Job Replies (Job 12:1 – 13:5)

Scripture Text:

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Job 12:1 – 13:5

1. Describe the counselor or pastor who has been the most help to you over the years. What about that person was most helpful?

2. When have you  been more helped by the counsel of friends, not professionals? What about their friendship meant the most?

3. What tone of voice do you hear in Job’s reply here? Where is sarcasm most evident?

4. What superior knowledge do the three friends claim to have, that Job and all of creation know as well (chapter 12:2, 3, 7 – 12; chapter 13:1, 2)?

5. On what basis does Job make this claim to know as much as they (chapter 12:3, 22; chapter 13:1)?

6. What distinguishes Job from criminals and idolaters (verses 4 – 6)?

7. What does Job hope his three friends will learn from God’s random activity in creation (verses 7 – 10, 14 – 25)?

8. In creation and history, is there a moral pattern: Do the righteous suffer, regardless of God’s presence? Does the punishment always fit the crime?

9. In verses 17 – 25, who parades forth in Job’s view of human history? What disasters befall each? Why? (Or is there no reason?)

10. Is God whimsical or arbitrary? Is God seen as detached from it all, or responsible for it all? What does Job say to either defend, or indict, God’s nature?

11. How does this contrast with Eliphaz’s “simple” understanding of the way God works in nature and history (see chapter 5:10 – 16)?

12. Is merely “knowing” the ways of God enough to satisfy Job (chapter 13:1 – 5)? Why or why not? What more does he want from God? From his “wise” friends (see Proverbs 17:28)?

13. To what source do you attribute most of your knowledge? What is common to the rest of humanity? What is unique to you?

14. What does it mean to “know” God, as Job does? How is that different than knowing “about” God, as Eliphaz does? Which knowledge do you possess?

15. If you only had “general revelation” (creation and history) to learn from, and no “special revelation” (the Bible and Jesus Christ), what could you deduce about God’s character? How does that compare with Romans 1;18 – 23)?

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Zophar the Naamathite Replies (Job 11)

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Job 11

1. What favorite saying in your family (such as, “time heals all wounds”) is quoted to those who hit bottom and need a pick-me up?

2. What do you do when you want to wipe out the memory of a bad day?

  • sleep?
  • play music?
  • call a friend?
  • read?
  • talk to God?
  • work out?
  • eat?
  • have a drink? take medication? or another drug?

3. What theological formula of Eliphaz and Bildad does Zophar now carry forward, even more forcefully? Is Zophar “all wet” in this thinking? Or is he right in some respects? And wrong?

4. Compared to the other two, what tone of voice do you hear in Zophar’s speech? Why does Zophar seem more eager to rebuke Job?

5. What presumptions does he make about Job (verses 3 and 4, 13 – 20)? When has Job ever mocked God? Or claimed “flawless ” beliefs and “pure” behavior?

6. In what ways does Zophar misrepresent God (verses 6, 17, 19; compare Psalm 73, where the psalmist disagrees with Zophar’s “bed of roses” theology)?

7. How do you explain situations in life that you don’t understand? Is the “why” question something that nags at you?

8. How much do you want to know about the behind-the-scenes drama going on between God and Satan in the battle for your obedience of faith? Would you rather not know all there is to know?

9. What is the proper role of faith and reason in solving the mysteries of life, such as the one faced by Job? Does prayer reveal answers to the otherwise “unexplainable”? Or is prayer itself a mystery? Explain.

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Job Replies (Job 9:25 – 10:22)

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Job 9:25 – 10:22

1. In your no-holds-barred family arguments, who tends to be the position-taker? The conflict-avoider? The negotiator? The scapegoat? Who generally wins and why?

2. What “moment’s joy” were you given last week?

3. In chapter 9:25 – 31, Job shifts focus – to what? What feelings can you discern? What unsound reasoning?

4. In chapter 9:32 – 35, Job resumes the theme of chapter 9:14 – 21. How so? What puzzling problem comes into sharp focus in chapter 9:32, 33?

5. Is Job eager to make intellectual sense of the problem of suffering? Or is he more eager to attain or preserve a right relationship with God, which makes suffering acceptable, if not intelligible? Is he looking for forgiveness from some divine mediator (see Hebrews 9:15), or is he desiring someone to attest to his innocence?

6. In the “complaint” of chapter 10:1 – 7, what is Job appealing to God for? On what basis (chapter 10:8 – 12)? In this is he defiant and arrogant, or puzzles and hurt?

7. If God’s intentions in creating life were good, why would Job go on to conclude that very same life is not worth living (chapter 10:18 – 22)? Why would God create life at all if He was only going to destroy it later?

8. From his description of it, is Job eagerly awaiting the joy of life after death, as his one hope of escaping the pain of this life? Or does his “moment’s joy” lie somewhere, sometime only on this side of the grave?

9. Job saw himself in chapter 10:14 – 17 as (we might say) “caught between a rock and a hard place.” When have you felt likewise? How did you solve the riddle of your dilemma?

10. In the future, how is Christ to be the answer to the questions raised by Job? How has Christ the Mediator solved the unsolvable dilemmas of your life?

11. When have you simply laid out your miserable options before God in a “complaint” What happened as a result?

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