January 8, Job 17-20

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17 My spirit is broken.
My days are extinguished.
A graveyard awaits me.
Surely mockers surround[a] me,
and my eyes must gaze at their rebellion.Accept my pledge! Put up security for me.
Who else will be my sponsor?[b]
You have closed their minds to understanding,
therefore you will not honor them.
If a man denounces his friends for a price,
the eyes of his children will fail.He has made me an object of scorn to the people;
I have become a man people spit at.[c]
My eyes have grown dim from grief,
and my whole body has become but a shadow.
The upright are appalled at this,
and the innocent are roused against the godless.
Yet the righteous person will hold to his way,
and the one whose hands are clean will grow stronger.
10 But come back and try again, all of you.[d]
I will not find a wise man among you.11 My days have slipped by;
my plans have been ruined,
even the things dear to my heart.
12 They turned night into day
and made light seem near in the face of darkness.
13 If I await Sheol as my home,
spread out my bed in darkness,
14 and say to corruption, “You are my father,”
and to the maggot, “My mother” or “My sister,”
15 where then is my hope?
Who can see any hope for me?
16 Will it go down to the gates of Sheol,
or will we descend together to the dust?

Bildad Speaks

18 Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:How long until you stop talking?
Show some sense, and then we can talk.
Why are we regarded as cattle,
as stupid in your sight?
You who tear yourself in anger[e]—
should the earth be abandoned on your account,
or a rock be removed from its place?Yes, the light of the wicked is extinguished;
the flame of his fire does not glow.
The light in his tent grows dark,
and the lamp beside him is put out.His powerful stride is shortened,
and his own schemes trip him up.
For his own feet lead him into a net,
and he strays into its mesh.
A trap catches him by the heel;
a noose seizes him.
10 A rope lies hidden for him on the ground,
and a snare waits for him along the path.
11 Terrors frighten him on every side
and harass him at every step.
12 His strength is depleted;
disaster lies ready for him to stumble.[f]13 Parts of his skin are eaten away;
death’s firstborn consumes his limbs.
14 He is ripped from the security of his tent
and marched away to the king of terrors.
15 Nothing he owned remains in his tent.
Burning sulfur is scattered over his home.
16 His roots below dry up,
and his branches above wither away.
17 All memory of him perishes from the earth;
he has no name anywhere.[g]
18 He is driven from light to darkness
and chased from the inhabited world.
19 He has no children or descendants among his people,
no survivor where he used to live.
20 Those in the west are appalled at his fate,
while those in the east tremble in horror.21 Indeed, such is the dwelling of the unjust man,
and this is the place of the one who does not know God.

Job’s Reply to Bildad

19 Then Job answered:How long will you torment me
and crush me with words?
You have humiliated me ten times now,
and you mistreat[h] me without shame.
Even if it is true that I have sinned,
my mistake concerns only[i] me.
If you really want to appear superior to me
and would use my disgrace as evidence against me,
then understand that it is God who has wronged me
and caught me in his net.
I cry out: “Violence!” but get no response;
I call for help, but there is no justice.
He has blocked my way so that I cannot pass through;
he has veiled my paths with darkness.
He has stripped me of my honor
and removed the crown from my head.
10 He tears me down on every side so that I am ruined.[j]
He uproots my hope like a tree.
11 His anger burns against me,
and he regards me as one of his enemies.
12 His troops advance together;
they construct a ramp[k] against me
and camp around my tent.
13 He has removed my brothers from me;
my acquaintances have abandoned me.
14 My relatives stop coming by,
and my close friends have forgotten me.
15 My house guests[l] and female servants regard me as a stranger;
I am a foreigner in their sight.
16 I call for my servant, but he does not answer,
even if I beg him with my own mouth.
17 My breath is offensive to my wife,
and my own family[m] finds me repulsive.
18 Even young boys scorn me.
When I stand up, they mock me.
19 All of my best friends[n] despise me,
and those I love have turned against me.
20 My skin and my flesh cling to my bones;
I have escaped with only the skin of my teeth.
21 Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy,
for God’s hand has struck me.
22 Why do you persecute me as God does?
Will you never get enough of my flesh?23 I wish that my words were written down,
that they were recorded on a scroll
24 or were inscribed in stone forever
by an iron stylus and lead!
25 But I know that my Redeemer lives,[o]
and at the end he will stand on the dust.
26 Even after my skin has been destroyed,[p]
yet I will see God in[q] my flesh.
27 I will see him myself;
my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger.[r]
My heart longs[s] within me.28 If you say, “How will we pursue him,
since the root of the problem lies with him?” [t]
29 then be afraid of the sword,
because wrath brings punishment by the sword,
so that you may know there is a judgment.

Zophar Speaks

20 Then Zophar the Naamathite replied:This is why my unsettling thoughts compel me to answer,
because I am upset![u]
I have heard a rebuke that insults me,
and my understanding[v] makes me reply.Don’t you know that ever since antiquity,
from the time a human was placed on earth,
the joy of the wicked has been brief
and the happiness of the godless has lasted only a moment?
Though his arrogance reaches heaven,
and his head touches the clouds,
he will vanish forever like his own dung.
Those who know[w] him will ask, “Where is he?”
He will fly away like a dream and never be found;
he will be chased away like a vision in the night.
The eye that saw him will see him no more,
and his household will no longer see him.
10 His children will beg from[x] the poor,
for his own hands must give back his wealth.
11 His frame may be full of youthful vigor,
but it will lie down with him in dust.12 Though evil tastes sweet in his mouth
and he conceals it under his tongue,
13 though he cherishes it and will not let it go
but keeps it in his mouth,
14 yet the food in his stomach turns
into cobras’ venom inside him.
15 He swallows wealth but must vomit it up;
God will force it from his stomach.
16 He will suck the poison of cobras;
a viper’s fangs[y] will kill him.
17 He will not enjoy the streams,
the rivers flowing with honey and curds.
18 He must return the fruit of his labor without consuming it;
he doesn’t enjoy the profits from his trading.
19 For he oppressed and abandoned the poor;
he seized a house he did not build.20 Because his appetite is never satisfied,[z]
he does not let anything he desires escape.
21 Nothing is left for him to consume;
therefore, his prosperity will not last.
22 At the height of his success[aa] distress will come to him;
the full weight of misery[ab] will crush him.
23 When he fills his stomach,
God will send his burning anger against him,
raining it down on him while he is eating.[ac]
24 If he flees from an iron weapon,
an arrow from a bronze bow will pierce him.
25 He pulls it out of his back,
the flashing tip out of his liver.[ad]
Terrors come over him.
26 Total darkness is reserved for his treasures.
A fire unfanned by human hands will consume him;
it will feed on what is left in his tent.
27 The heavens will expose his iniquity,
and the earth will rise up against him.
28 The possessions in his house will be removed,
flowing away on the day of God’s anger.
29 This is the wicked person’s lot from God,
the inheritance God ordained for him.

In the midst of devastating tragedy and loss, friends who torment him, and as we saw in earlier chapters a somewhat wavering faith, Job shows in chapter 19 the strength of his faith.

25 But I know that my Redeemer lives,[o]and at the end he will stand on the dust.
26 Even after my skin has been destroyed,[p]
yet I will see God in[q] my flesh.
27 I will see him myself;
my eyes will look at him, and not as a stranger.

What a statement of faith in the middle of all that Job has gone through.  Is your faith strong enough to go through what Job went through and yet proclaim what he does in chapter 19?  Maybe you would say no, but don’t give up hope…your journey is incomplete.  

Continue to learn and grow and trust in God and he will produce in you faith that you wouldn’t think possible.  James 1:2-4, “Consider it a great joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you experience various trials, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking nothing.”

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