Reading ch31 – 37.
Job and his friends continue there discussion, each trying to prove that’s its not God’s fault that Job is being punished. While Job tries to say he’s not sinned and there must be something wrong if the good suffer.
“Isn’t calamity reserved for the wicked? Isn’t disaster supposed to strike those who do wrong” says Job. “If I’ve strayed off the straight and narrow, wanted things I had no right to, messed about with sin.” then punish me continues Job. “Have I ignored the needs of the poor, turned my back on the indigent, taken care of my own needs and fed my own face while they languished? Wasn’t my home always open to them? Weren’t they always welcome at my table?” Job sts out how good he is. Funny think self justification, we never seem to see the bad in ourselfes only the few good things we have done.
Then Job goes on “Did I set my heart on making big money or worship at the bank? Did I boast about my wealth, show off because I was well off? Again even though I had all those nice things in live I wasn’t showy and swaggering about it so why me!
Elihu his freind after making the point that he was young and bound by all the past the others had started to talk. “Job you’re wrong, dead wrong! God is far greater than any human. So how dare you haul him into court, and then complain that he won’t answer your charges? God always answers, one way or another, even when people don’t recognise his presence.” So he is accusing Job of saying that God doesn’t listen, do you think like that? That God doesn’t listen to you? But do you listen to him?
SO Jobs friend is saying that he is suffering because he is not hearing what God is trying to say and so God is hurting him to get his attention. Now what type of loving God/Parent would do that. Would you hit your child to get them to listen to you?
His freind goes on “It’s impossible for God to do anything evil; no way can the Mighty One do wrong.” So its fine whatever happens to you you must deserve as God is never wrong and hurting you can not be evil because God can not do evil.
“So why don’t you simply confess to God? Say ‘I sinned, but I’ll sin no more.'” Jobs freind thinks that Job needs to plead guilty even though he, Job, thinks he’s not. Dosn’t sound like good advice does it.
Elihu lit into Job again: Ch 35 “Does this kind of thing make any sense? First you say, ‘I’m perfectly innocent before God.’ And then you say, ‘It doesn’t make a bit of difference whether I’ve sinned or not.’
4-8 “Well, I’m going to show you that you don’t know what you’re talking about,
neither you nor your friends. Look up at the sky. Take a long hard look.
See those clouds towering above you? If you sin, what difference could that make to God? No matter how much you sin, will it matter to him?
Even if you’re good, what would God get out of that? Do you think he’s dependent on your accomplishments? The only ones who care whether you’re good or bad are your family and friends and neighbours. God’s not dependent on your behaviour.
9-15 “When times get bad, people cry out for help. They cry for relief from being kicked around, But never give God a thought when things go well,
when God puts spontaneous songs in their hearts, When God sets out the entire creation as a science classroom, using birds and beasts to teach wisdom.
People are arrogantly indifferent to God— until, of course, they’re in trouble,
and then God is indifferent to them. There’s nothing behind such prayers except panic; the Almighty pays them no mind. So why would he notice you
just because you say you’re tired of waiting to be heard, Or waiting for him to get good and angry and do something about the world’s problems?
16 “Job, you talk sheer nonsense— nonstop nonsense!”
Here we have Jobs freind saying that God is to important, to high above us to care one way or the other about what happens to us. This is a very Greek and Roman way of seeing God and gods, we are just there playthings and they do not really care. Particularly if you only call on them when you need them and not worship all the time. Is this how you see God and Jesus?
Then the freind says “”It’s true that God is all-powerful, but he doesn’t bully innocent people. For the wicked, though, it’s a different story—
he doesn’t give them the time of day, but champions the rights of their victims.
He never takes his eyes off the righteous; he honors them lavishly, promotes them endlessly. When things go badly,” This friend seems quite confused now he’s saying that he punished the wicked, so he must be taking notice of what is going on after all.
“But those who learn from there suffering, God delivers from there suffering.” Now hes back to saying that God does have control and notices, a very mixed up young man we have here. However before you think that you aren’t like that stop and think. So many of us have a very mixed up idea of God and that idea changes as we go through life, particularly the bad times as Job is. Is God really that irrational and erratic? He would be a very unloving being if he was.
Then this nice friend says “and here you are laden with the guilt of the wicked obsessed with putting the blame on God!” do you have friends like this who end up telling you its your own fault? Friends who in trying to help actually make you feel worse because they start to blame you for what is happening to you. Well Job seems to have a few of them. This friend finishes with this “DO you think I’m dumb enough to challenge God?” that would just be asking for trouble. after all “It’s unthinkable that he’d treat anyone unfairly.” What a view of God these friends have a being who strikes out at people without telling them why, not listening to any defence, doing what he like without doing evil, so far above us that he hardly notices us, punishing the evil so those suffering must be bad. I am glad that is not the God I know.
Next God responds.