July 19, 2021

Where to Find True Comfort

Job 15–19

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Eliphaz Accuses: Job Does Not Fear God

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge,
    and fill his belly with the east wind?
...

Eliphaz Accuses: Job Does Not Fear God

Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered and said:

“Should a wise man answer with windy knowledge,
    and fill his belly with the east wind?
Should he argue in unprofitable talk,
    or in words with which he can do no good?
But you are doing away with the fear of God 1
    and hindering meditation before God.
For your iniquity teaches your mouth,
    and you choose the tongue of the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, and not I;
    your own lips testify against you.

Are you the first man who was born?
    Or were you brought forth before the hills?
Have you listened in the council of God?
    And do you limit wisdom to yourself?
What do you know that we do not know?
    What do you understand that is not clear to us?
10  Both the gray-haired and the aged are among us,
    older than your father.
11  Are the comforts of God too small for you,
    or the word that deals gently with you?
12  Why does your heart carry you away,
    and why do your eyes flash,
13  that you turn your spirit against God
    and bring such words out of your mouth?
14  What is man, that he can be pure?
    Or he who is born of a woman, that he can be righteous?
15  Behold, God 2 puts no trust in his holy ones,
    and the heavens are not pure in his sight;
16  how much less one who is abominable and corrupt,
    a man who drinks injustice like water!

17  I will show you; hear me,
    and what I have seen I will declare
18  (what wise men have told,
    without hiding it from their fathers,
19  to whom alone the land was given,
    and no stranger passed among them).
20  The wicked man writhes in pain all his days,
    through all the years that are laid up for the ruthless.
21  Dreadful sounds are in his ears;
    in prosperity the destroyer will come upon him.
22  He does not believe that he will return out of darkness,
    and he is marked for the sword.
23  He wanders abroad for bread, saying, ‘Where is it?’
    He knows that a day of darkness is ready at his hand;
24  distress and anguish terrify him;
    they prevail against him, like a king ready for battle.
25  Because he has stretched out his hand against God
    and defies the Almighty,
26  running stubbornly against him
    with a thickly bossed shield;
27  because he has covered his face with his fat
    and gathered fat upon his waist
28  and has lived in desolate cities,
    in houses that none should inhabit,
    which were ready to become heaps of ruins;
29  he will not be rich, and his wealth will not endure,
    nor will his possessions spread over the earth; 3
30  he will not depart from darkness;
    the flame will dry up his shoots,
    and by the breath of his mouth he will depart.
31  Let him not trust in emptiness, deceiving himself,
    for emptiness will be his payment.
32  It will be paid in full before his time,
    and his branch will not be green.
33  He will shake off his unripe grape like the vine,
    and cast off his blossom like the olive tree.
34  For the company of the godless is barren,
    and fire consumes the tents of bribery.
35  They conceive trouble and give birth to evil,
    and their womb prepares deceit.”

Job Replies: Miserable Comforters Are You

Then Job answered and said:

“I have heard many such things;
    miserable comforters are you all.
Shall windy words have an end?
    Or what provokes you that you answer?
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.
I could strengthen you with my mouth,
    and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.

If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,
    and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
Surely now God has worn me out;
    he has 4 made desolate all my company.
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.
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,
    as 5 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?

My spirit is broken; my days are extinct;
    the graveyard is ready for me.
Surely there are mockers about me,
    and my eye dwells on their provocation.

Lay down a pledge for me with you;
    who is there who will put up security for me?
Since you have closed their hearts to understanding,
    therefore you will not let them triumph.
He who informs against his friends to get a share of their property—
    the eyes of his children will fail.

He has made me a byword of the peoples,
    and I am one before whom men spit.
My eye has grown dim from vexation,
    and all my members are like a shadow.
The upright are appalled at this,
    and the innocent stirs himself up against the godless.
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.’ 6
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?” 7

Bildad Speaks: God Punishes the Wicked

Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:

“How long will you hunt for words?
    Consider, and then we will speak.
Why are we counted as cattle?
    Why are we stupid in your sight?
You who tear yourself in your anger,
    shall the earth be forsaken for you,
    or the rock be removed out of its place?

Indeed, the light of the wicked is put out,
    and the flame of his fire does not shine.
The light is dark in his tent,
    and his lamp above him is put out.
His strong steps are shortened,
    and his own schemes throw him down.
For he is cast into a net by his own feet,
    and he walks on its mesh.
A trap seizes him by the heel;
    a snare lays hold of him.
10  A rope is hidden for him in the ground,
    a trap for him in the path.
11  Terrors frighten him on every side,
    and chase him at his heels.
12  His strength is famished,
    and calamity is ready for his stumbling.
13  It consumes the parts of his skin;
    the firstborn of death consumes his limbs.
14  He is torn from the tent in which he trusted
    and is brought to the king of terrors.
15  In his tent dwells that which is none of his;
    sulfur is scattered over his habitation.
16  His roots dry up beneath,
    and his branches wither above.
17  His memory perishes from the earth,
    and he has no name in the street.
18  He is thrust from light into darkness,
    and driven out of the world.
19  He has no posterity or progeny among his people,
    and no survivor where he used to live.
20  They of the west are appalled at his day,
    and horror seizes them of the east.
21  Surely such are the dwellings of the unrighteous,
    such is the place of him who knows not God.”

Job Replies: My Redeemer Lives

Then Job answered and said:

“How long will you torment me
    and break me in pieces with words?
These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
    are you not ashamed to wrong me?
And even if it be true that I have erred,
    my error remains with myself.
If indeed you magnify yourselves against me
    and make my disgrace an argument against me,
know then that God has put me in the wrong
    and closed his net about me.
Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;
    I call for help, but there is no justice.
He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass,
    and he has set darkness upon my paths.
He has stripped from me my glory
    and taken the crown from my head.
10  He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone,
    and my hope has he pulled up like a tree.
11  He has kindled his wrath against me
    and counts me as his adversary.
12  His troops come on together;
    they have cast up their siege ramp 8 against me
    and encamp around my tent.

13  He has put my brothers far from me,
    and those who knew me are wholly estranged from me.
14  My relatives have failed me,
    my close friends have forgotten me.
15  The guests in my house and my maidservants count me as a stranger;
    I have become a foreigner in their eyes.
16  I call to my servant, but he gives me no answer;
    I must plead with him with my mouth for mercy.
17  My breath is strange to my wife,
    and I am a stench to the children of my own mother.
18  Even young children despise me;
    when I rise they talk against me.
19  All my intimate friends abhor me,
    and those whom I loved have turned against me.
20  My bones stick to my skin and to my flesh,
    and I have escaped by the skin of my teeth.
21  Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends,
    for the hand of God has touched me!
22  Why do you, like God, pursue me?
    Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?

23  Oh that my words were written!
    Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24  Oh that with an iron pen and lead
    they were engraved in the rock forever!
25  For I know that my Redeemer lives,
    and at the last he will stand upon the earth. 9
26  And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
    yet in 10 my flesh I shall see God,
27  whom I shall see for myself,
    and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
    My heart faints within me!
28  If you say, ‘How we will pursue him!’
    and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him,’ 11
29  be afraid of the sword,
    for wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
    that you may know there is a judgment.”

Footnotes

[1] 15:4 Hebrew lacks of God
[2] 15:15 Hebrew he
[3] 15:29 Or nor will his produce bend down to the earth
[4] 16:7 Hebrew you have; also verse 8
[5] 16:21 Hebrew and
[6] 17:12 The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain
[7] 17:16 Or Will they go down to the bars of Sheol? Is rest to be found together in the dust?
[8] 19:12 Hebrew their way
[9] 19:25 Hebrew dust
[10] 19:26 Or without
[11] 19:28 Many Hebrew manuscripts in me

Where to Find True Comfort



Key Verse | Job 16:2

"I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all."

Bio | Katy Lauritsen

Hi, Journey friends! I'm Katy. I'm an Enneagram 1, so you better believe this 2020 quarantine has been filled with productivity, lists, and routine. Lately, my husband Daniel and I have enjoyed updating our first home, training our new Goldendoodle puppy (I would add 1,000 pictures if I could), and running or hiking outdoors as much as possible! Daniel and I have been members at Watermark since 2015, and our marriage has been so blessed because of it. I've loved serving in K-1 Race for the past two years, and I felt honored to lead with Equipped Disciple as well!

 

 

 

Central Truth

God is our ultimate comforter through our hardest trials, and He desires our honesty and faithfulness through all of them.

Devotional | Job 15–19

Haven't we all had friends like Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar? They are the kind of friends who are well-meaning and try to provide comfort, understanding, and advice when you are at your lowest point. And...

Haven't we all had friends like Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar? They are the kind of friends who are well-meaning and try to provide comfort, understanding, and advice when you are at your lowest point. And try as they might, they just don't get it right all the time.

I faced that in late 2019 when my husband and I found out we would not be able to have biological kids. Boy, is that a lot to take in! In the midst of reconciling my journey with infertility and the tornado of emotions that followed, I also had to learn that my ultimate comforter wasn't my friends or even my husband; it was the Lord.

When I went to friends for comfort, I was often met with empty statements of hope and reasons why I shouldn't be upset or grieving. They were similar suggestions to what Eliphaz and Bildad told Job, instead of sympathizing and commiserating with him in his unfathomable circumstances. I related to Job so much during that time as I also felt like no one understood what I was going through, and I couldn't understand why God would allow this to happen to me.

If there is one thing that you take from reading Job, I want you to know that God can handle your big ugly emotions and grief. I believe that God would rather hear our honest prayers even if they are angry, filled with doubt and pain, and come from a broken heart than to have us suffer alone behind polite prayers. Friends and family members didn't always know the best thing to say or do, but when I voiced my true pain and struggles to a God who already knew, I found comfort in His Word, His promises, and His faithfulness to me.

At the end of Job 19, we see that while Job is still crushed, broken down, and sounds like he has no fight left in him, he shows us that his faith still remains in his desire to see God face to face. Job may have wavered, but he never lost faith.

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Discussion Questions

1. Do you ever hold back what you really want to say or pray to God? Why do you not feel like you can tell and express everything to Him?

2. Do you want more supportive friends than Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar? Join a community group at Watermark or your local church to be surrounded and encouraged by believers!  

3. What can you do to draw closer to God when you're facing trials and tribulations (Psalm 34:18)? 

4. Even when Job was arguing with his friends, his certainty of God's goodness gave him confidence that God would be his redeemer at the end of his hardships. What reminders do you have that God is good and will be your redeemer when you are going through trials?

5. When things are hard and life is unfair, how do you keep your hope in God and not in the world?

9 Comments available

Linda Green 10 days ago

Loved your honest devo, Katy! Moses is another example of “ugly honest” prayers like Numbers 11:15. God can handle the truth, and open my eyes when I’m believing a lie.

Job has never been a favorite, as suffering from God for an unknown purpose didn’t fit my (incorrect) picture of a “good God”. But a light went on as I read today!

Jesus said on the Emmaus Road (Luke 24:27), everything in the Old Testament points to Him. Like maybe Job’s totally undeserved suffering that had something to do with the devil…

The Old Testament examples were necessary so the Jewish leaders and others (like me) couldn’t say, “God would never do that!”

The accusations and vitriol that his friends hurled at Job, saying he basically was getting what he deserved was just like the religious leaders with Jesus on the cross.

Job still isn’t my favorite, but Jesus is!

Sue Bohlin 10 days ago

POWERFUL devo, Katy, bless you! Your insight, combined with the makes-you-wince insensitivity of Job’s friends, reminds me of my all-time most-read blog post, “What Not to Say When Someone is Grieving.” At over 40,000 page views, it’s clearly something we all need help with. https://blogs.bible.org/what-not-to-say-when-someone-is-grieving/

Reading Job again shows me that his friends were operating out of a faulty understanding of life and God. (“Bad stuff happens to sinful people, that’s why you’re suffering.”) We, too, usually get things wrong because we have a very limited perspective and we don’t see things as they truly are.

Which is why Job’s statement of faith–“For I know that my Redeemer lives”–made in the midst of misunderstanding, was so pleasing to God, and is exemplary for us.

Greg Jones 10 days ago

A great devotional this morning.

Some thoughts. Nobody has kids so that they might be disappointed by them one day. If you have kids someday they will disappoint you in someway someday. Knowing that going in is easier than when it’s realized later on.

Consequences are the result of actions, they touch each other. I order my actions to avoid disappointing consequences. Therefore I can tend to detach God from things I see as leading toward disappointing consequences.

Job’s friends see Job’s words leading him that direction, they see his words detached from God. So on behalf of God, Job’s friends engage Job in his distress. On behalf of Job’s distress, his friends do not engage God. But in Job’s distress, his friends have an opportunity to be engaged by God, if, their actions don’t cause avoidance.

Hugh Stephenson 11 days ago

1 of 2

GM Katy. THANK YOU for this devo and for sharing your testimony. I know many, many people will be encouraged and blessed by it for a long time to come.

At 63 I have had said goodbye to many family members and to many friends/peers. I have had many well-meaning friends say things that were totally wrong and insensitive. Their hearts were right, but they had never been taught aof response that reflected real compassion.

A friend offers two suggestions: compassion and prayer.

On May 25, 2001, Erik Weihenmayer reached the summit of Mount Everest. A few years later I heard him speak at an event. When talking about the event he said, (paraphrasing), “The view from the top is really overrated”. We all laughed.

Erik is blind.

Eventually, Job agrees.

He went on to climb the Seven Summits plus a number of other feats. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Weihenmayer

Hugh Stephenson 11 days ago

2 of 2

In length, Job is a top ten book. Clearly the LORD has a big message He wants me to permanently download.

I link to John 16:33, James 1:2-4, Romans 5:3-5. 2 Corinthians 4:17, 1 Peter 5:10

We know what Job said in Job 13:15.

In Job 16:15 he conveys that in total shame all his dignity is now lost. I link to Hebrews 12:1-3.

Jesus lived a perfect life then, “…for the joy set before Him…” voluntarily went to the cross, “…scorning its shame…”.

17:1-4 Job conveys to God that he is at rock bottom.

Then in Job 19:15 he makes one of the great statements of faith.

c.f., https://www.gotquestions.org/my-Redeemer-lives.html

Hemingway, among others, notes that possessions will possess you.

Keller states that your idols will own you.

Back to Hebrews 12:1-3. A life verse/passage.

Keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Run the race marked out for me.

Hugh Stephenson 11 days ago

Thankful today for knowing what a real summit is.

Michael Scaman 12 days ago

Born of a woman is 3 times in Job - all referring to trouble and fallen man. Job 14:1 Job 15:14 Job 25:4

Twice in Psalms Psalm 86:16 Psalm 116:16

Twice in the New Testament maybe referred to the same somewhat Galatians 4:4 Luke 1:38

Michael Scaman 12 days ago

Up to now, Job has cursed his birthday and expressed a fair amount of hopelessness. Now Job speaks of some type of resurrection and hope even though worms eat his body.

Job will gain steam, while his “friends” will get shorter and shorter in length until the last guy doesn’t even speak.

Michael Scaman 12 days ago

I never noticed how often the phrase 'born of a woman appears in Job. Both Job and his friends use “he who is born of a woman” and how fallen those 'born of a woman" are.

In Psalms the phrase ‘I am your servant, the son of your maidservant’ appears twice and points to a redeemer who as Galatians says ‘in the fullness of time was born of a woman’

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