Week 22: Job 32-42; Psalms 1-2; Proverbs 1-6

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Last week we encountered Job’s three friends who believed that God is just and therefore rewards good and punishes evil. Therefore, they accuse him of having unconfessed sin which has brought adversity on him. Job argues that he has not sinned and that there understanding of God and how he operates if flawed. Job’s argument is correct as we know from what happened between God and Satan. Because his friends start with a wrong understanding they can never get to a correct view of God’s actions.

At this point a forth friend speaks, Elihu. He makes several important points. First, that wisdom comes from the Spirit of God and not man’s experience. He tells Job He should not complain when God does not explain himself — God is under no obligation to do that. He suggests that God may use adversity to teach men to follow Him or to keep them from sinning and spend eternity being punished. While his arguments are more sophisticated then the first three friends, Elihu still ultimately decides Job has sinned and needs to confess.

Next God appears to Job from a whirlwind. Rather than answer Job directly He starts by asking Job if he is capable of understanding God’s explanation. He asks Job a total of sixty-two questions regarding creation and how nature on earth and the universe runs. If Job cannot answer these questions about the physical universe, how could he ever hope to understand the much more complex issues of how God practices justice and righteousness on the Earth?

Job cannot answer a single one of God’s questions and God chooses to give Him two final examples of His power – Behemoth and Leviathan. The Behemoth fits the description of a Brachiosaurus. The first fossil of this dinosaur were not found until 1900 so earlier Bible commentators had no context to understand what Behemoth was.

Job repents of daring to question God’s purposes and repents. God tells Job his friends were wrong in all they said and that Job was right to not be persuaded by them. Job makes intercession with God and behalf of his friends. God then chooses to bless Job – just as earlier God had chosen to send adversity into Job’s life. God’s action is an act of His lovingkindness and not a reward for obedience.

Psalm 1 is an appropriate next chapter to read as it contrasts those that do not trust in man’s understanding of God but instead delight in the instruction that God gives them. Believers can be confident in hard times that God loves and cares for them – though as we saw with Job, God does not shield us from all adversity.

Psalm 2 is a three-way conversation among the trinity (Verses 1-3: the Holy Spirit; 4-6: Yehovah; 7-9: Jesus; 10-12: the Holy Spirit). Psalm 2 describes that Job’s redeemer will rule the nations as Job had said. It calls us to show reverence to the Son just as Job taught that reverence of God was the beginning of wisdom.

Dr. Samuel Abatte is a physician practicing in Wasilla, Alaska. This column first appeared in the Frontiersman, a Wick newspaper serving the Matanuska-Susitna Valley of Alaska.