Job 25-30
(Closing Arguments)
May 31st

Produced by The Listening for God Ministry
Copyright 2016

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Please refer to one or more Bible versions of your choice to read this section. We recommend that you read at least two versions for added understanding. For your convenience, we have provided six links below, each of which takes you directly to today's chapters in a specific version:

Key Verse

When I went out to the gate of the city,
   when I took my seat in the square,

the young men saw me and withdrew,
   and the aged rose up and stood;

the nobles refrained from talking,
   and laid their hands on their mouths;

- Job 30:7-9 (NRSV)

Summary of Chapters

Job and his friends have been arguing with each other for quite some time. His friends had come to comfort him after he suffered devastating losses, but they have only made him feel worse by suggesting that Job is to blame for his own troubles. Both sides bring their final statements as if they were lawyers presenting closing arguments in a trial.

In chapter 25, Bildad offers a brief summation to remind Job of how insignificant he and all men are compared to God, “How much less man, that is a worm? and the son of man, which is a worm? (Job 25:6 - KJV).”

Job’s closing statement begins in chapter 26 and continues through chapter 31. He delivers a long reply to the whole group, beginning with sarcasm directed at the three prosecutors: “What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed Job (26:3 - NIV)!"

Job describes the wonders of God’s creation that are beyond the comprehension of man, thereby building the point of the difficulty of obtaining wisdom.

    He spreads the skies over unformed space,
       hangs the earth out in empty space.
    He pours water into cumulus cloud-bags
       and the bags don't burst.
    He makes the moon wax and wane,
       putting it through its phases.
    He draws the horizon out over the ocean,
       sets a boundary between light and darkness.
    Thunder crashes and rumbles in the skies.
       Listen! It's God raising his voice!
    By his power he stills sea storms,
       by his wisdom he tames sea monsters.
    With one breath he clears the sky,
       with one finger he crushes the sea serpent.
    And this is only the beginning,
       a mere whisper of his rule.
       Whatever would we do if he really raised his voice!"
    - Job 26:7-14 (MSG)

Job concludes that section of his talk with the following statement “Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding (Job 28:28-KJV).” Job then reminds the group of how he was once well respected as leader in their city, but is now mocked by young people and even by those who come from “A gang of beggars and no-names, thrown out on their ears. (Job 30:8-MSG).” Job complains that he cries out to God, but hears no answer as he suffers alone, in pain, with only the companionship of jackals and owls.

He concludes his speech in chapter 31, which we will read in tomorrow’s study.

Reflection and Application

Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar thought that they were wise enough to understand the situation and provide advice to Job regarding his alleged sins. The people in the village also thought they understood the source of Job's problems, so they shunned him. Job felt down and out and certainly would have related to a blues singer's lament from the Great Depression of the 20th century:

    Nobody knows you when you down and out
    In my pocket not one penny
    And my friends I haven't any
    But If I ever get on my feet again
    Then I'll meet my long lost friend
    It's mighty strange, without a doubt
    Nobody knows you when you down and out
    I mean when you down and out

    - Excerpt from 'Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out' by Jimmy Cox (1882-1925)

These lyrics have been covered by a wide variety of artists such as Bessie Smith, Alberta Hunter, Eric Clapton, Billy Joel, BB King and others. Why? Because it has a good beat and most people have had this forsaken feeling at one time of their lives. It seems like you have a lot of friends when things are good, but the crowd thins when there is trouble. Therefore, we can relate to this song and to the experience of Job. What is the best way to react in this situation?

Job is abandoned but holds true to his principles and reminds his companions that wisdom is not so easily obtained. It “It cannot be bought with the finest gold, nor can its price be weighed out in silver (Job 28:15 - NIV).” Job’s statement can serve as a reminder to keep ourselves in check when we believe that we are wise. The wonders of the universe that Job describes are still not fully explained by modern science and what we see are only the “outer fringe of his works.” We can’t predict earthquakes, we don’t know what lies at the bottom of the sea, and we don’t know the extent of our universe, which scientists assume is ever-expanding.

Do we acknowledge the LORD’s power? Do we try to follow in his footsteps and confess our sins? This is the beginning of our wisdom, not our assumed ability to interpret events, judge others, avoid trouble, or mock the downtrodden.

Click the YouTube object below for a rendition of "Nobody Knows You...."

"Nobody Knows You," performed by Sam Cooke

Questions and Prayers for Further Reflection

    Related Questions
    1. What creations of God are most amazing to you?
    2. Who do you know who has had a setback and needs a friend?
    3. What do you think God wants you to learn during your next setback?
    Recommended Prayer
    Father in Heaven we know that you would never forsake us. Thank you for your presence. Help us to do the same for our family and friends.

    Suggested Prayer Concerns
    People who are truly down and out

    Looking Ahead

    Tomorrow's reading: Job 31-34 (Introducing Elihu)

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