A Garden Wedding Summer Class

Posted by on August 23, 2017 under Curriculum

Click here for PDF

Wednesday Bible Class Series – A Garden Wedding for His Son

Posted by on December 3, 2014 under Curriculum


Our Wednesday Evening Bible Class is 16 weeks into a series entitled “A Garden Wedding for His Son”.

Class members have recently asked for a “recording” of the class for catch up when they are unable to attend or for review.

The links below are to the presentations for the relevant week’s lesson beginning tonight December 3, 2014.

The link is to a Microsoft Office “Mix”.  The standard “Mix” can be viewed in most web browsers.

If you are unable to view in a browser or need to download the lesson for offline viewing, you can follow the link to download a video.

If you have trouble or questions e-mail jimwilson@outlook.com

December 3, 2014 – https://mix.office.com/watch/ba79xwdgmkdx    “Creation and Law”

December 10, 2014 – https://mix.office.com/watch/ulazu6mmgdjt    “Judgment and Rest”

December 17, 2014 – https://mix.office.com/watch/1jfkj9c4n0awv    “Joshua, Final Judgment and Revelation”

December 24, 2014 – No Class

December 31, 2014 – No Class

January 7, 2015 –       https://mix.office.com/watch/u0sseos1qihs             “Covenant – Part 1”

Supplement to January 7 lesson: http://thechristians.com/?q=content/skit-guys-deliver-god%E2%80%99s-chisel-remastered

January 14,2015 – http://1drv.ms/14Y39Yi   “Covenant – Part 2 – Genesis 12-22 Overview in PDF Only”

January 28, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/70ranxdlyhzj Covenant – Abraham to Israel

February 4, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/hl0be8n9gl6r – Covenant and Relationship to God

February 11, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/1kzedkpaebujm – Covenant – Made in Love

February 18, 25 and March 18 – Michael Cole on the Song of Solomon

March 4, 2015 – No Class due to weather and Michael Cole out of town March 11 – will finish SofS March 18

March 11, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/eiiugepqj18o – Broken Covenant – New Choices

PDF of Passage List on the word “atone” in Old and New Testaments – http://1drv.ms/1wY5DTk

March 18, 2015 – Michael Cole with last of 3 lessons on the Song of Solomon

March 25, 2015 – https://mix.office.com/watch/35dj7qmz4n52 – Covenant – Maintaining It (Atonement)

Please Note:  Our class will take about a six month break from this series.  In the interim, I will script and record the first 15 or so lessons of this series that preceded the lessons above.  Hopefully, in the Fall we will continue on with this series with an ongoing look at God’s Loving and Creative Purposes through His Son as Bridegroom in search of a Bride made pure, holy and fit to be wed.



Reformation and Post Reformation Overview

Posted by on July 26, 2013 under Curriculum

The Canfield Sunday Morning Bible Class is continuing a look at notable milestones in God’s working His redemptive purposes in the World and through history.  Last Sunday and this Sunday (July 28, 2013) we are looking at the Reformation.

I’ll paste below a link to a 35 page .pdf which represents a couple chapters in Walter Brueggemann’s Theology of the Old Testament.  These two chapters provide an excellent overview of the background/circumstances/personalities and progressions of Reformation thought.

For those of you interested – enjoy.


Jim Wilson

Abraham Study

Posted by on April 20, 2013 under Curriculum

  1. I’m posting a link to a couple .pdf’s with a brief Outline of our Class Discussion for April 21 and 28, 2013 on Abraham and his role in God’s Redemptive Purposes.  One is a .pdf with the class notes for the 2 weeks, the other is a .pdf of the rough “clips/abstracts” of some of the materials I looked at in preparing for the study.  This may or may not be useful to you.  If it is, then I am glad.  If not, I understand.

http://sdrv.ms/Y58m9x – a .pdf with the outline/materials for the 2 week study on Abraham

http://sdrv.ms/ZEUQLR  – a .pdf with the study notes only

Job Class

Posted by on May 20, 2012 under Curriculum, Resources

Note to Readers – these Job Class notes are a rough compilation of some of the material we cover in the class.  In these blog posts it is not possible to retain all of the formatting and graphics that are present in the native files.  Also, I will post the most recent lesson at the top of the blog.  There is quite a bit of introductory material to follow the current week’s lesson.  Also, at the end of the blog is a “Resources” page with links to outside sources and recommended reading materials – these will be added to as we go through the study.

As always, if you would like to have access to the full file in Adobe Acrobat format (i.e. a .pdf file) you may find it at my Dropbox:


(When you go to the above link, the file will open in your web browser but it will not be “functional” – that is, clicking on a relevant link in the Contents page will not allow you to “jump” to the relevant section.  For full functionality of the .pdf file, download the file to your desktop and then open it in Acrobat Reader or similar .pdf reading software.  The “Download” link for the .pdf will most likely be in the upper right of your browser window.)

What immediately follows is the posting for lesson 11.  For the sake of space Lesson 11 is the only one posted here.  If you are interested in all of the lessons (all those completed by me) then click on the Dropbox link above.  Also, as of July 6, 2012 I have added Jerry Canfield’s summary of the Book of Job after Week 11 and before the Resources page.  Jerry did in a wonderful fashion what I was not yet willing to do in summarizing and overviewing the Book of Job – please look at it.  Hopefully, I’ve not lost anything in the conversion/editing process.  As always, the downloaded .pdf opened in Adobe Acrobat will have the best formatting for viewing.


New Resource Posted in July, 2012.  I have come across a wonderful summary of the Book of Job that most closely reflects my thinking about the book.  It is the Chapter on the Book of Job from Dr. Bruce Waltke’s Old Testament Theology Book/Text.  You may find a .pdf of that chapter at the link below:



Week 11 – Our Epilogue: On Understanding – or not!

And now, it is the time of “Our Epilogue: On Understanding – or not!”  It is not my intention here to summarize, rehash, overview or draw conclusions (though each of us will be doing that in our own minds to some extent).  It is time to ponder.  It is time for reflection.  It is time to consider what we know and don’t know as a result of this very superficial look at the Book of Job.

But, first, my “confession” before my reflection.  I am definitely not “comfortable” with my understanding of the Book of Job.  There are still large areas of question for me.  Some people’s confidence about their conclusions and lessons learned from the Book of Job definitely exceed my level of confidence.  I have been seriously humbled by this effort to “study” the Book of Job.  I have to conclude that in the past 3 months I have not really “studied” the Book of Job.  I have read it, read about it, thought about it, and written about it but I have not “studied” it to the degree I feel necessary to impart to others any confidently profound conclusions (and perhaps I never will).  So, I “confess” that I bit off more than I could chew in the time we’ve allotted to this look at the Book of Job.

By “Our Epilogue”, I intend to suggest that there really should be some “take home” material for us in our lives as a result of our study.  These “take home” points as suggested by me need to be cautiously considered and not blindly accepted.  “Our Epilogue” is really only meaningful to the extent that we have developed some sense (perhaps not full understanding) of the purposes behind the Book of Job being placed in the canon of Scripture by God.  I do not feel I have a complete understanding of all of God’s purposes (from the Book of Job) for me/us.

Let me, though, make some general observations based on our look at the Book of Job and the “Epilogue” God provided in Job 42.  What follows will not be in “exegetical” order from a study of Job 42.  These are overall impressions of what I think I should be considering for myself (you may think differently and that’s OK).

First of all for me, I am profoundly humbled by the life and character of the man Job – for indeed he was a man.  I do not believe he was a “made up” man.  I’m convinced he was all so very real and to me, almost unbelievably awesome in his character.  He was a man God bragged about!  It is profound to me to see a “pre-cross” man with such a wholesome, loving, compassionate and giving character.  I am humbled to a very great degree to look at all the ways I’ve been blessed and yet fall short of such accomplishments of character.  This is probably the biggest “take home” for me.  The character of Job that made God proud to the point of bragging is attainable – I need to pursue that (let’s not here confuse the issue with redemption, sanctification, faithfulness and all the post cross things we’re so wont to fall back on).

This remarkable character of Job was obviously established in Job’s profound acceptance of God and Who He Is.  Job lived in the patriarchal period.  He did not have the benefit of the recorded word in the entirety that we enjoy and likely not in any fashion.  He did not have the recorded lessons of “men of faith” as we have.  But, he had a rock solid faith – not only in God but in who he himself was before God.  Would I be so bold and confident of my past to challenge God to trial! – Most certainly not.  My only fall back is to the cross – a fall back that I am so much more appreciative of after reflecting on Job – “The man God bragged about”.

I really love the way Buttenweiser said what I’m trying to say (Buttenwieser, M. (1922). The Book of Job (39–40). New York: Macmillan Co.)

Step by step the conflict in Job’s soul is revealed to us. We see him bewildered at God’s inexplicable harshness, weighed down by his appalling afflictions, goaded beyond endurance by the coldness and suspicion of his friends, those one-time chosen friends of his spirit of whose understanding and sympathy he had felt confident. We see him passionately repudiating the suspicion cast on his integrity by the undeserved calamities with which God has visited him, proclaiming his innocence again and yet again, and asserting that it is God’s treatment of him which requires explanation, not his own thoughts or conduct—these are open and above reproach. We see him searching, reasoning, wrestling, until it comes to him that in spite of all appearances he is not really cut off from his God. We see him thus through the sheer force of his own moral sense rising to a larger conception of God and of His rule of the world, and as the intolerance of the friends becomes more fanatic, and their distrust and disaffection more pronounced, finding ever greater comfort in the reflection that in spite of his afflictions God is on his side, and in the conviction that grows on him that He will one day vindicate him before his fellowmen. We see him, finally, transported by this assurance, rising above his fate and humbly rejoicing in the knowledge of his oneness with God. His trials are still with him, but what are physical suffering and material losses to him who has surrendered himself to the unfathomable wisdom of an infinite God?


This unfolding of the processes going on in the mind of Job constitutes the sole action of the drama. The dramatic incidents narrated in the Prologue, the plot laid in Heaven and its execution on earth, are but the means employed to set the real drama in motion and to illuminate its general purpose, which might otherwise be dark. (A similar dramatic expedient is God’s revelation amidst the storm in the concluding act.) By the altercation between God and the Satan the purpose and tendency are at once disclosed. God in vouching for the steadfastness of Job defends, in effect, the proposition that there is such a thing as disinterested piety in man, such a thing as real, unselfish love for the good—with the corollary that once the love for the good is firmly implanted in the human heart, no power in heaven or on earth can avail to uproot it. The Satan for his part scoffs at the idea of disinterested piety, or any real nobility of soul in man, and claims that material considerations, the hope of reward and the fear of punishment are the sole motive power back of human virtue.


I thrill to consider approaching the kind of character Buttenweiser describes above.  It is attainable!  It is lovely to consider living a life that could lead to being “The man God bragged about” (again, let’s leave post cross issues out of the discussion at this point).

As thrilling as it is to consider Job’s character and indomitable faith as well as the beauty and inspiration of all that Job accomplished, there is some real darkness in the Book of Job.  In saying that, most of us will likely turn to thinking of the problem of suffering and the action of “The Satan” behind the scenes.  But, to me, there is an even “scarier” darkness to consider.  That is the issue of Job’s friends whose thoughts, actions and words so devastatingly hurt Job and angered God Himself.  Perhaps the “Problem of Suffering” is not the “main point” of the Book of Job.  Perhaps a more important “main point” is the lack of empathy engendered in Job’s friends when their religious understandings and biases drove them to attack Job.  Oh, that we could see ourselves in the story.  Where would I be?  Which character would I be in the story?  How do my understandings of God and my character and empathy equip me to function in the environment that Job and his friends found themselves in?  Would the failure of Job’s “friends” be my failure?  Would I be the “Job” in the story? – “The man God bragged about”.  The degree to which there is this other “darkness” in the Book of Job is the degree to which I’m at risk of being in the place of Job’s friends.

It is this risk of being Eliphaz, Bildad or Zophar that should strike some fear in us.  It is not the pain of the suffering that Job endured that should scare us (granted there is some lingering dread of being a fellow sufferer with Job (or Christ) that festers within each of us).  Jesus was clear in Matthew 10 – “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  Are we convinced that Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar were at risk of eternal judgment because of their “defense” of God in view of their conviction that Job was a liar and reprobate?  If not convinced, we sure need to be careful – why was it they needed Job to pray for them and to themselves offer sacrifice.  Why was God “angry” with them?  Reading what they had to say sounds like how I might have approached the situation – that’s scary!

Here’s what Mike Mason had to say (The Gospel According to Job: An Honest Look at Pain and Doubt from the Life of One Who Lost Everything (pp. 433-434). Kindle Edition). :

The fact that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, after all they have said against job, should now do a complete about-face and come to him virtually on bended knee, bringing not only apologies but ritual sacrifices and humbly begging him to intercede for them with his God-is this not astounding? This could only be the work of an unusual outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Ironically, Eliphaz himself had prophesied this very turn of events back in 22:29-30, when he told Job that if he repented, “When men are brought low and you say, `Lift them up,’ then God will save the downcast. He will deliver even one who is not innocent, who will be saved through the cleanness of your hands.” Little did Eliphaz realize how exactly his words were to be fulfilled! Adding to the wonder of this occasion is the fact that as yet there has been not one iota of change in Job’s outward circumstances. For it was only “after Job had prayed for his friends” that “the Lord made him prosperous again” (42:10). The prayer that moves mountains does not happen in the midst of prosperity. For all we know, at the point when Job’s friends brought him sacrifices his body was still covered with boils and he was still sitting on his ash heap swatting flies. What a comeuppance it must have been for these three proud pillars of society to have to pay homage to a man in this condition.

But just so is the time approaching when the whole world will have to bow before a crucified Savior. Reading the Epilogue of Job, we are reminded of these words of Isaiah: Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (53:4-5)


I do not want God to see me as He saw Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar.  To avoid that end, we must be incredibly humble and cautious when looking at the lives of others and offering proscriptions we represent as being from God.  God, please help us all with this.


What moved Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar to stumble into their diatribes against Job?  It was their conviction that they “knew” the heart of Job as well as the heart of God.  That’s a fearful place for us to go.  See where it led these fellows.  They totally lost all empathy for Job and his plight based on a false, firmly held, religious conviction.


It is this issue of feeling empathy that appears to me to be another very important point in the Book of Job.  This is the empathy that keeps us stable and close to the heart of God.  It is the empathy that keeps us involved in the good things that bring blessings to others and completeness to our own lives.  It is the empathy that truly keeps us “human” (in the “made in the image of God” sense).  Those things in our lives that lead to loss of empathy are to be avoided at all cost.  They will drive us away from God and His purposes.  They will lead us to places of dark conduct that we might never have imagined possible for us.


As an interesting aside in this regard let me share with you an interesting experience Deborah and I had on our recent trip together.  Prior to the trip Deborah had selected a number of books to read and I had downloaded 4 movies to watch on our iPad while we were away.  We didn’t know what the other had selected.  One evening as Deborah finished reading one of her books I suggested to her we watch one of the movies I had downloaded, “Attack on Leningrad”.   Amazingly she at that moment had just finished reading Hannah Kristin’s “Winter Garden” which was also about the siege of Leningrad by the Germans in WWII.  It was written from the perspective of the women in Leningrad for indeed there were few men in the city for those 828 days of siege.  We were both amazed at the timing of the circumstances and we watched the movie together.  It was produced in Russia (an amazing occurrence in and of itself considering the preceding silence in Russia concerning the events of the siege of Leningrad).  The movie was also shown from the perspective of a grouping of women in Leningrad.


Those interesting circumstances for Deborah and me aside, I want to share with you some comments that the author of Winter Garden made in her “Epilogue”.  These comments fit well with an important point to consider for us and our understanding of the need for “empathy”.


In writing Winter Garden, it was my goal to take this epic, tragic event and personalize it as much as possible. I wanted to give you all this story of survival and loss, horror and heartache in a way that would allow you to experience it with some measure of emotion. I am not a historian, nor a nonfiction writer. In writing Winter Garden, it was my goal to take this epic, tragic event and personalize it as much as possible. I wanted to give you all this story of survival and loss, horror and heartache in a way that would allow you to experience it with some measure of emotion. I am not a historian, nor a nonfiction writer. My hope is that you leave this novel informed, but not merely with the facts and figures; rather, I want you to be able to actually imagine it, to ask yourself how you would have fared in such terrible times.


Hannah, Kristin (2010-01-28). Winter Garden (p. 394). Macmillan. Kindle Edition.


The author’s comments regarding her Novel “Winter Garden” are the thoughts I want to leave you with as we conclude our superficial look at the Book of Job.  That is – “My hope is that you leave this novel (class for us) informed, but not merely with the facts and figures; rather, I want you to be able to actually imagine it, to ask yourself how you would have fared in such terrible times.”



Jerry Canfield’s Job Summary

Job Summary Comments

  1. We are blessed to live on this side of the cross. God now sheds light on, though not fully answering, the perplexing questions presented by the existence of evil in the world by the revelation of His purpose and grace in the salvation of man by abolishing death and bringing life and immortality to light by the gospel of Jesus Christ. II Timothy 1: 7-12. Satan contends Job and the rest of us are not worthy of God’s purpose and plan for us — contending we love and trust God only for what we can get from Him. God cannot fully explain to Job or to us why evil is happening; otherwise, Satan’s challenge of God for creating and loving man cannot be fully responded to or proven wrong. May we humble ourselves to the sovereignty of God and acknowledge Him as supreme, as creator, and worthy of our trust regardless.
  2. An additional look at creation. In some respect, Job presents another, different look at the creation of man. Job lives in a Garden of Eden with perfect peace, wealth, family and purpose. Yet Job is taken from the garden. God, Satan, man and the earth are common participants in this garden scene just as in Genesis. Both Genesis and Job acknowledge the principal truth that God is the creator. But they look at that fact from different perspectives. Genesis reports man acting with God and the curses resulting from man’s sin — those curses eventually being nailed to Jesus’ cross thus making possible a heaven with no curse. Galations 3:13; Revelation 22:3. Job looks at the same fact of creation from one perspective of God’s action with man — why is man’s existence in the world influenced by real evil? Man’s exercising his freedom of choice may explain evil caused by sin or inflicted to build character, but why do the innocent suffer evil which, more often than not, destroys character?

Job introduces us to true ra-a (Hebrew word for evil). Our word study reminded us of the evil which comes as punishment for sin (whether of those who receive the evil or of their predecessors) (Deut. 32:21-26; Amos 9:14), and with evil which is discipline to improve the character of man (Josh. 24:20; Prov. 17:3; Psa. 66:10; I Peter 1:7), and evil sent to fulfill the purposes of God (Gen. 50:20). But Job deals with evil of a different type — evil that exists and is not explained — Eccl. 9:12. For man also knoweth not his time: as the fishes that are taken in an evil net, and as the birds that are caught in the snare; so are the sons of men snared in an evil time, when it falleth suddenly upon them.

Is God the creator of this true evil? Consider Isaiah 45:7. I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil (ra-a): I the Lord do all these things. Is Isaiah considering God’s judgment on sin, His discipline or action to carry out His purposes? Or, is Isaiah talking of true ra-a? Whatever is intended by Isaiah, we know that God is the creator of this world and, thus, responsible for a world in which true ra-a exists. But is any other kind of world possible if man (and other created beings) are to have free choice? But can God fully explain evil and a world of free choice continue to exist?

We should not forget that Job is restored to his Garden of Eden. Job 42:10-17, Being on this side of the cross, we have revealed to us the purpose of God. We should not forget that God, who cannot lie, tells us: There is no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able: but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that you may be able to bear it. I Cor. 10:13.

Footnote re: Satan.

  1. Satan challenges God’s judgment that Job is righteous. Job 1:8-11. Satan says that if God removes God’s protection of Job, Job will curse God to his face. Satan says Job, and all of us, are selfish and our belief, love and trust of God are based on what God does for us. Take it away, Satan says, and Job will sin. God disagrees and accepts Satan’s challenge.
  2. Implicit in the challenge is an assertion that God has lost his authority to judge. If God is wrong about Job, then God’s judgment is not perfect (Romans 2:2) and He should step down from being judge (Satan does not challenge God’s initial authority to judge because God is the creator). Satan is quite willing to step into God’s role of judge.
  3. Also implicit in the challenge is Satan’s assertion that God was wrong to make man. Satan would have this world and all of us destroyed as a failed experiment.

As a part of the heavenly host, Satan has access to God to bring the challenge. He apparently has free choice. When God persists in His plan and purpose of redeeming man so man can spend an eternity with God, Satan, together with other angels, exercise free choice and rebel against God. Revelation 12:7-12. Being on this side of the cross, we understand Satan no longer has access to God to accuse man of sin and to challenge God’s purpose and plan for each of us. Rev. 12:10; Luke 10:18.

God knows his created man (represented by Job) will be righteous (Job is declared to be righteous and God has a plan by which each of us can be imputed with the righteousness of God himself) and that God’s creation can and will trust God selflessly in spite of true evil. The trial of Job confirms the defeat of Satan and the sovereignty of God. And we, like Job, are sent into the world to demonstrate agape love.

III. Job asks why, why, why. Job 3:11-12, 16, 20, 23. Job trusts that God has a purpose in allowing the evil to come to Job, but he cannot understand why God has hidden the purpose and not revealed it to his servant Job. Job 10:13. We also ask why God, all powerful and all good, allows evil to exist.

In reading Job, we must accept as true the signposts that (1) Job is innocent (Job 1:1; 2:3) and (2) Job speaks correctly in defending himself and protesting to God (putting God on trial) (Job. 42:7, 9). Footnote — don’t be concerned with Romans 3:23. Job’s innocence with reference to the evil that happens to him does not speak to and is not relevant here to the universal nature of sin. See, also Luke 1:6 (Zacharias and Elisabeth).

IV. Do Job’s friends have an answer or can their discussion lead Job to an answer? No — all the talk about God does not provide an answer. If you are like me, the long winded discussion simply “wears me out.” The three cycles of speeches constitute a whirlwind of righteous indignation. Bildad describes Job’s speeches as a “great wind.” Job 8:2. Eliphaz describes them as “windy knowledge.” Job. 15:2. Job describes the speeches of all his friends as “windy words.” Job 16:3. They go round and round the issue of evil in the world. They wear each other out. The only peace to be had is at the center of the whirlwind — the peace that only the answer of God can give. Not surprisingly, when God appears to answer, he appears in a whirlwind. Job 38:1.

God may have an answer, but God isn’t speaking. How can Job get God to answer?

V. Possible avenues.

  1. Perhaps a mediator can help settle the dispute. Job 8-9. But there is no “daysman betwixt us” that might compel an answer. Job 9:33.
  2. Perhaps Job could speak to God and reason with him (Job 13:3) even if the result is that God would kill him. (Job 13:15) But God does not appear.

VI. Job is bitter and wants to argue with God. Job 23:3-4. Job is convinced he is innocent and would come out of the discussion “as gold.” Job 23:10. With no other option, Job decides to put God on trial through a judicial procedure existing in many cultures including the Hebrew under the Law of Moses. Job asserts an Oath of Innocence which requires a response by God, failing which a default judgment can be issued proving Job’s assertions. See I Kings 8:31-32; II Chronicles 6:22-23. God is the source of judgment and any cause too hard for God’s leaders should be brought to God who will hear it. Deut. 1:17.

Job asserts he is innocent, that God is the source of the evil that has befallen Job (Job 27:2), and that God should appear and explain the reason (Job 31:35), which Job assumes God has. Job’s Oath of Innocence is stated in Job 38. The following summary of the Oath of Innocence is from Robert Sutherland’s Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job – A literary, legal and philosophical study.

Job is putting his temporal and eternal life on the line. Job has already indicated he would suffer the “unrelenting pain” of a hell to get that answer. (Job 6:10) And now he is preparing to condemn or damn God to such a metaphorical hell should he not get his answer,

  1. “If I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I look upon a virgin? What would be my portion from God above, and my heritage from the Almighty on high? Does not calamity befall the unrighteous, and disaster the workers of iniquity? Does he not see my ways, and number all my steps? (Job 31;1-4)
  2. ”If I have walked with falsehood, and my foot has hurried to deceit– let me be weighed in a just balance, and let God know my integrity!— (Job 31:5-6)
  3. “If my step has turned aside from the way, and my heart has followed my eyes, and if any spot has clung to my hands; then let me sow, and another eat; and let what grows for me be rooted out. (Job 31:7-8)
  4. “If my heart has been enticed by a woman, and I have lain in wait at my neighbor’s door; then let my wife grind for another, and let other men kneel over her. For that would be a heinous crime; that would be a criminal offense; for that would be a fire consuming down to Abaddon, and it would burn to the root all my harvest. (Job 31:9-12)
  5. ”If I have rejected the cause of my male or female slaves, when they brought a complaint against me; what then shall 1 do when God rises up? When he makes inquiry, what shall I answer him? Did not he who made me in the womb make them? And did not one fashion us in the womb?” (Job 31:13-15)
  6. “If l have withheld anything that the poor desired, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not eaten from it– for from my youth I reared the orphan like a father, and from my mother’s womb I guided the widow—(Job 31:16-18)
  7. “If I have seen anyone perish for lack of clothing, or a poor person without covering, whose loins have not blessed me, and who was not warmed with the fleece of my sheep; (Job 31:21:19-20)
  8. “If I have raised my hand against the orphan, because I saw I had supporters at the gate; then let my shoulder blade fall from my shoulder, and let my arm be broken from its socket. For I was in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his majesty. (Job 31:21-23)
  9. ”If I have made gold my trust, or called fine gold my confidence; (Job 31:24)
  10. “If I have rejoiced because my wealth was great, or because my hand had gotten much; (Job 31:25)
  11. “If I have looked at the sun when it shone, or the moon moving in splendor, and my heart has been secretly enticed, and my mouth has kissed my hand; this also would be an iniquity to be punished by the judges, for 1 should have been false to God above.” (Job 31:26-28)
  12. “If I have rejoiced at the ruin of those who hated me, or exulted when evil overtook them– I have not let my mouth sin by asking for their lives with a curse—(Job 31:29-30)
  13. “If those of my tent ever said, ‘0 that we might be sated with his flesh!’– the stranger has not lodged in the street; 1 have opened my doors to the traveler—(Job 31:31-32)
  14. “If I have concealed my transgressions as others do, by hiding my iniquity in my bosom, because I stood in great fear of the multitude, and the contempt of families terrified me, so that I kept silence, and did not go out of doors—(Job 31:33-34)
  15. “If my land has cried out against me, and its furrows have wept together; (Job 31:38)
  16. “If I have eaten its yield without payment, and caused the death of its owners; let thorns grow instead of wheat, and foul weeds instead of barley.” (Job 31:39-40 Italics and paragraphing added for emphasis.)

A number of items here merit comment. The standard of social justice Job claims to have met is centuries, perhaps even millennia, ahead of its time. All human beings are created equal by God. Every person, regardless of rank or wealth, is entitled to the equal benefit and protection of the law. (Job 31:13-15) The standard of personal righteousness Job claims to have met is very high. The sins denied are not merely deeds, but words and thoughts. This standard greatly exceeds the traditionally accepted Old Testament norm of morality.

In the judicial proceeding, God has been put on trial and is, of course, the defendant/accused. Job intends to call witnesses if God appears to answer. Interestingly, God is the true witness Job intends to call. Job. 16:18-22. Moreover, Job has an advocate vindicator, a redeemer, who will prosecute Job’s claim against God. Of course, God himself is Job’s advocate and redeemer. Job 19:25. And Job knows that God himself is the true judge. Interesting trial !!

  1. Amazingly, after all the talk about God, God does respond to the summons and appears so that Job has the opportunity to talk with God.

First, God asks Job to consider the fact that God is the creator. In rehearsing the creation of the physical world, God presents seven (perfect) courses of creation bringing order from chaos. Job 38-40:1. But Job and even Job’s friends acknowledged as much. Job is humble (Job 40:2-5), but the complaint of Job still has not been answered. God then describes the mythical world of the behemoth and the leviathan, a fire breathing dragon, who God asserts God can hook and capture whenever God intends. Job 40-41. The strong implication is that true ra-a, personified by the mythical beasts (as the great red dragon of Revelation 12), is subject to capture and control by God. God never broaches the topic of “selfless love.” Job is humble and acknowledges that God can do every thing. Job 42:2-6.

Why doesn’t God explain the prologue (Job 1-2) and advise Job of Satan’s contention that Job only trusts God because of what God does for Job? God cannot explain without giving Job a selfish reason for loving God. God has appeared and defended against the complaint of Job, but God closes his defense having hinted that God has an answer to Job’s question of “why” but without having ever presenting it. God closes by asking Job and all of us a single question (Job 42:8): will you condemn God that you might be justified? Job seems to understand. Even though he has not received a direct answer for his suffering, he is willing to give God more time (final judgment) to explain. Until then, Job kneels in worship and patiently endures until that day when God will answer further and demonstrate to us that he is both all good and all powerful and will then destroy evil. Revelation 20:10.

  1. Conclusion. Habakkuk 3:16-18. If God’s blessings and protection disappear, will you still, with worship, acknowledge He is sovereign God and trust Him to “get it right?”

I learned or, at least, became willing to acknowledge:

  1. God may be the cause of true evil — at least, He created this world in which it exists;
  2. He may not be morally wrong for doing so and may reveal the reason in full as he implies to Job;
  3. Job was right to challenge God about this issue — God said Job spoke correctly. We too must consider this issue in order to mature and be able to give an answer for the hope within us; and,
  4. We will not fully know the answer until judgment. Until then we must serve as God’s priests to show repentance and salvation to others. Job 42:7-9; I Peter 2:9; II Cor. 5:20.

IX. God has empathy for man, even in the midst of true ra-a.

Israel in Egypt; Gen. 45:7; 50:20; stories from Daniel; Dan. 3:15-25; 4:20-23; Ester 4:14; the marking of God’s people – Ezekiel 9:4 and Revelation 7:3; I Cor. 10:13; Revelation 1; Psalms 23