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The Great Debate: First Cycle Of Speeches (Job 4:1-14:22)


1) To examine the counsel of Job's friends, what their observations were, and upon what they based their conclusions regarding Job's suffering

2) To consider Job's response to his friends, how he took their "advice", and how he continued to vent his complaint over his suffering



1. Introductory remarks. (Job 4:1-6)
a. Though he does not wish to weary Job, he cannot refrain from speaking.
b. Job has strengthened others in the past, now he needs strengthening.
c. Is Job not trusting in his own confidence and integrity?
2. Eliphaz's view: The innocent don't suffer, the wicked do. (Job 4:7-11)
a. When have the innocent ever perished?
b. But I have seen the wicked perish by the blast of God, just like the lions.
3. In support of his view: Eliphaz appeals to a vision. (Job 4:12-21)
a. A terrifying vision, in which he heard a voice.
b. A revelation that man cannot be more righteous than God.
c. If angels can be charged with error, how much more so men of clay?
d. Note: Eliphaz is appealing to "subjective revelation." 1) His example shows the error of appealing to such to determine truth. 2) "Nothing is more essential than testing experience by an objective standard of reality. When God has spoken concerning a matter, that is decisive for all the issues involved. His word must be the court of appeal for all thoughts, impressions, and views." (Newton Wray)
4. Eliphaz warns Job. (Job 5:1-7)
a. There is danger in the anger of a foolish man.
b. Such a one will see his sons crushed and his harvest depleted.
c. Affliction comes because man is born to trouble .
5. Eliphaz directs Job. (Job 5:8-16)
a. Seek God and commit your cause to Him.
b. For God does great things, catching the wise in their own craftiness, saving the needy and giving hope to the poor.
6. Job reminded of God's blessings on those who accept His chastening. (Job 5:17-26)
a. Happy is the man God corrects; don't despise His chastening.
b. God will make him whole, and protect him in times of trouble.
c. God will give him peace, many descendants, and long life -- Eliphaz's conclusion: "This we have searched out; it is true. Hear it and know for yourself." (Job 5:27)
B. JOB'S REPLY. (Job 6:1-7:21)
1. He justifies his rash words. (Job 6:1-7)
a. They are prompted by his heavy grief.
b. He is experiencing the poisonous arrows and terrors of the Almighty.
c. Animals don't complain when well fed; but food has become loathsome to him.
2. He longs for death, while his integrity is still intact. (Job 6:8-13)
a. He wishes that God would go ahead and crush him.
b. Then he would have some comfort in knowing that he had not concealed (or denied) the words of God.
c. How long can he hope to endure?
3. Job reproaches his friends. (Job 6:14-23)
a. They should have shown proper kindness.
b. They have been like a deceitful brook, that disappoints those who come to it
c. They have been afraid of what they have seen.
d. He had not asked for their assistance.
4. He challenges them to show him where he has sinned. (Job 6:24-30)
a. Show him his error and he will be quiet.
b. Reproving him with no proof is of no benefit, it is like overwhelming the fatherless and undermining one's friend.
c. Look at him again and treat him justly, there is no injustice in him.
5. Job now resumes his complaint. (Job 7:1-10)
a. His life is one of hard servitude, with months of futility and wearisome nights.
b. The condition of his flesh makes him toss all night.
c. His days swiftly go by with no hope of ever seeing good again.
d. He expects to descend to the grave and soon forgotten.
6. Job speaks out in the anguish of his soul. (Job 7:11-21)
a. Why does God terrify him with dreams and visions, so that he longs for death?
b. Why is God testing him every moment? How long will this go on?
c. Why can't God just leave him alone?
d. How has he sinned? What has he done to become a target for God?
e. If he has sinned, why doesn't God pardon his transgression?
f. As it is, he will just go ahead and die, and then God won't have to bother with him anymore [the sort of foolish statement for which Job later repents.] (Job 42:3,6)

1. Introductory remarks. (Job 1-7)
a. He rebukes Job for his words.
b. He maintains that God deals justly.
c. If Job's sons sinned, they were killed for their transgression.
d. Restoration would occur if Job would only seek God and repent.
2. Bildad appeals to the wisdom of the ancients. (Job 8-18)
a. Heed what others have already learned, for our time is short.
b. The wicked are like the papyrus with no support, for they soon wither.
c. God will not cast away the blameless, nor will He uphold the evildoers. [the implication is "Job, you are not blameless."]
d. God will yet restore Job (assuming he repents.)
B. JOB'S REPLY. (Job 9:1-10:22)
1. He agrees with Bildad, but who can truly be righteous before God? (Job 9:1-13)
a. No one can contend with God, He is too wise and strong.
b. Job provides numerous examples of God's power.
2. Because of such power, Job's complains of God's inaccessibility. (Job 9:14-20)
a. Even if he were righteous (perfect?), Job would be unable to answer God.
b. For even now God multiplies his wounds without cause.
c. His own mouth would condemn him under the weight of God's strength.
3. Maintaining his claim to innocence, he concludes that God destroys the blameless along with the wicked. (Job 9:21-24)
a. Job professes to be blameless, but has lost his will to live.
b. He knows of no other conclusion but that God looks lightly at the plight of the innocent.
4. Feeling hopeless, Job bemoans the lack of a mediator. (Job 9:25-35)
a. His days go by, with no good to be seen.
b. Why even try, if God has chosen to condemn him?
c. He knows there is no way to reason with God, and there is no one to mediate between them.
d. If God would only take His rod from him, but such is not the case.
5. In pain, Job gives free course to his complaint. (Job 10:1-22)
a. God, why do You condemn Me? Tell me why!
b. Does it seem good for You to despise the work of Your hands?
c. Are You having to search for my iniquity, like a mortal man?
d. Have You made me, just to destroy me?
e. Whether I am wicked or righteous, Your indignation increases toward me!
f. Why then did You let me be born? How I wish I had died at birth!
g. Can't You leave me alone so I can have a little comfort before I die and enter the "land of darkness"?
1. Affirms that Job has received less than he deserves. (Job 11:1-6)
a. The multitude of Job's words call for refutation.
b. Job claims innocence; if only God would speak and show his true guilt.
c. God has exacted less from Job than he deserves.
2. Reproaches Job for desiring to search out God's hidden ways. (Job 11:7-12) (continued...)
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