Wednesday after the Tenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Job 4-6 (NKJV)
4:1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:
2 “If one attempts a word with you, will you become weary? But who can withhold himself from speaking? 3 Surely you have instructed many, and you have strengthened weak hands. 4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have strengthened the feeble knees; 5 But now it comes upon you, and you are weary; It touches you, and you are troubled. 6 Is not your reverence your confidence? And the integrity of your ways your hope? 7 Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off? 8 Even as I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. 9 By the blast of God they perish, and by the breath of His anger they are consumed. 10 The roaring of the lion, the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions are broken. 11 The old lion perishes for lack of prey, and the cubs of the lioness are scattered.
12 “Now a word was secretly brought to me, and my ear received a whisper of it. 13 In disquieting thoughts from the visions of the night, when deep sleep falls on men, 14 fear came upon me, and trembling, which made all my bones shake. 15 Then a spirit passed before my face; The hair on my body stood up. 16 It stood still, but I could not discern its appearance. A form was before my eyes; There was silence; Then I heard a voice saying: 17 ‘Can a mortal be more righteous than God? Can a man be more pure than his Maker? 18 If He puts no trust in His servants, if He charges His angels with error, 19 how much more those who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, who are crushed before a moth? 20 They are broken in pieces from morning till evening; They perish forever, with no one regarding. 21 Does not their own excellence go away? They die, even without wisdom.’
5:1 “Call out now; Is there anyone who will answer you? And to which of the holy ones will you turn? 2 For wrath kills a foolish man, and envy slays a simple one. 3 I have seen the foolish taking root, but suddenly I cursed his dwelling place. 4 His sons are far from safety, they are crushed in the gate, and there is no deliverer. 5 Because the hungry eat up his harvest, taking it even from the thorns, and a snare snatches their substance. 6 For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble spring from the ground; 7 Yet man is born to trouble, as the sparks fly upward.
8 “But as for me, I would seek God, and to God I would commit my cause—9 Who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number. 10 He gives rain on the earth, and sends waters on the fields. 11 He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety. 12 He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands cannot carry out their plans. 13 He catches the wise in their own craftiness, and the counsel of the cunning comes quickly upon them. 14 They meet with darkness in the daytime, and grope at noontime as in the night. 15 But He saves the needy from the sword, from the mouth of the mighty, and from their hand. 16 So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.
17 “Behold, happy is the man whom God corrects; Therefore do not despise the chastening of the Almighty. 18 For He bruises, but He binds up; He wounds, but His hands make whole. 19 He shall deliver you in six troubles, yes, in seven no evil shall touch you. 20 In famine He shall redeem you from death, and in war from the power of the sword. 21 You shall be hidden from the scourge of the tongue, and you shall not be afraid of destruction when it comes. 22 You shall laugh at destruction and famine, and you shall not be afraid of the beasts of the earth. 23 For you shall have a covenant with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you. 24 You shall know that your tent is in peace; You shall visit your dwelling and find nothing amiss. 25 You shall also know that your descendants shall be many, and your offspring like the grass of the earth. 26 You shall come to the grave at a full age, as a sheaf of grain ripens in its season.
27 “Behold, this we have searched out; It is true. Hear it, and know for yourself.”
6:1 Then Job answered and said:
2 “Oh, that my grief were fully weighed, and my calamity laid with it on the scales! 3 For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea—therefore my words have been rash. 4 For the arrows of the Almighty are within me; My spirit drinks in their poison; The terrors of God are arrayed against me. 5 Does the wild donkey bray when it has grass, or does the ox low over its fodder? 6 Can flavorless food be eaten without salt? Or is there any taste in the white of an egg? 7 My soul refuses to touch them; They are as loathsome food to me.
8 “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant me the thing that I long for! 9 That it would please God to crush me, that He would loose His hand and cut me off! 10 Then I would still have comfort; Though in anguish, I would exult, He will not spare; For I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. 11 What strength do I have, that I should hope? And what is my end, that I should prolong my life? 12 Is my strength the strength of stones? Or is my flesh bronze? 13 Is my help not within me? And is success driven from me?
14 “To him who is afflicted, kindness should be shown by his friend, even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty. 15 My brothers have dealt deceitfully like a brook, like the streams of the brooks that pass away, 16 which are dark because of the ice, and into which the snow vanishes. 17 When it is warm, they cease to flow; When it is hot, they vanish from their place. 18 The paths of their way turn aside, they go nowhere and perish. 19 The caravans of Tema look, the travelers of Sheba hope for them. 20 They are disappointed because they were confident; They come there and are confused. 21 For now you are nothing, you see terror and are afraid. 22 Did I ever say, ‘Bring something to me’? Or, ‘Offer a bribe for me from your wealth’? 23 Or, ‘Deliver me from the enemy’s hand’? Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of oppressors’?
24 “Teach me, and I will hold my tongue; Cause me to understand wherein I have erred. 25 How forceful are right words! But what does your arguing prove? 26 Do you intend to rebuke my words, and the speeches of a desperate one, which are as wind? 27 Yes, you overwhelm the fatherless, and you undermine your friend. 28 Now therefore, be pleased to look at me; For I would never lie to your face. 29 Yield now, let there be no injustice! Yes, concede, my righteousness still stands! 30 Is there injustice on my tongue? Cannot my taste discern the unsavory?”
The greatest challenge for Job’s friends, and us, is not what we know, but what we do not know. Often what we believe to be our best and wisest thoughts are in reality based on horrible ignorance because we know not the Scriptures or the power of God. God is all knowing, and nothing escapes His control, so we must be careful not to judge earthly circumstances by our fallen, imperfect senses and human logic.
God’s inspired Word reveals that the Lord works good in all things for those who love Him (Rom. 8:28). Neither Job, nor Eliphaz the Temanite speak untruths. But both fail to perceive the circumstances of life through the lens of the heavenly Father’s promised grace found in the Redeemer. The reality escapes both of them that every person, as a sinner, deserves exactly what Job is experiencing, plus vastly more misery. Man is spared any of it only because of unmerited grace. We should never judge our relationship with God or our eternal situation by what our senses tell us, but only by what His holy, precious Means of Grace promise.
We pray: Almighty God, You bless us abundantly through our Redeemer Jesus Christ and His most holy ministry of grace. Show us by that grace, through faith, those things that can only be seen and understood through the power of Your Spirit working Your will in us; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.