Year of Scripture – Job’s Conversations

I had great ambitions of writing a blog for each of the dialogues that Job has with his three friends, Elphaz, Bildada, and Zophar. However, I’ve come to realize how hard it is to catch up when you are behind, all while still trying to keep up with the regular daily readings. So, knowing that we are just staring our read through the Psalm’s and that I would like to get back to a regular daily post, I’m going to condense things down for Job into a few short posts.

Chapters 3 – 31

If there was one question/phrase that could be used to summarize chapters 3 through 31 it might be “who sinned?” And what ever happened to the act of true friendship and the offering of moral support? One can only wonder how many times Job may have longed for the seven days of silence to continue after he heard his friends response.

After seven days of silence, Job finally speaks. He’s wounded physically, with sores all over his body. He’s wounded mentally, as he has lost everything he has. He’s wounded emotionally, as his family is now dead, and his wife seems less than compassionate. Job is in a pretty dark place, and now surrounded by the company of friends Job speaks! He laments, “Why did I not die at birth?” (3:11) He curses the day he was born, later he will curse his entire life. The age old question, “why?” applies here, time and time again. In Job’s mind he has done nothing wrong, and to our knowledge as a reader, he has done nothing wrong. Even God in the early chapters claims Job to be “blameless.” So perhaps Job is justified in asking, “why?”

While Job laments, his friends respond in a surprising manner. Do they offer support? Do they offer compassion? Do they take his side? No! Not at all! If these were my friends, I’d be looking for others. Essentially, everything they say boils down to one reoccurring phrase, “Job, admit you did something wrong, for you must have done something wrong to deserve this!”

And so, the pattern is set for these chapters. Job laments. The friends say, you must have done something wrong. Job rebuttals. The friends say the same thing over in a different way. Job laments some more, and on and on it goes, until we get to chapter 32.

Cartoon image from The Twibble on Job

Enter Elihu

Amazingly, somewhere in the midst of this conversation a fourth friend arrives. Don’t know when he arrived. Not sure when he came from (although 32:2 gives all his family details), either way, he’s not affiliated with the original three, and takes on a completely different mindset than the rest of the conversation. He wants to acknowledge God for all of God’s greatness.

The spirit of God has made me,
and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.

Job 33:4

God will not do wickedly
and the Almighty will not pervert justice.
Who gave him charge over the earth
and who laid on him the whole world?

Job 34:12-13

Everything that Elihu speaks points to God’s divine wisdom and sets the stage for what will come in chapter 38. More on that to follow soon . . .

Pastor Bailey