long section is the advice(?) of Job’s 3 friends(?) and Job’s
replies to them.
Basically, they accuse Job of great sin that has been hidden from
everyone except God. God is now punishing Job for his evil. Job needs
to confess his sin and get right with God.
The grief and emotional burden of Job: Job 3:24-26 GNB Instead
of eating, I mourn, and I can never stop groaning. 25 Everything I
fear and dread comes true. 26 I have no peace, no rest, and my
troubles never end.
The “abuse the victim” starts with Eliphaz: Job 4:7-11 GNB Think
back now. Name a single case where someone righteous met with
disaster. 8 I have seen people plow fields of evil and plant
wickedness like seed; now they harvest wickedness and evil. 9 Like a
storm, God destroys them in his anger.10
The wicked roar and growl like lions, but God silences them and
breaks their teeth. 11 Like lions with nothing to kill and eat, they
die, and all their children are scattered.
These friends(?) are victim-shaming. The Lord Jesus addresses this
here: Luke 13:1-4 GNB At
that time some people were there who told Jesus about the Galileans
whom Pilate had killed while they were offering sacrifices to God. 2
Jesus answered them, "Because those Galileans were killed in
that way, do you think it proves thatthey
were worse sinners than all other Galileans? 3 No indeed! And I tell
you that if you do not turn from your sins, you will all die as they
did. 4 What about those eighteen people in Siloam who were killed
when the tower fell on them? Do you supposethis
proves that they were worse than all the other people living in
Just because bad things happen to good people (this said in human
terms, not God’s definition), does not mean that they deserve it,
did something that caused it, or God is punishing them.
Good things happen to evil people as well.
A rather long passage, but it explains the feelings of one who is a
believer and observe evil people having it good in life. Psalms
73:1-15 GNB God
is indeed good to Israel, to those who have pure hearts. 2 But I had
nearly lost confidence; my faith was almost gone 3 because I was
jealous of the proud when I saw that things go well for the wicked. 4
They do not suffer pain; they are strong and healthy. 5 They do not
suffer as other people do; they do not have the troubles that others
have. 6 And so they wear pride like a necklace and violence like a
robe; 7 their hearts pour out evil, and their minds are busy with
wicked schemes. 8 They laugh at other people and speak of evil
things; they are proud and make plans to oppress others. 9 They speak
evil of God in heaven and give arrogant orders to everyone on earth,
10 so that even God's people turn to them and eagerlybelieve
whatever they say. 11 They say, "God will not know; the Most
High will not find out." 12 That is what the wicked are like.
They have plenty and are always getting more. 13 Is it for nothing,
then, that I have kept myself pure and have not committed sin? 14 O
God, you have made me suffer all day long; every morning you have
punished me. 15 If I had said such things, I would not be acting as
one of your people.
Nevertheless, he understood something that we can learn: Psalms
73:16-28 GNB I
tried to think this problem through, but it was too difficult for me
17 until I went into your Temple. Then I understood what will happen
to the wicked. 18 You will put them in slippery places and make them
fall to destruction! 19 They are instantly destroyed; they go down to
a horrible end. 20 They are like a dream that goes away in the
morning; when you rouse yourself, O Lord, they disappear. 21 When my
thoughts were bitter and my feelings were hurt, 22 I was as stupid as
an animal; I did not understand you. 23 Yet I always stay close to
you, and you hold me by the hand. 24 You guide me with your
instruction and at the end you will receive me with honor. 25 What
else do I have in heaven but you? Since I have you, what else could I
want on earth? 26 My mind and my body may grow weak, but God is my
strength; he is all I ever need. 27 Those who abandon you will
certainly perish; you will destroy those who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, how wonderful to be near God, to find protection
with the Sovereign LORD and to proclaim all that he has done!
A few more quotes from his friends(?):
Bildad speaking to Job. “Job you are evil to the core, and your
children, too. God punished those bastards as they deserved.” Job
8:1-7 GNB (1-2) Are
you finally through with your windy speech? 3 God never twists
justice; he never fails to do what is right. 4 Your children must
have sinned against God, and so he punished them as they deserved. 5
But turn now and plead with Almighty God; 6 if you are so honest and
pure, then God will come and help you and restore your household as
your reward. 7 All the wealth you lost will be nothing compared with
what God will give you then.
Zophar’s turn to revictimize. Look at his poor judgment. Let us
learn, O Lord, not to do this! Job 11:1-5 GNB (1-2) Will
no one answer all this nonsense? Does talking so much put you in the
right? 3 Job, do you think we can't answer you? That your
mocking words will leave us speechless? 4 You claim that what you say
is true; you claim you are pure in the sight of God. 5 How I wish God
would answer you!
Eliphaz again: Job 22:4-5 GNB It
is not because you stand in awe of God that he reprimands you and
brings you to trial. 5 No, it's because you have sinned so
much; it's because of all the evil you do.
Job speaks, but they do not believe. Victims experience the same much
too often. We need to listen and to believe. Always start there.
Job finally appeals to God, “Why, are you doing this to me.” Job
knows he did nothing to deserve this.
Read this and sense the Job’s pain at this revictimization. Job
16:1-8 GNB (1-2) I
have heard words like that before; the comfort you give is only
torment. 3 Are you going to keep on talking forever? Do you always
have to have the last word? 4 If you were in my place and I in yours,
I could say everything you are saying. I could shake my head wisely
and drown you with a flood of words. 5 I could strengthen you with
advice and keep talking to comfort you. 6 But nothing I say helps,
and being silent does not calm my pain. 7 You have worn me out, God;
my family be killed. 8 You have seized me; you are my enemy. I am
skin and bones, and people take that as proof of my guilt.
Some things to learn
God does not victimize. He does punish, but He does not victimize. He
does not abuse. He hates abuse. Psalm 11:5 NIV The
LORD examines the righteous, but the wicked, those who love violence,
he hates with a passion.
God hates those who plan evil: Micah 2:1 NIV Woe
to those who plan iniquity, to those who plot evil on their beds! At
morning's light they carry it out because it is in their
power to do it.
satan and those who follow his ways will be punished:
Revelation 20:10 GNB Then
the Devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of fire and
sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had already been
thrown; and they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.
Revelation 20:14-15 GNB Then
death and the world of the dead were thrown into the lake of fire.
(This lake of fire is the second death.) 15 Those who did not have
their name written in the book of the living were thrown into the
lake of fire.
Revelation 21:8 GNB But
cowards, traitors, perverts, murderers, the immoral, those who
practice magic, those who worship idols, and all liars—the place
for them is the lake burning with fire and sulfur, which is the
Here is a warning from God. If you are an abuser, God will deal with
you. If, like Job’s friends(?), you do this in ignorance, then
repent. God knows that abusers fake repentance. Beware. Proverbs 6:16
are seven things that the LORD hates and cannot tolerate: A proud
look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that
thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness who
tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among
As Christians we can practice these principles:
Speak truth (Hebrews 4:12, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Listen (Proverbs 18:13)
Be slow to speak and slow to anger (James 1:19)
Be understanding (Proverbs 20:5, John 7:24)
Give encouragement (Hebrews 3:13)
Have fellowship (Hebrews 10:25) This would include the idea of a
Ask for wisdom (Psalm 16:7)
Asking appropriate questions (Proverbs 20:5) This would include open
Clarifying This would include paraphrasing (restating what the
speaker said using different words) and summarizing (repeating the
main points of the speaker)