Praying Through the Bible #37 | with Daniel Whyte III
TEXT: Job 16:15-22
We are in a series of messages titled “Praying Through the Bible: A Series on Every Passage and Verse Regarding Prayer in the Bible”. The purpose of this series is to encourage and motivate you to pray to the God of the Bible. We highlighted each of these over 500 verses and passages in the new Prayer Motivator Devotional Bible. So far, we have done 36 messages in this series.
This is message #37 titled “When It Seems as Though All is Lost, You Can Always Look to God in Prayer”
On last week, we looked at the topic of prayer from a passage in the book of Job, particularly from the words of Bildad, one of Job’s friends who had come to comfort him in his time of despair. As you might recall, the Bible tells us that Job was “the greatest of the men of the east.” He had 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 donkeys, and a large household, consisting of seven sons, three daughters, and multiple servants. He was also “blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.” However, because the devil wanted to cause Job to turn his back on God, God allowed the devil to test Job by causing all of Job’s material possessions to be taken from him or destroyed. His ten children also lost their lives, and Job was struck with a severe disease. God had allowed the devil to take everything away from Job except his own life.
After this calamity, three of Job’s friends came by to mourn with him and counsel him regarding what he should do. And these three friends are infamous for not being very comforting at all. In fact, in the first verse of chapter 16 which contains our passage for today, Job tells his friends, “miserable comforters are ye all.”
Now, as I mentioned last week, I am aware that there is some debate in the theological community over whether or not we should preach doctrine from the book of Job. But, as long as these words line up with Scripture and teaching found elsewhere in the Bible, I believe it is alright. And that is what we will do again today.
In this passage, Job is speaking in response to one of his friends, Eliphaz. Eliphaz was the friend who took it upon himself to defend God’s justness in allowing such a disaster to fall on Job, and he believed that Job’s suffering was a result of Job sinning. In this passage, as Job is struggling to understand the difficulties that have befallen him and is defending himself against the accusations of Eliphaz, he shows us where we should look to in our own times of trouble and distress, when it seems as though all is lost. Let’s go through this passage, and see how we can identify with Job, and learn from his experience.
1. Notice how Job could not help himself. Job says, “I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust. My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death.” Job’s statements show that he has given up on trying to find any solution to his problems on his own. He is utterly at the end of his rope. He says, “my horn is defiled in the dust.” In the ancient near eastern culture, the horn was a symbol of strength and power. Job says all of his strength is gone. Everything that he could possibly lean on is laid waste in the dust. All he does now is weep and think of death.
2. Notice how Job’s friends were of no help to him. Job says, “My friends scorn me.” Earlier in this chapter, he called them “miserable comforters.” The word “scorn” means to “boast” about or to “mock” or “deride”. Job felt as though his friends had come just to gloat over his calamity. Perhaps underneath their pious words, they were feeling a certain jealous glee. Maybe they had been envious at the success and blessings Job had in life.
3. Notice how Job looks to God for help. Job says, “My prayer is pure… behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high… mine eye poureth out tears unto God.” In the midst of his despair, Job looks up to God, knowing that God alone understands what is going on. There is no doubt that the tragedies that befell Job caused a mental and spiritual struggle within his mind and soul. He probably wondered how he could be undergoing so much pain and suffering when he was such a righteous man. He was wondering how his friends could even think to accuse him of sin when they all had seen his God-honoring lifestyle.