Job Replies to His Three Friends

My father-in-law used to tell a story about getting into the “not raising hog business.” He told how the government would pay a farmer for not raising hogs. Someone wrote and asked, “What are the best kinds of hogs NOT to raise and what is the best kind of fa … More

Sarcasm

 

All three of Job’s friends have spoken, and now it is his turn to speak again (v. l). Though he was in pain, he could still think. He opens with a sarcastic reference to the comments of all three visitors and accuses them of talking as if all wisdom began and ended with them (v. 2). He states that they didn’t need to explain God to him, because what they said was nothing that he didn’t know (v. 3). By doing so they grieved him and made him the “laughing stock” (v. 4). After all, he had called on God in the past, and God had responded. Job was convinced that it is easy for those who are not suffering to lose sight of the possibility of a righteous man suffering (v. 5-6).

Job continues to chide his accusers by arguing that their knowledge was not a superior knowledge, but a knowledge anyone could gain (vv. 7-25). This is a position many people take today, even many Christian people. His friends never brought him to the place where he said as Paul said, “ For by the grace of God I am what I am” (I Cor. 15;10). The whole creation knew that life was in the hands of God (vv. 7-11). Job raises the issue of whether “wisdom and understanding may be with him as well as with the aged” (v. 12). He declared that wisdom is also with God (v. 13-15). Not only did Job acknowledge God’s control over the natural realm, but, he states His sovereignty over men (vv. 16-21). This reflects the fact that God controls the destiny of all men (v.16), strips “counselors” of their wisdom, and denies “judges” the ability to make just decisions (v. 17). The religious and national leaders are made weak by Him (vv. 18-19). The understanding of the elder leader is taken away (vv. 20-21), No one can resist His power;  even the nations are subject to Him (vv. 22-25).

Application

 

I need to be careful about using sarcasm if it tears down the character of another person.

Job 12:1-25 (English Standard Version)

Then Job answered and said: "No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these? I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called to God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock. In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune; it is ready for those whose feet slip. The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hand. "But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. Does not the ear test words as the palate tastes food? Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days. "With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding. If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open. If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land. With him are strength and sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are his. He leads counselors away stripped, and judges he makes fools. He looses the bonds of kings and binds a waistcloth on their hips. He leads priests away stripped and overthrows the mighty. He deprives of speech those who are trusted and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on princes and loosens the belt of the strong. He uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light. He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away. He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man."

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