Job Chapter Nine

 

Summary Job 8:

 

            In chapter eight we find the second of Job’s so-called friends, Bildad the Shuhite.  The Shuhite people were descended from Abraham through the youngest son of Abraham and Kerturah; whom he married after Sarah died.  Bildad fancies himself a philosopher, expert in the wisdom of the ancients and like the proverbial bull in the china closet; he opens his discourse with an attack on Job basically saying, in effect, why don’t you quit trying to fool us, quit blowing hot air, stop being a hypocrite, confess your sins to God and beg forgiveness.  Then he goes on to “prove” by argument that God only punishes the wicked not the upright and righteous.

            Bildad is working with incomplete information.  Much as human beings do today he’s jumped to a conclusion without all the facts, making accusations and making Job’s situation worse, not better.  In chapter nine and ten we study Job’s response.

 

Read Job 9:1-13

 

v1-2.  “THEN JOB ANSWERED AND SAID, I KNOW it is SO OF A TRUTH: BUT HOW SHOULD MAN BE JUST WITH GOD?”

 

            Job begins his response by agreeing with Bildad.  In discussions of this nature we all should be ready to admit to how much we agree with whom we might have a dispute and not resist the truth even though it might be held by someone that we don’t agree with.  It is true he says; God is just:

 

Psalms 18:2  “THE LORD is MY ROCK, AND MY FORTRESS, AND MY DELIVERER; MY GOD, MY STRENGTH, IN WHOM I WILL TRUST; MY BUCKLER, AND THE HORN OF MY SALVATION, and MY HIGH TOWER.”

 

Deuteronomy 32:4  He is THE ROCK, HIS WORK is PERFECT: FOR ALL HIS WAYS are JUDGMENT: A GOD OF TRUTH AND WITHOUT INIQUITY, JUST AND RIGHT is HE.”

 

These truths I understand Job says; but how can any man be justified in the sight of God?

 

Psalms 143:2  AND ENTER NOT INTO JUDGMENT WITH THY SERVANT: FOR IN THY SIGHT SHALL NO MAN LIVING BE JUSTIFIED.”

 

Romans 3:20  THEREFORE BY THE DEEDS OF THE LAW THERE SHALL NO FLESH BE JUSTIFIED IN HIS SIGHT: FOR BY THE LAW is THE KNOWLEDGE OF SIN.”

            Man sins, man transgresses God’s law:

 

Romans 3:23  FOR ALL HAVE SINNED, AND COME SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD;”

 

v3-4.  “IF HE WILL CONTEND WITH HIM, HE CANNOT ANSWER HIM ONE OF A THOUSAND.  He is WISE IN HEART, AND MIGHTY IN STRENGTH: WHO HATH HARDENED himself AGAINST HIM, AND HATH PROSPERED?”

 

            No you can’t contend with God, you can’t argue with God.  God can ask a thousand questions of man that he cannot answer.  God can charge us with a thousand offenses and we cannot answer him in such a fashion as to justify or acquit ourselves of these charges.

            You can’t find one sinner who went up against God, who has stubbornly persisted in rebellion against God that did not find God too hard for him. And this is true today as well; Paul tells our brethren at Corinth:

 

I Corinthians 10:21:22  YE CANNOT DRINK THE CUP OF THE LORD, AND THE CUP OF DEVILS: YE CANNOT BE PARTAKERS OF THE LORD'S TABLE, AND OF THE TABLE OF DEVILS.  DO WE PROVOKE THE LORD TO JEALOUSY? ARE WE STRONGER THAN HE?”

 

            Not even the angels or the devil himself can stand up to God:

 

II Peter 2:4  “FOR IF GOD SPARED NOT THE ANGELS THAT SINNED, BUT CAST them DOWN TO HELL, AND DELIVERED them INTO CHAINS OF DARKNESS, TO BE RESERVED UNTO JUDGMENT;”

 

Revelation 12:9  AND THE GREAT DRAGON WAS CAST OUT, THAT OLD SERPENT, CALLED THE DEVIL, AND SATAN, WHICH DECEIVETH THE WHOLE WORLD: HE WAS CAST OUT INTO THE EARTH, AND HIS ANGELS WERE CAST OUT WITH HIM.”

 

v5-10  WHICH REMOVETH THE MOUNTAINS, AND THEY KNOW NOT: WHICH OVERTURNETH THEM IN HIS ANGER.  WHICH SHAKETH THE EARTH OUT OF HER PLACE, AND THE PILLARS THEREOF TREMBLE.  WHICH COMMANDETH THE SUN, AND IT RISETH NOT; AND SEALETH UP THE STARS.  WHICH ALONE SPREADETH OUT THE HEAVENS, AND TREADETH UPON THE WAVES OF THE SEA.  WHICH MAKETH ARCTURUS, ORION, AND PLEIADES, AND THE CHAMBERS OF THE SOUTH.  WHICH DOETH GREAT THINGS PAST FINDING OUT; YEA, AND WONDERS WITHOUT NUMBER.”

 

            God can move mountains, overturn them in his anger.  God can shake the earth and make her pillars tremble.  God commands the sun and the stars; he can prevent the sun from rising and the stars from shining.  God alone spreads out the heavens; he can walk on the waves of the sea.  God made Arcturus, Orion and Pleiades and the chambers of the south. 

What are Arcturus, Orion and Pleiades and the chambers of the south?

Arcturus is the fourth brightest star in the universe.  Orion is a constellation of stars near the celestial equator and near the constellations Gemini and Taurus. Pleiades is a seven star cluster in the constellation of Taurus, the chambers of the south reflect that difference between the constellations in the northern hemisphere vs the southern hemisphere.  Job was well learned in astrology, some indication of his education level.  One of the prophets writes:

 

Seek him THAT MAKETH THE SEVEN STARS AND ORION, AND TURNETH THE SHADOW OF DEATH INTO THE MORNING, AND MAKETH THE DAY DARK WITH NIGHT: THAT CALLETH FOR THE WATERS OF THE SEA, AND POURETH THEM OUT UPON THE FACE OF THE EARTH: THE LORD is HIS NAME:” Amos 5:8 

 

            God through his providence does great things for the family of mankind.  His setting of the forces of nature that we can see, his providential control of the governments of man, His works of wonder are so many we cannot count them and so mysterious that mankind is still learning what they are.

 

v11.  “LO, HE GOETH BY ME, AND I SEE him NOT: HE PASSETH ON ALSO, BUT I PERCEIVE HIM NOT.”

 

            God carries out these works invisibly and unseen.  There are many things in God’s universe commonly obvious to our senses.  But, at the same time, God does things all around us but we don’t see him.

 

v12.  “BEHOLD, HE TAKETH AWAY, WHO CAN HINDER HIM? WHO WILL SAY UNTO HIM, WHAT DOEST THOU?”

 

            Job says God takes away and who would hinder him?  We would take God to task for taking what he as so freely given us?  We would strive with God?

 

Isaiah 45:9  WOE UNTO HIM THAT STRIVETH WITH HIS MAKER!  Let THE POTSHERD strive WITH THE POTSHERDS OF THE EARTH.  SHALL THE CLAY SAY TO HIM THAT FASHIONETH IT, WHAT MAKEST THOU?  OR THY WORK, HE HATH NO HANDS?”

 

            In the hands of God we are like clay in the hands of the potter.  He can make of us of whatever he chooses.  God warned Israel of this through his prophet Jeremiah.

 

Jeremiah 18:6  O HOUSE OF ISRAEL, CANNOT I DO WITH YOU AS THIS POTTER? SAITH THE LORD.  BEHOLD, AS THE CLAY is IN THE POTTER'S HAND, SO are YE IN MINE HAND, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL.”

 

            Paul repeated this warning in his writing to the Roman brethren.

 

Romans 9:20  NAY BUT, O MAN, WHO ART THOU THAT REPLIEST AGAINST GOD? SHALL THE THING FORMED SAY TO HIM THAT FORMED it, WHY HAST THOU MADE ME THUS?”

 

            God is not obliged to give us a reason for what he does.  His is a sovereignty that we cannot contest.  He can take away our creature-comforts and confidences as and when he pleases, he can take away health, estate, relations, friends, life itself.  If he does takes these things away us who will question God’s motive?  Who will challenge his authority?

 

v13.  If GOD WILL NOT WITHDRAW HIS ANGER, THE PROUD HELPERS DO STOOP UNDER HIM.”

 

            God can address his anger toward anyone he wishes and Job says that if he does not withdraw that anger what can his proud helpers do except stoop or bow down under him.

 

Psalms 89:8-10  O LORD GOD OF HOSTS, WHO is A STRONG LORD LIKE UNTO THEE?  OR TO THY FAITHFULNESS ROUND ABOUT THEE?   THOU RULEST THE RAGING OF THE SEA: WHEN THE WAVES THEREOF ARISE, THOU STILLEST THEM.   THOU HAST BROKEN RAHAB IN PIECES, AS ONE THAT IS SLAIN; THOU HAST SCATTERED THINE ENEMIES WITH THY STRONG ARM.”

 

Read Job 9:14-21

 

v14.  “HOW MUCH LESS SHALL I ANSWER HIM, and CHOOSE OUT MY WORDS to reason WITH HIM?”

 

            Job now applies what he’s been saying to himself.  Man is utterly unable to contend with God and neither can he.  Here he despairs of regaining God’s favor. This is probably because of his afflictions and the hard thoughts he had of God.

 

v15.  “WHOM, THOUGH I WERE RIGHTEOUS, yet WOULD I NOT ANSWER, but I WOULD MAKE SUPPLICATION TO MY JUDGE.”

 

            Job knew so much of God that he dare not stand a trial with him.  He knew it would serve no purpose to debate his situation with God.  God knew him better than he knew himself and therefore God knew Job’s secret faults and errors and would be able to charge him with them.  Paul writes to the brethren at Corinth:

 

I Corinthians 4:4  FOR I KNOW NOTHING BY MYSELF; YET AM I NOT HEREBY JUSTIFIED: BUT HE THAT JUDGETH ME IS THE LORD.”

 

            Instead, Job will make supplication to his judge, God, and will cast himself on God’s mercy.

 

v16.  “IF I HAD CALLED, AND HE HAD ANSWERED ME; yet WOULD I NOT BELIEVE THAT HE HAD HEARKENED UNTO MY VOICE.

 

            Job says if he had called on God, so weak and ineffective would be his best prayers, that he would not believe that God had heard him.  Especially now Job feels that God would not hear his prayers, would not heed his supplication and if God did he would find it hard to believe.

 

v17.  “FOR HE BREAKETH ME WITH A TEMPEST, AND MULTIPLIETH MY WOUNDS WITHOUT CAUSE.”

 

            Every man must expect the wind to blow him ill sometime in his life but Job was blasted by a tempest, a storm.  Every man who digs his way through the thorns and thistles of life must expect to suffer their wounds but Job was wounded with many serious wounds.  Job’s troubles are so great and yet in his own mind they are without cause, he’s done nothing to merit the suffering he has to endure.

 

v18.  “HE WILL NOT SUFFER ME TO TAKE MY BREATH, BUT FILLETH ME WITH BITTERNESS.”

 

            God won’t even give Job a chance to catch his breath.  He’s seen no relief, no break in his suffering, just one horrible situation after another to bring him woe.  God causes him, he charges, to be filled with bitterness.

 

v19.  “IF I speak OF STRENGTH, LO, he is STRONG: AND IF OF JUDGMENT, WHO SHALL SET ME A TIME to plead?”

 

            Job doesn’t dare to enter into a contest with God, he would lose.  He is stronger than Job and would certainly overpower him.  Who would dare dispute with Him who commands legions of angels?  There is no higher power too which he can plead, no superior court to appoint a hearing of his cause, because God is supreme and from Him proceeds every man’s judgment.

 

Ezekiel 22:13-14  BEHOLD, THEREFORE I HAVE SMITTEN MINE HAND AT THY DISHONEST GAIN WHICH THOU HAST MADE, AND AT THY BLOOD WHICH HATH BEEN IN THE MIDST OF THEE.  CAN THINE HEART ENDURE, OR CAN THINE HANDS BE STRONG, IN THE DAYS THAT I SHALL DEAL WITH THEE? I THE LORD HAVE SPOKEN it, AND WILL DO it.”

 

v20.  “IF I JUSTIFY MYSELF, MINE OWN MOUTH SHALL CONDEMN ME: if I say, I am PERFECT, IT SHALL ALSO PROVE ME PERVERSE.”

 

            He knew so much about himself that he dare not stand to trial.  If he tried to justify himself and to plead a righteousness of his own, his defense would become his judge’s offense.  The very fact that he would attempt to justify himself would become that which would prove him perverse or guilty.

 

v21.  Though I were PERFECT, yet WOULD I NOT KNOW MY SOUL: I WOULD DESPISE MY LIFE.”

 

            Job says though if he were free from gross sin, though his conscience should not charge him with any enormous crime, yet he would not trust his own heart so far as to insist upon being completely innocent nor think that he is perfect to the extent that he would strive with God.  Job knew as John tells us and Job wasn’t deceiving himself.

 

I John 1:8  IF WE SAY THAT WE HAVE NO SIN, WE DECEIVE OURSELVES, AND THE TRUTH IS NOT IN US.”

 

Read Job 9:22-24

 

v22.  “THIS is ONE thing, THEREFORE I SAID it, HE DESTROYETH THE PERFECT AND THE WICKED.”

 

            Now Job touches briefly on the main point now in dispute between him and his friends.  They maintained that those who are righteous and good always prosper in this world and that none but the wicked are in misery and distress.  He tells them that on the contrary, it is a common thing for the wicked to prosper and the righteous to be afflicted.

 

v23.  “IF THE SCOURGE SLAY SUDDENLY, HE WILL LAUGH AT THE TRIAL OF THE INNOCENT.”

 

            When judgment falls it will fall on everyone equally.  If the scourge should come it will not distinguish between the wicked and the innocent.  Such was the reason that Abraham bargained with God for the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, they started at a number of fifty righteous and finally got down to ten.  If these cities were to be destroyed the innocent, especially the children, would perish along with the wicked.  This is therefore the basis for Abraham bargaining with God to save them.

 

Genesis 18:25  THAT BE FAR FROM THEE TO DO AFTER THIS MANNER, TO SLAY THE RIGHTEOUS WITH THE WICKED: AND THAT THE RIGHTEOUS SHOULD BE AS THE WICKED, THAT BE FAR FROM THEE: SHALL NOT THE JUDGE OF ALL THE EARTH DO RIGHT?”

 

v24.  “THE EARTH IS GIVEN INTO THE HAND OF THE WICKED: HE COVERETH THE FACES OF THE JUDGES THEREOF; IF NOT, WHERE, and WHO is HE?”

 

            God in his providence allows the governments of this world to stand and in effect gives them the power to rule over mankind.  Most of the time and in most places those who govern are wicked and greedy men.  Therefore God covers or blinds those who judge and select the rulers of this earth.  We can see this in our own government can’t we?  What are some of the greatest political issues currently - abortion, the movement to provide homosexuals (an abomination to God) the same rights as those married as God directed at the beginning of this earth, and many other things contrary to God and His Righteousness.

 

Read Job 9:25-35

 

v25.  “NOW MY DAYS ARE SWIFTER THAN A POST: THEY FLEE AWAY, THEY SEE NO GOOD.”

 

            Now Job reverts back to the kind of complaining that we saw in the earlier chapters.  His good days are gone, gone all of a sudden, gone before he was aware.  They fled away, never to return.

 

v26.  “THEY ARE PASSED AWAY AS THE SWIFT SHIPS: AS THE EAGLE that HASTETH TO THE PREY.”

 

            How swift the motion of time is, it waits for no man.  What little need we have for pastimes, and what great need to redeem time, while time is running out, running on so fast towards eternity, which comes when our time is gone.  I don’t know about the swiftness of the eagle but when a peregrine falcon posts, reaches the point that he would drop down to grasp his prey, the speed of their dives reaches 120 mph.  We find similar language in the prophecy of Habakkuk speaking symbolically of the ability of the Chaldeans to make war against Judah:

 

Habakkuk 1:8  THEIR HORSES ALSO ARE SWIFTER THAN THE LEOPARDS, AND ARE MORE FIERCE THAN THE EVENING WOLVES: AND THEIR HORSEMEN SHALL SPREAD THEMSELVES, AND THEIR HORSEMEN SHALL COME FROM FAR; THEY SHALL FLY AS THE EAGLE that HASTETH TO EAT.”

 

v27.  “IF I SAY, I WILL FORGET MY COMPLAINT, I WILL LEAVE OFF MY HEAVINESS, AND COMFORT myself:”

 

            Job had endeavored to be quiet and compose himself as his friends advised him, perhaps the reason for the seven days of silence at the beginning of their visit.  That was the good he would do: he would try to forget his complaints and praise God, would leave off his heaviness and comfort himself but found that he could not do that.

 

v28.  “I AM AFRAID OF ALL MY SORROWS, I KNOW THAT THOU WILT NOT HOLD ME INNOCENT.”

 

            Job is afraid of his sorrows, he despaired of obtaining from God any relief or redress of his grievances, though he could produce convincing proof of his integrity.  His afflictions have continued so long and increased so fast, that he does not expect that God will ever clear up his innocence by delivering him out of his trouble and restoring his prosperity.

 

v29.  If I BE WICKED, WHY THEN LABOUR I IN VAIN?”

            If Job was wicked then his protests against God’s treatment of him would be entirely in vain.  It is to no purpose to speak in a cause that is already prejudged and lost.  In our dealings with men it is often labor in vain for the most innocent to go about to clear their good name, they will be judged guilty, though the evidence proving their innocence be ever so clear.  But it is not so with God.  If we are innocent we will not be prejudged, we will not be condemned without cause.

 

v30.  “IF I WASH MYSELF WITH SNOW WATER, AND MAKE MY HANDS NEVER SO CLEAN;”

 

            If Job were to wash his hands with snow water, make his integrity undeniable it would be to no purpose; judgment must go against him.

 

Jeremiah 2:22  FOR THOUGH THOU WASH THEE WITH NITRE, AND TAKE THEE MUCH SOAP, yet THINE INIQUITY IS MARKED BEFORE ME, SAITH THE LORD GOD.”

 

v31.  “YET SHALT THOU PLUNGE ME IN THE DITCH, AND MINE OWN CLOTHES SHALL ABHOR ME.”

 

            Even though I wash myself ever so clean you treat me like I have been plunged in the ditch which makes me so filthy and so offense in the nostrils of all about me that my own clothes shall abhor me and I should be loath to touch myself.

 

v32.  “FOR he is NOT A MAN, AS I am, that I SHOULD ANSWER HIM, and WE SHOULD COME TOGETHER IN JUDGMENT.”

 

            God is not a man as I am; I could dispute with a man like myself (the potsherds may strive with the potsherds of the earth); but God is infinitely above me, and therefore I dare not enter into a dispute with him; I shall certainly be cast out if I contend with Him.

 

Isaiah 45:9  WOE UNTO HIM THAT STRIVETH WITH HIS MAKER! Let THE POTSHERD strive WITH THE POTSHERDS OF THE EARTH. SHALL THE CLAY SAY TO HIM THAT FASHIONETH IT, WHAT MAKEST THOU? OR THY WORK, HE HATH NO HANDS?”

 

            Jeremiah speaking of God:

 

Jeremiah 49:19  “BEHOLD, HE SHALL COME UP LIKE A LION FROM THE SWELLING OF JORDAN AGAINST THE HABITATION OF THE STRONG: BUT I WILL SUDDENLY MAKE HIM RUN AWAY FROM HER: AND WHO is A CHOSEN man, that I MAY APPOINT OVER HER? FOR WHO is LIKE ME? AND WHO WILL APPOINT ME THE TIME? AND WHO is THAT SHEPHERD THAT WILL STAND BEFORE ME?”

 

v33.  “NEITHER IS THERE ANY DAYSMAN BETWIXT US, that MIGHT LAY HIS HAND UPON US BOTH.”

 

            Job had no “days-man” no arbitrator, no umpire, he did not have Christ as we do today to plead his case before God. 

 

I Samuel 2:25  IF ONE MAN SIN AGAINST ANOTHER, THE JUDGE SHALL JUDGE HIM: BUT IF A MAN SIN AGAINST THE LORD, WHO SHALL ENTREAT FOR HIM? NOTWITHSTANDING THEY HEARKENED NOT UNTO THE VOICE OF THEIR FATHER, BECAUSE THE LORD WOULD SLAY THEM.”

 

Job would have gladly referred his problems through someone to God but no creature was capable of being a referee, and therefore he must even refer it still to God himself and resolve to acquiesce to his judgment.  Our Lord, Jesus Christ, is our “days-man”, who had mediated between heaven and earth, has laid his hand upon us both; to him the Father has committed all judgment and so must we.

 

v34.  “LET HIM TAKE HIS ROD AWAY FROM ME, AND LET NOT HIS FEAR TERRIFY ME:”

 

            Job says let him take these afflictions away from me, not so much the outward afflictions of the flesh but the torment of his spirit by his fear of God’s wrath and the mental torment, the fear, that he had offended God somehow that was terrifying him.  David, in repentance, prayed to God:

 

Psalms 39:10  REMOVE THY STROKE AWAY FROM ME: I AM CONSUMED BY THE BLOW OF THINE HAND.”

 

v35.  Then WOULD I SPEAK, AND NOT FEAR HIM; BUT it is NOT SO WITH ME.”

 

            If God would do that, take away the terror of hell, take away the deep fear that I feel because I feel that I have offended God.  Job says I don’t know how or when I might have done something to cause God to bring this kind of suffering on me, so I’m afraid, I live in fear.  If that were removed then I could speak to him.  But it is not so with me, I still don’t know what I’ve done that God should bring these kinds of afflictions upon me.