1 ¶ My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me. 2 Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation? 3 Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me? 4 For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them. 5 He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail. 6 He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret. 7 Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow. 8 Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite. 9 The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
Job continues his defense against Eliphaz’s second turn at attacking him. He states that his own breath contains corruption, or rather that he is dying.
Job 6:11 What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life?
His sorrowful lament, which we learn later is not prophetic and is incorrect so take that hyper-literalist, is reflected in one of the Psalms not attributed to David.
Psalm 88:3 For my soul is full of troubles: and my life draweth nigh unto the grave. 4 I am counted with them that go down into the pit: I am as a man that hath no strength: 5 Free among the dead, like the slain that lie in the grave, whom thou rememberest no more: and they are cut off from thy hand.
It is important to understand that the Bible says that the writers wrote by the wisdom and understanding given to them by God.
2Timothy 3:16a All scripture is given by inspiration of God…
Job 32:8 But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.
2Peter 3:15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;
So, the Bible writers were not taking dictation like a secretary in older times might. They, for the most part with a few exceptions as in the writings of the prophets, were writing based on the understanding and wisdom given to them by God. This leaves room for us to see things that were incorrect based on fear, depression, uncertainty, and frustration.
The following, as an example, are not God’s words but the writers’.
Jeremiah 20:7 ¶ O LORD, thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived: thou art stronger than I, and hast prevailed: I am in derision daily, every one mocketh me. 8 For since I spake, I cried out, I cried violence and spoil; because the word of the LORD was made a reproach unto me, and a derision, daily. 9 Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name. But his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.
He comes around and his faith triumphs as is evident a couple of verses later but you can see that he relayed his negative thoughts to us. Why do we have these things and not just a book full of God’s wisdom?
Understanding that the doctrine of preservation by God of the words of these writers is as important as the doctrine of inspiration…
Psalm 12:6 The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7 Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.
Psalm 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.
Psalm 138:2 I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.
…And what does God’s written word do for those who are saved. It teaches…
Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
It imparts doctrine, reproves, corrects, and instructs.
2Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.
It keeps us from sin.
Psalm 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
It sanctifies or sets us apart for God’s service.
John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
There are many other things it does as well.
But, why are these words of Job, Eliphaz, Bildad, and others that say things that go against God’s doctrine such as, “the tabernacles of the robbers prosper,” in Job 12:6 preserved? It is through showing us that others before us have had the same grief, doubt, fear, uncertainty, and even depression as we do that another of God’s purposes for His word is accomplished.
2Corinthians 1:4 Who comforteth us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God.
Take comfort and comfort others with God’s word for we know that our worry, our anxiety, and our struggles have not been experienced by us alone. God knows our frailty and how hard and uncertain life can be and He is there for us.
Hebrews 13:5 Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.
…And who He is and His strength and His grace toward us is revealed to us in our weakness…
2Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
So, don’t be afraid to pray the prayer of the man whose son had an evil spirit in him.
Mark 9:24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
God’s power and His love are best revealed in your weakness and complete dependence upon Him for your next corrupt breath.
Job says his days are finished and the graves of his forefathers wait for him. His friends mock him and he has no choice but to take it. In verse 3 Job again is looking for a legal mediator between himself and God. We are justified before God by Jesus Christ, who makes intercession for us, in opposition to Satan, who accuses us. Satan accuses us of crimes of which we are indeed guilty and Christ declares us innocent because He has paid the price. We are justified, declared righteous before God and no longer in a state of rebellion, by our belief and faith in the resurrection of Christ.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered…27 And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God…34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.
Revelation 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
1Corinthians 15:3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
Romans 3:20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; 26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.
Jesus is the propitiation, the offering that satisfies God’s wrath on mankind, the substitute for our deserved punishment for our rebellion against Him. By belief and faith in Him we are declared righteous.
Romans 5:19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
And who do you confess this to? A priest? The county sheriff?
Romans 14:11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.
Philippians 2:11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Job’s friends flattered him, pretended to comfort him if he would just take their advice. But, they made him a joke. Here is a man who has suffered horrible circumstances and those people he trusted to comfort him have made him an example of what happens to a hypocrite, an actor, a faker. He believes, though, that truly good men will see through the charade, the easily seen pretense of the self-righteousness of Job’s friends.
We sin when we do this to others. We sin when we do this to ourselves. You, who did everything you knew to do to raise your children rightly, as you understood it, when one of them goes astray you, rather than understanding that each of them and us are independent moral agents accountable to God and on their own path, choose to blast yourself and try to search out all of the things you did wrongly. Sometimes, that is a pointless and wasteful task, one of the dangers of looking backwards and assuming knowledge you don’t have.
We can do this when we look at someone who is suffering horribly, as well. We presume that we know, we have special knowledge from God that they must have harbored some secret sin they hid from us, that caused this trial to come upon them. Presuming knowledge about God’s purpose and intentions that you don’t have is misrepresenting God. You need to repent of that sin. We can see a cause and effect in obvious things. Sin, like defiling your body with cigarettes, can lead to cancer. Sin, like adultery, destroys lives. We are all sinners, saved by grace, deserving of Hell. Sin always, when left unchecked, turns us away from God, and even if there were no chastisement from God, can burn us up. But, admit it, you often don’t know why something has happened. When you pronounce that you do, you are only guessing.
Your job as a Christian is to comfort, to minister to, and to care for as much or more than it is to reprove sin and error. You must never accept sin but you remember, one, that mercy rejoices over judgment (James 2:13), and, two, in the context of the book of Job, ignorance is no excuse for acting in bad faith and misrepresenting God.