Job 17:1 My breath is corrupt, my days are extinct, the graves are ready for me.
2 Are there not mockers with me? and doth not mine eye continue in their provocation?
3 Lay down now, put me in a surety with thee; who is he that will strike hands with me?
4 For thou hast hid their heart from understanding: therefore shalt thou not exalt them.
5 He that speaketh flattery to his friends, even the eyes of his children shall fail.
6 He hath made me also a byword of the people; and aforetime I was as a tabret.
7 Mine eye also is dim by reason of sorrow, and all my members are as a shadow.
8 Upright men shall be astonied at this, and the innocent shall stir up himself against the hypocrite.
9 The righteous also shall hold on his way, and he that hath clean hands shall be stronger and stronger.
10 But as for you all, do ye return, and come now: for I cannot find one wise man among you.
11 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.
Job continued his complaint in this chapter. We know from the text that Job was facing some real challenges. Most of us have never faced anything like Job was facing here. He acknowledged that his life was nothing to be desired. His breath stunk. He believed he was nearing the end of his life. He believed the grave was ready to accept him.
Job continued to point out the vanity of the three men who are described as his friends. He does not call them friends. He called them mockers. They were disputing his claims. They were trying to accuse him of sin, but they had no evidence to back up their claims. All they had to go on is that they falsely believed that a person who knows the Lord and walks with Him will never face trouble. The Bible does not support that position anywhere. That was true prior to the fall, but it has not been true since the fall.
In verse 3 Job asked God to take charge and to give him some assurance that He would protect him. Job did not realize that God was in fact protecting him. Satan wanted to destroy him, but God did not allow this to happen. Satan had some liberty given to him by God, but he could only go so far. Due to the fall, those who are saved can expect things to happen that we do not like. We need to keep in mind that we live due to the mercy of God. We do not have the right to a peaceful life. That was destroyed when Adam chose to sin against God. We can be thankful for the peace of mind and heart we can have in the midst of living in a sin-cursed world, if we are saved. The hope of man is not realized in this world. It will be realized in heaven for those who are saved. The lost will go from the trouble they face here to eternal torment in hell.
In verse 4 Job noted that these mockers lacked understanding. Their unbelief had darkened their hearts and they could not understand the truth. God could not exalt them. We know that He would rebuke them sharply for their unbelief.
In verse 5 Job accused one of these three men of using flattery to impress the other two men. It seems there was a competition between those three men as to who could strike the hardest blow against Job. Job noted that their attitude would affect the well being of their children. Parents that fight against God should not be surprised when their children turn out more vile than they are.
In verse 6 Job noted that many were talking about what had happened to him. A byword is not a good thing. It is used as satire. It is used as something that is spoken down about and used as a warning to others. The word translated as “tabret” speaks of something that is spit upon. Job’s current life was being spoken of as a bad thing. Earlier in his life he had been well respected, but now people were talking bad about him. People were drawing conclusions without knowing the facts. This was bothering Job. Job desired to have a good name. He did not know why he was in this current state. He knew it was affecting more than just his health. It was affecting his reputation as well.
Job’s health in general was being affected by the boils he was suffering from. Job was having a very difficult time in life on several fronts. Thus he assumed that he was close to death.
In verse 8 Job believed that truly upright men would rise up against his false accusers. Upright men would see things much more clearly than these mockers did. They would not stand on the side of these hypocrites.
The righteous person would see through the lies of these men. They would look at things from God’s perspective and not through the distorted eyes of these men. The righteous person would grow stronger and stronger in the Lord. That is certainly true. Those who walk humbly and faithfully with the Lord will grow stronger in Him. They will have their hope in Him and they will become more godly in their thinking and behaviour. That is what we read from Psalm 1, as an example. The person who trusts in God and meditates daily on His Word will be like a tree planted by the waters. He will grow stronger and more fruitful.
In verse 10 Job asked his mockers to come and stand before him and prove their wisdom. He said he could not find one wise man among them. Even though Job was struggling in his relationship with the Lord and even though he was struggling with his physical problems, he was not going to give in to these false teachers. He challenged them to demonstrate that they had some wisdom.
In verse 11 Job assumed that his life was coming to an end. We know that God gave Job many more years beyond this time. It is true from his description that his body was under severe attack. This was affecting his mind and his soul. However, God has a way of restoring body, soul and spirit.
I Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
All hope was not lost for Job. Life seemed rather hopeless to him at this point. He needed someone to come alongside him and encourage him in the Lord. These three men were not capable of doing so. Soon God would speak directly to Job. There did not seem to be a human being around that could help him.
Today is the Lord’s Day. It is another opportunity for each person to choose to go to a true, Bible-believing church. Every person needs the Lord daily. We need to be instructed and challenged from God’s Word. We need the fellowship of the saints and God has designed the true local church as the place to find such fellowship.
I hope and pray that each person who reads these devotionals will obey the Lord and find a true local church where they can find the help needed to know God’s peace and blessing.