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January 31, (Day # 31) – We Don’t Know that We Don’t Know

Today we come to Job 15-18 where we read the words of Eliphaz, Job, and Bildad. In chapter 15, Eliphaz reveals his world view in which he accuses Job of “undermining piety, hindering devotion to God,” and outright says that Job’s “own mouth condemns him and testifies against him” of sin (verses 4-6). Eliphaz asks, “What do you know that we do not know?” (verse 9). Eliphaz presumes that he and Job’s other friends are speaking directly for God. Eliphaz says, “All his days the wicked man suffers torment” (verse 20), implying that Job must be wicked because he is suffering. The statements of Eliphaz in verses 21-35 are harsh and vindictive; what kind of comforter is that? In chapter 16, we can see that Job has almost had enough of these “friends.” He says they are all “miserable comforters” and wonders if their “long-winded speeches” will never end (verse 1-2). Job recognizes that, if the situation were reversed, he could be like them, but instead, he contends that he would “encourage” them (verse 5). This shows us that we do not know ourselves very well – we cannot actually predict how we might behave in a different situation. In verse 9, Job falsely believes that God is responsible for all his trouble: “God assails me and tears me in His anger … He has turned me over to evil men … He shattered me … seized me and crushed me … He has made me His target” (verses 14). It is important for us to understand that Job’s intense suffering has caused him to believe a lie. God did none of these things to Job. Satan is the perpetrator of Job’s troubles, but if Satan can convince Job to believe that God is the One Who brought about his suffering, then Satan has gained a great victory over Job. But, at the end of the chapter, Job knows that he has an “advocate on high to intercede as his friend” (verse 19). As we know, Job's Advocate is Jesus Christ. In chapter 17, we see Job’s sense of hopelessness – he says, “My spirit is broken” (verse 1). Human suffering causes broken spirits, and broken spirits lead to rash thoughts and actions, against which we can only counteract with the truth of God’s Word. In chapter 18, Bildad speaks and basically insults Job and says that Job occupies the place of someone “who knows not God” (verse 21). Job’s three friends are simply adding to Job’s afflictions, but worse - they are unwittingly serving Satan’s program to oppose God. This should be a warning to us that our words and actions really matter.

Verses 13-15 close out Psalm 17 with a call to the LORD to “rise up, confront His enemies, and [thereby] rescue us from the wicked.” It is the Lord Who saves us “by His hand” (verse 14). David says that the wicked receive their “reward is in this life” (verse 14). Unfortunately, the rewards of this life have little value here and no value in eternity. God has seen fit to bless us – His children – with eternal rewards, one of which will be the “satisfaction of seeing His likeness” (verse 15).

In Matthew 20:22, God reminds us once again that “we do not know.” Jesus answers a request from the mother of Zebedee’s sons with, “You don’t know what you are asking.” How characteristic it is of human beings to assume that we know something! But the Scriptures make clear that we “don’t know” even what we think we know. In spite of all our great learning and our genius, our lack of knowledge so abysmally outstrips our “knowledge” (i.e., whatever we can claim to apprehend with any real certainty), that we are truly more ignorant than we are informed. Except for our sin and God’s holiness, nothing more distinguishes or separates us so thoroughly from our Creator than His omniscience and our vast knowledge deficit. We generally operate and make life-determining decisions from such a state of ignorance that we “don’t [even] know what we are asking.” And what’s worse - we are so ignorant of our own ignorance - that we don’t know that we don’t know! This is why we must learn to depend on the One Who truly knows, and why He so often reminds us that “we don’t know.”

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