Falkirk Free Church
Lectures in the Faith: 2015-2016
Job : How God treats his Friends
2: Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Powerful poem in Ch 3 – language recalls ‘Lament Psalms’ (eg 77 and 88) – such kind of writing regularly in Christian literature. Not like unbelief (eg Ps 95)- hard questions are being asked.

What is happening to Job?
This is a poem and Job uses a cluster of images which are to be developed throughout the book

The womb -  anticipated in 1:21 –here in vv11-12 mysterious life of unborn child – in v16 compared to Sheol – ‘bookends’ of life and death – see also 10:8ff; 33:6; 38:8.

Sheol -  the world of the dead(vv13-19) – here oblivion and forgetfulness –se also 7:21; Ch14;26:5-6;33:12ff;38:16-18.

Powers of darkness: cluster of words in vv4ff suggest evil powers- see also 10:20-22;24:13ff;40:15-24.

The hostility of God-  espv23 – see also 16:11ff;19:6ff; Ch40.

Why is this happening to Job?
Numbness following tragic events.
The silence of the Friends (2:13)
The activity of Satan
The perceived hostility of God.

What hope is there for Job?
God is in charge (v23) – does not depend on feelings
Job, like Jacob in Gen 32:26 refuses to let God go.

What about Job’s Friends?
They seem to stand comfortably in mainstream Wisdom represented by Proverbs but they interpret that mechanically. Not sharply differentiated but do have a certain individuality

Eliphaz -  a philosopher –‘we have examined’  (5:27)
Bildad – a traditionalist (8:8)
Zophar -  a dogmatist (11:7)
So why are they unhelpful?
They have a simplistic and mechanical idea of God
They do not listen – either to God (4:12-17) or to Job
They imagine they can put God’s case better than God eg 5:9;22:12; Ch 25
They do not discern that supernatural forces are at work.


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