This is a study of Job 25 where we learn how to be a successful parent. The Bible tells us the intent of every man’s heart is evil from his youth; however, the Bible describes Noah and Job as being blameless and upright. For us, this raises the question of how we parents transform our children from being “intent on evil” to being “blameless and upright”. Today we’re going to learn that discipline is the key to being a successful parent, and that fathers need to be proactive in this process.
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Below is a map of the Middle East. All the events of the Bible took place in the area covered by this map. It is 3,000 miles from New York to Los Angeles, so this map represents an area about the same size as the United States. The events in the Old Testament took place in the Eastern half of this map, and the events in the New Testament took place in the Western half of this map. There are only two verses in Job that give us any geographical context.
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job …
We don’t know where Uz was so this doesn’t tell us much.
Job 1:3 … and that man[Job] was the greatest of all the men of the east.
Job 1:3 tells us Job lived in the East. If you look at the map that covers the Biblical world, east would have been near modern day Iran, so the story of Job occurred in the eastern part of this map.
Most of the books of the Bible tell the story of the nation of Israel and the geographical context is important in order to understand those books. Since Job has so little geographical information, geographical context is not very important in order to understand Job. So as we think about context we need to understand that the story of Job is intended to stand all alone, and we don’t need to connect Job’s story to events recorded elsewhere in the Bible in order to understand Job. We have to interpret the ideas expressed in Job in light of the rest of the Bible, but we don’t need to connect the events of Job’s life to the rest of the Bible.
At the beginning of Job’s story, Job was healthy, wealthy, wise, blameless, and upright. There was a dialogue in heaven between Yahweh and Satan and Yahweh touted Job’s uprightness. Satan insisted if Job lost his possessions, then he would curse God. Yahweh gave Satan permission to test Job so Satan destroyed all Job’s possessions, killed his children, and afflicted Job with boils from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet. However, Job did not curse God, he remained faithful and loyal to God.
Amidst Job’s suffering, three friends named Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar went to visit Job. Job and his friends did not know about the dialogue in heaven between Yahweh and Satan so they didn’t know the real reason for Job’s suffering. There was a long dialogue between Job and his friends in which his friends tried to convince Job he was suffering because he had sinned. Job insisted he was innocent. For example, Job 23 records the words of Job.
Job 23:10 “But He[God] knows the way I[Job] take;
When He has tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
Job 23:11 “My[Job’s] foot has held fast to His[God’s] path;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
Job 23:12 “I[Job] have not departed from the command of His[God’s] lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth more than my necessary food.
Notice in verses 11 and 12 how Job proclaimed his innocence with phrases like “held fast”, “kept His way”, and “not departed”. Bildad responded to Job with the following:
Job 25:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered,
Job 25:2 “Dominion and awe belong to Him[God]
Who establishes peace in His heights.
The pronoun Him refers to the One who establishes peace in His heights. This is a poetical reference to God.
The word dominion refers to power and authority. Dominion is the idea of having a kingdom. Bildad said power and authority belong to God
The word “awe” means fear and dread. Bildad said God should be feared and dreaded.
As we go through this passage, keep in mind Bildad was not necessarily correct in what he said. The intent of the author of Job was to accurately record what Bildad said, that does not mean the author agreed with Bildad nor does it mean the author intended for us to agree with Bildad.
I’m not going to take the time to prove it, but I believe the rest of the Bible teaches Bildad was correct in what he said in these verse 2.
Job 25:3 “Is there any number to His[God’s] troops?
And upon whom does His light not rise?
Job 25:4 “How then can a man be just with God?
Or how can he be clean who is born of woman?
The pronoun Him refers back to the previous verse to the One who establishes peace in His heights, which is a reference to God.
There are four questions. Each is a rhetorical question.
In verse 3a Bildad intended the answer to be no, meaning God has unlimited troops.
In verse 3b Bildad intended the answer to be no one, meaning God’s light shines on everyone which means everyone is dependent on God for light.
In verse 4a Bildad intended the answer to be man cannot be just with God.
In verse 4b Bildad intended the answer to be one who is born of woman cannot be clean.
Hebrew poetry is different than English poetry. English poetry is about rhyme. Hebrew poetry is about Repetition, Addition, and Contrast. In Repetition a Hebrew poet makes a statement and then says the same thing in a different way. In Addition a Hebrew poet makes a statement and then adds something to it. In Contrast a Hebrew poet makes a statement and then says the opposite.
Verse 3 is an example of Addition. Bildad said God has unlimited troops and then he added God’s light shines on everyone.
Verse 4 is an example of Repetition. Both lines say man cannot be right with God, but the two lines are two different ways of saying that.
In verse 4 the words “how then” are the equivalent of “therefore”. In other words, Bildad said God has unlimited troops and everyone relies on God for light; therefore, man cannot be just with God, nor clean. As I said earlier, Bildad was not necessarily correct about this. The author of Job recorded what Bildad said, that does not mean the author of Job agreed with Bildad, nor does it mean he intended we should agree with Bildad. Again, I am not going to take the time to prove it, but I believe the Bible teaches Bildad was correct in all four of these statements; however, I don’t agree with Bildad that verse 3 leads to the conclusion stated in verse 4. I don’t see a connection there.
Job 25:5 “If even the moon has no brightness
And the stars are not pure in His[God’s] sight,
Job 25:6 How much less man, that maggot,
And the son of man, that worm!”
As I said above, Hebrew poetry is about Repetition, Addition, and Contrast. Verses 5 and 6 repeat the concept expressed in verses 3 and 4. In verses 3 and 4 Bildad said man cannot be right before God. In verses 5 and 6 he said the same thing, but in a different way. In verses 3 and 4 Bildad referred to God’s unlimited troops to prove man cannot be right before God. In verses 5 and 6 Bildad referred to the moon and stars in order to prove man cannot be right before God.
Basically, in these 6 verses Bildad said all humans are sinners and impure in God’s sight. Bildad said this because Job had insisted earlier he was upright and Bildad was trying to prove Job was not upright. Also, Bildad was trying to prove Job was suffering because he had sinned. Bildad argued that since every human is impure in God’s sight, then Job was also impure, which explained why Job was suffering. The problem with Bildad’s argument is Bildad’s argument also meant Bildad and his friends were not pure; however, Bildad and his friends were not suffering the way Job was suffering, so how would the fact all humans are sinners prove Job’s suffering was caused by his sin when other people who were sinners were not suffering.
I do not believe Bildad’s reasons proved the point he was trying to make, but he does raise a good question. Are humans inherently good or bad? Consider the following verses.
Gen. 8:21 … the LORD said to Himself, “… the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth …”
This verse makes it very clear humans are inherently evil. The following verses from Romans are a collection of quotes from the Old Testament.
Rom. 3:9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;
Rom. 3:10 as it is written,
“THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE;
Rom. 3:11 THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS,
THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD;
Rom. 3:12 ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS;
THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD,
THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.”
Rom. 3:13 “THEIR THROAT IS AN OPEN GRAVE,
WITH THEIR TONGUES THEY KEEP DECEIVING,”
“THE POISON OF ASPS IS UNDER THEIR LIPS”;
Rom. 3:14 “WHOSE MOUTH IS FULL OF CURSING AND BITTERNESS”;
Rom. 3:15 “THEIR FEET ARE SWIFT TO SHED BLOOD,
Rom. 3:16 DESTRUCTION AND MISERY ARE IN THEIR PATHS,
Rom. 3:17 AND THE PATH OF PEACE THEY HAVE NOT KNOWN.”
Rom. 3:18 “THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES.”
All these quotes essentially say there is not a single human who is good. This means Bildad was correct, no human is good. However, how do we account for the following verses?
Noah and Job
Gen. 6:9 These are the records of the generations of Noah. Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time; Noah walked with God.
Notice the words righteous and blameless were used to describe Noah.
Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job; and that man was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.
Notice the words blameless and upright were used to describe Job.
If all humans are bad, then how did Noah and Job earn such praise? How did they become blameless and upright? More importantly, what does this truth mean for us? If our children are inherently evil, then how do we raise them to be blameless and upright? The following verses tell us how to be a successful parent.
How to be a successful parent
Prov. 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go,
Even when he is old he will not depart from it.
Notice the word “train”. Children need to be trained how to behave.
Notice the second line tells us there is hope of success.
Prov. 22:15 Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child;
The rod of discipline will remove it far from him.
Notice the word “foolishness”. Children are inherently foolish.
Notice the word “discipline”. Children need to be disciplined in order to remove the foolishness.
Again, notice the second line tells us there is hope of success.
Prov. 23:13 Do not hold back discipline from the child,
Although you strike him with the rod, he will not die.
Notice the word “discipline”. Notice the harshness that may be required as we raise our children.
Prov. 29:15 The rod and reproof give wisdom,
But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother.
Notice the word “shame”. If children are not properly disciplined, there will be shame.
Eph. 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
Notice the word “fathers”. Fathers are commanded to be intentionally involved in raising their children.
Notice the command includes both discipline and instruction.
Heb. 12:11 All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it[discipline], afterwards it[discipline] yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
Again, notice the word “discipline” and notice we are told there is hope of success: “… discipline yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.”
Discipline and Instruction
Humans are inherently evil. In order for our children to become blameless and upright, we parents need to train, discipline, reprove, and instruct our children. As we do this we need to remember that discipline is a vital part of parenting, and fathers especially need to proactively discipline and instruct their children.