Job 26: 1 – 14
It’s Not Talking About Prehistoric Beasts
1 But Job answered and said: 2 “How have you helped him who is without power? How have you saved the arm that has no strength? 3 How have you counseled one who has no wisdom? And how have you declared sound advice to many? 4 To whom have you uttered words? And whose spirit came from you? 5 “The dead tremble, those under the waters and those inhabiting them. 6 Sheol is naked before Him, and Destruction has no covering. 7 He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. 8 He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it. 9 He covers the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud over it. 10 He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness. 11 The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke. 12 He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm. 13 By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. 14 Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”
Today’s study makes me think about charitable giving. – ‘Have you helped him who is without power’. Are you aware that there is actually a day on our calendars dedicated to giving to the needy? It is called ‘Giving Tuesday’ and it is on November 29th. Giving Tuesday is celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.
I use to do income taxes for people. It became embarrassing to ask or discover what the total amounts of charitable contributions that were given.
At church around January and February we receive a lot of calls from people who want to donate items for ‘needy’ people. If you are familiar with the tax code you then know that you can deduct the value of items given to charity. Each individual not the charity is responsible for assigning a value to the items that are given. Sadly, we have a term for this giving. It is called ‘Junk for Jesus’. You would be amazed at what fast ones people try to pull. On one occasion someone had a washer and dryer for the church to give to a needy family. Not only were they broken but they had holes. Cars are so bad that we actually had to pay the junk yard to take them. The caller told me that they wanted to bless the church with a grand piano. After we picked it up we saw that it was missing keys. Wire [strings] and legs. We had to call for a special pick up to empty the garbage container. I wonder what value the donors listed on the items that they gave to the church to help a poor and needy people. I could go on and on. It is shameful.
I found it quite interesting that Christians give twice as much as secular people. Out of total income the percentage given is 1.8% by Christians to .9% [that is less than 1%] secular. You will certainly note that these statistics are low. Of note there isn’t much of a difference between believer and non-believers relative to the percentage amount that is spent on entertainment which is at 5.6%.
What are some of the reason why people do not give as they could – or should and what are some statements to these excuses?
1. Misinformation or Lack of Information – ‘If you understand everything then you must be misinformed.’
2. Lack of Input – ‘life seems like a test I didn’t study for.’
3. Income –‘I do not check my bank account because I do not want to be reminded how poor I am.’
4. Employment Situation –‘Don’t underestimate your ability, that’s your boss’s job.’
5. Past Experience – ‘Never let your past experiences harm your future. Your past cannot be altered and your future doesn’t deserve the punishment.
6. Wrong Methods –‘If you can’t convince them, confuse them.’
7. Priorities – ‘In order to say yes to your priorities, you have to be willing to say ‘no’ to something else.’
8. Ignorance – ‘The opposite of love is not hate; the opposite of love is ignorance.’
9. Failure to Believe God – ‘Not once does the Bible say, ‘worry about it’, ‘stress over it’, or ‘figure it out’, but over and over it clearly says, ‘Trust God.’
1 But Job answered and said: 2 “How have you helped him who is without power? How have you saved the arm that has no strength? 3 How have you counseled one who has no wisdom? And how have you declared sound advice to many? 4 To whom have you uttered words? And whose spirit came from you?
In his version of counseling Bildad thought he had convinced, instructed, and comforted Job. In reality, as we have seen so far in this study, what he had said was of little benefit to easing Job’s physical, emotional, and spiritual issues.
People should consider that counseling other individuals can be a dangerous thing. It is not as all glorious as some might think.
How much talking do you do on an average day, and how much listening? I mean real listening, where you focus on what the other person is saying and take it in, instead of planning the brilliant thing you'll say the moment the other person finishes speaking?
If you're like most of us, the answer is: Not enough. Most people tend to treat conversation like a competitive sport, in which the person, who says the most, makes the cleverest point, persuades others of an opinion, or even speaks the longest and loudest is the winner. All of us fall into this trap. All of us find ourselves interrupting, speechifying, insisting, and coming up with witticisms--all to support our point of view or display our superior knowledge.
If you stop and think about it, though, this approach is the opposite of the one we should take. In most conversations, the person who speaks least benefits most and the person who speaks most benefits least. Here's why:
1. Knowledge is power.
In fact, in our information-driven world, how much you know makes more difference to your long-term success than how much money you have or almost anything else. A person who's talking is giving away information--often more than he or she intended. A person who's listening is receiving information. Who gets the best deal in that exchange?
2. You won't reveal anything you'll later regret.
If you don't share a piece of information today, you can always share it tomorrow. Conversely, if you do share a piece of information today, you can never take it back again.
How many times have you revealed something and then later wished that you hadn't? I know I have!. Or expressed a thought you might better have kept to yourself? We've all had these experiences one time or another. The less you say, the smaller the chances you'll share information and later wish you hadn't.
3. You won't say anything dumb.
Abraham Lincoln said, "Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak out and remove all doubt." I'm not suggesting you remain silent all the time. But it's all too easy to speak thoughtlessly, with insufficient information, or out of a wrong assumption. That can make you look less intelligent than you are, and you will minimize the chances of it happening if you listen more than you speak.
4. You won't use up your material.
Have you ever tuned in to an interview or attended a seminar by your favorite business genius, only to hear that star tell the audience a story that you've already read in his or her latest book? It happens all the time, and for a simple reason: Most of us have a limited supply of interesting personal anecdotes, experiences, and pearls of wisdom. Inevitably, we wind up using the same ones over and over.
Stories feel freshest and have the most impact when someone is hearing them for the first time. By saving yours for the right moment, you give them the most power.
5. The person who's doing the talking will feel understood and cared about.
Most people go through life wishing to be listened to more. So by listening rather than talking, you are giving something valuable to the person who's speaking. Especially if you really are taking in what that person is saying and not thinking about something else. The speaker will appreciate that gift and you will have created a bond. He or she will feel understood and validated. It's a powerful relationship-building tool, and an especially powerful sales tool.
6. You may gain inside information.
As someone who's done thousands of counseling sessions, I can attest to the power of saying nothing. I sometimes use it by accident, when a source finishes answering a question and I'm caught off-guard for a moment or two before coming up with my next question. Very often, the other person will jump in to fill the silence with further information--sometimes something he or she had not planned to share.
You may or may not want to use this manipulative tactic on purpose. But it's almost always true that the less you say, the more information the person you're speaking with will share.
7. When you do speak, people will listen.
Who do you listen to more closely--someone who never shuts up, or someone who only speaks once in a while? As with anything else, the law of supply and demand holds true: If you constantly share your opinions, no one will seek them out. If you only say what you're thinking on occasion, or only make a point one time instead of over and over, your words are likely to have more weight.
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that you always keep your opinions to yourself. The people around you need to know what you're thinking, doubly so if you're in a leadership role. But if you spend more time listening than you do speaking, so that the people you're speaking to feel understood and bonded with you, when you do speak your mind, they'll be listening much more closely
In hindsight to one that was humbled, and broken, and grieved in spirit, as Job was, Bildad should have preached about the grace and mercy of God, rather than of His Greatness and Majesty, to have laid before him the consolations rather than the terrors of Almighty God.
5 “The dead tremble, those under the waters and those inhabiting them. 6 Sheol is naked before Him, and Destruction has no covering. 7 He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing. 8 He binds up the water in His thick clouds, yet the clouds are not broken under it. 9 He covers the face of His throne, and spreads His cloud over it. 10 He drew a circular horizon on the face of the waters, at the boundary of light and darkness. 11 The pillars of heaven tremble, and are astonished at His rebuke. 12 He stirs up the sea with His power, and by His understanding He breaks up the storm. 13 By His Spirit He adorned the heavens; His hand pierced the fleeing serpent. 14 Indeed these are the mere edges of His ways, and how small a whisper we hear of Him! But the thunder of His power who can understand?”
In verses 5 and 6 we see these guys are very familiar with the flood which only occurred a short time prior to when these guys lived. I recommend you go over our study of chapter 1 of Job to understand the reasons that Job probably lived during the time of Abraham. Noah was still alive when Abraham was born. He died when Abraham was 58 years old. Shem, the son of Noah died 35 years after Abraham died. The entire blood line of Shem was still alive, when Abraham was born.
Once we see this chart laid out, it should become very clear to the Christian that the Bible is very accurate. With Noah born only 126 years after the death of Adam, and was Seth alive until 14 years before the birth of Noah, we can see that the passing of information from one generation to the next had plenty of time, and that each generation had a full knowledge of God, that did not begin to deteriorate until the birth of Abraham. The Bible does tell us, that the household of Laban had images of house gods which Rachael brought with her when Jacob left the home of Laban.
As you know all who were alive and did not escape with Noah perished. If we consider hell beneath, though it is out of our sight, yet we may conceive the instances of God’s power there. By hell and destruction we may understand the grave, and those who are buried in it, that they are under the eye of God, though laid out of our sight, which may strengthen our belief of the resurrection of the dead. God knows where to find, and whence to fetch, all the scattered atoms of the consumed body. We may also consider them as referring to the place of the damned, where the separate souls of the wicked are in misery and torment
In a nice intermission there was some truth highlighted in the dispute between Job and his visitors concerning those points about which they differed; but now they are upon a subject in whom they were all agreed, that is, the infinite glory and power of God. Many illustrious instances are here given of the wisdom and power of God in the creation and preservation of the world.1. If we look about us, to the earth and waters here below, we shall see striking instances of omnipotence, which we may gather out of these verses.
First of all our Great Creator hangs the earth upon nothing, The big blue marble we live in neither rests upon any pillars nor hangs upon any axle-tree, and yet, by the almighty power of God, is firmly fixed in its place, poised with its own weight. I use to have a roll up curtain. If my hand slipped it would go whirling and flapping back up. In a similar way our Majestic God did the same thing with our earth - 7 He stretches out the north over empty space; He hangs the earth on nothing.. He mentions the north because His Holy dwelling place lay in the northern hemisphere. He still continues to keep it stretched out, and will do so till He lets go, when it shall be rolled together as a scroll.
He keeps the waters that are said to be above the firmament from pouring down upon the earth, as once they did: He binds up the waters in His thick clouds, as if they were tied closely in a bag, till there is occasion to use them; and, notwithstanding the vast weight of water so raised and laid up, yet the cloud is not rent under them, for then they would burst and gush out; but they do, as it were, distil through the cloud, and so come drop by drop, in mercy to the earth, in small rain, or sometimes as great rain, as He determines.
In Mercy our Holy Ruler conceals the glory of the upper world, the dazzling luster of which we poor mortals could not bear. The bible says that no man can see God in our present flesh. He Is so Holy, Pure, and surrounded by light that we would not be able to exist in His Presence.
We take many things for granted from our Gracious Creator. Look at the oceans. He sets bounds to the waters of the sea, and compasses them in, that they may not return to cover the earth; and these bounds shall continue unmoved, unshaken, unworn, till the day and night come to an end, when time shall be no more.
By mighty storms and tempests he shakes the mountains, which are here called the pillars of heaven, and even divides the sea, and smites through its proud waves. A storm stirs the waters, and does, as it were, divide them; and then calm breaks through the waves, and lays them flat again.
I really enjoy the Christmas season. You are aware I am certain of the ‘Festival of Lights’. Isn’t it nice to ride around and see how the homes are lit up? Even more of a great display has been made by our Great God. He has adorned the heavens, not only made them, but beautified them, has gloriously arranged them with stars by night and painted them with the light of the sun by day.
Please note that we have been reading about the ‘heavens’ or ‘space’. Now ask yourself this question, ‘why would there now be a break in verse 13 that talks about prehistoric beasts? No, what we read in verse 13 is a continuation of a description of the heavenly constellations. It is not talking about prehistoric beasts as taught by many teachers.
The principal achievement of the science of astronomy in the centuries during which the books of the Old Testament were written was the arrangement and naming of the constellations, and there can be no reasonable doubt that the same system was known to the Hebrews as that which has been handed down to us through the Greek astronomers. Paul certainly knew the Greek constellations, for in his sermon on Mars' Hill (Acts 17:28) he quoted from that poetical description of them which Aratus the great poet of Cilicia had written about 270 BC. But these constellations have a much greater antiquity than this, and it is probable that they were well known to Abraham before he left Ur of the Chaldees. Since some of their most characteristic forms are found upon old Babylonian "boundary stones," it is clear that they were known in the country from whence he came out.
The direct references to these old constellation-forms in Scripture are not numerous. One of the clearest is in Job 26:13, where "formed the crooked serpent" (the King James Version) is used as the correlative of "garnished the heavens"; the great constellation of the writhing Dragon, placed at the crown of the heavens, being used, metaphorically, as an expression for all the constellations of the sky. For by its folds it encircles both the poles, that of the equator and that of the ecliptic
The term bariach, rendered "crooked" but better as in the Revised Version, margin as "fleeing," is applied by Isaiah to "Leviathan" (Isa 27:1), properly a "wreathed" or writhing animal, twisted in folds, and hence also called by the prophet "crooked," "twisted," or "winding"; a very appropriate designation for Draco, the great polar Dragon. But the latter was not the only "crooked serpent" in the constellations; there were three others, two of which were placed with an astronomical significance not less precise than the coiling of Draco round the poles. Hydra, the Watersnake, marked out the original celestial equator for about one-third of its circumference, and Serpens, the Adder, lay partly along the celestial equator and then was twisted up the autumnal colure, and reached the zenith with its head.
He concludes with adoration, the discoveries that were made of God and admires the depth of that which is undiscovered. What we know of God is nothing in comparison with what is in God and what God Is. The depth of the wisdom and knowledge of God! It is but a little portion that we hear and know of God in our present state. He is infinite and incomprehensible; our understandings and capacities are weak and shallow, and the full discoveries of the divine glory are reserved for the future state. Even the thunder of his power (that is, His powerful thunder), one of the lowest of His ways here in our own region, we cannot understand.