chapter 26 Job displayed a knowledge concerning hell and some other matters not heard in previous speeches which may have given the men pause. They were exasperated and probably just fed up in trying to do any kind of reasoning. Job did complain, he did and still does show elements of self-righteousness but through it all he maintained his integrity in being sure to not curse or turn away from God. Since none of his friends took up the platform he continued to go on.
Job speaks ill-advisedly in verse 2 suggesting that God is not fair in his judgements. You get the hint of irritance and frustration in his tone. He then draws his attention back to his friends in verse 5 in stating that their counsel and insights were not credible. In verse 6 he makes no apologies for the life that he has led and that there is no need for repentance as his friends were suggesting. He goes on by asking what profit is there for a wicked man when he enters into eternity. Will God hear his cry; will such a person have delight in the Almighty? Job asks these questions in light of the counsel that had been given by his friends. Job is emphatic in knowing what happens to hypocrites and then seeks to convince them as to why he would do such things. Here is another brief paraphrase: If I know of these things concerning the wicked why would I do them? Don’t you get it? I will stand by my integrity and how I have lived my life. Stop making the kind of assertions that suggest otherwise.
Job seems to think he now has a teachable moment with his audience of friends. In verse 11 he says “I will teach you by the hand of God and not hold anything back. He makes clear that they know better and should not be surprised by these things. They should know that there are times when the righteous are in affliction as well as those who practice wickedness being able to live in affluence. Job seems to be saying to them that this situation is nothing new to them so why do they persist in their babblings? It appears that Job is taking the arguments of his friends and accentuating them to demonstrate his understanding of what happens to man who defies God. Why then, with such understanding would Job play the role of the hypocrite? He is very clear in pointing out what happens to a man who lives in luxury but in the end do not know God. Job knows their arguments, knows how they are thinking and takes it up a notch. By seeking to affirm what they are saying in their realm of understanding he presses the point of how foolish it would be for him to be such a hypocrite. Let’s note how Job describes the pending death of a rich man who knows not God.
Job 27:19 The rich man shall lie down, but he shall not be gathered: he openeth his eyes, and he is not.
Job 27:20 Terrors take hold on him as waters, a tempest stealeth him away in the night.
He captures the essence of a man who is gripped with fear; a man whose sins are coming before him as he is about to slip into the unknown. There is neither comfort nor solace at this moment, only the horrors of death as hell gathers round to take and capture its prey. The days of luxury and ease are now but distant memories as the reality of eternal torment takes hold. Job’s description of death and hell is a powerful one and it is for the purpose of saying to his friends; why would I live such a life knowing the end of such a man? Job is a man who has gained a measure of acquaintance of what hell is like but in doing so he is coming into a deeper relationship with God and His ways.
Psa 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Job is one who qualifies in having the above verse realized in his life. Interestingly, the phrase “shadow of death” can be found in the Book of Job on 10 different occasions. I guess we can conclude that he has authority on this subject; it is a truth that he has bought and given life to.
Pro 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.
Paul is continuing his emphatic plea with his Jewish brethren that they might be saved. He is well acquainted with their arguments having once been a zealous defender himself. One of the common problems with the Jews, as Paul points out is that they were seeking to serve God on their terms as seen in verses 1-3. They sought after their own righteousness but not according to the righteousness of God. In verse 2 he makes the point that what they were doing was not according to God’s knowledge. Do you remember what Paul said earlier in chapter 1?
Rom 1:28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;
The knowledge of God was not convenient or suitable for them so they supplemented it with their own methods of religion. The prophet Hosea was clear in stating that God’s people were destroyed for rejecting God’s knowledge (Hos 4:6). In rejecting God’s knowledge there will always be a substitution for something else. It is God’s desire to fill all the earth with His knowledge and it was given to the Jew to have this privilege and responsibility.
Hab 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.
The above verse is meant for all our instruction and encouragement. That day is still before us and we should be pressing in to be instruments through which this blessing becomes a reality. Paul so longs for this to be understood amongst the Jewish contingent on this journey.
In a typical bus tour the conductor would point out sights of interest as they pass by various landmarks. The Apostle Paul focuses on the history of God’s dealing with Israel and seeks to bring it to life. Their ancient landmarks of history, like monuments seen in a typical tour, come to life as Paul passionately advocates in his mission as a guide. Some of the passengers are getting it; they now begin to see how the Old Testament landmark of history has a new and living reality to them. It is especially noticeable amongst those who journeyed the narrow road of chapters 6-8. They can make quick application to what Paul has been saying these past few chapters. The others who opted for the by-pass give courteous attention to Paul but seem to carry on in their own world of thought. The difference amongst the passengers can now be more readily seen. Though there are people together on the tour as the journey continues there are in fact two different groups. Paul’s message is resonating and making sense to those who stayed on course.
Paul now puts his attention upon Christ as being the fulfilment of the law (vs 4-8). The Old Testament put a premium upon the “law” without any ability in being able to keep it. The admonition of Moses throughout the Book of Deuteronomy was that Israel would keep His laws and statutes. Their failure to do so resulted in constant judgments coming upon them. It led them as a nation to Babylon due to their idolatry. Christ came as the fulfilling of the promise of the Old Testament prophets. He did not abolish but fulfilled it in the flesh. All Israel had to do was to listen and obey to the law and commandments of God. Jesus, as the Son of God is the fulfilment of the law and represents the standard of righteousness that we are to live by.
In verses 8-10 we come to know the power of our confession. Paul also emphasizes that it is the mouth where the Word of faith resides. Let us never forget that God “spoke” the worlds into existence. “And God said…” There is tremendous power in the spoken word especially when that word is birthed from faith. So then, how do we come into that place of ensuring that the Word of faith resides within our mouth? Why is faith so special and what is its meaning in the life of a believer? Paul makes the following familiar statement from the Book of Hebrews:
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Faith is the foundation of everything we do as a believer. Peter makes clear that everything has to be built upon the foundation of faith (2 Pet 1:5). Faith is the medium by which God operates and moves; it is what he looks for.
Luk 18:8 I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth?
So if faith is the medium through which God moves how then is it obtained? Once again another familiar verse is cited to answer the question:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
The established pattern is pretty clear. Paul is making the case that the Word of Faith resides in the mouth of a believer; it is activated when it is spoken in obedience and in alignment with what God is saying; it is obtained by the study and application of God’s Word. A good example would be the confession of Caleb at the season when God was authorizing His people to go in and possess the land. All heard what God was saying but only a few had a different spirit. (I suspect these few would have taken the narrow road as opposed to the by-pass) The Word of faith was in his mouth and he declared it!
Num 13:30 And Caleb stilled the people before Moses, and said, Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.
Caleb aligned his confession with what God was saying. He spoke “faith; he spoke God’s language because he knew that this was what was upon His heart. Why oh why do we not put such a higher emphasis on the teaching of God’s Word? It projects the living and vibrant heartbeat of God yet we give it scant attention; it becomes a token formality thus reducing the church to its presumptuous mode of functioning. Paul was hitting his Jewish brethren hard because they were seeking to attain their own standard of righteousness on their own terms. Let us not be deceived in thinking we are immune from doing the same thing. Simply put, the more we prayerfully study, mediate upon and assimilate the Word of God the more of God’s faith will arise. The more faith arises the greater the atmosphere for God to move and work. The greater the atmosphere the more God will be drawn because “faith” is what He hungers and longs for from his church. It is in that heightened atmosphere of faith where we then can communicate or confess what God is saying whereby mountains begin to move. We must never forget that faith originates with God not by man’s clever designs. We must be very careful when statements about creating your own destiny and reality are used. Yes, we have a responsibility to respond and believe God for the impossible but it must always be anchored to the benchmark of God’s Word. There is a growing tendency to alter or dismiss the authenticity of the Word of God. We make the Word of God what we would like it to be instead of the Word making us. This was what Paul warned against in the very first chapter of Romans:
Rom 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
God and His Word can be trusted and it should forever be our source for guidance. The passengers who travelled through the narrow road of 6-8 understand and can connect with what Paul is saying while the others are beginning to be bothered at his insistent pounding away on these points. Paul’s method of conducting is beginning to bring a clearer distinction between the two groups. Paul closes this chapter by seeking to provoke his audience to jealousy. In fact he appears to allude to one of the Old Testament verses (that they should know) to make his point.
Deu 32:21 They have moved me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.
Paul is an absolute master in teaching and making his points. You can hear him saying something like the following; If you put such an emphasis on the Law and the Old Testament well then let’s consider what God says concerning what is now transpiring. He will continue on this stream of thought in chapter 11.