Lectionary Calendar
Monday, June 24th, 2024
the Week of Proper 7 / Ordinary 12
StudyLight.org has pledged to help build churches in Uganda. Help us with that pledge and support pastors in the heart of Africa.
Click here to join the effort!

Bible Commentaries
Job 11

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-20

Shall we turn to the eleventh chapter of the book of Job.

And in chapter 11 we hear from Job's third friend, old Zophar, and he gets his two cents worth in. Now for you that weren't here last Sunday night, we remember that the sons of God were presenting themselves to God and Satan came with them. And God did a little bragging on his servant, Job. And Satan said, "Yes, but You've so prospered him. Job, or anybody for that matter, would serve You if they were blessed as much as Job is. And You've put a hedge around the fellow; I can't get to him. Take away the hedge. Let me take away his possessions; he'll curse You to Your face." And so the Lord said, "All right. You can take away his possessions, but you leave him alone." And so Satan, operating within the limitations that God placed upon him. And Satan stripped Job of all of his possessions, his children even. And when Job received the word finally that his children were wiped out, he fell on his face and he said, "Naked I came into the world, naked I am going out. The Lord has given; the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." And in all of these things Job did not curse God, nor did he charge God foolishly.

So it came to pass in another day that the sons of God were presenting themselves to God, and Satan also came with them. And God said the Satan, "Where have you been?" And he said, "Oh, going around the earth." The Lord said, "Have you considered my servant Job? Good man. He's upright. He's perfect. He loves good; he hates evil. And in spite of all of what you've done, you were wrong about him. He didn't curse Me." And so Satan offered, really, a second suggestion concerned Job in which he expressed really what the psychologists tell us are the basic instincts of man, and that is self-preservation. Skin for skin. Yea, all that a man has will he give for his skin. Will he give for his life. "You see, You haven't let me touch him. Let me hit him. Let me get at him and he'll curse You to Your face." So God said, "All right, do what you would want, but don't take his life. Spare his life."

So Job was afflicted with these horrible boils from the head to the toe. Running, putrid sores. Painful. He lay out in the dust, in the ashes. As the sores would dry they would just form clods on his body. He'd take a piece of broken clay and just scrape himself. Absolutely miserable condition. His wife looked at him one day and said, "Honey, why don't you get it over with? Why don't you just curse God and die?" Job said, "We've received good from God, should we not also receive evil?"

There were three men from the east, reputed wise men who knew Job because Job was the greatest man in all of the east because of the abundance of his possessions prior to his being stripped. And they came to commiserate with him in his misery. And they sat there in silence for seven days as they saw the misery of their friend. And after seven days, Job opened up his mouth and cursed the day that he was born. Cursed the fact that he was alive. Cried out for death. And his friends began to more or less rebuke him. They began to suggest and intimate that no one could suffer this much unless he was some kind of a horrible sinner. That though he appeared outwardly to be a good man, yet he must be hiding some dreadful sin, or seeking to hide it, but God wouldn't let him hide it, and this surely is punishment from God for the evil that he has done.

Now, we know better than that because we had the first two chapters where we got the insight to what was happening. So we know how wrong is the evaluation of man concerning the situation. It's interesting how that we so often think that we know all the answers. And this is sort of Zophar's position. You know, he really knows just what it's all about. He knows all about God, and he's a religious dogmatist. And he now makes his speech as we get here to chapter 11, and rebukes Job, and again the innuendoes of evil and so forth in Job. So these are the discourses that the friends will speak and then Job will answer them. And then the next friend will speak up and try to put Job down, and Job will answer him. And the conversation is going back and forth between Job and his friends. A friend will speak, then Job responds, and this is the way the book of Job moves.

Then answered Zophar the Naamathite, and said, Should not the multitude of words be answered? Should a man full of talk be justified? ( Job 11:1-2 )

Job, do you think you can just justify yourself with your mouth? A man who says all of the things you're saying, should you just let it go?

Should your lies make men hold their peace? ( Job 11:3 )

Now you see, he's accusing him of being a liar.

and when you mock, shall no man make thee ashamed? For you have said, My doctrine is pure, I am clean in thine eyes. But oh that God would speak, and open his lips against thee ( Job 11:3-5 );

Well, the first chapter God did speak. God said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? An upright man. He loves good. He hates evil." You see, God had spoken and given His evaluation of Job. Now this friend Zophar said, "Oh, if God would only speak! You know, tell us what He knows about you."

He would show thee the secrets of wisdom, that they are double to that which is! Know ye therefore that God exacteth of thee less than thine iniquity deserves ( Job 11:6 ).

"Job, you listen, if God would really lay it on for all you're got coming, it'd be worse than what you've got now." Isn't that a great way to comfort a friend who's really hurting? No wonder Job cried out, "Miserable comforters are all of you." What a way to comfort a man. "Hey, man, you've got it easy. If God would really lay it on you like you've got coming to you, you'd be in much worse shape that this."

And so, an interesting question though. He said, "Can you by searching find out God? Can you find out the Almighty unto perfection?" And the answer is really no. Man, through an intellectual quest, cannot find out God. You will never understand God completely. Now one of our problems is that we are always seeking to understand God. We are always asking God, "Why, Lord, did You allow this? Why, God, has this happened to me? Why, Lord, am I in this condition?" We're trying to understand God. But I have found that why's can be a cesspool. You can drown in it. "Why did God?" The answer is, we don't know the why's of God. God does many things that I do not understand. I don't understand why a child is born blind. I don't understand why someone is crippled for life. I don't understand why children starve to death. There are a lot of things that I don't understand. I don't understand why we have to suffer. I don't understand why we experience sorrow. I don't understand why my brother and father were killed in a plane crash. A lot of things I don't understand.

That is why it is important that you have certain foundational truths upon which you stand. You see, there are certain things that I know. They are foundational truths, they are underneath, I rest upon these, I stand upon these. I know this: that God loves me. In spite of what happens, I know God loves me. In spite of what I might experience, I know God loves me. What tragedy might befall me in my path of life, I know that God loves me. And it's important that you know this. It's important that you have this as an undergirding, foundational truth. Because when you don't understand what's happening, you've gotta fall back on what you do understand, and I do understand God loves me. I do understand that God is far wiser than I am and He can see much more than I can see. I do know that my vision is very limited. I know that the spectrum that I can see is very small. I know that God has a much broader vision than I have. He can see the end from the beginning. Not only is His vision much broader than mine, but His wisdom is much expanded from mine. And though I do not understand, thank God I no longer have to understand all of the things that have happened to me. As long as I understand that God loves me and my life is in His hand and that He is working in me according to love and His wisdom, doing what is best for me as He knows what is best. I, by faith, rest there. Lord, You know what's best for me. Lord, You love me. Lord, You're in control of my life. So, whatever. I don't understand why God allowed His own Son to suffer on the cross in order to redeem such as me. There are a lot of things about God that I don't understand. But it isn't necessary or important that I do understand them. It is only necessary that I commit my life completely to God, come what may.

Now if you only commit yourself as far as you understand, if you're only, "Because I am blessed, I'm prospered and all, and therefore I love God and serve God because, you know, I'm prospered so much by God," then what are you going to do in the day of adversity? Should you be stripped of that which you have? What can you do then? But if you've learned to trust in God completely and commit to God completely your life, then you can handle the things that come along your path. So who by searching can find out God? You can't. This is one of the problems man has run up against. He sought to intellectually search for God and understand God, but God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth. No matter how much you may search for God intellectually, there always comes that point where you've got to leave the area of reason and take the step of faith to touch Him. Now my intellect can tell me an awful lot about God. My intellect surely brings me to the consciousness and the awareness that God exists. I'm not so stupid as to think this whole thing could have come about through spontaneous generation, or just fortunate accidents. All of the life forms, the variables of the life forms, witness to me of the wisdom of the Divine Creator.

I love nature. I love to study nature. I love the quirks of nature. I love to study the little fish down in Panama that shoots water at the bugs that are on the twigs. Quite accurate. Hits them with a blob of water, they fall, and then his swims up and grabs them. Now how long did it take for that little fish to develop the capacity to spit that little bit of water, to develop the accuracy? How did he survive before he learned how to do it? Things like that fascinate me. Surely there is a Creator. Surely there is an original cause. My intellect can carry me a long way, but there comes the place where I have to, ultimately, to really reach God, leave the realm of the intellect and take the step of faith. "All right, God. I believe. I trust. I commit." A step of faith. I'll never understand God completely; God said I won't. He said, "My ways are not your ways. My ways are beyond your finding out" ( Isaiah 55:8 ). So who can understand God perfectly?

It is as high as heaven; what can you do? deeper than hell; what can you know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, it's broader than the sea. If God decides to cut off, or shut up, or gather together, who can hinder God? [Who can stop the purposes of God?] For he knoweth vain men: he seeth wickedness also; will he not then consider it? For vain men would be wise, though man be born like a wild ass's colt. If you prepare your heart, and stretch out your hands towards him; If iniquity be in your hand, put it far away, let not wickedness dwell in your tents ( Job 11:8-14 ).

So he's now turning to Job and saying, "Look, you know, if you prepare your heart and stretch out your hand to God, make sure you don't have any wickedness in your hands, and let your tabernacles be clean."

For then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; yea, thou shalt be steadfast, and shall not fear: Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as the waters that pass away: and thine age shall be clearer than the noonday; and shine forth, and thou shalt be as the morning. And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yes, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety. Also thou shalt lie down, and none will make thee afraid; yea, many shall make suit unto thee [or shall come to thee and do obeisance]. But the eyes of the wicked shall fail, and they shall not escape, and their hope shall be as the giving up of the ghost ( Job 11:15-20 ). "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Job 11". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/job-11.html. 2014.
Ads FreeProfile