Job’s final rebuttal and defense…

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Wednesday 3/13/24

Title: Job’s final rebuttal and defense…

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Job’s final rebuttal and defense…

Tonight we are wrapping up the last of the arguments between Job and his 3 friends. The last friend we heard from was Bildad making Zophar the only one of the three who only had 2 exchanges with Job. The others each had 3.

Perhaps Bildad did not respond after Job’s final rebuttal because it was simply so long a discourse that Zophar may have had difficulty keeping up with his initial points.

Of course we recognized some time ago that these do not represent the entirety of the exchanges between these four men, but are merely a summary of the main points. This was made clear back in chapter 19 where we read Job’s words in verse 3, “These ten times you have reproached me;…”. He said this when in fact between the three friends, they had only addressed him a total 5 times in this written account.

One thing is for certain, Job had MUCH to say here in that it takes 5 chapters in total to lay it all out.

I believe God was allowing the totality of these exchanges to play themselves out in order to bring Job to the end of himself. It is usually once when we have arrived at the end of ourselves that we can see with unobscured vision God, Who has been there all along.

There is more than one way in which Psalm 62:8 plays out in our lives. 

“Trust in Him at all times, you people; Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” – Psalm 62:8 

Make no mistake, regardless of all we see Job claim tonight – Job loves God. He is a man who because of his blameless character was the target of satan’s attack. Job’s heart was broken and confused through misunderstanding what was happening. His suffering was obviously more due to his perceived loss of God’s favor than it ever was about his natural pain and loss and for this we have to pity him rather than cast stones.

Sometimes when we pour out our hearts before God, the healing is simply found in the coming. Other times, it is in the consolation that He has invited us to come and we know we are heard. Sometimes, as I believe is the case here, our consolation comes only after we have exhausted our arguments and frustrations and given them words that we have any sight to see and ears to finally hear God’s words of restoration and reconciliation to us.

So let’s listen with patience to our brother as he pours out the frustrations of his heart. Then next week we will see how God responds to His servant He so dearly loves.

Also, pay attention because you will certainly recognize statements we later read from Solomon in his proverbs of wisdom.

Job begins by stating what he sees as the elusiveness of wisdom and understanding.

Job 28:1-28,

“(1) Surely there is a mine for silver, and a place where gold is refined.  (2)  Iron is taken from the ground, and rock is poured out as copper.

(3) Man puts an end to the darkness; he searches the farthest recesses for the ore in the deepest darkness.  

(4)  Far from where people live he sinks a shaft, in places travelers have long forgotten, far from other people he dangles and sways.  

(5)  The earth, from which food comes, is overturned below as though by fire;  (6)  a place whose stones are sapphires and which contains dust of gold;  (7)  a hidden path no bird of prey knows – no falcon’s eye has spotted it.  (8)  Proud beasts have not set foot on it, and no lion has passed along it.  

(9)  On the flinty rock man has set to work with his hand; he has overturned mountains at their bases.  (10)  He has cut out channels through the rocks; his eyes have spotted every precious thing.  

(11)  He has searched the sources of the rivers and what was hidden he has brought into the light.  

(12)  “But wisdom – where can it be found? Where is the place of understanding?  

(13)  Mankind does not know its place; it cannot be found in the land of the living.  

(14)  The deep says, ‘It is not with me.’ 

And the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’  

(15)  Fine gold cannot be given in exchange for it, nor can its price be weighed out in silver.  

(16)  It cannot be measured out for purchase with the gold of Ophir, with precious onyx or sapphires.”

Ophir by the way was a land named after one of the sons of Joktan who was 5 generations from Noah. He had a brother named Peleg and it was in their days that the earth was divided. This may refer to the continental drift which was precipitated by the fallout after the flood, but more likely refers to the dispersal of mankind at the tower of Babel and this would be the correct time for that to have taken place. [See Genesis 10-11]

“(17)  Neither gold nor crystal can be compared with it, nor can a vase of gold match its worth.  

(18)  Of coral and jasper no mention will be made; the price of wisdom is more than pearls.  

(19)  The topaz of Cush cannot be compared with it; it cannot be purchased with pure gold.”

Cush was one of the sons of Ham, the son of Noah who had a curse upon him. From Ham also came Mizriam who founded Egypt and Canaan who was the father of the Canaanites and the founder of that land which God took and gave as the land of promise to His covenant people.

“(20)  “But wisdom – where does it come from? 

Where is the place of understanding?  

(21)  For it has been hidden from the eyes of every living creature, and from the birds of the sky it has been concealed.”

While wisdom is given with limitation to the animals and God Himself tells Job that He deprived the ostrich of it, Wisdom has always been the friend of mankind. 

Solomon tells us in Proverbs that wisdom cries out in the streets and her voice is to the sons of men – if they will but listen. [See Job 39:13-17; Proverbs 8]

“(22)  Destruction and Death say, ‘With our ears we have heard a rumor about where it can be found.’  

(23)  God understands the way to it, and He alone knows its place.”

“(24)  For He looks to the ends of the earth and observes everything under the heavens.  (25)  When He made the force of the wind and measured the waters with a gauge,  (26)  when He imposed a limit for the rain, and a path for the thunderstorm,  (27)  then He looked at wisdom and assessed its value; He established it and examined it closely.  (28)  And He said to mankind, ‘The fear of the LORD – that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding.’”

Like the children of Israel who looked back longingly to their years of forced labor in Egypt once they had known the difficulty of the wilderness, I think Job here is remembering his life before these trials in a more than realistically favorable light.

Ever since the beginning of these trials Job has spoken of God as One Who is far off and unknowable and his trials as something he had always secretly feared would come upon him. He lived in almost daily fear of his children denying God and so evoking His wrath upon them. But here, Job paints a picture of intimacy and carefree living which seems almost entirely out of step with these other known truths.

Job 29:1-25, 

“(1) Then Job continued his speech:  

(2)  “O that I could be as I was in the months now gone, in the days when God watched over me,  (3)  when He caused His lamp to shine upon my head, and by His light I walked through darkness;  

(4)  just as I was in my most productive time, when God’s intimate friendship was experienced in my tent,  (5)  when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me;  (6)  when my steps were bathed with butter and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil!  

(7)  When I went out to the city gate and secured my seat in the public square,  (8)  the young men would see me and step aside, and the old men would get up and remain standing;  

(9)  the chief men refrained from talking and covered their mouths with their hands;  (10)  the voices of the nobles fell silent, and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths.  

(11)  “As soon as the ear heard these things, it blessed me, and when the eye saw them, it bore witness to me,  (12)  for I rescued the poor who cried out for help, and the orphan who had no one to assist him;  

(13)  the blessing of the dying man descended on me, and I made the widow’s heart rejoice;  

(14)  I put on righteousness and it clothed me, my just dealing was like a robe and a turban;  

(15)  I was eyes for the blind and feet for the lame;  

(16)  I was a father to the needy, and I investigated the case of the person I did not know;  

(17)  I broke the fangs of the wicked, and made him drop his prey from his teeth.  

(18)  “Then I thought, ‘I will die in my own home, my days as numerous as the grains of sand.  

(19)  My roots reach the water, and the dew lies on my branches all night long.  

(20)  My glory will always be fresh in me, and my bow ever new in my hand.’  

(21)  “People listened to me and waited silently; they kept silent for my advice.  

(22)  After I had spoken, they did not respond; my words fell on them drop by drop.  (23)  They waited for me as people wait for the rain, and they opened their mouths as for the spring rains.  

(24)  If I smiled at them, they hardly believed it; and they did not cause the light of my face to darken.  

(25)  I chose the way for them and sat as their chief; I lived like a king among his troops; I was like one who comforts mourners.”

Some of these statements seem to be given the lie in these following verses. 

Job 30:1-31, 

“(1) But now they mock me, those who are younger than I, whose fathers I disdained too much to put with my sheep dogs.  

(2)  Moreover, the strength of their hands – what use was it to me? 

Men whose strength had perished;  (3)  gaunt with want and hunger, they would roam the parched land, by night a desolate waste.  

(4)  By the brush they would gather herbs from the salt marshes, and the root of the broom tree was their food.  

(5)  They were banished from the community – people shouted at them like they would shout at thieves –  (6)  so that they had to live in the dry stream beds, in the holes of the ground, and among the rocks.  

(7)  They brayed like animals among the bushes and were huddled together under the nettles.  

(8)  Sons of senseless and nameless people, they were driven out of the land with whips.  

(9)  “And now I have become their taunt song; I have become a byword among them.  (10)  They detest me and maintain their distance; they do not hesitate to spit in my face.  

(11)  Because God has untied my tent cord and afflicted me, people throw off all restraint in my presence.  

(12)  On my right the young rabble rise up; they drive me from place to place, and build up siege ramps against me.  

(13)  They destroy my path; they succeed in destroying me without anyone assisting them.  

(14)  They come in as through a wide breach; amid the crash they come rolling in.  

(15)  Terrors are turned loose on me; they drive away my honor like the wind, and like a cloud my deliverance has passed away.  

(16)  “And now my soul pours itself out within me; days of suffering take hold of me.  

(17)  Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never cease.  

(18)  With great power God grasps my clothing; He binds me like the collar of my tunic.  

(19)  He has flung me into the mud, and I have come to resemble dust and ashes.”

Now Job finally directs his comments directly TO God… at least for a moment.

“(20)  I cry out to You, but You do not answer me; I stand up, and You only look at me.  

(21)  You have become cruel to me; with the strength of Your hand You attack me.  

(22)  You pick me up on the wind and make me ride on it; You toss me about in the storm.  

(23)  I KNOW that You are bringing me to death, to the meeting place for all the living.  

(24)  “Surely one does not stretch out his hand against a broken man when he cries for help in his distress.  

(25)  Have I not wept for the unfortunate? 

Was not my soul grieved for the poor?  

(26)  But when I hoped for good, trouble came; when I expected light, then darkness came.  

(27)  My heart is in turmoil unceasingly; the days of my affliction confront me.  

(28)  I go about blackened, but not by the sun; in the assembly I stand up and cry for help.  

(29)  I have become a brother to jackals and a companion of ostriches.  

(30)  My skin has turned dark on me; my body is hot with fever.  

31)  My harp is used for mourning and my flute for the sound of weeping.”

Job 31:1-40, 

“(1) I made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I entertain thoughts against a virgin?  

(2)  What then would be one’s lot from God above, one’s heritage from the Almighty on high?  

(3)  Is it not misfortune for the unjust, and disaster for those who work iniquity?  

(4)  Does He not see my ways and count all my steps?  

(5)  If I have walked in falsehood, and if my foot has hastened to deceit –  (6)  let Him weigh me with honest scales; then God will discover my integrity.”

Of course the near blasphemous accusation here is that God is judging Job using dishonest scales. A practice God Himself hates, calls wicked and is on the short list of things which are an abomination to Him!  

“(7)  If my footsteps have strayed from the way, if my heart has gone after my eyes, or if anything has defiled my hands,  (8)  then let me sow and let another eat, and let my crops be uprooted.  

(9)  If my heart has been enticed by a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door,  (10)  then let my wife turn the millstone for another man, and may other men commit adultery with her.  

(11)  For I would have committed a shameful act, an iniquity to be judged.  

(12)  For it is a fire that devours even to Destruction, and it would uproot all my harvest.  

(13)  “If I have disregarded the right of my male servants or my female servants when they disputed with me,  (14)  then what will I do when God confronts me in judgment; when He intervenes, how will I respond to Him?  

(15)  Did not the One Who made me in the womb make them? 

Did not the same One form us in the womb?  

(16)  If I have refused to give the poor what they desired, or caused the eyes of the widow to fail,  

(17)  If I ate my morsel of bread myself, and did not share any of it with orphans –  

(18)  but from my youth I raised the orphan like a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow!  

(19)  If I have seen anyone about to perish for lack of clothing, or a poor man without a coat,  (20)  whose heart did not bless me as he warmed himself with the fleece of my sheep,  

(21)  if I have raised my hand to vote against the orphan, when I saw my support in the court,  (22)  then let my arm fall from the shoulder, let my arm be broken off at the socket.  

(23)  For the calamity from God was a terror to me, and by reason of His majesty I was powerless.  

(24)  “If I have put my confidence in gold or said to pure gold, ‘You are my security!’  

(25)  if I have rejoiced because of the extent of my wealth, or because of the great wealth my hand had gained,  

(26)  if I looked at the sun when it was shining, and the moon advancing as a precious thing,  (27)  so that my heart was secretly enticed, and my hand threw them a kiss from my mouth,  (28)  then this also would be iniquity to be judged, for I would have been false to God above.  

(29)  If I have rejoiced over the misfortune of my enemy or exulted because calamity found him –  

(30)  I have not even permitted my mouth to sin by asking for his life through a curse –  

(31)  if the members of my household have never said, ‘If only there were someone who has not been satisfied from Job’s meat!’ –  

(32)  But no stranger had to spend the night outside, for I opened my doors to the traveler –  

(33)  if I have covered my transgressions as men do, by hiding iniquity in my heart,  (34)  because I was terrified of the great multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I remained silent and would not go outdoors –  

(35)  “If only I had someone to hear me! 

Here is my signature – let the Almighty answer me! 

If only I had an indictment that my accuser had written.  

(36)  Surely I would wear it proudly on my shoulder, I would bind it on me like a crown;  (37)  I would give Him an accounting of my steps; like a prince I would approach Him.  

(38)  “If my land cried out against me and all its furrows wept together,  

(39)  if I have eaten its produce without paying, or caused the death of its owners,  (40)  then let thorns sprout up in place of wheat, and in place of barley, weeds!” 

The words of Job are ended.”

No doubt many of these things were true of Job or God would not have called him a blameless and upright man. However, these things also seem to be a source of personal pride for Job – at least a little. Also they seem a bit exaggerated, though we cannot say that for certain.

These were Job’s last words spoken until he got what he had been desiring since the beginning of his trial – an audience with God. Job will not speak again until chapter 40 verse 3

The next six chapters are the reply of a young man who confronts Job and his three friends with the folly of their mouths. We will dive into that beginning next week!


Hi my name is Mark and though I am opposed to titles, I am currently the only Pastor (shepherd/elder) serving our assembly right now.

I have been Pastoring in one capacity or another for nearly 30 years now, though never quite like I am today.

Early in 2009 the Lord revealed to me that the way we had structured our assembly (church) was not scriptural in that it was out of sync with what Paul modeled for us in the New Testament. In truth, I (like many pastors I am sure) never even gave this fundamental issue of church structure the first thought. I had always assumed that church structure was largely the same everywhere and had been so from the beginning. While I knew Paul had some very stringent things to say about the local assembly of believers, the point of our gatherings together and who may or may not lead, I never even considered studying these issues but assumed we were all pretty much doing it in numbers right?! Boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!

So needless to say, my discovery that we had been doing it wrong for nearly two decades was a bit of a shock to me! Now, this "revelation" did not come about all at once but over the course of a few weeks. We were a traditional single pastor led congregation. It was a top-bottom model of ministry which is in part biblical, but not in the form of a monarchy.

The needed change did not come into focus until following 9 very intense months of study and discussions with those who were leaders in our church at the time.

We now understand and believe that the Bible teaches co-leadership with equal authority in each local assembly. Having multiple shepherds with God's heart and equal authority protects both Shepherds and sheep. Equal accountability keeps authority and doctrine in check. Multiple shepherds also provide teaching with various styles and giftings with leadership skills which are both different and complementary.

For a while we had two co-pastors (elders) (myself and one other man) who led the church with equal authority, but different giftings. We both taught in our own ways and styles, and our leadership skills were quite different, but complimentary. We were in complete submission to each other and worked side-by-side in the labor of shepherding the flock.

Our other Pastor has since moved on to other ministry which has left us with just myself. While we currently only have one Pastor/Elder, it is our desire that God, in His faithfulness and timing, may bring us more as we grow in maturity and even in numbers.

As to my home, I have been married since 1995 to my wonderful wife Terissa Woodson who is my closest friend and most trusted ally.

As far as my education goes, I grew up in a Christian home, but questioned everything I was ever taught.

I graduated from Bible college in 1990 and continued to question everything I was ever taught (I do not mention my college in order to avoid being labeled).

Perhaps my greatest preparation for ministry has been life and ministry itself. To quote an author I have come to enjoy namely Fredrick Buechner in his writing entitled, Now and Then, "If God speaks to us at all other than through such official channels as the Bible and the church, then I think that He speaks to us largely through what happens to us...if we keep our hearts open as well as our ears, if we listen with patience and hope, if we remember at all deeply and honestly, then I think we come to recognize beyond all doubt, that, however faintly we may hear Him, He is indeed speaking to us, and that, however little we may understand of it, His word to each of us is both recoverable and precious beyond telling." ~ Fredrick Buechner

Well that is about all there is of interest to tell you about me.

I hope our ministry here is a blessing to you and your family. I also hope that it is only a supplement to a local church where you are committed to other believers in a community of grace.

~God Bless!