Jewels From Job
Job – Chapter #19
This chapter could be outlined:
1. Wronged by comforters. (verses 1-4)
2. Wronged by God. (verses 5-13)
3. Wronged by family and friends. (verses 14-22)
4. Right with God. (verses 23-27)
1 Then Job answered and said: 2 "How long will you torment my soul, And break me in pieces with words? 3 These ten times you have reproached me; You are not ashamed that you have wronged me. 4 And if indeed I have erred, My error remains with me. 5 If indeed you exalt yourselves against me, And plead my disgrace against me. Job 19:1-4 (NKJV)
WORDS HAVE POWER
Job is to answer again. The intensity of the debate has raged on. Bildad has just told Job how the wicked will perish. Job is tired of hearing all the accusations. Bildad considers Job among the wicked. Now Job is to speak. This chapter is the lament of Job.
Words have power. Words can lift up or they can tear down. We have all heard: “Sticks and stones can break my bones – but names can never hurt me.” This is not true. A truer statement is: “Sticks and stones can break my bones – but names will hurt my feelings.” That is why Job says: “How long will you torment me and crush me with words?” Job 19:2 (HCSB) Words can crush a spirit – perhaps more than any other action or activity. When Job is asking the question in verse two he is asking the question of his friends. All three of them have cut him with their words. Job had wanted an honest hearing but his friends came with a preconceived theology that prejudiced there thinking about Job’s situation. Their words of judgment cut him to pieces.
If you count the number of times that Job’s friends had spoken to him you will find that there were only five. Had Job miss counted? Was he keeping score? Or did the effect of their words seem multiplied to him? Perhaps he was not keeping score – but he knew that every time his friends opened their mouths they had cut him with their words. Have you ever met people who every time you are around them that they cut you with their words? We all want to be around people who encourage us and appreciate us. Words can build up or chop down – what words come from your mouth?
Some believe that the expression “ten times” actually means “often”. In another place I read "Ten Times is just a figure of speech referring to the many times Job had been reproached by the false speeches forece upon his ears." (Zerr - Bible Commentary - 1948)
Job points a finger at his friends when he says that they are not ashamed of what they have done. “You mistreat me without shame.” Job 19:3 (HCSB) When we do something wrong we ought to be ashamed about it. Guilt is a good thing – if we have done something wrong. Last March I heard the testimony of a man that included a life so far from God that he, at one time felt no shame. He told the story of how he as a young man had tortured his dog to death and how he had felt no remorse and no shame. A life without shame or embarrassment for the wrongs we have committed is a bad thing. If we have done wrong we should be embarrassed and ashamed about it. Repentance includes remorse. The Bible says: “Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? No! They were not at all ashamed; Nor did they know how to blush. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall; At the time I punish them, They shall be cast down," says the Lord.” Jeremiah 6:15 (NKJV)
In verse four Job is stating that if he is wrong, “the buck stops here.” He will accept responsibility for his actions. There is a human tendency to try to pass the buck – point the finger at someone else and put the blame on another. But Job is willing to accept his responsibility and accountability.
6 Know then that God has wronged me, And has surrounded me with His net. 7 "If I cry out concerning wrong, I am not heard. If I cry aloud, there is no justice. 8 He has fenced up my way, so that I cannot pass; And He has set darkness in my paths. 9 He has stripped me of my glory, And taken the crown from my head. 10 He breaks me down on every side, And I am gone; My hope He has uprooted like a tree. 11 He has also kindled His wrath against me, And He counts me as one of His enemies. 12 His troops come together And build up their road against me; They encamp all around my tent. 13 "He has removed my brothers far from me, And my acquaintances are completely estranged from me. Job 19:6-13 (NKJV)
WRONGED BY GOD
In verse six Job is saying that even though his friends are against him what is more important is that God seems to be against him – that, of course is most important. Job openly lays the responsibility for his condition at God’s feet. Here is a list of things Job perceives that God has done:
1. God has caught me in a net.
2. God does not listen to me.
3. God has wronged me.
4. God has not given me justice.
5. God has fenced me in.
6. God has blocked my way.
7. God has darkened my path.
8. God has stripped me of my glory.
9. God has taken the crown from my head.
10. God breaks me down in every way.
11. God has left me as nothing.
12. God has pull all hope from me – like a tree is pulled from the ground.
13. God’s anger is a flame against me.
14. God considers me His enemy.
15. God’s army is coming for me.
16. God’s army has surrounded me.
17. God has taken my brothers from me.
18. God has made it that my friends are no longer friendly.
14 My relatives have failed, And my close friends have forgotten me. 15 Those who dwell in my house, and my maidservants, Count me as a stranger; I am an alien in their sight. 16 I call my servant, but he gives no answer; I beg him with my mouth. 17 My breath is offensive to my wife, And I am repulsive to the children of my own body. 18 Even young children despise me; I arise, and they speak against me. 19 All my close friends abhor me, And those whom I love have turned against me. 20 My bone clings to my skin and to my flesh, And I have escaped by the skin of my teeth. 21 "Have pity on me, have pity on me, O you my friends, For the hand of God has struck me! 22 Why do you persecute me as God does, And are not satisfied with my flesh? Job 19:14-22 (NKJV)
WRONGED BY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
If that were not enough that God seems to be his enemy – Job’s mood becomes even darker. Now He focuses on his relationship with those who are supposed to be the closest to him.
1. My relatives have failed me.
2. My close friends have forgotten me.
3. My servants don’t remember me.
4. My servants don’t acknowledge me – even when I speak to them.
5. My breath turns my wife off.
6. My children can’t stand me.
7. Even innocent children despise me – they speak against me.
8. My close friends abhor me.
9. My loved ones have turned against me.
10. My body is skin and bones.
11. I am barely alive.
In verse twenty one he asks his friends to take pity on him – the reason being – is that God had struck him. But then in verse twenty two Job asks his friends why they are behaving in the same manner that God is.
23 "Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! 24 That they were engraved on a rock With an iron pen and lead, forever! 25 For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! 28 If you should say, ’How shall we persecute him?’-- Since the root of the matter is found in me, 29 Be afraid of the sword for yourselves; For wrath brings the punishment of the sword, That you may know there is a judgment." Job 19:23-29 (NKJV)
A LIVING REDEEMER
In verse twenty three Job hopes that his story would be written down someday. He hopes that the story would be written on a rock for generations to see. Little does Job know that his story has been recorded for all generations to read and learn from till the end of time.
Now Job does something amazing. He speaks about the hope that he has. Even after all the self pity he says, “Still, I know that God lives — the One who gives me back my life — and eventually he’ll take his stand on earth. And I’ll see him — even though I get skinned alive! — see God myself, with my very own eyes. Oh, how I long for that day!” Job 19:25-27 (MSG)
Job was so positive about his hope for the future that he had no fears that future suffering would prove him mistaken. Job expected some day to see the Lord face to face.
"Remember the endurance of Job" is a great phrase.
Now in the last two verses of this chapter Job gives a stern warning to his friends. He says, “Quite trying to see how to convince me that all these troubles are my own fault – I know better. You aught to be worried about yourselves – because wrath brings its own punishment. You’ll see!” Look out for the sin in your own lives - it can blind you.