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

LESSON 6 - TRUSTING THROUGH TRIALS (JOB 12-15)

INTRODUCTION: NOW WE HAVE HEARD ALL THREE OF THE FRIENDS WHO CAME
TO COMFORT JOB: ELIPHAZ, BILDAD AND ZOPHAR. THIS WEEK WE WILL
PRIMARILY BE STUDYING WHAT JOB HAS TO SAY ABOUT ALL THE COMFORT
THAT HE HAS BEEN GETTING -- AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WE WILL LOOK AT
JOB'S PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE.

I. JOB'S RESPONSE.

     A.READ JOB 12: 1-3. WHAT JOB SAYS IN VERSE TWO REMINDS ME OF
     WHAT I HEAR A LOT OF PEOPLE SAY (MY CHILDREN INCLUDED) WHEN
     THEY GET INTO AN ARGUMENT.
          --HOW WOULD YOU PUT v.2 IN TODAY'S TERMS? ("YOU THINK
          YOU'RE SO SMART, WELL YOU'RE NOT!" OR "YOU THINK YOU KNOW
          IT ALL!")

     B. IS JOB BEING NICE? (NO. SARCASTIC.)

     C. BEFORE WE CONSIDER VERSE 3, LETS KICK BACK TO SOMETHING 
     ZOPHAR JUST GOT THROUGH SAYING IN 11:12. 
     
          1. WHAT DOES ZOPHAR APPEAR TO SAY ABOUT JOB HERE? (THAT
          HE IS A DONKEY)
          
          2. WHAT REPLY DOES JOB MAKE IN 12:3? (HE SAYS THAT HE HAS
          A BRAIN TOO AND IS NOT INFERIOR.)

     D. READ VERSE 4 & 5. NOTICE THAT IN v. 3 JOB PROTESTS THAT HE
     IS NOT INFERIOR AND HE NOW SAYS THAT HE HAS BECOME A
     LAUGHINGSTOCK.
          1. DO YOU THINK THAT JOB FEELS INFERIOR?
          
          2. IS THIS A COMMON ATTITUDE OF THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING?
          
          3. WHY WOULD JOB BE A LAUGHINGSTOCK? WHY WOULD PEOPLE 
          LAUGH AT HIM?

          4. HOW WOULD YOU RATE THE LOSS OF HIS RESPECT AND HONOR
          AMONG HIS OTHER LOSSES? (PROBABLY AS BAD AS ANYTHING SO
          FAR.)

     E. THERE IS DEBATE OVER THE INTERPRETATION OF VERSE 5, BUT I
     LIKE THE WAY THE NIV PUTS IT: MEN AT EASE HAVE CONTEMPT FOR
     THE MISFORTUNE OF THOSE WHOSE HAVE PROBLEMS.
          1. DO YOU THINK THIS IS TRUE?
          
          2. IS IT PART OF THE PROBLEM HERE?
          
          3. IS THIS SOMETHING THAT WE SHOULD BE VERY CONSCIOUS OF
          WHEN WE ARE TRYING TO COMFORT SOMEONE?
          
          4. IS THIS A RULE OF THUMB THAT WE SHOULD APPLY IF 
          SOMEONE IS SUFFERING -- THAT IF WE HAVE GONE THROUGH THIS
          PROBLEM WE SHOULD CONSIDER THAT A CALL TO TRY TO COMFORT
          THE PERSON?

     F. READ v.6. COMPARE THIS WITH THE LAST PART OF v. 4. (DRAW
     THIS) WHAT IS JOB'S COMPLAINT ABOUT THE SITUATION?
     
          CALLED ON GOD                      CARRY GOD IN HANDS
          BLAMELESS/RIGHTEOUS                WICKED (MARAUDERS)
          LAUGHINGSTOCK                      SECURE AND UNDISTURBED

          1. VERSE 4 SAYS THAT GOD ANSWERED. DID HE ANSWER THIS 
          WAY?
          
          2. DO YOU REMEMBER THAT WE PREVIOUSLY DECIDED THAT JOB
          AND HIS FRIENDS AGREE ON THE LAW: THAT YOU REAP WHAT YOU
          SOW. HAS JOB CHANGED HIS MIND HERE? (NOT SURE. I DON'T
          THINK SO. I THINK THIS IS WHY HE WANTS TO TALK TO GOD. HE
          WANTS TO FIND OUT WHY THE RULES ARE NOT WORKING.)
     
          
     G. READ v. 7-10. JOB SEEMS TO SAY THAT GOD IS IN CHARGE. BUT,
     WHAT IS THE LESSON THAT WE LEARN FROM NATURE?  DO WE FIND IN
     NATURE THAT WE REAP WHAT WE SOW?
     
          1. OR DO WE FIND IN NATURE THAT THE STRONGEST AND MOST
          AGGRESSIVE WINS OUT?

          2. IS GOD IN CHARGE OF NATURE AS JOB SAYS? (YES)

          3. THEN WHY DOES HE ALLOW THIS?

     H. LETS SKIP AHEAD: READ 12:15-21.  DOES GOD HAVE THE POWER TO
     DO THESE THINGS? DO YOU AGREE WITH JOB? (GOD CERTAINLY DOES
     HAVE THE POWER TO DO THESE THINGS. JOB DOES NOT SAY THAT THESE
     PEOPLE DESERVED OR DID NOT DESERVE WHAT HAPPENED TO THEM ---
     BUT IT SEEMS SUSPICIOUS.)

     I. WE KNOW OF THE NATURAL DISASTERS OF CHPT 1, AND WE KNOW 
     THAT THEY CAME FROM SATAN INSTEAD OF GOD.  SO GOD WAS IN
     CHARGE, BUT HE DID NOT CAUSE THESE THINGS.

II. JOB WANTS TO HAVE A WORD WITH GOD

     A. READ 13:1-3. JOB AFFIRMS THAT WHAT HE JUST SAID IS TRUE: HE
     HAS SEEN AND HEARD IT. WHAT DOES JOB WANT TO DO BECAUSE OF
     THIS? (HE WANTS TO SPEAK WITH GOD AND TO ARGUE HIS CASE.)

     B. WHAT WOULD YOU GUESS HE WANTS TO SPEAK TO GOD ABOUT? (I 
     THINK THIS IS THE BEST ANSWER TO JOB'S CHARGES IN THE LAST
     PART OF CHPT 12.  HE SAYS THAT GOD IS IN CHARGE.  AND HE SAYS
     THAT HE HAS SEEN SOME PRETTY TOUGH THINGS IN HIS LIFE--
     PROMINENT PEOPLE BROUGHT DOWN --SO HE SAYS THAT HE WOULD LIKE
     TO DISCUSS IT WITH GOD!)(AND MY BET IS HIS CASE IS THE FIRST
     ON HIS LIST TO DISCUSS)

     C. READ 13:4-5. (THE WORD TRANSLATED "SMEAR" IN THE NIV AND
"FORGERS" IN THE KJV (AND OTHERS) IS A WORD WHICH MEANS TO "STICK
ON."  THE WORD TRANSLATED "PHYSICIANS" IS "TO HEAL" OR "HEALER."
     
          1. WHAT LIE DID THEY TELL ABOUT JOB? 
          
          2. IS HE LOOKING FOR A LAWYER TO SUE THEM FOR
          MALPRACTICE?
          
          3. WHAT IS THE SMARTEST THING THAT THEY CAN DO? (BE 
          QUIET. THE IDEA MAY BE THAT THEY DO NOT KNOW WHAT TO SAY.
          THEREFORE THEY MAKE SOMETHING UP. THEY "STICK ON" THE LIE
          TO THE PROBLEM THAT THEY CANNOT SOLVE. JOB SAYS THAT HE
          HAS CAUGHT THEM, AND THEREFORE LYING TO HIM DOES NOT HEAL
          AND IT WOULD BE BETTER FOR THEM TO JUST BE QUIET.)

          4. IS THIS GOOD ADVICE FOR US?  SHOULD WE SOMETIMES BE
          QUIET INSTEAD OF MAKING SOMETHING UP TO HIDE OUR
          IGNORANCE OF GOD'S WISDOM?

     D. READ 13:6. JOB SAYS THAT HE WANTS TO ARGUE HIS CASE WITH
     GOD. BUT SINCE GOD DOES NOT SEEM TO HIM TO BE PRESENT, BEFORE
     WHOM WILL HE PRESENT HIS CASE? (HIS FRIENDS.)

     E. BEFORE JOB ARGUES HIS CASE TO HIS FRIENDS, HE TAKES SOME
     VERBAL WHACKS AT THEM IN v. 7-13 (WHICH WE WILL SKIP) AND THEN
     RESTATES THE REASONS THAT HE WANTS TO ARGUE HIS CASE.
          1. LETS READ WHY.THE NEXT FEW VERSES ARE FAMOUS: READ 
          v.14-16.
          
          2. THE RSV, THE ASV AND SOMETHING THE LESSON CALLS THE
          JPS TRANSLATE THE SECOND CLAUSE OF v. 15 AS "I HAVE NO
          HOPE."

          3. THE COMMENTARY THAT I LIKE THE BEST ARGUES THAT THE
          CONTEXT OF v. 15 REQUIRES THIS TO BE STATED POSITIVELY AS
          THE NIV AND THE KJV STATE IT.

          4. DO YOU THINK THAT IT SHOWS HOPE? AND WHAT KIND OF HOPE
          OR TRUST CAN COME OUT OF A SITUATION WHERE GOD SLAYS JOB?
          (I WOULD NOT CALL THIS THE AFFIRMATION OF FAITH THAT SOME
          MAKE IT OUT TO BE, BUT JOB IS SAYING THAT HE HAS THIS
          INNATE TRUST IN GOD'S FAIRNESS, AND THAT FACT THAT HE IS
          WILLING TO TAKE HIS LIFE IN HIS HANDS AND APPEAR BEFORE
          GOD SHOULD IMPRESS GOD THAT HE IS IN FACT UNJUSTLY BEING
          PUNISHED.
               a. HE STILL COUNTS GOD AS THE POWER IN THE UNIVERSE
               b. HE STILL COUNTS GOD AS THE JUDGE.
               c. AND EVEN IF HE GETS KILLED OVER IT, HE STILL 
               BELIEVES IN THE JUSTICE OF HIS CASE AND THE FACT
               THAT GOD IS REALLY THE ONLY ONE TO WHICH HE CAN
               APPEAL.)

     F. SO LETS LOOK AT THE ARGUMENT THAT JOB CONSTRUCTS. READ 
     13:19-27. THIS IS MUCH LONGER BUT I THINK MOST OF THE ELEMENTS
     ARE HERE:
     
          1. GENERALLY LAWYERS LEAVE THE REQUEST FOR RELIEF UNTIL
          THE END. HERE JOB STARTS OUT WITH IT. HE SAYS IN v. 20
          THAT HE WANTS TWO THINGS; WHAT DO YOU THINK THAT HE WANTS
          FROM WHAT WE JUST READ?
          
               a. FIRST, HE WANTS GOD TO WITHDRAW HIS HAND AND STOP
               TERRORIZING HIM. (v. 21)

               b. SECOND, HE SEEMS TO WANT TO HAVE AN INDICTMENT
               DRAWN UP: HE WANTS TO KNOW THE SPECIFIC CHARGES AND
               WHO ARE THE WITNESSES WHO HAVE CHARGED HIM WITH
               THESE CRIMES. (v.19, 22, 23)

          2. IF GOD DID THIS, WHAT WOULD HE WRITE? (THAT JOB WAS
          BLAMELESS AND THAT GOT HIM IN TROUBLE.)

          3. COULD JOB ANY MORE COMPLETELY MISUNDERSTAND THE 
          SITUATION? COULD HE ANY MORE COMPLETELY MISS THE PICTURE
          THAT GOD WAS LOOKING AT?

          4. CAN THERE BE ANY STRONGER ARGUMENT THAT MAN DOES NOT
          HAVE A CLUE ABOUT THE WISDOM AND THE SITUATION THAT GOD
          FACES?

          
     G. THE ESSENCE OF THE ARGUMENT IS IN v.24-27. WHAT DO YOU SEE
     AS HIS ARGUMENT? (THAT HE IS SO SMALL THAT GOD SHOULD NOT
     BOTHER WITH HIM. HE IS SMALL, HIS SINS ARE LONG AGO (THE SINS
     OF MY YOUTH), AND GOD IS KEEPING TOO CLOSE WATCH OF SUCH AN
     UNIMPORTANT GUY.)

          1. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THIS ARGUMENT--THAT I'M TOO SMALL
          TO WATCH SO CLOSELY?

          2. SINCE WE KNOW THE BIG PICTURE, IS THIS TRUE?
          (ABSOLUTELY NOT!! JOB, AND HIS ALLEGIANCE ARE OF
          EXTRAORDINARY IMPORTANCE TO GOD AND THE LEADERS OF THE
          UNIVERSE. THERE IS EXTRAORDINARY INTEREST IN HIS
          SITUATION AND WHAT HE DOES!  NOTHING COULD BE FARTHER
          FROM THE TRUTH.)

III. ELIPHAZ

     A. OK, ITS ELIPHAZ SECOND CHANCE TO SPEAK. READ 15:1-6.
          1. HOW DOES ELIPHAZ START OUT NOW COMPARED TO THE LAST
          TIME? (4:1-6)
          2. WHY THE GREAT DIFFERENCE? (FIRST, ELIPHAZ BELIEVES 
          THAT JOB IS ATTACKING GOD (15:4) AND SECOND, HE IS
          ATTACKING ELIPHAZ 15:6)

          3.ELIPHAZ REMARKS ARE SUMMARIZED IN v. 20-21 AND 29. 
          ELIPHAZ JUST COMES OUT AND SAYS THAT JOB IS A WICKED
          PERSON AND THESE THINGS HAPPEN TO WICKED PEOPLE. HE ALSO
          NOTES THAT WICKED PEOPLE SHAKE THEIR FISTS AT GOD.
          (15:25-26)
     
IV. NEXT WEEK: JOB 16-18.