Lesson Three. Job and God.

Key Notes: Job's changing thoughts of God and himself. How God approached Job.

In order to understand why God spoke to Job as He did, we need to see Job's spiritual and emotional development under his severe stress. It is necessary to read the book again with this in mind.

What Job said about God:
A. First he was bewildered and shocked.
"Why have You made me Your mark? Why have I become a burden to You?" (7:20)
"Behold, He snatches away; who can hinder Him? Who will say to Him, what doest Thou?" (9:12)
"If I summoned Him and He answered me, I would not believe that He was listening to my voice. For He crushes me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause; He will not let me get my breath...." (9:17–18)

B. Then he begins to plead.
"Does it seem good to You to oppress, to despise the work of Your hands and favor the designs of the wicked?" (10:3)
"Why do you hide Your face and count me as Your enemy?" (13:24)
"Oh that you would hide me in Sheol, that You would conceal me until your wrath be past, that You would appoint me a set time, and remember me." (14:13)

C. He alternates between anger at God and faith in Him.
"Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. I have no hope, yet I will defend my ways to His face." (13:15)
"He has torn me in his wrath and hated me; He has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens His eyes against me." (16:9)
"Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and He that vouches for me is on high." (16:19)
"My eye pours out tears to God, that he would maintain the right of a man with God, like that of a man with his neighbor." (16:20)
"Behold, I cry out, "Violence!" but I am not answered; I call aloud, but there is no justice." (19:7)
"I know that my Redeemer lives and at last He will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another." (19:25–27)

"You say 'God stores up their iniquity for their sons. Let him recompense it to themselves that they may know it.'" (21:19)
"Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even to His seat. I would fill my mouth with arguments; I would learn what He would answer me and understand what He would say to me." (23:3)
"From out of the city the dying groan, and the soul of the wounded cries for help; yet God pays no attention to their prayer." (24:12)
"Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me...." (29:2)
"You have turned cruel to me; with the might of Your hand You persecute me." (30:21)
"Oh, that I had one to hear me! Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me! Oh, that I had the indictment written by my adversary." (31:35)

What Job thought about himself:
A. At first, he was stoical.
"The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord." (1:21)
"Shall we receive good at the hand of God and shall we not receive evil?" (2:10)

B. Then he was depressed.
"Let the day perish wherein I was born...." (3:3)
"Why did I not die at birth...?" (3:11)
"Why is light given to him that is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death but it comes not...." (3:20)
"Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good." (7:7)
"I loathe my life." (10:1)
"God has cast me in the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes." (30:19)

C. Then he began to rouse himself.
"Though I am innocent, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser." (9:15)
"If I am wicked, woe to me! If I am righteous, I cannot lift up my head, for I am filled with disgrace..." (10:15)

D. He fought back against his friends.
"Doubtless you are the people and wisdom will die with you!" (12:2)
"I am a laughingstock to my friends...." (12:4)
"My spirit is broken, my days are extinct, the grave is ready for me. Surely there are mockers about me [his friends], and my eye dwells on their provocation." (17:1–2)
"How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words?" (19:2)
"Far be it from me to say that you are right; till I die I will not put away my integrity from me. I hold fast my righteousness and will not let it go; my heart does not reproach me for any of my days." (27:5)

E. He comes at last to a grand view of himself .
"He has stripped from me my glory, and taken the crown from my head." (19:9)
"Oh, that I were as in the months of old, as in the days when God watched over me." (29:2)
"I was eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame. I was a father to the poor, and I searched out the cause of him whom I did not know." (29:15–16)
"I would give him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach him." (31:37)

How God approached Job.
A. God did not explain to Job why he was struck down or apologize for Job's suffering. But he comes to Job personally, and talks to Job as a man to a man, as Job had so long pleaded.

God said "Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?" (38:2). In effect, God told Job that he did not know what he was saying. Approaching God "like a prince" would appear to make Job superior and God will make it clear that that is inappropriate.
God reminds Job that on the cosmic scale of creation, Job is nowhere, either in time or space or comprehension. 38:4–15
The mysteries of the sea, light and darkness, rain, snow and hail, laws of the heavenly bodies are beyond Job's understanding. 38:16–38

B. Then God talks about the wild animals, their feeding patterns, habitats, temperaments and and even their reproductive cycles: the lion, raven, mountain goat, wild donkey, wild ox, ostrich, horse, hawk and eagle. The point is that God loves and takes care of all these creatures, and the implication is that he cares for Job too. (38:39–39:30). The description of the ostrich is humorous.

C. God addresses Job again. 40:1–14
Is this a fault-finder contending with the Almighty? Job had said,"I desire to argue my case with God." (13:3)
"I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments." (23:4)

God says "Will you even put Me in the wrong? Will you condemn Me that you may be justified?" (40:8)
The three friends argued that bad fortune reflected Job's bad deeds, since we always reap what we sow. Job countered by defending his righteousness and offered the alternative that God was doing bad deeds--hating him, crushing him, gnashing his teeth at him, persecuting him. In so doing, Job went to the other wrong extreme, putting God in the wrong to defend himself.

40:10–14 God challenges Job to appear in glory, abase the proud, tread down the wicked, bind them in the grave and then God will acknowledge Job's victory--or his equality with God--since these are God-like qualities. Victory? over what? Job has overreached himself and put himself on a plane with God.

D. Finally, God describes two powerful animals. 40:15–41:34
God describes his creation of a beast called Behemoth (40:15–24), that most closely resembles the hippopotamus. This animal is too much for humans to conquer, but "let Him who made him bring near His sword." (40:19b).
41:1–34 The second beast is even more formidable, called Leviathan. It resembles the crocodile of the Nile. It is described in great detail, and a more vivid description of the crocodile would be hard to find. But since fire and smoke come from its nostrils, a beast greater than the crocodile is indicated and the concluding description is "he is king over all the sons of pride."

In order to understand the second beast, we pursue the word Leviathan in Scripture using the concordance.
"In that day the Lord, with his hard and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will slay the dragon that is in the sea". (Isa.27:1)
"Thou didst crush the heads of Leviathan; Thou didst give him as food for the creatures of the wilderness." (Psa.74:14)

The Serpent / dragon is linked to Satan.
"...and the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world...." (Rev.12:9)

Also, the sea is a metaphor for the sinful world.
"For the wicked are like the tossing sea for it cannot rest, and its waters toss up mire and dirt. There is no peace, says my God, for the wicked." (Isa.57:20)
"...for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind." (James 1:6b)
{the apostates are}"...wild waves of the sea, casting up the foam of their own shame." (Jude 13)
"Four great beasts came out of the sea." (Dan.7:3)
"And I saw a beast rising out of the sea." (Rev.13:1)
"...and there was no more sea." (Rev.21:1)

We conclude that Leviathan is the dragon, is the serpent, is Satan; that the sea in which Leviathan lives is the sinful world.

Than why would God make an elaborate physical description of Satan, and end His discourse with the cryptic "He is king over all the sons of pride"? He has challenged Job to get the "victory", and then describes Leviathan, whom no man can defeat. Would Job get the victory over Satan by himself? Job did not know that he was in a battle. It appears that God is informing Job that he has been in mortal combat with Satan, and almost lost it. Was his pride getting the better of him? Was he becoming like "the sons of pride."? Job had said "Like a prince I would approach Him."

Imagine a desperately sick man whom God has allowed to be struck at Satan's instigation. God is to prove that Job will not curse God in spite of terrible misfortune. He was goaded into a rage by well-meaning friends who denounced him falsely for sin he did not commit. This goading caused the sick man to rise up in false pride and confront God as being in the wrong. He was close to cursing God, but closer to challenging God as an equal. It is a great temptation for human beings to put themselves on the same plane as God. God reveals to Job that he cannot win over Satan's temptation by himself. Job was totally unaware of the conflict, of the magnitude of the struggle--he was just a sick man arguing religion with stupid friends.