Christ Church, Mountain Top
2 Samuel 7.1-14
Job 2-27, selections
week: conversation between Job and his friends, not going well
hand of God and not the evil?
protest, then prosecute
nights in silence)
they prosecute, so helpfully
happens to us
Job has done evil
Eliphaz: “Those who plow evil and those who sow trouble
reap it” (4.8).
Bildad, “Does God pervert justice?” (8.3).
Zophar, “If you put away the sin that is in your hand, …
then you will lift up your face without shame” (11.14-15).
Your children must have done evil. Bildad: “When your
children sinned against [God], he gave them over to the penalty of their
It could be worse – and you would deserve it, too. Zophar:
“Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves”
Human righteousness is neither pleasurable to God nor truly
possible for human beings. Eliphaz, “What pleasure would it give the
Almighty if you were righteous?” (22.3). Bildad, “If even the moon is
not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes, how much less man, who is
but a maggot!” (25.5-6)
Trouble is innate to the human condition.
Eliphaz: “Human beings are born to trouble just as sparks fly upward”
(5.7). There certainly are times when we all wonder if this might be true. But
it does not indicate anything particular to Job, does not (on its own) impact
the logic of retribution, and does not explain why the friends are doing so
well while Job is suffering so cruelly.
You are full of hot air.
Bildad says, “Your words are a blustering wind!” (8.2). Eliphaz tells
Job that his belly is full of “the hot east wind” (15.2). Now, to be
clear, this is not meant to be a compliment.
Your refusal to admit your sin dishonors me. Zophar declares, “I hear a rebuke [from Job]
that dishonors me” (20.3). In a society in which relationships are
structured with honor and shame, there is tremendous pressure on those who are
afflicted to accept it as what they justly deserve. It reinforces the social
order, allows everyone to nod their heads and tell their children, “You
don’t want to become like Job now, do you?” Though honor-shame dynamics
are part of all human emotion and relationships, we don’t live in a classical
honor-shame society. But we all have experienced those moments when someone
confronts us out of their own issues, wanting us to admit wrong so that they
feel better. They want us to be the
scapegoat, and to go along with it.
who needs enemies?”
and treat the words of a despairing man as wind? (6.26)
You, however, smear me with lies;
You are worthless physicians–all of you! (13.4)
Miserable comforters are you all!
Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing? (16.2-3)
hears him (because of friends?)
of the biggest reasons that people are uninterested and even hostile to
the gospel of Jesus Christ is the people of Jesus Christ. If the
people of God don’t listen, why should folks expect God to listen to them? Correlation – behavior of people,
perception of God
not find it among Christians, because these Christians are talking when they
should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon
be no longer listening to God either …. This is the beginning of the death of
the spiritual life” (Bonhoeffer, Life
But in Job’s experience, God is not simply absent or estranged. God is
intimately present – and causing me pain.
The arrows of the Almighty are in
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God’s terrors are marshaled against
I have never personally felt like this, though I know …
Job evaluates the conventional wisdom of retributive justice and concludes
not that he has sinned, but that God has done wrong.
“I will never admit you are in the right; till I die, I
will not deny my integrity” (27.5).
God has “denied me justice” (27.2)
“God has wronged me” (19.6).
commends Job for his God-talk.
If our only witness of God is one of pain, we should say it.
If the Scriptures can so powerfully describe the full range of
emotion and argument in the context of suffering, then we must have a God who
is personally acquainted with pain. HOPE!
Conventional wisdom turned upside down
Go to court against God
Theory of a witness, advocate, redeemer – unprecedented
my advocate is on high (16.19).
I know that my Redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God (19.25-26).
aware, but biblical writers often say more than they realize