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Copr. 1997, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.

LESSON 9 - GLIMPSES OF THE HIDDEN GOD (JOB 21-25)

INTRODUCTION: THANK EDWIN FOR TEACHING FOR ME LAST WEEK.  THIS WEEK
WE COVER A LOT OF GROUND.  WE LOOK AT CHPTS 21 THROUGH 25 OF JOB. 
FIRST WE START OUT WITH JOB'S RESPONSE TO ZOPHAR'S SPEECH OF LAST
WEEK. THEN ELIPHAZ GIVES JOB AND US HIS THOUGHTS. THIS IS FOLLOWED
BY JOB'S REPLY AND LAST WE READ BILDAD'S SHORT SPEECH. LETS GET
INTO IT

I. JOB'S REPLY TO ZOPHAR.

      A. READ JOB 21:1-3&5. WE HAVE OFTEN DISCUSSED WHAT IT IS THAT
WE CAN DO TO COMFORT THOSE WHO ARE HURTING. WHAT DOES JOB SUGGEST
IS THE BEST THING HERE?
            1. WHAT DOES HE MEAN WHEN HE SAYS THEY SHOULD CLPA THEIR
            HANDS OVER THEIR MOUTHS? (TO JUST LISTEN: HE SAYS, "LET
            THIS BE THE CONSOLATION THAT YOU GIVE ME. PART OF HIS
            ADVICE ON HOW THEY SHOULD BE GOOD COMFORTERS IS TO : a)
            LOOK APPALLED (ASTONISHED) AND b) CLAP THEIR HANDS OVER
            THEIR MOUTHS AND LISTEN.)


      B. IN v.3 JOB SAYS, "AFTER I HAVE SPOKEN, MOCK ON."  WHY WOULD
JOB BE COMFORTED BY THEM LISTENING TO HIM IF AFTERWARDS THEY WOULD
MOCK HIM? (IT SEEMS THAT HE SAYS THAT THEY DO NOT HAVE TO AGREE
WITH HIM, HE JUST WANTS TO BE GIVEN GIVEN THE CHANCE TO SAY HIS
PIECE AND BE HEARD BY THEM. AND THEN IF THEY STILL DISAGREE THEY
CAN MOCK HIM.)

      C. READ v. 4.  IS JOB'S COMPLAINT DIRECTED TOWARDS MAN? (NO
      HIS COMPLAINT IS AGAINST GOD.)

            1. SINCE JOB SAYS THAT HIS COMPLAINT IS DIRECTED TOWARDS
            GOD AND NOT MAN, HE SUGGESTS IT IS "OK" TO BE IMPATIENT.
            DO YOU AGREE? (I THINK THAT GOD DESERVES A BREAK
            EVERYTIME. WE DO NOT KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON AND HE
            DESERVES THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT (i.e. THE BENEFIT OF
            OUR IGNORANCE!)

            2. WHY WOULD MAN BE LESS PATIENT TOWARDS GOD? (PERHAPS
            JOB IS SIMPLY SAYING THAT THE NORMAL CONSIDERATIONS THAT
            APPY WHEN DEALING WITH MAN SIMPLY DO NOT APPLY WHEN
            DEALING WITH GOD.  FOR EXAMPLE, LIMITED TIME, LIMITED
            RESOURCES, LIMITED INTEREST IN US? I THINK THAT HE IS
            SAYING THAT GOD DOES NOT EXPECT A BREAK FROM HIS CREATED
            BEINGS.)



      D. READ VERSES 7-14. JOB HAS OFTEN SEEMED TO AGREE THAT YOU
      REAP WHAT YOU SOW, AND HIS DEFENSE HAS BEEN THAT SOME BIG
      MISTAKE HAS BEEN MADE - HE DOES NOT DESERVE WHAT HE HAS GOTTEN
      - AND THEREFOR HE WANTS TO SUE GOD.  
            1. IS THAT WHAT JOB SAYS HERE? (NO. HE SAYS THAT THE 
            WICKED DO JUST FINE, THANK YOU.)

            2. LETS MAKE SOME SPECIFIC COMPARISIONS. LOOK AT WHAT 
            ZOPHAR ARGUED IN 20:11. WHAT DOES ZOPHAR MEAN WHEN HE
            SAYS THAT "THE YOUTHFUL VIGOR WILL LIE IN THE DUST?" (IF
            YOU LOOK AT THE VERSES THAT PRECEDE THIS (v.5-10) THEY
            SUGGEST THAT THE WICKED COME TO AN EARLY DEATH. THEN v.
            11 SUGGESTS THAT THE BONES THAT LIE IN THE DUST HAD
            YOUTHFUL VIGOR.)
            
            3. IN COMPARISION IN 21:7 JOB SAYS THAT THE WICKED GROW
            OLD AND DO NOT DIE IN THEIR YOUTH.

            4. IN CHPT 18 BILDAD HAS A DISCOURSE ON THE WICKED (v.5)
            WHICH SAYS, IN PART, (v. 19) THAT THEY DIE CHILDLESS.
            (THIS OF COURSE SEEMS TO BE THE FATE OF JOB NOW.) 

            5. WHAT DOES JOB SAY ABOUT THIS IN 21:7-8? (THAT THEY 
            WILL GROW OLD AND WILL SE THEIR OFFSPRING.)

      E. WHO DO YOU THINK IS RIGHT? JOB OR HIS FRIENDS? DO THE 
      WICKED PROSPER AND LIVE TO BE OLD? 

      F. READ 21:29. JOB SUGGEST THAT IF YOU DO NOT AGREE WITH HIM
      YOU ARE A MOPE WHO KNOWS VERY LITTLE ABOUT WHAT GOES ON. HE
      SAYS, "HAVE YOU NEVER SPOKEN TO THOSE WHO TRAVEL? TO THOSE WHO
      GET AROUND OUTSIDE YOUR LITTLE CIRCLE?"

      G. IF YOU ARE A TRAVELLER AND YOU VOTED THAT THE WICKED CAN DO
      "OK, "LETS PEEK BACK AT 20:5. DOESN'T ZOPHAR ADMIT THAT THE
      WICKED CAN DO "OK?" 

            1. BUT WHAT IS HIS RESPONSE? (THAT THEY DO "OK" FOR JUST
            A BRIEF PERIOD OF TIME.)
            2. DO YOU AGREE WITH THAT MODIFICATION OF THE RULE?

      H. ONE COMMENTATOR SUGGESTS THAT A FURTHER RESPONSE OF ZOPHAR,
IN 20:10, IS THAT EVEN IF THE WICKED DO "OK" IN THIS LIFE, THEIR
CHILDREN WILL PAY FOR THE SINS OF THE FATHER.  WHILE I HAVE SOME
TROUBLE WITH THIS INTERPRETATION OF ZOPHAR, JOB THINKS SOMEBODY
SAID THIS. LETS LOOK AT JOB'S ARGUMENT ABOUT THIS IN 21:19-21. YOU
CAN SEE THAT JOB IS QUOTING THIS ARGUMENT FROM SOMEWHERE.

            1. WHAT DOES JOB SAY ABOUT THIS? (THAT THE MAN HIMSELF
            SHOULD PAY FOR HIS SINS AND NOT HIS SONS.)

      I. DO YOU AGREE THAT SOMETIMES THE WICKED LIVE ALL RIGHT AND
      THAT IT IS THE SONS OR DAUGHTERS THAT PAY FOR THE SINS OF THE
      FATHER (OR MOTHER)?

      J. LETS READ 21:23-26. JOB SAYS THAT THEY BOTH DIE, DIFFERENT
      LIVES, BUT A COMMON FATE: THE WORMS GET THEM.  YOU STILL AGREE
      WITH JOB? (THE FACT THAT JOB GETS MORE STRIDENT CASTS DOUBT ON
      ALL OF HIS ARGUMENT.)

      K. REALITY CHECK: LETS ASSUME THAT YOU KNEW NOTHING ABOUT LIFE
      EXCEPT WHAT YOU READ IN JOB. WOULD JOB BE RIGHT, THAT THE
      WICKED DO AS WELL AS ANYONE?  THAT IT DOES NOT MAKE ANY
      DIFFERENCE? (NO. SATAN SAID JOB WAS DOING WELL BECAUSE GOD
      BLESSED HIM.  JOB THEN GOT WACKED BECAUSE HE WAS GOOD, NOT
      BECAUSE IT DOES NOT MATTER, OR BECAUSE BAD THINGS ARE RANDOM.)

II. ELIPHAZ RESPONDS: LETS MOVE AHEAD AND LOOK AT WHAT ELIPHAZ HAS
TO ADD TO THIS.

      A. READ 22:1-3.  FIRST, DO YOU AGREE WITH THIS? (HE SAYS THAT
      GOD DOES NOT CARE AND DOES NOT GAIN IF WE OBEY.)

      B. SECOND, WHO IS SAYING THIS? IS THIS ELIPHAZ SAYING HIS OWN
      WORDS? OR IS HE QUOTING JOB?  JOB HAS ALWAYS SAID THAT NOT
      ONLY IS HE INNOCENT, BUT HE IS A GOOD GUY.  

            1. BASED ON YOUR INSIDE INFORMATION ABOUT THE SITUATION,
            DO YOU THINK THIS STATEMENT IS CORRECT? (MANIFESTLY NOT. 
            IT DOES NOT MAKE GOD ANY TALLER IF WE OBEY, BUT LOOK AT
            HOW THIS WHOLE THING STARTED. IN JOB 1:6-8, GOD USED JOB
            TO REBUKE SATAN'S CLAIM THAT HE WAS THE MASTER OF THE
            EARTH.  AND THIS OCCURRED BEFORE THE SONS OF GOD.  I
            THINK IT IS VERY IMPORTANT TO GOD WHETHER WE OBEY. AND I
            THINK IT WAS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR JOB.  READ :

1 Cor 4:9 For it seems to me that God has put us apostles on
display at the end of the procession, like men condemned to die in
the arena. We have been made a spectacle to the whole universe, to
angels as well as to men.) 


      C.  READ 22:4-5. ELIPHAZ SAYS ITS PRETTY OBVIOUS JOB THAT YOU
      DID NOT GET INTO THIS SITUATION BECAUSE YOU ARE SO GOOD. YOU
      HAVE ALL OF THESE PROBLEMS BECAUSE OF YOUR SIN!
            1. IS THIS RIGHT? (WE KNOW THAT IT IS ABSOLUTELY WRONG
            BECAUSE THE CURTAINS WERE PULLED BACK FOR US IN THE FIRST
            CHPTS OF JOB.  IT IS BECAUSE JOB IS SO FAITHFUL THAT HE
            IS IN MISERY.)

      D. ELIPHAZ THEN SAYS THAT JOB'S SINS ARE ENDLESS AND HE LISTS
      THEM, LETS READ THEM IN v. 6-9.  
      
            1. DO THESE STRIKE YOU AS SERIOUS SINS?  

            2. IS ELIPHAZ JUST AS WRONG ABOUT THE NATURE OF THESE 
            ACTIONS BEING SIN AS HE IS ABOUT HIS ALLEGATION THAT JOB
            IS GUILTY OF THESE SINS? 
            
            3. DO THESE SEEM TO HAVE ANYTHING TO DO WITH RELIGION IN
            A FORMAL SENSE? (ELIPHAZ SAYS THAT YOU CAN TELL A MANS
            GOODNESS BY THE WAY HE TREATS HIS FELLOW MAN. THESE SINS
            HE LISTS SEEM TO BE HURTING OR FAILING TO HELP THE POOR.
            THE OT DOES COMMAND THAT THE PEOPLE HELP THE WIDOWS AND
            THE ORPHANS AND ALIENS. JOB, IN 31:16-22 DENIES THAT HE
            HAS HURT THE WIDOW OR THE FATHERLESS OR FAILED TO HELP.
            THE CURRENTLY "POLITICALLY CORRECT" PEOPLE TO HELP DO NOT
            SEEM TO BE ON THE LIST OF THOSE THE OT SAYS SHOULD BE
            HELPED. ie. "HOMELESS" ADULT MALES WHO ARE NOT INTERESTED
            IN REGULAR JOBS.  BUT WE NEED TO KEEP IN MIND THAT
            ELIPHAZ HAS AN EXCELLENT POINT THAT TRUE RELIGION IS NOT
            JUST BELIEF, BUT PUTTING THOSE BELIEFS INTO ACTION.)

            4. ISN'T THIS (LACK OF PEOPLE CONCERN) A LOT LIKE JOB'S
            COMPLAINT ABOUT ELIPHAZ? THAT HE IS TREATING JOB POORLY?

III. JOB'S RESPONSE.

      A. IN CHPT 23 JOB SAYS SOME OF THE THINGS THAT HE HAS SAID 
      BEFORE. HE SAYS THAT HE WANTS A HEARING WITH GOD. THAT HE
      WANTS TO BE HEARD BY GOD. BUT THAT HE CAN'T HAVE THAT HEARING
      BECAUSE HE CANNOT FIND GOD. LETS CONTINUE FROM THERE.

      B. READ 23:10-16. WHAT DOES JOB SUGGEST THAT GOD IS DOING? 
            1. IS THIS A NEW THEORY ABOUT WHY BAD THINGS HAPPEN TO
            GOOD PEOPLE? (JOB SAYS GOD IS TESTING HIM.) (IN THE PAST
            JOB HAS SUGGESTED THAT EVIL IS RANDOM, THAT GOD HELPS TO
            OPPRESS THE GOOD OR THAT THE BAD ARE REWARDED WITH EVIL,
            BUT HIS IS A CASE OF MISTAKEN IDENTITY.)

      C. IS GOD TESTING HIM? (SORT OF. REALLY THE DEVIL IS
      CONDUCTING THE TEST.)

      D. ON WHAT BASIS DOES JOB EXPECT TO STAND BEFORE GOD? (HIS 
      OBEDIENCE AND THE FACT THAT HE TREASURES AND STUDIES GOD'S
      WORDS.)

      E. DOES JOB THINK THAT THINGS ARE GOING TO GET BETTER OR 
      WORSE? (HE SAYS IN v. 14-15 THAT HE THINKS THAT THINGS ARE
      GOING TO GET WORSE FOR HIM AND HE IS TERRIFIED.)

      F. WHAT IS THE REALITY OF THIS? WILL THINGS GET WORSE FOR JOB?
      (NO. THEY WILL GET BETTER.)

      G. WHAT POSITIVE LESSON CAN WE LEARN FROM THIS? (THAT GOD HAS
      ONLY OUR BEST INTERESTS IN MIND. THAT WE MAY BE DISCOURAGED
      AND THINK THAT THINGS WILL ONLY GET WORSE, BUT OUR LOVING GOD
      HAS IN MIND THINGS BECOMING BETTER FOR US.)

      H. LETS READ 24:1. JOB ASKS A QUESTION HERE? WHAT IS HIS 
      QUESTION AND WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE RIGHT ANSWER? (HE SAYS
      WHEN IS GOD GOING TO MAKE THINGS RIGHT?  THIS IS PART OF HIS
      SEARCHING FOR GOD TO SUE GOD OR AT LEAST GET A HEARING BEFORE
      GOD.)

      I. WHEN WILL GOD SET A TIME FOR JUDGMENT? (AT THE SECOND
COMING.)

      J. THE REST OF THE CHPT JOB DEVOTES TO A COMPLAINT ABOUT HOW
THE WICKED ARE TERRORIZING THE WEAK.  HE SAYS THAT NOTHING IS DONE
TO THESE MARAUDERS.  IN COMPARISION THE RIGHTEOUS MAY DO WELL, BUT
ONLY FOR A LITTLE WHILE.  HE THEN SAYS THAT THEY BOTH DIE WITH THE
IMPLICATION THAT THEY HAVE A COMMON FATE.

IV. BILDAD

      A. READ 25:1-3. DOES THIS TEND TO CONTRADICT JOB'S LAST
STATEMENTS? (YES. JOB SAYS EVERYTHING IS OUT OF WACK AND BILDAD
SAYS EVERYTHING IS IN PERFECT ORDER.)

      B. IS THAT CHARACTERISTIC THAT WE VIEW LIFE DIFFERENTLY BASED
ON WHAT IS GOING ON IN OUR LIFE? (YES. SOMETHING WE NEED TO KEEP IN
MIND WHEN WE ARE HELPING SOMEONE WHO IS HURTING.)

      C. READ 4-6. WHAT IS BILDAD'S POINT IN RESPONSE TO WHAT JOB
HAS SAID? (JOB SAYS THAT HE IS A GOOD GUY. BILDAD SAYS NO ONE IS A
GOOD GUY.)

V. NEXT WEEK: JOB 26-31.