Last week, we saw more of Job's friends' brutality of speech as they accused him of bringing his afflictions upon himself through sin. Bildad went so far as to say that Job's children had died because of their sin (8:4). As we finished chapter nine, Job had been saying that although he was blameless in his actions, who could possibly be right before God? He spoke of God's sovereignty, saying no one can dispute with Him, that no one can answer Him.
Now, as we begin chapter ten, Job continues to speak about the idea of questioning God, the righteous Judge.
A few sentences ago, Job had said,
Job 9:32 "He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, that we may go to court together."
Now he is hypothesizing a courtroom scene with God. He would ask the Lord why he has been afflicted. He would ask why there are wicked people who are doing well, when he has behaved himself and been stricken. He would acknowledge God as his Creator, and ask what is the purpose of allowing His creation to suffer this way. He would do this with reverence, fear, and thankfulness:
Job 10:12 You have granted me life and lovingkindness; And Your care has preserved my spirit.
Job continues, saying to the Lord, "You haven't told me why this is happening. But whether I'm wicked or righteous, You are right. But Lord, why was I going to be born if my life was just for suffering? Why didn't I die at birth?"
After Job appeals to the Lord for answers, he asks his three companions, "Why won't God let me be alone in my final days? The only hope I have for any sort of happiness is if you guys would just pack up and go home."
But they didn't go home. Instead, Zophar decides that he's got to put in his two cents.
Zophar says, "Job, I've got to address what you've said. Because, in spite of the grandiose things you've uttered about God not acquitting the righteous, you're still under the assumption that you're not being judged for sin. Oh, if only God would speak and prove you wrong. He would declare the sin that you are covering up!
"The fact is, Job, you don't know anything about God. But He knows everything about you."
Once again, the philosophy comes out: "Job, if you would just repent, then you would be delivered." All three of his friends have reached the same conclusion: That it was Job's sin which had brought this about, and if he'd repent, God would heal him.
They were all wrong, but it was three against one.
I've seen situations like this, where everyone in the room is saying, "Listen to us, we're right. Don't you understand that there's wisdom in a multitude of counselors?"
I know a lot of Christians who live by that Scripture. But did you know that it's not a Scripture? Nowhere does the Bible say, "there is wisdom in a multitude of counselors." In fact, the Scriptures that refer to a multitude of counselors tell us two things: Proverbs 11:14 and 24:6 tell us that, "in the multitude of counselors there is safety." And Proverbs 15:22 tells us that purposes are established in a multitude of counselors. But nowhere does it promise wisdom in a multitude of counselors.
Do not think that I'm saying that to seek counsel is wrong. After all,
Prov. 1:5 ...a man of understanding will acquire wise counsel...
But wise counsel doesn't always come from the multitude of counselors. Isaiah proclaimed,
Isa. 19:11(NIV) ...the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice...
Was Job getting godly wisdom from his three friends? No. They were using their own flesh to discern and decide, just like the majority rule usually does.
Pharaoh's counselors were wrong, Job's friends were wrong, even the entire congregation of Israel was wrong when one man said, "Let's go forward to Canaan," while three million said, "Let's go back to Egypt."
When it comes to discerning godly advice and counsel, don't ever think that just because the majority says it, it's right.
This is one of my favorite quotes in the Bible. Not because of deep doctrine or gospel truth, but because of the biting sarcasm. "You men are so wise. Who will the people of the earth turn to for wisdom after you are dead?"
Although it is not at first obvious, the Bible is full of sarcastic remarks.
When the Pharisees accused Jesus of eating with tax collectors, Jesus said,
Mark 2:17 ..."It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners."
You can almost picture Jesus holding up fingers with the quotation marks around "righteous" as He spoke.
The apostle Paul was talking about the legalists as well, who were insisting that circumcision was necessary for salvation. He said,
Gal. 5:12(ASV) I would that they that unsettle you would even go beyond circumcision.
In other words, "I wish they wouldn't stop there!"
In 2Corinthians 11, Paul used a ton of sarcasm to make his point. He told the Corinthians...
2Cor. 11:19-21 ...you, being so wise, tolerate the foolish gladly. For you tolerate it if anyone enslaves you, anyone devours you, anyone takes advantage of you, anyone exalts himself, anyone hits you in the face. To my shame I must say that we have been weak by comparison.
In these examples, godly men have used sarcasm to make their point. But sarcasm can be used by the wicked as well. You might recall that when David brought back the ark to Jerusalem, he was hearing a linen ephod and dancing before the Lord. But when his evil wife, Saul's daughter Me-KAWL saw this, she despised him in her heart.
2Sam. 6:20 ...when David returned to bless his household, Me-KAWL the daughter of Saul came out to meet David and said, "How the king of Israel distinguished himself today! He uncovered himself today in the eyes of his servants' maids as one of the foolish ones shamelessly uncovers himself!"
The danger of sarcasm is that we rarely use it to make a godly point. Usually we just use it to be rude, which is sin. Remember, the standard we've been given is
Eph. 4:29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.
"I'm not a moron, guys. The true things you're saying aren't some sort of divine revelation that only you possess."
"I'm a joke to you." Literally, he said, "I'm a laugh to you, a laughingstock." He says, "You know, it's easy to hold my calamity in contempt when you're at ease. It's easy to judge the guy in the hospital bed when you're healthy."
Job again returns to the issue of the sovereignty of God. "God is God, the Creator, the One Who makes the decisions, the One with all power, the One Who is in control. Even the animals know this, guys."
"You guys have no idea what you're saying, and you aren't representing God's position accurately. If I'm going to be in an argument, I'd rather argue with Him. If I have to speak to someone about this, I'd rather it be Him than you."
Job really lays into their false doctrine here. "You are misrepresenting God's ways and God's heart. When you are examined by God, you will be rebuked for what you are saying."
Job tells the guys to just be quiet and let him speak for a moment. "Listen, you three. I haven't forsaken the Lord because of what's happened to me."
Job 13:15 "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him..."
"Regardless of what happens to me in this life, my hope is in God. Whether I'm rich or poor, healthy or afflicted, I will not waver from this hope."
We are all called to have this hope. Regardless of what this life looks like, we must hope in the Lord.
What exactly are we hoping in? The word "hope" here is "yaw-CHAL," which means "to wait for, to expect, to hope for." Paul said that we are to be...
Titus 2:13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus,
Peter exhorted us,
1Pet. 1:13 ...fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
And John told us,
1John 3:2-3 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is. And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
No matter how bad today looks, if our hope is set on being with the Lord, we will live righteously and wait expectantly.