The 26th verse is the key to Job 12. Please get a Bible and read it. Did you find it? It’s there. We will come back to the phantom 26th verse.
Dripping with sarcasm, Job said to his friends, “When you die, all wisdom will be gone from the earth” (v. 2). The discussion had degenerated to Job being sarcastic and EliBilPhar calling Job “wicked” (11:20).
Sin makes us insensitive to others and unaware of ourselves. We say things we intend as “pebbles,” but others receive them as “crushing boulders.” We see ourselves as “gently stating the truth,” but others are insulted and hurt. Unaware. Oblivious. Not very smart.
Scripture addresses our lack of self-awareness. Our Lord said when we want to take the speck out of another’s eye, we are unaware of a plank in our own eye (Matthew 7:3-4). See also James 1:23-24.
In Matthew 25:31-46, our Lord indirectly addresses lack of self-awareness. Both the sheep (good) nations and the goat (bad) nations were unaware of having served or not served the Lord Christ. But a series of verses in Malachi is the Bible’s outstanding example of lack of self-awareness:
“‘I have loved you,’ says the Lord. But you ask, ‘How have you loved us’” (Malachi 1:2)? “‘It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name.’ But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name’” (1:6)? See also 1:7, 2:17, 3:7, 3:8 and 3:13. We can be unaware of others, the price they have paid, the expense we have created for them and the grace we have consumed from them without knowing it.
Because EliBilPhar were unaware, Job closed chapter 12 by pointing out that sometimes God overturns the normal social order:
- counselors, who normally instruct others, sometimes are led away stripped and empty
- judges, who normally decide the overriding principle that addresses a given problem, sometimes are allowed to look like fools.
- kings, who control who is imprisoned and who isn’t, sometimes are overruled and a prisoner is freed.
In a similar reversal of society’s normal order, the implied phantom 26th verse – says, “And sometimes God allows a righteous man [like me, Job] the experience of appearing to be unrighteous.” Such was the mystery in Job’s life, e.g. suffering while righteous. Good Ole Boy Theology did not allow for one to be suffering while still being righteous. Those were mutually exclusive. But the implied phantom 26th verse says a suffering person can still be righteous.
Friend, you may be suffering, but that does not automatically mean you are unrighteous. Obviously we need to ask ourselves, “Is God sensitizing me to sin through this suffering?” Job was righteous, yet he still suffered.