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Posted By Nan

Zophar the Naamathite speaks.
Here is a man of definite views who is very sure of the absolute correctness of those views. Like his companions, his view of God is that He causes bad to befall the sinner. So if disaster overtakes you, Zophar contends you have done something very wrong. Hence his statements about Job.
I can almost see Zophar’s lip curling as he condescendingly and judgementally speaks to Job. He makes no attempt to empathise with his friend’s terrible grief and pain. With friends like Zophar, who needs enemies!
Zophar starts by accusing Job of mocking God. This is not correct. Job has questioned what he perceives as God’s unjust actions, but he has never mocked God. Perhaps Zophar considers Job protestations of innocence to be mockery?
Zophar accuses Job of saying his beliefs are perfect and he is pure and condemns him for it. This is not true. Job has said he is blameless, not guilty, but that is not the same as claiming to be ‘pure’. Even God described Job as blameless (1:8 and 2:3).
Zophar follows this accusation by claiming God should speak out against Job. It is obvious Job is a sinner and, as no one has seen Job sin, he must have committed these sins in secret where people could not see them. Zophar thinks God should reveal the extent of Job’s sin.
He then accuses Job of not knowing God and not understanding His true nature. He is keen for Job to know that despite his punishment, God has overlooked or forgotten some of his sin.
It is interesting how many times Job or his friends reveals something about God and what were then future events. Here Zophar speaks of God overlooking or forgetting Job’a sin. This introduces to those who read these words in the days before Jesus, the concept of God overlooking our sin. For those of us who live now in the era after Jesus there is that knowledge of the precious gift of Jesus. The fact that God overlooks the sin of those who love Him and seek to follow Jesus. Job is not just a study about the problem of pain but also a valuable teaching about God’s great provision to those of us who love and follow Him.

Posted By Nan

Job continues in this verses on the theme of hurt and false belief in God. He can’t understand how this great God he worships shaped him and now intends to destroy him (so he believes). Job admits he is full of shame over what has befallen him. He holds no hope of healing and believes he is going to die. He begs God to give him peace for the last few days of his life.
I find it interesting that Job mentions being full of shame because this is not an uncommon thing for people in difficult times to feel. It is as if we believe we are bad people for bad things to happen to us. As if the very act of suffering exposes us in shameful ways to others. Is feeling shame what God wants us to feel?
Job’s words of hurt and hopelessness may sound repetitive but this is how Job feels and his friends are not helping by refusing to listen to his words. So he repeats them, hoping someone will listen and acknowledge what he has said. He is asking God for fair treatment but he is not allowing God to work in his life. He is not condemning God, as satan wants, but he is not trusting God. I am reminded of the following words by Loretta P. Burns
‘As children bring their broken toys with tears for us to mend, I brought my broken dreams to God because He is my friend. But then instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone, I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own. At last I snatched them back and cried, “How can you be so slow?” “My child”, He said, “What could I do … you never did let go”.’
By trusting others, by exposing our vulnerabilities we place ourselves in a very dangerous position. Our brains are wired to protect us and trusting others places us in a dangerous position where the person we trust can threaten our safety. But our first line of defence is others. This is how God intended us. Of course the first place we should turn is to Him. We must trust God, no matter what happens, no matter how much it seem like He doesn’t care (it isn’t true). God also designed us for relationship. He knew it was not good for us to be alone (Genesis 2:18). Our first line of defence is relationship. Turning to others and seeking help. God sends us others to help us wherever possible. Of course in Job’s case, there were no helpful friends, just unhelpful ones and sometimes that will happen for us. But we need to remember, no matter how much other people fail us, God will never fail us. It may seem He is far away but He isn’t – that is just our perception.
Make sure when you hand something over to God you stand back and wait patiently for Him to repair it. Make sure you trust that He will.

Posted By Nan

I so relate to the words of this section. I can picture Job, like a petulant child, stamping his foot and speaking angrily to God. He is hurt and angry and feels the weight of unfairness. He has retreated to the behaviour of the child who is angry at the unfairness of a parent’s decision. He projects an image on to God of unfairness and reacts to this false image. I can think of times when I have felt and acted like that. I wonder if you do too? I think Job’s behaviour is fairly standard for humans. What is being described here is what we all do. We are either Job or one of his unhelpful friends.
Job feels angry because he can’t feel God is near. I am guilty of that on occasions. It isn’t that God is not near, it is just that we get so caught up in our idea of how He should be helping us that we block His presence.
Job doubts God’s love for him and God’s desire to give him good things. I struggle to believe God loves and wants good things for me. A childhood of abuse taught me to question Him. So often the bad things of life give us a false impression of God that is hard to overcome.
How often do we do as Job did and stamp our feet like angry children and feel despair and sorrow for ourselves when what God wants is for us to have the faith to believe in His love for us and in the blessings He is preparing for us? How often do we impose our ideas of what He should do onto our expectations of Him instead of trusting His infinite wisdom and love?
Job could be us. What is described in this book is the human condition and reaction to hard times. God wants us to know He knows this is how we think and wants us to learn to trust Him.
Interesting word with such massive impact on our lives. I have decided to focus on trusting God this year. On choosing to seek His guidance whenever I want to react to something. To let go of my need to decide how God should respond and let Him work out His perfect will in my life. It won’t stop bad things happening to me, but it will lead to more Godly outcomes and me feeling less bad about the multitude of times when I don’t trust Him when I know I should. And it will lead to a deeper walk with God.

Posted By Nan

What strikes me about his passage is verses 33 to 35. Job has expressed his despair, as he has done repeatedly thus far. Then he says something different. “If only there was someone to arbitrate/intercede for me.” Job was still waiting for God’s promises. At the point in history when Job occurred he may not even have been aware of the promised Messiah. But what Job spoke about was how hard it felt to approach God because He was so mighty. He longed for a mediator to speak for him.
What Job spoke of in his longing was Jesus. For us, we see God from the perspective of Jesus, who walked among us. He feels approachable because He first approached us.
 I wonder how we would see God if Jesus was not there? Would we see Him as too mighty to approach?
By coming to live among us Jesus provided a way around the dilemma of the God who felt too mighty to approach. We have an intercessor, a mediator to speak for us before God. He is approachable because He lived among us. It is not that God is unapproachable, but we perceive Him as being that way, and God in His infinite wisdom and boundless love sent Jesus so we wouldn’t feel it was too hard to approach Him. This is an aspect of Jesus that we often don’t consider.
As Job has shown. It is vitally important.

Posted By Nan

This small section contains more of Job’s despairing resignation in the face of such overwhelming tragedy and suffering. He follows with a description of God that he has constructed. A false image of a God who is indifferent to people – whether saints or sinners. One who does not care about the innocent or to see Justice done.
Job’s words echo how we see things when we face hard times. You do not have to search far to encounter people who have felt this way. That helpless, despondent, despair that many feel in times of extreme suffering. Maybe you have felt it yourself? I have. It happens when we become overwhelmed by our troubles and lose sight of God. We fall back on our ideas of what God does and why He does things. We take our sense of entitlement as good virtuous little Christians and we protest that God should not treat us this way. After all, He has promised us a wonderful easy life! But has he? Where is the verse in the Bible that says that? There are plenty of references to hardship, trouble and persecution but none about us deserving an easy life. In heaven we will live life the way God intended us to live it, a life of blessing and peace. But in this life there will be no such thing. We humans have corrupted God’s message to say we should have an easy life in Him. That He will give us money and wealth as a sign of His favour and if we are poor or suffering we are obviously bad people.
How much pain Job suffered because of that belief. How much pain we suffer because of that belief.
When hard times come, don’t seek to understand or interpret them. Just trust God, cling to faith, seek God and His comfort and trust that someday it will get better. As Selwyn Hughes once wrote ‘sometimes the quickest way to the other side of the mountain is to tunnel through the middle.’ We don’t know why bad things happen. We may never know why they happen. What we can know and should hold on to is the knowledge that God is with us and supports us. We may not always feel that support, but it is there all the same.



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