Job begs to differ. His “friends” are running out of ammunition in Chapter 25; it is a tiny chapter! They have thrown every man-made argument at him, including their own definitions of God and justice. Yet Job refuses to curse God and die.
Eliphaz and Zophar have gone silent, leaving only Bildad to throw one last insult at Job. Bildad asks again, “How then can man be right before God” (25:4, ESV)? He and his friends have no concept of the never-end love of God, but rather only of his judgment of all people. Bildad concludes:
“How much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm” (25:6).
These are the final words of Job’s “friends”, that Job is nothing but a weak and groveling sinner.
In Chapter 26, Job launches a soliloquy that is six chapters long, all the way through Chapter 31! We will look at Chapters 29 to 31 next week.
Job observes that if his friends truly understand God, they should try to help him, not sit there and criticize him. He goes on to describe magnificently God’s power over hell and over the heavens. Read this short chapter now. I love how he foreshadows even Galileo and Copernicus, saying, “He stretches out the north over the void and hangs the earth on nothing” (26:7). Wow! He concludes with this:
“…how small a whisper do we hear of him! But the thunder of his power who can understand” (26:14)?
Hearing no reply from the “boys”, Job begins to speak in beautiful poetic voice, declaring first that, no matter how bad his physical condition becomes at the command of God, he will hold fast to his righteousness before God. Second, he knows in his heart that God is not penalizing him for bad things he has done (27:6).
Job then describes what happens to a wicked man who really is under the hand of God. The wicked man is entirely consumed by the anger and power of God, either sooner or later. You do not want to go there, and this is not what has happened to Job.
But it is in Chapter 28, where the true timeless battle of humanism versus God is vanquished for all generations. Job compares humanity’s godless search for wisdom with gold mining. To paraphrase Job’s words for today’s world, “Humanity has done marvelous things with technology. But that is as far as humans can go. We can mine gold in ingenious ways…”:
“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living” (28:12-13).
In verses 14 to 22, Job reveals where wisdom is not found. He then concludes with a passage so marvelous that I choose to conclude with him and not comment further. Remember, this is a study about the perfect unity Jesus prayed for in John 17. Wisdom is the beginning of it:
“God understands the way to it, and he knows its place. For he looks to the end of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. When he gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when he made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, he saw it and declared it; he established it and searched it out. And he said to man, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to turn away from evil is understanding’” (28:23-28).