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3

Nobody Understands

Key References: Job 3-37; Education, chap. 16, p. 155; The Bible Story (1994), vol. 6, pp. 169-172; Our Beliefs, nos. 7, 11, 8.

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“For now we see only a re ection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

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God’s love remains the same even when we fail to see the big picture.

Have you ever felt that your whole world was falling apart and that even those closest to you were against you? And to make things worse, you felt that everyone was watching you? Welcome to Job’s world.

By the time Satan was fi nished attacking Job, this man had lost everything—his home, his livestock, his wealth, his children—and now his health was gone. He was covered with oozing, painful, smelly sores.

One day three of Job’s friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, came to visit him in the city dump, where he sat all day. For a week they all sat together silently. The three friends followed the custom of the time and waited for Job to speak first.

Finally Job said, “May the day of my birth perish. . . . That day—may it turn to darkness” (Job 3:3, 4). “Why did I not perish at birth, and die?” (verse 11).

Eliphaz couldn’t help blurting out, “If someone ventures a word with you, will you be impatient? But who can keep from speaking? Think how you have instructed many, how you have strengthened feeble hands. Your words have supported those who stumbled; you have strengthened faltering knees. But now trouble comes to you, and you are discouraged; it strikes you, and you are dismayed” (Job 4:2-5). “Blessed is the one whom God corrects; so do not despise the discipline of the Almighty” (Job 5:17).

“How painful are honest words!” exclaimed Job. “But what do your arguments prove? Do you mean to correct what I say, and treat my desperate words as wind?” (Job 6:25, 26).

Bildad chimed in, “Does God pervert justice? Does the Almighty pervert what is right? When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin. But if you will seek God earnestly and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state. Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be” (Job 8:3-7).

“He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. . . . He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted,” replied Job (Job 9:8-10). “How then can I dispute with him? . . . How can I find words to argue with him? He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him” (verses 14-32).

“Are all these words to go unanswered?” questioned Zophar (Job 11:2). “If you put away the sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then, free of fault, you will lift up your face; you will stand firm and without fear. You will surely forget your trouble, recalling it only as waters gone by” (verses 14-16).

Job replied, “Keep silent and let me speak; then let come to me what may. . . . Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him” (Job 13:13-15).

In spite of his pain and his friends’ reproving words Job remained faithful to God. He found the strength to affirm: “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” (Job 19:25).

The three old friends retreated into silence. A younger man named Elihu had listened to what was being said. Because of his age, he had to wait until everyone else finished speaking.

“Are God’s consolations not enough for you,” . . . he questioned, “words spoken gently to you? . . . What are mortals, that they could be pure? (Job 15:11-14).

None of these men understood what had happened between God and Satan. Each one understood only a little about God, and even what they knew they didn’t completely understand. But God knew them and loved them. He knew that He would be able to help them understand more of the picture at the right time.