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What is man that God magnifies us?

Think about what you don’t see in a picture of the earth. You don’t see any man-made objects. The largest man-made objects ever created are so tiny and insignificant compared to the earth, they don’t even show up on a picture of the earth.

The largest man-made objects ever created can’t be seen in this picture of the earth.Now think about God. In order to create something as big as the earth, God has to be significantly bigger and more powerful than people. It’s kind of like comparing the strength of a human with the strength of a spider. There is no comparison. And that leads to this question: “What is man that You magnify him, And that You are concerned about him, That You examine him every morning And try him every moment?” We are so insignificant compared to God, why does he care about us? We humans don’t care about little bugs, why does God care about us?

Thanks for watching this episode of Bible Mountain dotcom. This is the seventh episode in a series on the book of Job called “Why Do People Suffer?” The book of Job is about suffering. The first five verses of the book of Job introduce us to Job the man, telling us he was blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. The rest of chapter one tells us Satan was allowed to take away all of Job’s possessions. The second chapter tells us Satan was allowed to cover Job’s body with boils from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head. Chapter two also tells us Job’s three friends visited Job to sympathize with him and comfort him. The third chapter tells us Job was in so much agony, he wanted to die because he saw no point in living if he was going to suffer the way he was suffering; then chapters 4 and 5 tell us Eliphaz believed Job was suffering because of sin. Eliphaz told Job he should repent and then things would be okay.

That brings us to today’s passage, Job chapters 6 and 7. Job responded to Eliphaz’s accusation, but he also asked some fundamental questions about life and suffering that many of us have probably pondered. One of those questions was “What is man that God magnifies us and cares about us?” Let’s look at the text, and then we’ll ponder an answer to his question.

Most of the book of Job is in poetical form. Hebrew poetry is not about rhyme; instead, hebrew poetry is about parallelism. There is synonymous parallelism in which the same idea is stated two or more times using different words. There is antithetic parallelism in which two thoughts are contrasted. And there is synthetic parallelism in which an idea is stated and then expanded.

Because of all the repetition, a hebrew poem can be summarized in just a few statements. Job’s speech in chapters 6 and 7, which we will look at today, can be reduced to four ideas. He started off expressing his pain and agony.

Job 6:2-3 “Oh that my grief were actually weighed

And laid in the balances together with my calamity!

For then it would be heavier than the sand of the seas;

Therefore my words have been rash.”

That theme continued up through verse 13. Then Job responded directly to Eliphaz’s accusations against him.

Job 6:14-15 For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;

So that he does not forsake the fear of the Almighty.

My brothers[Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar] have acted deceitfully like a wadi,

Like the torrents of wadis which vanish.”

Job expanded on that up through the end of chapter 6. In chapter 7 Job started talking about the futility of life.

Job 7:2-3 “As a slave who pants for the shade,

And as a hired man who eagerly waits for his wages,

So am I allotted months of vanity,

And nights of trouble are appointed me.”

That continued through verse 11, then Job began talking to God Himself.

Job 7:12-14 Am I the sea, or the sea monster,

That You[God] set a guard over me?

If I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,

My couch will ease my complaint,’

Then You[God] frighten me with dreams

And terrify me by visions;

That theme continued through to the end of the chapter which is the end of Job’s speech. It was in this section that Job asked why God cares about men.

With that as an overview, let’s go to the beginning of Job’s speech and look at this in depth.

Job 6:1 Then Job answered,

Remember, prior to this Eliphaz spoke and told Job his suffering meant he had sinned. The word answered tells us Job was responding to that accusation. Job said,

Job 6:2 “Oh that my grief were actually weighed

And laid in the balances together with my calamity!

Job 6:3 “For then it[grief and calamity] would be heavier than the sand of the seas;

Therefore my words have been rash.

Notice the word “balances”. Job was saying if you put his grief and calamity on one side, and the sand of the sea on the other, the result would look like this. Verse 4:

Job 6:4 “For the arrows of the Almighty are within me,

Their poison my spirit drinks;

The terrors of God are arrayed against me.

Notice the words “arrows, poison, and terrors.” Notice the references to himself. Notice the words “within” and “against”. Job firmly believed God was against him.

Job 6:5 “Does the wild donkey bray over his grass,

Or does the ox low over his fodder?

This was a rhetorical question and the answer is no. Animals make noise when they are hungry, not when they have food. Likewise, Job was saying the fact he was expressing his agony was proof he was in agony. Verse 6

Job 6:6 “Can something tasteless be eaten without salt,

Or is there any taste in the white of an egg?

This was also a rhetorical question and again the answer is no.

Job 6:7 “My soul refuses to touch them[the tasteless food];

They are like loathsome food to me.

Even Job’s food was a cause of his misery.

Job 6:8 “Oh that my request[to be dead] might come to pass,

And that God would grant my longing!

Job 6:9 “Would that God were willing to crush me,

That He would loose His hand and cut me off!

Notice the words “crush” and “cut”. Job’s despair was so deep he wanted to be dead.

Job 6:10 “But it is still my consolation,

And I rejoice in unsparing pain,

That I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

Notice the word “but”. Notice the word “unsparing”. In other words, Job’s pain was constant, and never went away even briefly. Job wanted to die, but even though his pain was never ending, he was consoled by the fact he had not denied the words of the Holy One.

Next, Job explained why it made sense for him to be dead.

Job 6:11 “What is my strength, that I should wait?

And what is my end, that I should endure?

Job 6:12 “Is my strength the strength of stones,

Or is my flesh bronze?

Job 6:13 “Is it that my help is not within me,

And that deliverance is driven from me?

Job basically said he didn’t have the strength to continue. Next, Job changed topics and addressed his friends and their lack of sympathy.

Job 6:14 “For the despairing man there should be kindness from his friend;

So that he [the despairing man] does not forsake the fear of the Almighty.

Job 6:15 “My brothers[Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar] have acted deceitfully like a wadi,

Like the torrents of wadis which vanish,

Notice the word wadi. A wadi is a middle eastern term. A wadi is a valley or ravine which is dry except during the rainy season. Since wadis only have water when it rains, they can be unpredictable.

The next five verses are synthetic parallelism. Job went on a little bit of an aside and described the negative features of wadis. Remember, he equated his friends to wadis, so he was essentially speaking ill of his friends. Job said his friends were like wadis,

Job 6:16 Which are turbid because of ice

And into which the snow melts.

Job 6:17 “When they[wadis] become waterless, they are silent,

When it is hot, they vanish from their place.

Job 6:18 “The paths of their[the wadis’] course wind along,

They go up into nothing and perish.

Job 6:19 “The caravans of Tema looked,

The travelers of Sheba hoped for them[the wadis].

Job 6:20 “They [the travelers of Sheba] were disappointed for they had trusted,

They came there and were confounded.

Notice the negative reaction the travelers had about the wadis since the wadis did not have water when they needed water. Next, Job made his point about his friends.

Job 6:21 “Indeed, you[my friends] have now become such,

You see a terror and are afraid.

Job 6:22 “Have I said, ‘Give me something,’

Or, ‘Offer a bribe for me from your[my friends’] wealth,’

Job 6:23 Or, ‘Deliver me from the hand of the adversary,’

Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the tyrants’?

Job 6:24 “Teach me, and I will be silent;

And show me how I have erred.

This was a good point. Job essentially said his friends should give him specific examples of sin if they think that is what caused his suffering, instead of just making a broad allegation.

Job 6:25 “How painful are honest words!

But what does your[my friends’] argument prove?

Job 6:26 “Do you[my friends] intend to reprove my words,

When the words of one in despair[Job] belong to the wind?

Job 6:27 “You[My friends] would even cast lots for the orphans

And barter over your friend[Job].

In our culture this verse sounds very harsh, and perhaps it was harsh; however, I’m not sure they considered this as harsh as we do. Our society is obsessed with being nice at the expense of speaking the truth, but if Biblical culture did not have that imbalance, then this may not have sounded so harsh to them.

Over the next 14 verses, Job once again expressed his agony and the futility of life.

Job 6:28 “Now please look at me,

And see if I lie to your face.

Job 6:29 “Desist now, let there be no injustice;

Even desist, my righteousness is yet in it.

Job 6:30 “Is there injustice on my tongue?

Cannot my palate discern calamities?

Job 7:1 “Is not man forced to labor on earth,

And are not his days like the days of a hired man?

Job 7:2 “As a slave who pants for the shade,

And as a hired man who eagerly waits for his wages,

Job 7:3 So am I allotted months of vanity,

And nights of trouble are appointed me.

Job 7:4 “When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’

But the night continues, And I am continually tossing until dawn.

Job 7:5 “My flesh is clothed with worms and a crust of dirt,

My skin hardens and runs.

Job 7:6 “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,

And come to an end without hope.

Job 7:7 “Remember that my life is but breath;

My eye will not again see good.

Job 7:8 “The eye of him[anyone] who sees me will behold me no longer;

Your eyes will be on me, but I will not be.

Job 7:9 “When a cloud vanishes, it is gone,

So he who goes down to Sheol does not come up.

Job 7:10 “He[the one going to Sheol] will not return again to his house,

Nor will his place know him anymore.

Job 7:11 “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;

I will speak in the anguish of my spirit,

I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

Notice the word “therefore”. All of Job’s agony led Job to conclude he was justified in his words. Notice the word “bitterness”. This captures how Job felt about his life at this point.

Next, Job began addressing God Himself. Notice the questions.

Job 7:12 “Am I the sea, or the sea monster,

That You[God] set a guard over me?

This was the first question. Job basically asked why God was bothering with him.

Job 7:13 “If I say, ‘My bed will comfort me,

My couch will ease my complaint,’

Job 7:14 Then You[God] frighten me with dreams

And terrify me by visions;

Job 7:15 So that my soul would choose suffocation,

Death rather than my pains.

Job 7:16 “I waste away; I will not live forever.

Leave me alone, for my days are but a breath.

This statement was very demanding. When Job’s suffering started, he was complimented for not sinning nor blaming God; however, at this point Job was beginning to accuse God and make demands of God.

Job 7:17 “What is man that You[God] magnify him,

And that You are concerned about him,

Job 7:18 That You examine him every morning

And try him every moment?

Even though Job was being demanding at this point, this was and is a very good question. Why does God bother with men? We are nothing compared to God, so why does He even acknowledge us? We will come back to this in a few moments.

Job 7:19 “Will You[God] never turn Your gaze away from me,

Nor let me alone until I swallow my spittle?

Job 7:20 “Have I sinned?

What have I done to You[God], O watcher of men?

Why have You set me as Your target,

So that I am a burden to myself?

Job 7:21 “Why then do You[God] not pardon my transgression

And take away my iniquity?

For now I will lie down in the dust;

And You will seek me, but I will not be.”

Notice the word “why”. This essentially sums up Job’s message to God. Job was asking why he was suffering.

Let’s review Job’s entire speech. He said,

“God is against me.

My friends are not helpful.

My life is pointless.

Why doesn’t God leave me alone?”

In order to answer Job’s why question, we first need to address Job’s belief that God was against him. I understand why Job believed this. From his perspective, it appeared that God was the cause of his troubles. However, the truth was Satan caused all his calamity. Let’s look at Job one verses nine and ten.

Job 1:9-10 Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge about him and his house and all that he has, on every side?”

Job 1:12 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power, only do not put forth your hand on him.”

And then the rest of chapter one tells us Satan went out and destroyed everything Job owned. So the truth is Satan was against Job, not God. Satan caused Job’s calamity, not God.

This answers many of Job’s questions. Job asked, “Have I sinned?” No, Job’s calamity was not caused by sin. Job asked, “What have I done to You, O watcher of men?” Job didn’t do anything to God. Job asked, “Why have You set me as Your target?” God was not the one targeting Job. And Job asked, “Why then do You not pardon my transgression?” Again, Job’s calamity was not caused by sin.

With that out of the way, let’s look at another of Job’s questions. Job asked God, “What is man that You magnify him, And that You are concerned about him, That You examine him every morning And try him every moment?” To answer this question, let’s start with the reason people exist.

The reason is found in Genesis 1.

Genesis 1:26-28 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Notice the word “rule”. God created people to rule over the earth and all the animals. Think of it this way. Suppose a country club builds a beautiful golf course and they hire groundskeepers. What is the purpose of the groundskeepers? The groundskeepers are there to take care of the course. If the groundskeepers know this when they show up for work everyday, then they know what to do and their job has purpose. If they don’t understand they are there to take care of the course, then they wander around aimlessly wondering why they are there and what to do.

The same is true of people. God created this beautiful earth, then He created people and assigned us to take care of His earth. The word “rule” tells us we are in charge of the earth. Notice we are to multiply. Notice we are to fill the earth. And notice the word “subdue”. We are to go out and explore the earth and conquer it. This is why people exist. We are here to multiply and we are here to occupy God’s creation.

So, in answer to Job’s question about why God is concerned about us, if we are here to take care of God’s creation, then obviously God is going to pay attention to what we do, just as any employer will pay attention to whether or not their employees are doing what they were hired to do.

I mentioned earlier that people typically don’t care about bugs and spiders. That is mostly true, but if we have a nest of bees that are supposed to be producing honey for us, then we will care about those bees even though bees are tiny compared to us. Likewise, God cares about us because he has a role for us here on earth.

Here’s the answer to the 2nd part of Job’s question: Why does God examine people? Just as employers have the authority to make and enforce rules that employees need to obey because employees are there to work for the employer, so too God is the Creator of everything, including us, and He has the authority to make and enforce rules that we need to obey because we are here to work for Him.

As far as our response to this, we have a choice. Just as an employee needs to decide if they are going to work with their employer or against their employer, so too we need to decide if we are going to work with God or against God. And just as there are rewards or punishments for employees based on their choices, so too we receive rewards or punishments from God based on whether or not we accept the reality of God’s power and authority over us.

 

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

 

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