Job 12:1

 

Job replies to Zophar, and Job says in Job 12:1-4, “And Job answered and said,[2] No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you.[3] But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you: yea, who knoweth not such things as these?[4] I am as one mocked of his neighbour, who calleth upon God, and he answereth him: the just upright man is laughed to scorn.” In verse 2 Job is demonstrating Zophar’s arrogance. Zophar thinks that he is so smart and so wise. That is why Job is saying that since Zophar is so wise, Zophar must have all the wisdom that exists, and when Zophar dies, wisdom will die with Zophar. Of course, that is not true. No one has all the wisdom or all the knowledge. Every believer can go to God and get wisdom. And so Job says in verse 3, “But I have understanding as well as you.” What is really going on is what Job says in verse 4. These “friends” are mocking Job. The friends have been saying that Job is suffering because of his sins. But Job points out in the last part of verse 4 that Job is doing the right thing: Job is praying to God and God is answering, maybe not in the way that Job wants, but God is answering. But the friends are opposing Job, and accusing Job, and mocking Job. As Job says, “the just upright man is laughed to scorn.” One of the reasons that believers suffer is because that can happen in this world. Jesus said that the servant is not greater than his Lord. Jesus also said, “In the world you shall have tribulation.”

 

Job continues to reply to Zophar, and Job says in Job 12:5, “He that is ready to slip with his feet is as a lamp despised in the thought of him that is at ease.” Job is the one that is ready to slip because of all the terrible things that have happened to him. Jobs “friends” are the ones who were “at ease.” They suffered nothing, but instead of having compassion on Job, they despised him.

 

Job continues to reply to Zophar, and Job says in Job 12:6, “The tabernacles of robbers prosper, and they that provoke God are secure; into whose hand God bringeth abundantly.” Once again Job makes the point that in this life sometimes the worst people are prospering quite a bit. Many rimes go unsolved. Many people are living very well on the evil and deceit and cruelty that they commit every day. Of course, the judgment is coming and they will give an answer at the feet of Christ. But in this life, you cannot say that you see the evil always punished and the believers always blessed.

 

Job says in Job 12:7-11, “But ask now the beasts, and they shall teach thee; and the fowls of the air, and they shall tell thee:[8] Or speak to the earth, and it shall teach thee: and the fishes of the sea shall declare unto thee.[9] Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?[10] In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.[11] Doth not the ear try words? and the mouth taste his meat?” Zophar should be able to understand the basic truth that Job presented. Even the animals probably understand this. You cannot look at someone’s prosperity in order to determine God’s attitude toward them. In our own day the people who preach the gospel of prosperity are wrong. God will not make every believer prosperous. Some will suffer loss in the will of God. That is what was happening to Job. The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. And the Lord does that for His own reasons: not for any reason that man can understand.

 

Job says in Job 12:12-13, “With the ancient is wisdom; and in length of days understanding.[13] With him is wisdom and strength, he hath counsel and understanding.” Older should mean wiser. That will certainly be the case if you come to know Jesus and continue to follow Him year after year. If someone is older than you, one of the reasons to respect them is that they probably have more wisdom than you and you will benefit from listening to them. If you have wisdom, then you do have strength. If you do not have wisdom, then you will be weak and failing at life. You will make the wrong decisions, you will have the wrong priorities, and you will not understand what is happening to you.

 

One way of summing up the following statements by Job is to simply say: God does everything. You believe that God is all-powerful, do you not? Whether good or bad, God did it. And God did it for His own reasons that often we are not aware of. I do not know why God allowed a lying, Moslem, racist, communist to be president of our country for eight years, but God did. It makes no sense to me. I wish that it did not happen, but I am not God, and God decided that it would happen. Job says in Job 12:14-25, “Behold, he breaketh down, and it cannot be built again: he shutteth up a man, and there can be no opening.[15] Behold, he withholdeth the waters, and they dry up: also he sendeth them out, and they overturn the earth.[16] With him is strength and wisdom: the deceived and the deceiver are his.[17] He leadeth counsellers away spoiled, and maketh the judges fools.[18] He looseth the bond of kings, and girdeth their loins with a girdle.[19] He leadeth princes away spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty.[20] He removeth away the speech of the trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged.[21] He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.[22] He discovereth deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of death.[23] He increaseth the nations, and destroyeth them: he enlargeth the nations, and straiteneth them again.[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.[25] They grope in the dark without light, and he maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.” To have this kind of faith that God is involved in everything, you look at whatever takes place in your life and in the world around you, and you say: this is what God has done.

 

Job continues speaking and he says in Job 13:1-9, “Lo, mine eye hath seen all this, mine ear hath heard and understood it. [2] What ye know, the same do I know also: I am not inferior unto you.[3] Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.[4] But ye are forgers of lies, ye are all physicians of no value.[5] O that ye would altogether hold your peace! and it should be your wisdom.[6] Hear now my reasoning, and hearken to the pleadings of my lips.[7] Will ye speak wickedly for God? and talk deceitfully for him?[8] Will ye accept his person? will ye contend for God?[9] Is it good that he should search you out? or as one man mocketh another, do ye so mock him?” In verse two Job is telling his “friends” that they are not the only ones who knows things. Job knows things too. Everyone knows things. That is one reason to grant freedom to speech to others and to be willing to listen to their idea: you might just learn something that you need to know.

 

Look closely at verse 3. Job says, “Surely I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to reason with God.” Job’s life can be characterized as an ongoing conversation with God. God talks to us by His Word, and by the Holy Spirit impressing on our hearts the principles of His Word. We talk to God by talking to Him in our hearts, either by words that can be heard or with our thoughts that we project to the presence of God.

 

In verse 4 Job tells his friends two things to describe what Job thinks of the things they have been saying, “forgers of lies” and “no value.” And then in verse 5 Job is telling them that they would be wiser if they would talk less. That is a common teaching of the Bible in the book of Proverbs and in the New Testament. Christians are told, “Be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.”

 

In verses 6 through 9 Job is asking his “friends” one question after another. These are rhetorical questions. Job is telling them that they are not speaking for God. They are wrong. There has always been a lot of that taking place among human. Millions and millions of people will gladly tell you that they know what God wants for themselves and for you, and most of them are wrong. That was true in Job’s day, and it is true in our day too. Learn the Bible by the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, and you will more easily recognize when others are wrong when they try to tell you what they know about God.

 

Job continues speaking and he says in Job 13:10-15, “He will surely reprove you, if you do secretly accept persons. [11] Shall not his excellency make you afraid? And his dread fall upon you? [12] Your remembrances are like unto ashes, your bodies to bodies of clay. [13] Hold your peace, let me alone, that I may speak, and let come on me what will. [14] Wherefore do I take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in mine hand?[15] Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” In verse 10 Job is talking about the importance of fairness and consistency in evaluating anyone. This applies to religion, to politics, and to personal relationships, and of course it applies to the court system. It is related to the demand for equality. Everyone should be treated the same and be given the same to be measured by. To not do so has a certain type of evil that is inherent in it. It is so unlike God who treats all persons the same. If you look away from someone’s failure because of their class or party; but you are critical of someone else who does the same things but is of another class or party, then you have failed as a human being at this important principle. Job knew that his detractors were being overly harsh and critical of him. What they really needed was more of a fear of God, and so Job says in verse 11, “Shall not his excellency make you afraid? And his dread fall upon you?” What God had done to Job, He could do to them also.

 

In verse 12 and 13 Job is telling his “friends” that he does not want to hear them any more. They are a burden to him. Their words ae wrong and do not help. Their attitudes are wrong. They are critical and condemning. That is why Job says to them in verse 13, “Hold your peace, let me alone.

 

In the last part of verse 13 and in verses 14 and 15 we see a great resolve that Job possessed: a resolve to continue serving the Lord no matter what happens. One reason that many Christians are out of fellowship with the Lord or do not follow the Lord as closely as they should is because they do not have this kind of resolve. At the end of verse 13 Job said, “let come on me what will.” A lot of very bad things happened to Job, but Job had a resolve that nothing could shake. Life is temporary and full of dangers. Your personal share of the tribulations of life might be great some day. Will you continue following the Lord Jesus no matter how bad it gets? You will, if you have the type of resolve that Job had.

 

In the first part of verse 15 Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him…” How can we be like that? Every human being has a free will. We can all make such a choice if we want to. Christians certainly have every reason to have such an attitude. Look what Jesus did for us. Jesus left the glory of heaven and came to the world of woe. And then Jesus was faithful unto death: even the brutal and tormenting death of the cross. That was love for us. We can return His love by saying in our hearts the same thing that Job said, “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.    

 

 

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Copyright; 2018 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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