Job continues his reply to Zophar
Job warns his friends to be careful about their words
v1 I myself have seen that God does this. I have heard about this, and I know it. v2 I know the things that you know. v3 But I want to speak to God. I want to argue with God about my situation.
v4 But you tell lies to hide the truth. You are like doctors who cannot cure anyone. v5 So, be silent! Then, you would be much wiser! v6 Listen to my speech! Think about my words!
v7 Do not speak evil words on behalf of God! Do not lie on his behalf! v8 Do not speak unfairly in order to protect God! Do not argue on his behalf! v9 If God tested you, you might not pass his test. You can insult another man with a lie. But you cannot lie to God. v10 God will punish you if you are unfair.
v11 God is very great. So you should be afraid. v12 Your clever words do not help anybody. Your words are like ashes. And your speeches are poor. They are like cheap pots.
Job knew that God makes proud people humble (Job 12:17-25). But this did not explain Job’s situation. Job had been a good man. But Job had never been a proud man. He was humble even when he was wealthy.
Zophar thought that he had superior wisdom (Job 11:6). And Eliphaz’s advice came from a spirit (Job 4:17). But they did not explain anything that Job did not already know.
Job trusted God. Job believed that God is fair. God could explain Job’s situation.
‘A fool should be silent. Then people will think that he is really a wise man.’ (Proverbs 17:28). The friends’ advice was not helping Job. It is better to be silent than to speak foolish words (Job 2:13).
Job was right about his friends’ unfair words. Later, God told them that he was angry with them (Job 42:7). When God told them this, they obeyed him. They asked Job to pray for them. And God forgave them.
Job and his friends were sitting on ashes. And Job was using a piece of pot to rub against his spots (Job 2:8). Ashes are not useful for any purpose. And cheap pots are weak. So Job meant that his friends’ speeches were hopeless.
Job tells his friends that he is ready to speak to God
v13 So, be silent! Let me speak! Whatever happens, will happen. v14 There is a reason why I put myself in danger. There is a reason why I risk my life. v15 If God kills me, I have no hope. But I will reason with God himself. v16 And God will rescue me, because an evil man would not dare to meet God.
v17 Listen carefully! Think about my words! v18 I am ready to speak to God. And I know what God’s decision will be. God will say that I am innocent. v19 Nobody can accuse me! But if you can accuse me, then speak! Then, I shall be silent. And I shall die as a punishment.
An evil man is afraid to meet God. God will punish that man for his evil deeds.
Job’s friends thought that Job was evil. They warned him not to argue with God. They told him to change his behaviour.
But Job was not evil. Job was a good man. Whatever happened, he wanted to speak with God. Job was not afraid to reason with God. And Job was confident that God would rescue him.
If Job was guilty, he deserved punishment. But a good man, who trusts God, does not deserve any punishment. Job’s friends were not his judges. God alone was Job’s judge. Job knew that God would make the right decision. Job trusted God.
Job prays to God
v20-21 God, I pray that you would stop punishing me. And I pray that you would stop making me afraid. Then I would not try to hide from you.
v22 Then call me! And I will reply after you accuse me. Or, I shall speak, and then you will answer me.
v23 God, explain my errors! Show my evil behaviour to me. v24 Explain why you do not help me. Explain why you consider me your enemy. v25 (I am not important.) I am like a leaf that the wind blows. But surely God does not punish the hay!
v26 But you record my errors. I suffer because of my behaviour when I was young. v27 You control me like a prisoner. Or you watch me wherever I go. Even my feet leave a mark on the ground.
v28 So a man’s body falls apart, like soft, wet wood. Or, like old clothes that insects eat.
Job was still suffering greatly. He asked God to take the pain away. Then Job would be ready to speak to God as his judge.
Job was a good man. But he sometimes had doubts. And nobody is perfect. So Job asked God whether Job had done something wrong. If so, Job should confess his evil deed and he should ask God to forgive him. But Job could not see why such an evil deed would cause God to attack him. Job did not consider himself important to God.
Zophar said that God forgets some of our evil deeds (Job 11:6). Job did not agree. God sees all our actions. And God knows everything about us (Psalm 139:1-6). This is wonderful, because God wants to forgive us. God wants us to confess our evil deeds and to trust him. But Job did not think that this fact was wonderful. Job asked if God was punishing him for some evil deed in the past.
Perhaps Job was thinking about his illness. He had painful spots on every part of his body (Job 2:7). Perhaps insects were attacking his spots. His body seemed so weak. He was sure that he would die soon.