I wrote this for a Sunday School lesson a good while back, and it was floating around in my blog’s “drafts” buffer. Figured I’d clean it up and post it. Enjoy.

What do we mean, when we say “unfair”?

The dictionary says that it means to be “unjust, biased, or unethical”.

So, when we apply this to the life of Job, does God’s treatment of him seem unfair?

Or, a different question, do the things that happen to us, or to others, seem unfair?

Are they “just”?

“Properly due, merited; consistent with what is morally right”

Think back to the definition of grace that many of you may know:

“UNmerited favor”

So – when God acts to bless, is He not bestowing grace, not justice?

We’ll stop there, and come back to it – just keep that in the back of your mind for a bit.

The Accusers: – Job 15:5-6

Eliphaz comes out swinging, responding to Job’s stinging remarks in Job 13, calling them “… you forgers of lies, You are all worthless physicians. Oh, that you would be silent, And it would be your wisdom! “. He sure does wish that they had stayed silent, like they had begun, when they first arrived! “Your platitudes are proverbs of ashes, Your defenses are defenses of clay.”


He isn’t done, though. He rails at Job for thinking himself better than they – then, he appeals to authority (an age-old debating trick that is as ineffective as it is deceptive) by saying that the “grey heads” think the same as they do.

In verse 20, he cuts to the heart of his argument – that the wicked are the ones who see this sort of judgement, as the natural outworking of their sinful lives – thus, Job must be sinful.

The argument goes as follows:

1. Sinful men are always punished by God for their sins *in this life*.
2. You seem to be punished by God in this life.
3. You must be a sinful man.

Job, after Eliphaz’s chapter-long diatribe winds down, will have none of it. In fact, he’s rather annoyed.

Read Job 16:2-3

He then goes on to recite a short-form version of the trials he has endured, and makes a very interesting statement.

Job 16:19-21>

Catch a couple things in there?

1. He has faith in the Justice of God
2. He trusts in God, not man (small wonder, considering what he keeps hearing from them!)
3. He anticipates an advocate in heaven for men.

Where have we heard of that?

Read 1 John 2:1

Sound familiar?

Read 1 Tim. 2:5

How about that?

Job picks up on this, and understands the need for such a thing – as we may be hard-pressed to imagine.

Job Trips:

After Bildad essentially rehearses Eliphaz’s argument, in Job 18, Job has enough.

First, he accuses them of pride – which, probably, is justified.

Second, though, he accuses God of being unjust. Of wronging him.

Is God unjust? CAN God be unjust?

He even says to them in 19:22 -“Why do you persecute me as God does, And are not satisfied with my flesh?”

Job isn’t perfect. He’s amazing – but he isn’t perfect.

However, read what he says right after he says that:

Read Job 19: 25-27

Wow. This, many think, is the most triumphal statement of faith ever recorded. Remember, too, that this is not only before Abraham’s covenant, but before the law, before the messiah, or any hint of the messiah.

He affirms his faith in God’s existence, His sovereignity, His personal involvement in human affairs, His future reign on earth – he affirms his own mortality, his belief in a physical resurrection, and his belief in an eternal life in the presence of God.

Wow. This is from a man sitting in ashes, ridiculed by his friends, who has lost everything he posesses, everyone he loves (does his wife count?), and afflicted most excruciatingly by varied sickness. Utterly amazing.

Zophar, then, gives Job the *same argument*. Again. Read Chapter 20, if you don’t believe me. He does, though.

Job finally, finally, responds to their argument.

Read Job 21

Seems rather similar to this:

“for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matt. 5:45)

Read Ecclesiastes 7:15

Common Grace. Common Grace is defined as the “grace of God by which he gives people innumerable blessings that are not part of salvation”. Job, I believe, is establishing for these knuckleheaded “comforters” this bit of theology.

God gives even the wicked some blessings. God gives these same blessings to everyone.

However, Job is reminding them that God’s grace is extended to believer and unbeliever alike – and that not every bad thing that happens to someone is the result of a judgment from God.

So. What can we learn from this?

1. Not to be miserable comforters, of course. Mr. Hal has talked about this, before – remember Mrs. Triplett?. What does Job tell them?

Job 16:5

2. God cannot be unjust. Everything is for His glory, and there is purpose behind our suffering – even when we can’t see it.

3. We have an advocate in heaven, Who mediates between the Father, and us

4. Common Grace explains the seeming “unfairness” of Christian suffering and non-Christian prosperity.

5. Faith can be found, even in the midst of suffering. “For when I am weak, I am strong”.