The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Job 23

Job 23:1

Job 23: "After being subjected to three trials of accusations and criticism by his friends, Job answers his antagonists by stating that God can explain his case. He recognises the fallacy of their arguments, and declares that the incontrovertible fact is that the wicked are often immune from trouble (Job 22:1-24:25). His answer is full of emotion. He complains that the extent of his sufferings is not appreciated (Job 23:22), and then expresses his earnest desire for a revelation from God. In Job 24 he more calmly presses home the fact that many wicked do prosper, and no apparent judgment come upon them. He specifies many such oppressors, thieves, murderers and so forth. The facts are indisputable and Eliphaz and Zophar make no further answer. Bildad alone gives a feeble platitudinous reply, but it is evident that he cannot match Job's logic. So he expresses: [1] The extent of his sufferings are not appreciated: Job 23:1,2. [2] He believes God would acquit him if he were brought to trial: vv 3-12. [3] He complains that God hides Himself and continues to try Job grievously: vv 13-17" (GEM).

Job 23:2

EVEN TODAY: Implying the debate had extended over many days.

Job 23:3

IF ONLY I KNEW WHERE TO FIND HIM; IF ONLY I COULD GO TO HIS DWELLING!: "In Job's uttermost extremity he cried after the Lord. The longing desire of an afflicted child of God is once more to see his Father's face. His first prayer is not 'O that I might be healed of the disease which now festers in every part of my body!' nor even 'O that I might see my children restored from the jaws of the grave, and my property once more brought from the hand of the spoiler!' but the first and uppermost cry is, 'O that I knew where I might find HIM, who is my God! that I might come even to His seat!' God's children run home when the storm comes on. It is the heaven-born instinct of a gracious soul to seek shelter from all ills beneath the wings of Jehovah. 'He that hath made his refuge God,' might serve as the title of a true believer. A hypocrite, when afflicted by God, resents the infliction, and, like a slave, would run from the Master who has scourged him; but not so the true child of God; he kisses the hand which smote him, and seeks shelter from the rod in the bosom of the God who frowned upon him. Job's desire to commune with God was intensified by the failure of all other sources of consolation. The patriarch turned away from his sorry friends, and looked up to the celestial throne, just as a traveller turns from his empty skin bottle, and betakes himself with all speed to the well. He bids farewell to earth-born hopes, and cries, 'O that I knew where I might find my God!' Nothing teaches us so much the preciousness of the Creator, as when we learn the emptiness of all besides. Turning away with bitter scorn from earth's hives, where we find no honey, but many sharp stings, we rejoice in Him whose faithful word is sweeter than honey or the honeycomb. In every trouble we should first seek to realize God's presence with us. Only let us enjoy His smile, and we can bear our daily cross with a willing heart for His dear sake" (CHS).

Job 23:8

Vv 8-12: The impossibility of finding God.

Job 23:10

THE WAY THAT I TAKE: The facts concerning my innocence.

WHEN HE HAS TESTED ME: That is, when Job's case finally comes before the bar of divine justice.

"Peter said in his first letter that trials come so that your faith -- which is of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by the fire -- may be proved genuine and may result in praise glory and honour when Jesus Christ is revealed [1Pe 1;7]. Job also realised that when his test was over he would come out refined like gold.

"To refine gold it must be heated to 1100 degrees Celsius. At this temperature it becomes 99.996% pure. The last metal to be refined from gold is silver. In our lives often the last things to be refined are the most precious things in our lives. If gold is overheated past 1100 degrees Celsius it will ruin and so the refiner must sit and watch the gold. When he can see his own image in it, he knows that his work is done. This is how we are refined too. Our faith is tried by our trials. Yet God is watching to see that the heat of our pressures do not become too hot and we break because we cannot take any more. He tries us to refine out our impurities until we reflect his perfect image. Give thanks for your trials, knowing that God is refining you and making you pure" (RP).

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