John T. Willis

Monday, October 19, 2009

God is All Powerful--But--Bildad's Third Speech and Job's Response--Part 1--Job 25-27

Job's friends quickly come to a stop--with the tiny speech of Bildad, recorded in Job 25. Job has a long monologue, recorded in Job 26-31. In this blog, we will work through Job 25-27.

Some scholars think that Job 26-31 have been altered greatly, and attempt to reconstruct these chapters, to give Bildad a longer speech, and to give Zophar a speech. But a careful study of the various proposals are hopelessly conflict with one another.

There are good reasons why Job's friends have quit talking:
1. Job's friends have nothing more to say. Their speeches are very repetitious, asserting the same idea again and again. The only difference is that they use different word and metaphors and similes.
2. Job's friends are convinced that Job would never listen to their arguments, so why continue to talk? Job 32:1 supports this suggestion.
3. Job's friends do not have a defensible position. In reality, "they had found no answer, though they had declared to Job to be in the wrong." Job 32:3, 5.

Now, let us turn to the text.

I. Bildad's Speech. Bildad declares that God is all powerful, so "How then can a mortal be righteous before God?" Job 25. Of course--Job himself admits this. But, are Job's friends "righteous before God?" If not, why do they not suffer like Job is suffering?

II. Job's Monologue. Job 26-31.

A. Part I--God is all Powerful, but HOW does God use his Power? Job 26-27. These chapters fall into two parts.
1. Job says: I fully agree that God is all powerful. Job 26.
a. Job denies that his friends have helped Job at all. Verses 1-5.
b. Job proclaims that the universe demonstrates that God is all powerful. God exposes the grave=Sheol, stretches the north over the void, hangs the earth on nothing, brings water from below to produce clouds and cause rain, brings thunder, stills the sea, calms the storm. "By his POWER he stilled the Sea."
"These are indeed but the outskirts of his ways;
and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
But the thunder of his POWER who can understand?" Verses 6-14.

2. But Job contends that "God has taken away my [Job's] right" (27:2).
a. And yet, I will continue to live a righteous life. Verses 3-6.
b. Furthermore, I pray that God will destroy the wicked. Verses 7-12.
c. Then Job "quotes" the position of Job's friends, who argue that all wicked people suffer. Job says that his friends to not have to repeat their view. Job can "quote" their view back to them--and Job does just this. Verses 13-23.

There are many words here, but neither Job nor his friends are making any advance. They are simply repeating their previous ideas. This often happens in a debate. The debaters get nowhere quickly.

How do YOU react to Job 25-27? What are YOUR insights? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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