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Chinese3/26/2006English
經文:約伯記十八至十九章
鑰節:「我知道我救贖主活著……」(10:25上)
提要

        約伯唱完了哀歌之後,比勒達接著發言。不過,比勒達不認為約伯在獲得理解之前,有資格說話(18:2)。他指責約伯侮辱他和其他的兩個朋友,說他們像動物一樣的愚蠢(18:3)。然後他轉向約伯,技巧地說,他自己才該受動物般的待遇,因為他個性頑固,且又惡劣。約伯曾責備上帝傷害他,但是比勒達則說,約伯自己愚蠢的說話,使自己墜入陷阱(18:7~10)。比勒達所說的惡人命運,就是指的約伯,而約伯也明白這回事。「死亡的長子」(18:13),可能就是指著約伯致命的、正在毀著他的皮膚病說的。他喪失了他的財產和家園(「帳篷」,約伯是半遊牧的人),以及「硫磺」(代表上帝的憤怒、審判、和咒詛)降在他的地上(18:14~15;參1:16;創19:24;申29:23)。

        對古代的東方人來說,斷嗣絕後是一個可怕的懲罰,而比勒達認為這便是惡人的報應。他明顯地指出,約伯所有的兒子都死了這一事實,因而約伯死後沒有後代,也無人紀念。比勒達權威地宣告:「這便是那些不認識上帝的人該去的地方/該在的位置」(18:21)。後來證明比勒達錯了,因為就藉著這一試驗,約伯的經歷證明他更認識上帝,而祂對約伯的記憶也沒有消滅;後來上帝給他更多的子女,而且直到今日,全世界的人藉著聖經,對約伯都非常了解,並歸榮於他。

        在十九章所記約伯的言論中,他已達到了信心的最高點。但在他這突然的醒悟前,他再度責罵他的辯論對手誤會他,而且覺得他們對他的百般辱罵,應該自感羞愧(19:2~3)。約伯回答比勒達的控訴,說他因報復而走入自己的網羅:「(上帝已經)用祂的網,四面圍困著我」(19:6)。約伯對於靈界的事,了解有限;因為他沒有一次考慮到,可能是死對頭撒但為他帶來了這些苦難。古人常把所發生的一切事情歸因於上帝,或是「神明們」(如果是多神教);但是聖靈引導下,經由約伯記的寫作,上帝啟示了更多撒但在地上的行為,我們該當戒懼(1,2章)。

        約伯感到弧單與疏離。所有他的朋友和家人,都離棄了他。這時,在他的生命中,需要真正的朋友;但是,卻無處可尋。約伯希望那些人,當時仍然使他受苦的「朋友」,只要能同情他一點,疼他一點,而不要逼迫他;因為他覺得,上帝給他的,已夠他受了。

        約伯也希望他的談話,特別是那些他即將要說的,關於神聖啟示之奧秘的話語,能記在書上,或刻在岩上,以便永傳後世(19:23~24)。上帝答應了這一祈求,他的話語真的被記了下來,不是寫在岩上,而在人的心上;因為這些都被寫在上帝藉著聖靈啟示的聖經上面。歷代以來,約伯的故事,和他所受的歧視,都觸動了人心,而帶來安慰、力量和鼓勵;使他們也能用耐心和信心勝過痛苦和災難。

        約伯已經豫先看見上帝作他的證人和確據。現在,由失望的深淵,約伯得到了一線亮光,和莫大的信心,他發現上帝是祂的救贖者(希伯來文作「目標」)。在上古文化中,救贖者往往是一位近親(親屬救贖者),他在需要的時候,可施幫助:諸如買回財產,贖回奴身,甚至作為報血仇者的對象。藉此他被救的親戚的名字,可以留存到子孫後代(申19:4~13;25:5~6利;25:25,48~49)。可是約伯既被自己的親人離棄,便只能倚靠上帝。他知道,在他的景況,只有上帝能幫助他勝過,並給他帶來安全感和和平。約伯的信心,在他講出神聖的救贖者,真正活著,並能來到且誕生於世界上時,便由心中逐漸昇起。祂是不僅護衛他、為他辯解,並且賜他得勝,讓他死後得以見上帝的那一位。無疑地,主已恩惠地把這點啟示約伯。事實上,上帝要做約伯的救贖者;並且今日,因著祂所差的兒子耶穌基督,救贖有罪的世人;而這一救贖,乃是在十字架上確實完成的──上帝仍是人類的救贖者(羅3:24;路1:68;來9:12;弗1:7;西1:14)。(因耶穌就是上帝穿上人的身體,譯註;見約1:14)。

禱告

        感謝主,您答應了約伯對您的呼求;並且他的話語也記下了,給我們閱讀。應允我們有和約伯一樣的信心,能宣告說:「我知道我的救贖者活著」。即或是在悲劇之中,也請賜給我們榮耀的信心。奉耶穌基督的名禱告,阿們。

English

Scriptures:Read Job 18&19
Key Verse:"For I know that my Redeemer lives,..."(Job 19:25-26)
Overview

        After Job had finished his lament, Bildad spoke up in his turn. However Bildad did not even think Job was worth speaking to, until he had gained understanding (18:2). He accused Job of insulting him and the other two friends, inferring they were stupid, like animals (18:3). Then he turned on Job and said indirectly that Job himself deserved to be treated like an animal because of his base nature and wickedness. Job had blamed God for hunting him, but Bildad said Job had trapped himself because of his own foolish words (18:7-10). Bildad's description of the fate of the wicked clearly refers to Job, and Job would have recognized it as such. The "firstborn of death" (18:13) was an expression likely referring to Job's deadly skin disease which was destroying him. He lost his possessions and his home ("tent", Job was semi-nomadic), and "brimstone" (which represents God's wrath, judgment, and curse) was upon his land (18:14-15; cf. 1:16; Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:23).

        A horrible punishment for an ancient eastern man was to be cut off without descendants, and Bildad asserted that this is what happens to the wicked. He was obviously referring to the fact that all Job's children had died, and so Job would die without posterity and without being remembered by anyone. Bildad authoritatively claimed that "this is the place [position] of him who does not know God" (18:21). Bildad was later proven wrong, for through these very trials, Job was in the process of knowing God better, and the memory of Job did not die with him; God later gave him many children, and even to this day Job is well known and honoured all over the world through the Holy Word of God.

        In Job's speech, found in chapter nineteen, he reached the climax of his faith, but before this sudden dawning came upon him, he again rebuked his fellow-debaters for wronging him and felt they should be ashamed of themselves for the numerous ways they had reproached him (19:2-3). Job answered Bildad's accusation of walking into his own net (18:8) by retorting, "[God had] surrounded me with His net" (19:6). Job had a limited understanding of the spiritual realm, for not once did he take into consideration the possibility that it was Satan, the Adversary, who had brought the suffering upon him. The ancients attributed everything that took place to God, or to "the gods" if they were polytheistic; but through the writing of the book of Job, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, God revealed more about Satan's activities on the earth so we might become more aware (chapters 1 and 2). ,

        Job felt alone and alienated. All his friends and even his family had deserted him. At this time in his life, he needed true friends, but they were nowhere to be found. Job wished that those men, whom he still referred to as "friends," would only sympathize with him and take pity on him, instead of persecuting him, for he felt that God had done enough of that.

        Job also wished that his words were recorded in a book or inscribed on a rock, so they would last forever (19:23-24), especially those wonderful words of divine revelation he was just about to utter (19:25-27). The Lord answered this prayer, and indeed his words were written down, not upon rocks but upon people's hearts, for they came to be written in God's inspired Holy Bible. Throughout the generations, the story of Job and his contemplations have touched people's hearts and brought comfort, strength, and encouragement, that they too might overcome pain and suffering with patience and faith.

        Job had previously seen God as his witness and surety. Now, from the depths of despair, a light shines upon Job, and with great conviction of heart, he sees God as his Redeemer (Hebrew, goel). In the ancient culture, a redeemer was usually a close relative (kinsman-redeemer) who would help in the time of need, such as buying back property, buying back from slavery, or even acting as a blood-avenger. This would ensure that this deceased relative's name would be carried on in posterity (Deuteronomy 19:4-13; 25:5-6; Leviticus 25:25, 48-49). Job/however, had been deserted by his relatives; he could only rely on God. Job knew that in his situation only God could help him to overcome and bring to him a sense of security and peace. Job's faith welled up within him as he pictured his divine Redeemer who truly-lived and could come to stand upon the earth. He was the One who would not only defend and vindicate him, but give him the victory, so that after he died, he might see God. Without a doubt, the Lord had graciously revealed this to Job. Indeed, God was to be Job's Redeemer, and He still is today because He sent His Son Jesus Christ to redeem the world, and this redemption was sealed on the cross (Romans 3:24; Luke 1:68; Hebrews 9:12; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14).

Prayer

        Thank You, Lord, that You answered Job's pry to You and his words have been written for us to read. Grant us the same faith Job had when he declared "I know my Redeemer liveth." Even in the midst of tragedy, grant us this glorious confidence.


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