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Today's Little Lift

    by Jim Bullington

Their Hope - Loss of Life (Job 11:20)
Date Posted: October 25, 2020

With friends like these, who needs enemies? Surely at some time in Job’s trials, he must have at least had this thought. After all his troubles were enough to make angels weep, but as if that were not enough, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar came to “comfort” him. However rather than comfort him, they accosted Job with innuendos, insinuations, and outright accusations of evil on his part. The following excerpt from one of Zophar’s speeches is an example of the haughty and arrogant tirades of his friends.

“If iniquity were in your hand, and you put it far away, And would not let wickedness dwell in your tents; Then surely you could lift up your face without spot; Yes, you could be steadfast, and not fear; Because you would forget your misery, And remember it as waters that have passed away, And your life would be brighter than noonday. Though you were dark, you would be like the morning. And you would be secure, because there is hope; Yes, you would dig around you, and take your rest in safety. You would also lie down, and no one would make you afraid; Yes, many would court your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And they shall not escape, And their hope—loss of life!” (Job 11.14-20).

Note the direct accusation that Zophar made. He as much as said, “All of your troubles have come upon you because you regard iniquity in your heart and refuse to renounce it. If you would just straighten up and fly right, everything would be rosy in your life and all these afflictions would pass!” As Zophar closed his speech, he clearly grouped Job together the worst of the worst in this world; this is what he said: “But the eyes of the wicked will fail, And they shall not escape, And their hope—loss of life!

For a man such as Job, these words must have cut like a knife! How could anyone, especially a friend, accuse Job of such things? What evidence did Zophar (or any of his friends for that matter) have that Job was such a rotten character? Absolutely none! They had interpreted the calamities that had hit him as a sign from God that he was an impenitent sinner of the rankest sort! Their conclusion about Job’s character was what they considered to be an implication based on their own theology! Their conclusion about Job was wrong because their theology was wrong! Sicknesses and other calamities are not necessarily the signs of God’s disapproval of a person’s life and character, yet this was the basis for Job’s condemnation by his “friends.”

Job’s hope, according to his friends, was no more than any other suffering sinner; it was loss of life! The only thing, according to them, that Job could look forward to was dying! That is a pretty dismal outlook, and it becomes doubly painful when it is voiced by friends. According to these three, Job could only spell relief as D – E – A – T- H! Such arrogance is totally beyond the point that God ever intended for humans to reach. Not only had they condemned him in this life, they had condemned him in the life to come – and he was still breathing!

Point of fact: Every living being has hope in Jesus Christ. No one that is drawing a breath is beyond hope and help. Jesus died loving the unlovable and helping those who had no hope. Contrary to many theological theories, He is still in that same business. On the day of judgment, pious Bible thumpers who think they have all the answers will, I am convinced, be some of the most surprised people at the judgment bar.

Point of fact: No man’s hope is to die, period! That is not hope; it is absolute and utter despair. Surely we as God’s people have more to offer than that! If not, we should take down our signs!

Questions:

1. Upon what premise did Job’s three friends base their belief that Job was harboring sin?

2. Is this a popular belief today? Was it during Jesus earthly ministry (see John 9.1-3)?

3. Why is there no hope in death itself? Will misery for the wicked end there?

4. How can we as believers offer hope to the world? Are arrogant and pious pronouncements of sin a valuable tool that should generally be used to win sinners to Jesus? Why or why not?

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Biography Information:
Jim Bullington - A Christian writer whose insight into the scriptures is reflected in practical application lessons in every article. The reader will find that the Bible speaks directly to him/her through these articles. God is always exalted and His word is treated with the utmost respect in this column.
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