Daily Devotional Wednesday 1st September 2021by William Moody
Job Replies: Miserable Comforters Are You
16:1 Then Job answered and said:
2 “I have heard many such things;
miserable comforters are you all.
3 Shall windy words have an end?
Or what provokes you that you answer?
4 I also could speak as you do,
if you were in my place;
I could join words together against you
and shake my head at you.
5 I could strengthen you with my mouth,
and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
6 “If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,
and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
7 Surely now God has worn me out;
he has1 made desolate all my company.
8 And he has shriveled me up,
which is a witness against me,
and my leanness has risen up against me;
it testifies to my face.
9 He has torn me in his wrath and hated me;
he has gnashed his teeth at me;
my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.
10 Men have gaped at me with their mouth;
they have struck me insolently on the cheek;
they mass themselves together against me.
11 God gives me up to the ungodly
and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
12 I was at ease, and he broke me apart;
he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;
he set me up as his target;
13 his archers surround me.
He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare;
he pours out my gall on the ground.
14 He breaks me with breach upon breach;
he runs upon me like a warrior.
15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin
and have laid my strength in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping,
and on my eyelids is deep darkness,
17 although there is no violence in my hands,
and my prayer is pure.
18 “O earth, cover not my blood,
and let my cry find no resting place.
19 Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven,
and he who testifies for me is on high.
20 My friends scorn me;
my eye pours out tears to God,
21 that he would argue the case of a man with God,
as2 a son of man does with his neighbor.
22 For when a few years have come
I shall go the way from which I shall not return.
Job Continues: Where Then Is My Hope?
17:1 “My spirit is broken; my days are extinct;
the graveyard is ready for me.
2 Surely there are mockers about me,
and my eye dwells on their provocation.
3 “Lay down a pledge for me with you;
who is there who will put up security for me?
4 Since you have closed their hearts to understanding,
therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 He who informs against his friends to get a share of their property—
the eyes of his children will fail.
6 “He has made me a byword of the peoples,
and I am one before whom men spit.
7 My eye has grown dim from vexation,
and all my members are like a shadow.
8 The upright are appalled at this,
and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless.
9 Yet the righteous holds to his way,
and he who has clean hands grows stronger and stronger.
10 But you, come on again, all of you,
and I shall not find a wise man among you.
11 My days are past; my plans are broken off,
the desires of my heart.
12 They make night into day:
‘The light,’ they say, ‘is near to the darkness.’3
13 If I hope for Sheol as my house,
if I make my bed in darkness,
14 if I say to the pit, ‘You are my father,’
and to the worm, ‘My mother,’ or ‘My sister,’
15 where then is my hope?
Who will see my hope?
16 Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?
Shall we descend together into the dust?”4
Hebrew you have; also verse 8
The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
Or Will they go down to the bars of Sheol? Is rest to be found together in the dust?
Job responds to Zophar’s comments by firstly complaining about his friends (16 v1-5). Job calls them ‘miserable comforters’ (v2) and of being guilty of using ‘windy words’ (v3). Job’s insults are similar to that from his friends, but the big difference is Job speaks as he does out of tremendous anguish. We need to make allowances for those who are suffering.
Job believes his situation is down to the hand of God (v6-18) and he has no awareness of Satan’s involvement. Satan seeks to turn him away from God.
In Job’s lament there are echoes of Jesus’ suffering (see v8, 9, 10. 11, 17). Our great hope in suffering has to be Jesus (Hebrews 12 v1-4).
Job then speaks of his hope in Heaven (16 v19-22). Who is Job’s witness in heaven (v19; see 1 John 2 v1)? Jesus is His great advocate.
Job moves regularly from hope to despair and back again. In chapter 17 it is despair. He sees death as coming (v1, 11-16), he suffers mockery (v2, 6-8), he has no support (v3-5, 10), he sees others flourishing (v9). Job’s friends add to his agony and sense of despair. The challenge is for us to make things better for those in suffering and certainly not to add to their suffering.
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