The Story of Job. – Day 17
Yesterday, even though our family wasn’t all together, even though our incredible friends and neighbors invited us to have Thanksgiving dinner with them, I am thankful because of the time with my kids where we went and saw a movie together (getting the early matinee showing of Playing with Fire) that had us laughing, crying, and ending on a happy note that connects with one of my families passions around living passionately. I am thankful because of the time at home for a little repose and then went out for dinner at a local restaurant in the area that had a special Thanksgiving 2019 menu that included prime rib for the kids and turkey dinner for me, with salads and appetizers along with apple pie a la mode for the kids. I was blessed and so thankful because of getting to spend so much time with them and even though I so wish my wife could have been with us. I am so thankful because of my wife’s heart and determination that things got setup for her mom so that we can have peace of mind with her being somewhere safe that will help her heal up and that it also means that my wife will be coming home today. God provides! God is good! God’s ways are not our ways, His ways are better and higher, and deeper than our ways. God gives us purpose! I am thankful!
Today’s reading in our continuing study of Job comes from chapter 12:
‘Then Job responded, “No doubt you are the [only wise] people [in the world], And wisdom will die with you! But I have intelligence and understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these [of God’s wisdom and might]? I am a joke to my friends; I, one whom God answered when he called upon Him— A just and blameless man is a joke [and laughed to scorn]. He who is at ease has contempt for misfortune, But misfortune is ready [and anxiously waiting] for those whose feet slip. The tents of the destroyers prosper; And those who provoke God are [apparently] secure, Whom God brings into their power. “Now ask the animals, and let them teach you [that God does not deal with His creatures according to their character]; And ask the birds of the air, and let them tell you; Or speak to the earth [with its many forms of life], and it will teach you; And let the fish of the sea declare [this truth] to you. Who among all these does not recognize [in all these things that good and evil are randomly scattered throughout nature and human life] That the hand of the L ord has done this, In whose hand is the life of every living thing, And the breath of all mankind? Does the ear not put words to the test, Just as the palate tastes its food [distinguishing between the desirable and the undesirable]? With the aged [you say] is wisdom, And with long life is understanding.
“But [only] with Him are [perfect] wisdom and might; He [alone] has [true] counsel and understanding. Behold, He tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt; He imprisons a man, and there can be no release. Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; Again, He sends the waters out, and they overwhelm and devastate the earth. With Him are might and sound wisdom, The misled and the misleader are His [and in His power]. He makes [great and scheming] counselors walk barefoot And makes fools of judges. He loosens the bond of kings And binds their loins with a loincloth. He makes priests walk barefoot, And He overturns men firmly seated and secure. He deprives the trusted ones of speech And takes away the discernment and discretion of the aged. He pours contempt on princes and nobles And loosens the belt of the strong [disabling them]. He uncovers mysteries [that are difficult to grasp and understand] out of the darkness And brings black gloom and the shadow of death into light. He makes nations great, and He destroys them; He enlarges nations, and leads them away [captive]. He removes intelligence and understanding from the leaders of the people of the earth And makes them wander and move blindly in a pathless waste. They grope in darkness without light, And He makes them stagger like a drunken man.”’— Job 12 AMP
Today’s study includes information from:
Job responds in his defense to what his friends had accused him. Job responds with confidence and firm words. Job was not impressed by the treatment of his friends and let them know it. Job knew that they weren’t the only people with wisdom because he knew that he trusted in God. Job wasn’t going to go it alone but instead would choose to pursue God, looking to Him for forgiveness, protection, and provision.
Today’s study bring another perspective in terms of intellect and wisdom vs emotions and feelings. Many today view intellect as in the head but emotions from the heart. We learn in today’s study how it was different back then that the heart was the seat of understanding whereas the gut feel (the σπλάγχνα splangchna – viscera, bowels) was more where the emotions and feelings came from.
We learn how Job doesn’t take the talking down to him but responds with the view that he is equal to them in quoting the sayings and familiar with their mode of reasoning and as such was equal to them. We learn how to some wisdom was the ability to memorize or store up proverbs and maxims and then be ready and able to apply them on any occasion.
We learn how Job was feeling like a joke, a fool, mockery, and a victim of ridicule. He was finding no sympathy for the pain he had been going through as well as no respect for his opinions. Today’s study even calls out how:
Job complains that he was not treated with due deference. They had showed no respect for his understanding and rank. They had urged the most common-place topics; advanced stale and trite apothegms, as if he had never heard them; dwelt on maxims familiar even to the meanest persons; and had treated him in this manner as if he were a mere child in knowledge. Thus, to be approached with vague common-places, and with remarks such as would be used in addressing children, he regarded as insult and mockery.— Barnes’ Notes – Job 12
As we look on the topic of feet slipping, the study speaks the following:
the idea is, that a man in adversity, when failing from a high condition of honor, is regarded as an almost extinguished lamp, that is now held in contempt, and is cast away. When the torch was blazing, it was regarded as of value; when nearly extinguished, it would be regarded as worthless, and would be cast away. So when a man was in prosperity, he would be looked up to as a guide and example. In adversity, his counsels would be rejected, and he would be looked upon with contempt. Nothing can be more certain or more common than the fact here adverted to. The rich and the great are looked up to with respect and veneration. Their words and actions have an influence which those of no other men have. When they begin to fall, others are willing to hasten their fall. Long cherished but secret envy begins to show itself; those who wish to rise rejoice in their ruin, and they are looked upon with contempt in proportion to their former honor, rank, and power. They are regarded as an extinguished torch – of no value, and are cast away.— Barnes’ Notes – Job 12
We learn how Job believes in God’s omnipotence. We learn about how the more viscous animals survive. We learn in today’s reading the definitions of wisdom, power, and sovereignty of God. In the midst of all of Job’s pain and suffering, he affirms how God’s power is visible everywhere.
Verses 12:13 – 13:3: This section gives vivid definition to the wisdom, power and sovereignty of God (verse 13). Job, despite his questions about his suffering, affirms that God’s power is visible in nature, human society, religious matters, and national and international affairs. Job, however, expressed this in terms of fatalistic despair. Job knew all this and it didn’t help (13:1-2); so he didn’t want to argue with them anymore, he wanted to take his case before God (verse 3).
Job 12:13 “With him [is] wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” While his distress clouded this truth at times, Job knew deep down that God was the only reality in his life. This is speaking of God. He is the source of all wisdom and strength. God’s wisdom and understanding never changes. It is God who makes it possible for us to understand. It is His strength that makes it possible for us to do all things.
Job 12:14 “Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.” To wit, houses, castles, and cities, which God designed to destroy utterly. “He shutteth up”: If he will shut up a man in prison, or in any straits or troubles. “There can be no opening”: Without God’s permission and providence. God builds up and God tears down. This was never more evident than in the nation of Israel. God made Israel great. He made Solomon the richest man who had ever lived. He became unfaithful to God and God took the kingdom away from his family. Israel fell and was taken into captivity because of their unfaithfulness.
Job 12:15 “Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.” God, at his pleasure, causes great droughts, which are among the worst calamities that can happen. He withholds the blessed rain from heaven (Deut. 11:17; 1 Kings 8:35; 17:1), and the springs shrink, and the rivers dry up, and a fruitful land is turned into a desert. And famine stalks through the land, and men perish by thousands. “Also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth”: I.e. he causes the flooding. Once upon a time he overwhelmed the whole earth, and destroyed almost the entire race of mankind, by a deluge of an extraordinary character, which so fixed itself in the human consciousness, that traces of it are to be found in the traditions of almost all the various races of men. But, beside this great occasion, he also in ten thousand other cases, causes by means of floods; tremendous ruin and devastation, sweeping away crops and cattle, and even villages and cities. Sometimes even “overturning the earth,” causing lakes to burst, rivers to change their course, vast tracts of land to be permanently submerged, and the contour of coasts to be altered. All of nature is at God’s command. He brings great droughts and brings floods as he did in the time of Noah. God used the flood in Noah’s time to destroy the people of the earth, because of their great evil.
Job 12:16 “With him [is] strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver [are] his.” Rather (as in the Revised Version), with him is strength and effectual working. God has not only the wisdom to design the course of events (verse 13), but the power and ability to carry out all that he designs. “The deceived and the deceiver are his”: Not only does God rule the course of external nature, but also the doings of men. “Shall there be evil in a city, and shall not he have done it?” (Amos 3:6). He allows some to deceive, and others to be deceived. Moral evil is thus under his control, and, in a certain sense, may be called his doing. But it behooves men, when they approach such great mysteries, to be very cautious and wary in their speech. Job touches with somewhat too bold a hand the deepest problems of the universe. God not only plans the events of the earth, but He has the power within Himself to see that it is done. God rules people, as well as nature. He is the Creator of them all. The person who is deceived was made by God. The deceiver was created by God as well. All mankind is God’s creation. Only those who believe are His sons.
Verses 17-25: A series of action verbs point to God’s sovereignty. While no explanation is given for Job’s suffering, these terms underscore that no event or circumstance can affect God’s sovereign might and purpose.
Job 12:17 “He leadeth counsellors away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.” The wise counsellors, or statesmen, by whom the affairs of kings and kingdoms are ordered, he leads away as captives in triumph. Being spoiled either of that wisdom which they had, or seemed to have; or of that power and dignity which they had enjoyed. “And maketh the judges fools”: By discovering their folly, and by infatuating their minds, and turning their own counsels to their ruin. The wise counsellors are earthly men, and they are still in the control of God. He can build them up or tear them down as He desires. The judges of the earth must remember that they will someday stand before the Judge of all the world. He judges in righteousness.
Job 12:18 “He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.” He takes from them the power and authority wherewith they ruled their subjects. Ruled them with rigor, perhaps tyrannized and enslaved them. And he divests them of that majesty which he had stamped upon them, and by which they kept their people in awe. These God can, and often does, take away from them, and thereby free the people from their bonds, of which we have abundance of instances in the history of different nations. “And girdeth their loins with a girdle”: He reduces them to a mean and servile condition. Which is thus expressed, because servants used to gird up their garments, (which, after the manner of those parts of the world, were loose and long), that they might be fitter for attendance upon their masters. He not only deposes them from their thrones, but brings them into slavery.
Job 12:19 “He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.” Rather, priests. In antiquity priests occupied influential places. Compare what is said of Melchizedek (Gen. 14; of Jethro, priest of Midian in Exodus 2:16). And of the influence of the priests in several crises of the history of Israel. On “spoiled” (see Job 12:17). “The mighty”: Literally the established or perennial. Being in apposition with priests, usually a hereditary class. The word describes those who occupied high permanent place among men. Kings are king, because God ordained it. When a king becomes evil, God may send another king to put him into captivity. It is God who looses him to greatness, or binds him as a common criminal. We saw this very thing in our study of Israel’s captivity in Babylon. God led the king of Babylon to take the king of Israel. Later on, God had another king to overthrow the king of Babylon.
Job 12:20 “He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.” God deprives trusted statesmen of their eloquence and destroys their reputation and their authority. “And taketh away the understanding of the aged”: He turns wise and aged men into fools and drivellers, weakening their judgments and reducing them to imbecility. Sometimes, God will take a powerful statesman and make him unable to speak. The aged are sometimes, turned into people with no understanding. The Alzheimer’s disease does this to many of the elderly.
Job 12:21 “He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.” I.e. he makes them contemptible to their subjects and others. “Weakeneth”: Hebrew, he looseth the girdle; which phrase signifies weakness (as Isa. 5:27); as the girding of the girdle notes strength and power (as Isa. 22:21; 45:5). Both these phrases being taken from the quality of their garments, which being loose and long, did disenable a man for travel or work. The king of Babylon was thought of as one of the mightiest men of the world, until the handwriting appeared on the wall condemning him and the city of Babylon. This of course, was the hand of God.
Job 12:22 “He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.” I.e. the most secret and crafty counsels of princes, which are contrived and carried on in the dark. “And bringeth out to light the shadow of death”: There is nothing secret which God cannot, if he choose, reveal. Nor is there anything hid which he cannot make known. Dark, murderous schemes, on which lies a shadow as of death, which men plan in secret, and keep hidden in their inmost thoughts, he can, and often does, cause to be brought to light and made manifest in the sight of all. Every such scheme, however carefully guarded and concealed, shall be one day made known (Matt. 10:26). Many are laid bare even in the lifetime of their devisers. There are no things planned by men that God does not know. They may have planned it in some secret place, but God knows all of their plans. Even plots to kill someone are known of God. Death was defeated for all believers, when Jesus rose from the grave. In that sense, death was defeated by the Light (Jesus Christ).
Job 12:23 “He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them [again].” In this discourse of God’s wonderful works, Job shows that whatever is done in this world both in the order and change of things, is by God’s will and appointment. In which he declares that he thinks well of God, and is able to set forth his power in words as they that reasoned against him were. What before he said of princes, he now applies to nations and people, whom God does either increase or diminish as he pleaseth. “He enlargeth the nations”: He multiplies them, so that they are forced to send forth colonies into other lands. “Straiteneth them again”: Or, leads them in, or brings them back, into their own land, and confines them there. Israel became almost three million people while they were slaves in Egypt. Just over seventy people went into Egypt and almost three million came out. This same three million were reduced to just a remnant by God for their unfaithfulness.
Job 12:24 “He taketh away the heart of the chief of the people of the earth, and causeth them to wander in a wilderness [where there is] no way.” The word heart here evidently means mind, intelligence, and wisdom (see the notes at Job 12:3). “Of the chief of the people”: Hebrew “Heads of the people;” that is, of the rulers of the earth. The meaning is, that he leaves them to infatuated and distracted counsels. By withdrawing from them, he has power to frustrate their plans, and to leave them to an entire lack of wisdom (see the notes at Job 12:17). “And causeth them to wander in a wilderness”: They are like persons in a vast waste of pathless sands without a waymark, a guide, or a path. The perplexity and confusion of the great ones of the earth could not be more strikingly represented than by the condition of such a lost traveler. When the leader of the people is filled with confusion and wanders in the wilderness, they wander around as sheep without a shepherd.
Job 12:25 “They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like [a] drunken [man].” Like blind men, as the men of Sodom, when they were struck with blindness. Or “they grope”, or “feel the dark, and not light”, as the Targum. As the Egyptian did when such gross darkness was upon them as might be felt. “And he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man”: That has lost his sight, his senses, and his feet, and knows not where he is, which way to go, or how to keep on his legs. But reels to and fro, and is at the utmost loss what to do. All this is said of the heads or chief of the people, in consequence of their hearts being taken away, and so left destitute of wisdom and strength. Those who walk in darkness have no direction in their lives. John 11:10 “But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.”— Bible Studies – Job 12
So how would you respond? You realize you can’t control how others will speak or treat you. You can control your response. So how will you respond?
So where are you at today? How will you respond to the offer from God of grace, mercy, and salvation? Are you ready to lean into all that God has for you? Are you ready to persevere and trust and have your faith built up? My hope and prayer is that You will ask Jesus into your heart so that I will get to spend eternity in God’s presence with you. Are you ready for forgiveness and peace? Are you ready for a hope and a future? Are you ready for a transformation where the old is gone and the new has come? Are you ready to being the journey of knowing right from wrong? Then let’s pray together to invite Jesus into your heart and your life so that His peace which surpasses all understanding can guide you and comfort you, protect your heart and mind in Christ Jesus. If this is the first time you have prayed to invite Jesus into your heart, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If this is a re commitment to Jesus, leave me a comment so that I can rejoice with the angels in Heaven. If you are still questioning or seeking, don’t go it alone, feel free to leave me a comment so we can discuss it.