Bible Reading Notes

February 2015 

Thursday, February 26th – Job 15: 1-6       
      Job has requested that his friends stop speaking to him (Job 13:13).  Although those friends had come to Job to show compassion (Job 2:11) they have thus far failed to do so.  Now they press their suffering friend even more harshly and painfully.  Eliphaz dismisses Job’s request for silence and speaks to him.  No matter what words he used, the fact that he opened his mouth hard on the heels of Job’s appeal for silence demonstrates that Eliphaz has a lack of respect and common consideration for his friend.  The righteousness of Job’s friends that they assume they possess is showing itself to be not only loveless but also to be unrighteously rigorous.  Those who love best gain all that is worthy and virtuous for themselves and for those whom they love.  Those who fixate on justice and disregard love lose all blessing for themselves and for those whom they would instruct in righteousness.

Friday, February 27th – Job 15: 1-6
Eliphaz not only speaks to Job in defiance of Job’s cry for silence, but this wisest and likely oldest of Job’s friends begins a second cycle of speeches in which Job’s friends prove themselves to be sorry comforters and compassionless punishers of their friend.  If Eliphaz were truly wise and godly, he would have been more compassionate and less censorious with Job and he would likely have led Job’s other friends to follow his example of sympathetic weeping with those who weep.  It is not for nothing that the Word of God cautions those who regard themselves as spiritual to be gentle and restorative of others, even when they have been overtaken by transgression, and even more so when they have been tortured for their righteousness as was Job (Gal. 6:1).

Saturday, February 28th - Job 15: 1-3
Eliphaz begins this, his second speech to Job, with two questions.  Unlike Job’s questions, that arose from his faithfully seeking to understand his painful and confusing situation, the asking of Eliphaz issues from his blind certainty.  That certainty has overridden the exercise of his faith that should have worked through love (Gal. 5:6).  Instead of Eliphaz respecting Job’s position, or at least asking his suffering friend to help him better to understand his excruciating experience, Eliphaz dismisses the cries of Job’s anguished soul as being void of knowledge and aridly fruitless.  Those who, like Eliphaz, maintain a theology predominately of the head, will never understand the language of the heart.  Such blind and heartless critics will always regard suffering as a curse reserved for the sinful, above whom they believe they have ascended.  Eliphaz mocks a drowning man and blames him for being in deep waters while he refuses to go that man lest he compromise his dignity by drenching himself in an unworthy rescue effort.  If this is righteousness, let us be regarded as unrighteous.  Then we will be in the loving and saving company of the only one who was truly sinless but who stooped to draw near to sinners, neither to scold nor to lecture them, but rather to save them by His becoming sin for them.

Sunday, March 1st - Job 15: 1-4
Eliphaz regards Job as being an empty and arid babbler whose words are useless and unprofitable.  In v.4, the charges become more serious.  Eliphaz declares that Job has spoken words about and to God that are irreverent offend and that hinder the godly who are seeking to work out their salvation with fear and trembling.  It is disappointing for a man to be useless in relation to others; it is criminal and blasphemous for that man to offend God and man through his faithless attitude pouring out of his heart through his desperate words.  Eliphaz sees Job as such a man. If wise Eliphaz can so badly misjudge a godly sufferer such as Job, surely we should be vigilant against censoriousness and determine, instead, to exercise the judgment of charity.  More often than not we will find that our charitable assessments of others accords better with our Lord’s assessment of our brethren than will our harsh judgments of them.

Monday, March 2nd - Job 15: 5, 6
Here Eliphaz claims to be a discerner of thoughts and intentions.  So tenacious is he in his prosecuting Job as a sinner that he cannot conceive of anything other than Job’s sin filling his mouth with twisted words of guilty evasion.  Eliphaz is determined to nail a righteous condemnation to Job.  In his determination to do so he is moved by arrogance, not discernment.  When Eliphaz claims that Job’s own words will testify against him and bring a well-deserved condemnation upon him, he sounds very much like the high priest who adjured Jesus to say whether He was the Christ and then declared Him condemned by His own words when He spoke the truth.  Men can plunge into deep darkness when they confuse their certainty with the truth and saving love of God.

Tuesday, March 3rd - Job 15: 7
Eliphaz practically repeats the argument that Bildad has already presented (Job 8:8,9).  Both men insinuate that Job is guilty of intellectual arrogance.  They assert that Job claims a level of wisdom beyond what he possibly could have attained during his lifetime.  Eliphaz first implies that Job claims knowledge superior to Adam’s sons, if not to Adam himself.  He then implies that Job is acting as though his experience and learning began before time and creation.  Here Job’s friend repeats a point already made and answered by Job (Job 9:1;12:1-3).  This repetition bears the marks not of teaching that makes one wise but rather of torture that wears one out.  Furthermore, Job has never made an audacious claim that he possesses eternal wisdom.  He claims no more than equality, at least, with his friends (Job 12:3).  When we exaggerate a man’s true position it shows weakness and fallacy in our own position rather than in his.  Finally, Job’s superior wisdom to that possessed by his friends is evident in way he keeps asking the Lord Himself for understanding.  We are to despise neither the insights of our elders nor the lessons from past generations.  However, the primary lesson we can learn from other people is that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Rom. 3:23), and that the fear of the Lord is the beginning and end of all wisdom (Prov. 1:7).  No person can attain infallible wisdom in the school of other sinners.  We can, however, attain wisdom beyond our elders when we trust in the Lord who is the source of all wisdom and the generous giver of wisdom to those who ask it from Him (Prov. 3:5,6: Jas. 1:5).

Wednesday, March 4th - Job 15: 7, 8
The first man created fell into profound darkness when he sinned, and he dragged all of his descendants into that darkness (Eph. 2:1-3).  The first man born into the world was not a wise man but was instead a morally depraved murderer (Gen. 4:8).  We can learn from the study of human history far more about how we should not think and feel and act than we can about godly wisdom.  Yet God, who is the fountain of all wisdom, is not stingy with that infallible treasure.  His wisdom shows everywhere and shouts from the rooftops (Prov. 8:11).  His wisdom is supremely manifested in Christ, whose coming was declared by God in the first expression of the gospel that was given to our first parents after their fall (Gen. 3:15).  Job was vitally asking, seeking, and knocking for that wisdom from God, while his friends were content to rely on their own understanding of men whose endowments and attainments they overestimated.

Thursday, March 5th - Job 15: 8
Job had not claimed knowledge of the secret things that belong to the Lord (Dt. 29:29).  However, with growing measure, Job did know and trust in the truth that God had revealed.  Such knowledge made him at least equal to his friends in their apprehension of the things of God (Job 12:3; 13:1,2).  Nor was Job stingy in his possessing a measure of divine wisdom.  He has been attempting to share that truth with his friends in the loving hope that they could benefit from his prayerful endurance of affliction (Job 13:5,6).  Job’s friends who were limiting their intake of God’s wisdom that Job possessed and was demonstrating before them as he worked out his salvation in fear and trembling

Friday, March 6th - Job 15: 9
With this question, Eliphaz asserts that he and his friends possess wisdom that surpasses what Job possesses.  The course of questioning has the intention of abasing Job and exalting Eliphaz and his partners.  Its dynamic is opposed to the Lord telling His people to honor their brethren above themselves (Phil. 2:3).  Job may have appeared proud in his resisting the assertions of his friends, but his friends were actually becoming proud in their determination to cast down the humble sufferer whom God was in the process of exalting.

Saturday, March 7th - Job 15: 9
Eliphaz likely rested his contention that he knew more than Job on his observation that Job had been calling out to God to no avail.  Job’s friends must have reckoned that Job’s was a foolish and ineffectual piety.  It could not, in their minds, be a righteous and loving thing for God to ignore the painful cries of a righteous man.  The continued divine silence, therefore, has emboldened Job’s friends to renew their zealous attack on him.  We do well to recall that God’s silence can at times be part of His exercising a faith that He will commend.  Recall the silence of Jesus with the Canaanite woman.  The disciples, because of Jesus’ silence, regarded her as a pest to be driven away, while He knew that she possessed the precious and potent treasure of faith (Matt. 15:23,28).

Sunday, March 8th - Job 15: 9
As we consider this question we do well to observe that in this growing contest between Job and his friends the odds are stacked against Job.  The suffering man stands alone against three of his godly friends.  Scripture tells us that in the company of many counselors there is wisdom (Prov. 15:22).  Is Job not violating that maxim?  The answer is that the Word of God never ranks quantity above quality.  A host of people mocked Jesus on the cross.  Yet, had our Redeemer submitted to the counsel of the crowd and come down from the cross, none of those believing in Him would have had anything worth believing.  Our salvation was accomplished not by Jesus following the counsel of a board of directors.  The Son of God was obliged to redeem His people by the exertions that He alone could perform and did perform (Isa. 59: 15-17).

Monday, March 9th - Job 15: 9
What Job did know that his friends did not know was the hand of God that was resting heavily and painfully upon him.  Job’s friends considered his sufferings through the medium of their dogma that considered afflictions only to be penal.  Yet, pains do not always represent punishment.  The runner’s training pains make him stronger for future races.  The believer’s afflictions, in the hand of God, produce for and in him an eternal weight of glory.  Job is yoked to his Savior in a course of blessed strengthening and enrichment, while his friends would draw him into their world of spiritual weakness and poverty.  Recall the arrogant poverty of the Laodicean church, whose members thought they had attained wealth when they really lived in wretchedness (Rev. 3:17).  Let us learn to esteem highly the afflicting hand of our Lord, respecting its profitable operations in our lives and in the lives of our brethren (Heb. 12:5-11).

Tuesday, March 10th - Job 15: 10
Here Eliphaz brings in reinforcements to bolster his attempt to dominate Job.  He calls attention to the fact that arrayed against Job were not only his three friends but many who had lived and learned before even Job’s father was born.  Yet, while it is true that with gray hair comes wisdom (Prov. 16:31), true wisdom is not attained automatically through life’s experiences.  It is those who are taught by and learn from the Lord who come to know more than the aged (Ps. 119:100).  Those who walk in trusting dependence upon the Lord learn from the heavenly Father whose wisdom shines infallibly above the wisdom of all earthly fathers.

Wednesday, March 11th - Job 15: 11
Eliphaz now adds an inviting aspect to the imposing features he has already thrust upon Job.  The Temanite moves from the confessions of experienced men to the sweet consolations of the eternal God.  While his questioning may appear as a call of loving concern for Job to repent of his irreverence and ingratitude, Eliphaz is actually subjecting Job to an abusive course of interrogation.  Accordingly, Eliphaz continues to charge Job, thinking he does so moved by the gentle Spirit of God when, in fact, he is ministering sorry and unedifying comfort that is far removed from the liberating truth and empowering love of the Lord.

Thursday, March 12th - Job 15: 12, 13
In these questions, Eliphaz shifts from his tactic of trying to overwhelm Job with imposing witnesses.  Now the attack aims at undermining Job from within.  Eliphaz claims to discern the heart and inward disposition of Job. Instead of Job being seen as one who loves God with all his heart, Eliphaz portrays him as being angry with God and turned from Him entirely.  The basis for this portrayal is Job’s words that Eliphaz contends to be foolish and ungodly.  Yet, when the Lord speaks, we learn that Eliphaz has misunderstood Job and misrepresented Job’s God.  The words of Job may be raw and shrill, but when we make loving allowance for the excruciating pain that drives those words out of him, then we can see what Gods sees in them: the crying of a child of God for his Father, not against Him.  A censorious spirit is more alienated from the Lord than is a charitable one.

Friday, March 13th - Job 15: 14-16
Job surely agreed with the words Eliphaz speaks in these verses.  The Lord is infinitely pure and all men are totally depraved.  This is a truth that God Himself reveals when He tells us that all have sinned and fallen short of His glory (Rom. 3:23).  However, this is only part of the truth.  God is also mercifully loving.  His mercy does not compromise His holiness or righteous judgment but it does triumph over them when they are set against the beloved trophies of His salvation.  Job never claims a perfect personal righteousness.  Instead, he stands in the imputed righteousness of His God who has justified him and will be neither the last nor the first to condemn him but always the one to justify him and drive all of his accusers from him (Rom. 8:33).

Saturday, March 14th - Job 15: 17-19
By his speaking thus far, Eliphaz has implicitly rejected Job’s request for silence (Job 13:5,6).  Now Eliphaz makes that rejection explicit and adds to it a demand that Job be silent and hear and heed his dismissive friend.  Eliphaz shows himself to be not only insensitive and loveless but also foolish.  For all that he has to say to Job is drawn from other men. Eliphaz shows those men as having wisely learned from their fathers and having responsibly taught their sons.  He also commends them as having attained the Promised Land by their wise and virtuous worthiness.  They were men who kept themselves untainted by any alien source.  Here Eliphaz idolizes the patriarchs, who were far from perfect men and model fathers.  He is commending a myth to a man in a burning furnace of affliction who knows he needs and possesses a righteousness better than one passed down by sinful fathers.  We can profit from godly leaders but we are perfected only by our heavenly Father (Heb. 13:7; 1 Jn. 2:27).

Sunday, March 15th - Job 15: 20-24
Eliphaz moves from his commending the traditions of men to his condemning Job.  This sorry comforter now increases his imperious assaults against his friend by bludgeoning him with repeated and strong blows.  He claims that Job’s pains had been on him all of his days, as though the recent course of afflictions were but the evident outbreak of misery over which Job had cast a pious cloak (v.20).  He characterizes Job as being wicked and suffering justly.  He portrays Job as being assaulted from without by an overpowering destroyer (v.21), and afflicted within by his own faithless fears (v.22).  Job languishes (v.23) and knows that he is the target for inexorable suffering (v.24).  As Eliphaz had exaggerated the piety and holy wisdom of the ancients, so now he exaggerates Job’s painful condition.  Eliphaz has strayed far from his original course of ministering comfort to Job.  He speaks neither truth nor love.  Job does not suffer because he is wicked, and his sufferings are momentary and light servants sent to enhance his reward from God, not to seal his condemnation.

Monday, March 16th - Job 15: 24, 25
The cause of Job’s disastrous sufferings, according to Eliphaz, is that he has with faithless arrogance pitted himself against God.  Eliphaz has formed this charge from his understanding of Job’s cries of anguish.  The Temanite regards the expressions of agitated feelings to be the telltale mark of an agnostic, if not atheistic, attitude. These charges that Job was against God and that therefore God was against Job could not have been further from the truth.  It is sobering to observe how badly even good and godly men can misunderstand at times not only their suffering brethren but also their saving God.

Tuesday, March 17th - Job 15: 26, 27
In these verses, Eliphaz describes the blind stupidity of the wicked.  The godless man does oppose God, armed not with righteous authority or true power.  Instead, he is filled with blind zeal and a false sense that his substantial existence and practical defiance against an unseen and seemingly insubstantial God not only secure him from God, but serve to vanquish the Lord from his life.  Of course, a blind man is more vulnerable, not less, because he cannot see.  And where blood may be thicker than water, Spirit, especially God’s holy and almighty Spirit, is more substantial than both.  What Eliphaz asserts about the wicked is true.  However, once again he is saying it to a man who is not wicked.  His words serve only to hurt and further exasperate Job, rather than help him.

Wednesday, March 18th - Job 15: 28
The wicked man is portrayed in these verses as living in a casual disregard of the judgments of God.  He is blind to the fact that ruined houses and desolate cities may have come to such a state due to the just judgments of God.  The wicked man merely regards the losses of others to be opportunities for his gain. If this is what Eliphaz is meaning, he is hammering Job with yet another nasty insinuation that Job’s prosperity had been built on the ruins and misery of others.  The truth was that the blessing of the Lord had made Job rich (Job 1:10; Prov. 10:22).  When a man decides to pound his brother into submission, he will pervert even the blessings of God into false evidence of God’s cursing.

Thursday, March 19th - Job 15: 29, 30
Eliphaz continues to heap lurid warnings upon Job.  Here he condemns Job to perpetual poverty and to the gloom and anguish of divine judgment.  He thinks he is doing this in accordance with the will and ways of the Lord.  Yet, God has not destined Job to lasting poverty.  Job’s lost wealth will be restored by the Lord in abundant measure that surpassed his former wealth (Job 42:10) and his life will extend far beyond the norm prior to his entrance into eternal life and the commendation and joy of the Lord (Job 42:16,17).  God was storing up for Job the best wine, not the worst woes.   

Friday, March 20th - Job 15: 31, 32
The admonitions of Eliphaz continue to accumulate.  What he says in general is true and good for those who are wicked and need to repent.  Trust in vanity yields only vanity and the wicked man only deceives himself if he believes otherwise.  The deceptive hopes of the wicked also are dashed in time as well as in eternity.  Unlike the righteous, who are like trees planted by refreshing streams and are ever vibrant and fruitful (Ps.1:3), the wicked are like chaff.  Their vacuous way perishes before they themselves perish (Ps. 1:4-6).  Job, however, did not need such warnings.  He was trusting in God as his sure hope (Job 13:15), and long before the end of his earthly life he would be abundantly revived, replenished, and rewarded by God (Job 42:10).  Even true words are not always like apples of gold in settings of silver (Prov. 25:11).  In order to be so, such words must be fittingly spoken—that is, they must be truly applicable and delivered lovingly.  Otherwise, they do not set us free from our afflictions but only drive us deeper into suffering.

Saturday, March 21st - Job 15: 33-35
Eliphaz concludes this his second speech with an accurate and instructive portrayal of the vanity and misery of the wicked.  If in any way this portrayal would benefit Job, it would be in his acknowledging with profound gratitude that God had graciously delivered him from his sinful natural state.  However, Eliphaz would not allow Job to celebrate such a deliverance.  In his view, Job was godless and in the company of the godless and justly sharing the inevitable misery of all who are godless.  Perhaps Eliphaz ended his second speech at this point because he thought he had finally succeeded in convicting Job of his sinful bondage and had pointed him with strong warnings to the way out of such bondage.  With the conclusion of his first speech, Eliphaz held out hope to Job as an incentive (Job 5:17-27).  With the closing words of his second speech, Eliphaz practically seals Job in his doom.  Yet it is not Job who engages his mind in conceiving deception, iniquity, and misery.  It is Eliphaz who seeks to speak the truth but brings forth lies that increase Job’s misery and offend Job’s God.  The Lord’s suffering servant is in need of deliverance from his accusing friends and not from his sin from which he was already delivered.  God soon enough will deliver His servant from his sorry comforters.  Meanwhile, the Lord will continue sinlessly to use their sinful afflicting of His servant to produce in him purer faith and greater growth in the grace and knowledge of his true and loving Savior.

Sunday, March 22nd - Job 16: 1-5
Although Eliphaz has severely attacked Job, the suffering servant of the Lord does not succumb to the attack but has a right and ready answer to it.  It is part of the devil’s malice that he persists in afflicting the saints of God, thinking that he and his witting and unwitting instruments and varying devices will wear them out.  Yet, part of the heritage of the saints is that they are enabled to persevere through all trials, to stand in all evil days, and to triumph at last through their exercise of the faith that God has given them to unite them to Christ who has triumphed over all of His and their enemies.  Job will yet face many more aggravating words from his friends.  But it will be Job, not they, who will have the last word when he prays for their forgiveness.

Monday, March 23rd - Job 16: 1-5
What Job here declares is that in one sense he and his friends are all in the same boat.  None of them really knows why Job is suffering; all of them are, because of their ignorance, bound only to cry out to the Lord for understanding and gracious enabling to wait upon and trust in Him.  Job understands and accepts this, but his friends do not. Their refusal to accept this painful mystery and their determination to speak, when they really do not know what to say, is what makes them sorry comforters for their suffering friend.

Tuesday, March 24th - Job 16: 1-5
Job has more true understanding of his plight than his friends have of it.  He, at least, realizes that he does not understand the reason why he suffers. He does know that he is not being punished for his sin and that no flood of words from his uncomprehending friends will convince him otherwise.  His situation is far beyond the words of finite and fallible men.  That is why he cries out to God for understanding.  Job knows that his help is only in the power of his God to work for his healing and restoration. Job knows that his help is not in the speculations and misguided words of men. The highest human wisdom at times is that which keeps silent in the knowledge that God is in His holy temple and on His sovereign throne (Hab. 2:20).

Wednesday, March 25th - Job 16: 4-6
Job acknowledges that his thoughts are too shallow and his words are inadequate to comprehend his own situation or to work any change in it.  He informs his friends that were he in their place, he could, as easily as they have been doing, dispense words that flow from his own lack of understanding, sympathy, and comfort rather than any apprehension of the truth that sets sufferers free.  As it is, even with his comprehension of his plight, he cannot change his plight by either his words or by his silence.  All he knows is that he suffers because he must suffer.  There is a divine necessity at work when the saints of God suffer, and that necessity is not something that their eyes cannot see or their minds comprehend.  But though all for us may be shrouded in mystery while we are in the valleys of such affliction, we can know that God is using it for our help and not for our harm (1 Pet. 1:6-9).

Thursday, March 26th - Job 16: 7-17
Job resumes his lamentation.  Men’s words are shallow, their comforts sorry.  When all is said and done, Job at least can face the reality that he is in the hands of God and that, for whatever reason, those hands are currently treating him roughly.  Notice how central God is to Job’s focus in the midst of his trials.  He says what he sees, that the hand of God has brought upon him his weariness, anguish, and injury.  We too see this awful truth from the opening chapters of Job where it is the sovereign determination of God to hand His righteous servant over to Satan for a course of excruciating affliction.  We are plainly told this by God in His Word.  But we do not want to hear or to believe it.  To the degree that we refuse to believe this truth, we will find ourselves siding with Job’s friends and against Job and against his God.

Friday, March 27th - Job 16: 7, 8
Job expresses in these verses how the Lord had drained him of all vitality.  He declares these words not only about the Lord (He has exhausted me) but also to the Lord (Thou hast laid waste all my company).  God has deprived Job of all personal energy, all personal relationships, and of all positive self-regard.  Job has become an appalling spectacle to himself and to others, and he declares that this was the doing of the Lord.  The faint of heart and weak of mind regard these thoughts and words as irreverent and sinful.  Yet those who have the courage of faith recognize and accept that God had sovereignly ordained that Job be stripped of all things except for his life (Job 2:6).  Job had already declared his faithful determination to cleave to God whether the Lord ministered to him good or evil (Job 2:10).  This determination gave him the courage that clarified his vision, allowing him to see and to accept, however painfully, the worst features of the working of God in his life.  Job’s friends suppressed this truth about their God, and the Lord makes clear to them and to us that they had done so not reverently but in unrighteousness (Job 42:7).  Let us learn to cleave to the Lord at what appears to be His worst, not letting Him go until He blesses us (Gen. 32:26).

Immanuel Presbyterian Church is a congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) located in Norfolk, VA. Home