Job Replies: The Lord Has Done This
12 Then Job answered and said:
“No doubt you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you.
But I have understanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know such things as these?
I am a laughingstock to my friends;
I, who called to God and he answered me,
a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.
In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune;
it is ready for those whose feet slip.
The tents of robbers are at peace,
and those who provoke God are secure,
who bring their god in their hand.
“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;
the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;
or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you;
and the fish of the sea will declare to you.
Who among all these does not know
that the hand of the LORD has done this?
In his hand is the life of every living thing
and the breath of all mankind.
Does not the ear test words
as the palate tastes food?
Wisdom is with the aged,
and understanding in length of days.
“With God are wisdom and might;
he has counsel and understanding.
If he tears down, none can rebuild;
if he shuts a man in, none can open.
If he withholds the waters, they dry up;
if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land.
With him are strength and sound wisdom;
the deceived and the deceiver are his.
He leads counselors away stripped,
and judges he makes fools.
He looses the bonds of kings
and binds a waistcloth on their hips.
He leads priests away stripped
and overthrows the mighty.
He deprives of speech those who are trusted
and takes away the discernment of the elders.
He pours contempt on princes
and loosens the belt of the strong.
He uncovers the deeps out of darkness
and brings deep darkness to light.
He makes nations great, and he destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and leads them away.
He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth
and makes them wander in a trackless waste.
They grope in the dark without light,
and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.
Job 12 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Job has had enough. These so called friends of his have all taken their first round of criticizing. His rebuttal drips sarcasm. In essence, his words mock their own ‘wise’ thoughts as they’re acting like they have the skinny, the inside scoop to his affliction. Compounding to their arrogance, they’ve boasted their knowledge of God and His ways. Job confronts them with the fact everyone knows these thoughts about God. They’ve not stated anything new.
These friends were narrow-minded, held opinions that were incorrect and had the compassion and insight of a mule.
For me, this would have been it. If I had been sitting there, I would have gotten up and walked out. These 3 friends have added tremendous stress and emotional wounds to his already devastating situation. It’s hard to imagine that he will sit there for 2 more rounds of their high and mighty thoughts about God and how He acts and who He is.
We love to give advice. It comes out so quickly. Sometimes others don’t want to hear it. Sometimes our thinking is wrong. Sometimes the timing of what we may even know to be true and should be heard the other person is not ready. I mean, consider how you have to work through things personally before you are ready to hear some thought. This is an area I am continually working on.
We laugh about it now but really at the time it was no laughing matter.
There had been a growing frustration with a friend. On some levels, it was affecting a lot. The situation was ever on my mind and in my prayer journal written daily. From my side, I was praying that God would work in me to temper my emotions which at times were raging. I asked for God to give me wisdom and help me know when to address the issue. I was never given the green light. Through this, I also prayed for my friend. I knew this was Holy Spirit territory and He needed to work.
Literally, months passed. My prayers continued. Then the email came. It opened with “I need to ask forgiveness but I don’t want to talk about it.” The confession came with boundaries. I accepted the apology, kept my mouth shut, and moved on. It would be several more months before it was brought up in an honest conversation about ourselves. When I think about the timeline of all this it was close to a year from when the frustration on my end began to when it was finally discussed.
Like I said, we laugh about it now and often will say to the other, “I’m going to tell you something but I don’t want to talk about it.”
But there was and is a valuable lesson I learned through this entire situation. Hearts need to be ready and prepared by God to receive truth about whatever is going on. When we come in like a freight train with our opinions on matters, even if we are right in what we believe, it won’t be received if the Holy Spirit has not been working.
More remarkably, the process of that situation had the Holy Spirit working in both of us. He was working in me throughout that time period of attempting to be steady and relying on Him. I was also surrendering what I wanted to say or do daily so I would not act without His approval or in my flesh. But it also showed the slow process of His working in my friend.
The take away is we must be ever reliant upon the Holy Spirit and His timing of matters. It doesn’t matter if we get to throw our opinion out on some matter. What matters is we act in His timing and let Him work not only in us but in others before we open our mouths. Let the Holy Spirit do His work in whatever you are struggling with. Often this is His territory. Also recognize that as He’s working in the situation and speaking to another, He’s working in you.
Job 12 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Job comes out with some bold truth in addressing his friends. He seeks to point out that they do not have his best interest in mind.
The one who is at ease holds calamity in contempt and thinks it is prepared for those whose feet are slipping. In other words, “You have no troubles yourselves, but you are fine with kicking me while I’m down.”Job 12:5 HCSB
In verse 6, Job moves into a “survival of the fittest” mentality.
You have no troubles, and yet you make fun of me; you hit someone who is about to fall. 6 But thieves and godless people live in peace, though their only god is their own strength. 7 Even birds and animals have much they could teach you; 8 ask the creatures of earth and sea for their wisdom. 9 All of them know that the LORD’s hand made them.Job 12:5-9 GNB
This verse is also a direct shot at Zophar who had previously called Job a “wild donkey.” Basically, Job is saying, “Even the dumb animals know that God in control of all things.” Their instincts respond to the way that God governs the Earth.
In the animal world, the degree of earthly suffering usually lessens the higher up you go on the ladder for a particular species. The lion, for instance, is more secure than the ox. The vulture is more secure than the dove. Job notes this fact but points out that their security is provided by God and God alone. It’s not by our own power that we are safe and provided for, but by His.
Job still believes in God’s sovereignty. This is an interesting point considering Job’s physical and mental state. He continues to faithfully build on the absolute sovereignty of God. He is banking on it.
The apex predator may be least threatened and most comfortable, but often he is the least resilient. This is true in our spiritual experience because we know that suffering is purifying to the soul. It is the refining process that produces the strongest and most faithful followers. Not only that, but our greatest trials are often redemptive for those around us, just as Christ’s was. It’s easy to say, but very hard to see. This is why we can only view suffering in this light if we are empowered by the Holy Spirit.
Job’s getting there, slowly but surely. God will never forget those who remain faithful.