Discussion Guide for Job 8-9
In Psalm 82, Asaph pleads with human judges to remember that they are accountable to God.
The theology of the Bible explicitly assumes the justice of God. He is the standard of right and wrong and the one who will always enforce his own standard.
So, what happens when justice is perverted?
In Job 8-9, he experiences a deep disorientation of the soul in addition to his grief and physical suffering. He is beginning to doubt that God can be trusted as a “court of appeal” to punish the wicked and vindicate the innocent.
Begin your time together by reading Psalm 82 aloud.
God has taken his place in the divine council;
in the midst of the gods he holds judgment:
2 “How long will you judge unjustly
and show partiality to the wicked? Selah
3 Give justice to the weak and the fatherless;
maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute.
4 Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
5 They have neither knowledge nor understanding,
they walk about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth are shaken.
6 I said, “You are gods,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
7 nevertheless, like men you shall die,
and fall like any prince.”
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth;
for you shall inherit all the nations!
What are the similarities of language and thought between Job 9 and Psalm 82?
The dialogue between Job and his second friend, Bildad, becomes even more raw and intense than the one with Eliphaz. Bildad is quite harsh with Job, giving us an even worse example of how to speak to a man who is suffering.
Bildad blatantly tells Job that his ten children are dead because they sinned. He further attests that Job needs to quit being so haughty and learn from the wisdom of the past.
Bildad believes that asking for God’s forgiveness is all that prevents Job from having his misery taken away and for good times to come again.
This rhetoric is shocking.
Even more shocking is the fact that Job largely agrees with Bildad! Job, of course, does not believe that he or his children have done anything to deserve their fate. But Job affirms Bildad’s simple theology that God does good things to good people and bad things to bad people.
Since God is supposed to mete out punishment and rewards based on our behavior, Job believes that he is experiencing a grave injustice.
We know that injustice happens in the world all the time. Psalm 82 attests to this. But should we expect God to set straight injustice that occurs at the hands of men?
Job seems deeply disturbed in his spirit. He is coming dangerously close to accusing God of being the one who is unjust.
For people like Job, this would be the equivalent of the world turning upside-down. If God is unjust, there is no one left capable of contending with Him and righting the wrong.
I connect Psalm 82 with Job 9 because both chapters illustrate the concept of disorientation that is found in wisdom literature. Many of the psalms follow this basic outline:
- Orientation– the world is working the way that it is supposed to work.
- Disorientation– Something is profoundly not right with the world and I am disturbed in my soul as a result.
- Reorientation– God rescues me from evil and shows me a way that is even better than what I knew before.
Chapter 9 ends with Job searching for reorientation. Unfortunately at this point he cannot find someone able to make God see how Job is being wronged.
- Describe a period of disorientation in your life.
- Did you question the character of God?
- Did God use that time to give you a greater understanding of Himself?
- What do you understand now that you didn’t understand during your trial?
- How do Psalm 82 and Job 9 make your soul feel?
- What aspect of the Gospel are you thankful for?
- Refer to the challenge from Austin’s sermon. How does the “gospel of prosperity” fall short of the riches of the true Gospel that is centered on the cross?