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HOLDING FAST HIS RIGHTEOUSNESS
In Chapter 26 Job answered Bildad fully. Bildad's last argument was very brief, and after this Zophar had nothing at all to say. Job has already won the debate, though he fully, admits that he has not found the relief he is seeking. Now he spends five chapters in his self-defence, which will get him nowhere as regards the answer to his distressing condition, for his comparatively righteous life had nothing to do with the answer to his questions.
He knows that God lives, but claims that God had taken away the justice Job felt he deserved. He knew that God is Almighty, but he accused God of making his soul bitter (v.2). He says that as long as he is able to breathe, his lips would not speak wickedness nor his tongue deceit (vv.3-4). Thus he flatly contradicted the accusations of his friends. He would not give them the least encouragement in telling them they, were right in any, measure (v.5). He was determined to cling to his integrity, and insists, "My righteousness I hold fast, and will not let it go; my heart shall not reproach me as long as I live" (v.6).
His friends had no proof whatever to the contrary of what Job said, for his actions had been good, but at the end of this book, Job's attitude is wonderfully changed. The one who had such confidence in his own righteousness, when face to face with God, said, I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You. Therefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (ch.42:5-6). The question of his good conduct was set aside entirely, when he saw, not merely, his past life, but himself in the light of God's presence. He abhorred himself, rather than defending himself.
Job ends this section by expressing the desire that his enemy, (one who opposed his claim of righteousness) would be like the wicked, not worth considering, and one who rose against him in his claim would be like the unrighteous, a contrast to Job himself (v.7). If this applied to his friends, let them consider it!
THE HOPE OF THE HYPOCRITE
Job's friends had accused him of hypocrisy, but he asks them as to the hypocrite's end. Though he gained much in this world, what can he do when God takes away his life? "Will God hear his cry, when trouble comes upon him?" (v.9). In fact, would a hypocrite delight himself in God to such an extent as to call upon God Himself? (v.10). It is not the character of such an evil man to really call on God, yet it was evident to Job's friends that Job was crying out to God in his affliction.
Job therefore realised that his friends needed teaching as regards the hand of God, so he would teach them (v.11). It was true they needed such teaching, though Job himself needed teaching of a different kind than he perceived his friends needed, for "the hand of God" is a tremendous subject. What Job knew about God's hand he would not conceal, but there was much indeed he did not know, as we all must realise in our ignorance.
Still, he tells his friends they. had seen God's hand in operation, and instead of considering soberly what was involved in these actions of God, they, were behaving with complete nonsense! (v.12).
THE CERTAIN DOOM OF THE UNGODLY
Job now proceeds to declare in language similar to that of his friends, the eventual doom of the wicked. But unlike his friends, he showed this in contrast to his own eventual end. They had spoken this way to identify Job as being wicked. But his summary of the wicked and their end actually shows the impossibility of Job's being identified as one of them. There seems to be similarities in Job's experience to that of the wicked, as in verse 14, if his children are multiplied, it is for the sword, and his offspring shall not be satisfied with bread." Job's children had all been killed in a sudden catastrophe (ch.1:18-19), but Job is thinking beyond the present, to consider the eventual end of the wicked. His thoughts are surely inconsistent, for he has before so dwelt upon his own present circumstances that he could hardly see farther.
"Those who survive him shall be buried in death, and their widows shall not weep." Some may have a little longer, but the grave will soon claim them, and their widows would not even weep because they would feel no loss in the death of an evil husband.
He may heap up abundance of riches, like the rich man of Luke 12:16-21, who said in his soul, - Soul, you have many goods laid up for many, years, take your case, cat, drink and be merry. But God said to him, Fool! this night your soul will be required of you, then whose will those things be which you have provided? Thus one may pile up riches, but others, less foolish than he, will reap its benefits. The absolute folly of mankind is certainly evident in all this. We all know that our lives are very short at best. In fact, what is 100 years compared to eternity? If we insure our lives for that long, what do we have when it is over? If one leaves Christ out of his life, he has only torment to look forward to!
Thus the rich unbeliever lies down, then opens his eyes to find himself in torment, where terrors overtake him as a flood, the tempest of God's judgment takes him away (vv.19-20). This is graphic language, but Job is not so specific as the Lord Jesus was in Luke 16:23, concerning the rich man who died, "and being in Hades, lifted up his eyes." Thus, after death there is torment for the wicked. "The east wind carries him away" (v.21). The east wind is often spoken of in scripture as signifying God's judgment (Exodus 14:21). That judgment is slow to arise, but when it comes, it "does not spare" (v.22). Men may try to flee desperately from its power, as they do from hurricanes, but to no avail.
"Men shall clap their hands at him, and shall hiss him out of his place" (v.23). Rather than sorrowing at his disgraceful death, those who have known him will be glad he is gone. It is evident that Job had no fear whatever of his sharing a judgment like this, and his friends ought to have easily recognised that these things would not be true of Job. It would have been wise for them to frankly apologise to Job for their cruel charges against him.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 27". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28