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25th May

Psalm 24-28; Psalm 140

Bible in a Year
6 minutes
In this article
25th May

Psalm 24-28; Psalm 140

Bible in a Year
6 minutes


So far in Job we’ve read through the prologue, the first and second round of speeches, and started the third round. We read as Job was exalted as a model example of a righteous man. God held court with his divine beings and heard reports, including the report of the satan (think of this as a job title, rather than the big, bad guy of the Bible). The satan asked the question, was Job genuinely righteous and faithful or was he just behaving that way because God was blessing him?

So God put this theory to the test, removing all of his blessing and favour from Job and leaving him alone and with a body full of sores. But despite all this, Job didn't sin or turn from God. He did, however, lament his situation, crying out that it would be better if he hadn't been born, and asking God why he won't just let him die. To begin with, Job’s friends chose to sit with him and mourn with him.

But then they started to rebuke him, leading to the first round of speeches. Eliphaz started off gentle, praising Job for his past wisdom and pointing out that God is just and punishes the wicked. Either Job is innocent and God will rescue him, or he is guilty and deserves what he gets. Bildad claimed that Job's children must have been wicked, and that's why they were punished. He argued that we can see that those close to God flourish and those far from him suffer.

Zophar then jumped in to accuse Job of mocking God, saying that Job should be grateful because he deserves worse than what God is currently doing. Responding to them in turn and then as a whole, Job argued that he has every right to bring his case before God. God will do what he will do and Job is willing to accept that, as long as can speak to God himself. All these friends want to do is correct Job and hold on to the box they’ve put in God. They don’t want to comfort him or challenge their own assumptions about how God works.

This started round two of speeches, where the friends got harsher. They doubled down and what they've already said and explicitly blamed all the bad things happening to Job on Job and his children's wickedness. The friends wanted to hold on to their narrow, dogmatic understanding of God, while Job is wrestling with the nuance that comes from lived experience. For round three, Eliphaz started making up sins he assumed Job has committed. At this point, Job stopped responding and instead focused on wanting to hear from God directly.

Job 24-28

Having declared his hope that God will hear him, Job then goes back to focusing on how wicked people seem to proper while the innocent suffer. He mentions how wicked people will often oppress and make life difficult for the poor and innocent. Meanwhile, innocent people are doing everything they can to get by and provide for their children. We see the contrast of the innocent who are hungry and naked, walking through the luscious olive fields and vineyards of the wicked. All this is happening, and yet God never charges anyone with wrong.

Job points out that there are rebels, murderers, and adulterers that are happily living outside of God's light, preferring to be friends with the darkness. Then Job stops and adds more nuance to his argument. Yes, as he has been saying, wicked prosper while innocent suffer. But he also recognises that sometimes wicked people are punished and die, and sometimes innocent people do cry out to God, and he comforts them and is their security. Yet even then, all these people will eventually die and end up with the same fate. For Job, it all seems pointless, with no reason or rhyme.

By this point, Job's friends have run out of steam. Bildad gives a brief speech, and Zophar doesn't even bother responding for a third time. Bildad changes his tune this time. He doesn't try to argue that the wicked will definitely be punished, or that God will rescue the innocent. Instead, he chooses to undermine Job's entire complaint. God is mighty, and he does what he wants. Who are we to question him?

At this, Job resorts to sarcasm. He mocks Bildad, pointing out how much of a help he has been, how great his wisdom and advice have been. Job is fully aware of how mighty God is. God has authority over the seas and the grave. He's the one that holds the earth in place and turns water into clouds. He controls the moon and separates day from night. Heaven trembles at his voice, and seas are still. He is mighty both in a whisper and with loud thunderclaps.

Then Job, turning away from his friends, starts a new speech. Job makes a commitment before God to hold fast to his integrity and righteousness. No matter what happens, Job will seek to do what is right. He declares his trust that eventually, God will punish the wicked. Even if it is after they have died. Job then lists what he feels is the 'portion of the wicked man' (Job 27:13). His children will die by sword, from starvation, or from pestilence. Any riches he has gathered will be given to the innocent. His house and furniture will fade away. The wicked man will be filled with terror, and he will flee from the wind.

Then Job begins to question about wisdom. Where do you find wisdom? If you want to find silver, you mine for it. Gold you can melt in a furnace to purify it. The same is true of iron and copper. Humans are clever enough to produce bread by farming the earth. The wild animals can't do these things. Humans are also able, with enough perseverence, to dig up mountains and dam up streams. But where can you find wisdom? Too many people wouldn't notice it even if they saw it. You can't dig it up, or pull it out of the sea. You can't buy it. Precious jewels are nothing compared to wisdom. God alone knows how to find wisdom. He sees everything and has ordered the earth according to wisdom. And so God teaches men "the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom," (Job 28:28).

Psalm 140

The psalm is attributed to king David and falls into the category of lament psalms.

Psalm 140:1-5 - Deliver me from the wicked

Psalm 140:6-8 - Trust in the Lord, my strong deliverer

Psalm 140:9-11 - The punishment of the wicked

Psalm 140:12-13 - Confidence in the Lord’s righteousness and justice

The psalmist starts with the request, may the Lord deliver them from evildoers and protect them from the violent. It seems that the psalmist is surrounded by people who plan them evil and stir up trouble. Their words are like poison from a snake. So the psalmist again asks the Lord to guar them from the wicked who have set a trap for them.

But then the psalmist turns to trust. They ask the Lord to listen to them for he is their strong deliver. He is the one that protects the psalmist in difficult times. The psalmist asks the Lord to cause the plans of these wicked people to fail. May they be overwhelmed but their own mischief. May coals fall on their heads and they be flung into pits they can’t get out of. Don’t let these people succeed, Lord, but let their own wickedness hunt them out.

And so the psalmist ends on trust. They know that the Lord is just; caring for the poor and needy. He is also righteous and will cause those who live right to stand strong. While the psalmist is going through a difficult time and is being persecuted, they recognise that their deliverance is based in the truth of who God is. He is a protector and deliverer. He is righteous and justice.

Anything you think I've missed? Maybe you've got a question that still needs answering. Send me a message over on my Instagram (@brynjoslin). I'd love to talk it through with you some more.

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