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"I Desire to Reason With God...You Are All Worthless Physicians" (Job 12:1-13:19) March 7-8

Job responds to his friends with cutting sarcasm: "No doubt you are the people [i.e., the right people to go to for all the answers], and wisdom will die with you" (verse 2)—as if all the wisdom in the world were concentrated in these three men. Job is essentially saying, "So you think you know it all." He follows this by noting that he knows as much as them. In fact, he points out that what they have been saying is common knowledge (verse 3).

Yet again Job points out that in accusing him the truths they are relating are being misapplied—as he is innocent (verse 4). In contrast to their ideas, the wicked often prosper—despite the fact that all life is in God's hand, as the whole creation could teach them (verses 5-10). This was another stab at the notion that they "knew it all" when it came to God. The fact is, they were ignoring what was obvious.

Job points out in verses 11-12 that people learn from what they hear and experience, gaining a measure of wisdom over the course of a lifetime. But real wisdom and strength, he explains in verse 13, lies with God. The arrogance of man, he goes on to show, is brought to nothing by the sovereign God who can do whatever He wants (verses 14-25). It is just foolishness for anyone to try to pin down and understand everything that God is up to in His dealings with mankind.

Rather than deal anymore with his friends, Job would much rather take his case directly to God (13:3). The friends have proven themselves "worthless physicians"—failing to diagnose the real problem—and even "forgers of lies" with their unjust accusations against him (verse 4). It would be better for them to cease from their grandiose speeches and just listen (verse 5).

Job points out that their mouths were going to get them into trouble. In their rush to defend God, they were basically bearing false witness against Job (verses 7-8). They were not even being honest in their defense of God, as they ignored evidence that ran counter to their beliefs about Him. Job says that God would ultimately rebuke them for that—as indeed He will at the end of the book. This passage is remarkable on two counts. First, it shows that even if people put on a great display of piety in standing for God's integrity, God will not accept this unless it is heartfelt, deeply considered and in keeping with His overall ways. Second, we see here that despite Job's struggle to understand what God is doing in the world and in his own situation, he still trusts in God's flawless character and justice. This is why he believes he can ultimately find resolution with God.

"Job was so sure he would be vindicated that he repeated his desire for a hearing before God (vv. 13-19). He viewed this boldness on his part as one of the evidences that what they said about him was not true. If Job were a hypocrite, would he be willing to put his life in jeopardy in this way (v. 16)? Such a man would not dare come before God" (Expositor's Bible Commentary, note on verses 1-27).

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