Losing All; Trusting God

Posted: June 1, 2011 in Job

Job 1-3, “Losing All; Trusting God”

What do you do when tragedy strikes?  Do you blame God?  Or do you blame yourself, thinking you must have done something terrible to deserve the tragedy?  Too often that’s exactly the way we think when it comes to the question of evil & suffering.  We believe either: (1) we absolutely deserve the suffering that’s come upon us – it’s some sort of cosmic karma that we’ve earned, or (2) God must not be just since He’s allowed this to happen…it’s all God’s fault.  Such is the context of the book of Job.  Job had been blessed by God, but in an instant all his blessings were taken away & he’s left in tremendous physical and emotional agony.  What is he to do?

The book of Job goes straight to the heart against the common teaching that God always brings physical and material blessings to those He loves.  Absolutely wrong!  God DOES certainly bless us – but our blessings are on a spiritual level in this life as we have relationship with God & forgiveness through Christ & empowerment by the Spirit.  Any material blessings we receive are certainly a gift from God, but they are not to be expected in this life.  Material blessings are a promise for eternity; not for earth.  Paul understood this when he was told by God, “My grace is sufficient for you,” (2 Cor 12:9).  Jesus explicitly taught this when He taught that the humble would be exalted (Lk 14:11)…  Showed it in the parables through the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16)…  Jesus lived the example Himself as He did not have a place to lay His head during His earthly ministry (Mt 8:20)… Yet surely Jesus is the most blessed Man who has ever lived!  God has raised Him up to the highest place!

Yet this is the lesson we so often forget when we fall into the trap of thinking: good things happen to good people, and bad things happen to bad people.  Life simply isn’t that simplistic.  Bad things & tragic things DO happen to people whom God loves (every day!), and there isn’t always an easy answer for it.  Sometimes there’s never an earthly answer at all.  So how do we deal with the silence of God?  That’s the core of Job’s struggle – and though he eventually falters in this question, he finally does submit himself to God – even after God spends 4 chapters never giving him an answer.

The issue for Job (and for us) is one of trust.  Will we trust God when all other circumstances seem to say that God is not worthy of our trust?  God IS worthy of our trust; despite the circumstances.

Regarding the writing of the book, much is left in mystery.  The author is unknown, as is the date of the writing.  Suggestions have been made ranging from Moses to Solomon to Ezekiel – with no real proof provided for us in history.  What does seem apparent is the date of the events: Job seems to have lived during the days of the Patriarchs, and before the Law was given.  Job is extraordinarily familiar with the one true God & has immense saving faith in the Living Redeemer – but there’s no mention of the nation of Israel whatsoever.  Perhaps Job and Abraham’s descendants of Isaac & Jacob were contemporaries, but there’s no real way of knowing.

What’s more important is that this book recounts accurate history.  Granted, the literary style is in the form of epic poetry, but there’s no reason at all to assume that the events are fiction.  Ezekiel refers to Job as a real person (Eze 14:14), as does James.  James actually gives us the reason for the writing of the book: James 5:11, "Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." []  Although it seems to be ironic in a book that demonstrates how God allows His people to suffer, Job was written to show us how our loving God is indeed compassionate & merciful.  He is truly worthy of our trust, even when we’ve lost everything.

Job 1 (NKJV)
1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil.

  1. Where was Uz?  Scholars are uncertain…some think this was in the area of Edom (modern Jordan); others believe it was closer to Syria.  Obviously the people of the day knew the reference – this was a real place with a real person.
  2. From the very get-go, Job is proclaimed to be “blameless.”  During the entirety of the book, his friends are going to be calling his righteousness & behavior into question, but the author of the book makes it absolutely clear that this is never an issue for Job.  An immediate emphasis is placed upon the fact that Job was righteous & had a pure faith in God.
    1. Question: could Job have been truly blameless/righteous (KJV = “perfect”)?  Obviously not.  As Paul quotes to the Romans from Psalms, “There is none righteous, no, not one,” (Rom 3:10).  Yet the issue here is not 100% perfect behavior that would have earned his own salvation; it’s a general moral behavior that was the result of his faith in God.  IOW, Job’s blamelessness is a similar sort of blamelessness expected from leaders in the church (1 Tim 3) – the behavior of a person that lived life above sinful reproach in light of what the Lord had already done for him.
    2. How important it is to remember that our righteousness comes from Jesus Christ alone!  It’s faith in Jesus & His work on the cross on our behalf that God uses to grant us righteousness – just as Abraham believed God & it was accounted to him for righteousness (Gen 15:6).  It’s the same way with us.  We don’t start out blameless, but after we come to faith in Christ we are to live our lives as righteous representatives of the Lord Jesus.
  3. How was Job’s faith shown?  Through his fear of God.  The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Pro 9:10) – it’s the right reverence that we ought to have when acknowledging God to be the Sovereign Creator of the Universe.  Our greatest commandment is to love God…yet our love of God has to be founded in the proper fear of God.  Otherwise we could ask if we understand Who it is we claim to love.

2 And seven sons and three daughters were born to him. 3 Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household, so that this man was the greatest of all the people of the East.

  1. The author sets the tone for the massive blessing that Job had received.  He had been given a large family, a huge number of animals, and enough servants to attend to them all.  In a day when wealth was not measured by stock portfolios but livestock counts, Job’s wealth had few rivals.  He was rich, respected, and beloved by his family – what else could a man ask for?

4 And his sons would go and feast in their houses, each on his appointed day, and would send and invite their three sisters to eat and drink with them.

  1. Not only did he have a large family, but apparently they all loved each other very much.  Everyone assembled for birthdays & other feast days – the daughters being included right along with the sons. (Unusual for the day)  Apparently Job had been an excellent father & had taught his children to love one another.

5 So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly.

  1. Job doesn’t not appear to have been a Levite – but he seems to have lived prior to the Mosaic law being given.  During the days of the patriarchs, the father would serve as the family priest – which is exactly what Job is described to do here.
  2. Had he assumed evil of his children?  No – but he knew that even the best of us can slip & fall into sin sometimes.  As a result, he continually interceded for his kids, presenting sacrifices on their behalf in atonement for sin. (Looking forward to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus at the cross…)
  3. The point?  Job was a faithful man.  He was faithful in his wealth – faithful in his family – faithful in the things of God.  This was a morally upright man who had been completely blessed by God.  Keep this in mind as we go through the book.  Job will have tough days to come – but NOTHING that happens to him in his trials is as a result of his sin.  God makes that perfectly plain in the prelude.

6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them.

  1. For clarity, “sons of God” is not a reference to other sons along the same lines as Jesus.  Jesus is the only begotten son of God the Father (John 3:16); there is none like Him.  Jesus is God of true God – the 2nd part of the Holy Trinity.  In contrast, “sons of God” here is simply a reference to the angels.  They are the sons of God, as opposed to the sons of men.
  2. What are they doing?  Presenting themselves before God – and apparently angels & demons alike participated.  Satan himself was in their midst.  Objection: “But I thought Satan wasn’t allowed in Heaven?”  Technically, Satan won’t be allowed in the New Heavens & New Earth – after the Millennial Kingdom of Jesus Christ, Satan will be cast into the lake of fire for eternity.  But until that time, he is alive & active in this world & apparently can go into the presence of God in His heavenly throne room.  That doesn’t mean God can’t (and hasn’t) cast Satan out before – but it also doesn’t forbid Satan from ever entering there again with God’s permission.
    1. Emphasizes an important spiritual truth about Satan: Satan isn’t God.  Although that seems obvious, we sometimes seem to forget this.  It’s not as if God is the “good” God & Satan is the “bad” god & forever they duke it out on equal terms…  God ALONE is God, and when God commands someone to appear before Him, that person MUST answer – even if that person is Satan the Devil.  Although Satan continues in rebellion against God, Satan is still subject to God.  If God wills Satan to do something, the Devil has no choice but to do it.

7 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

  1. This still happens today.  1 Peter 5:8, "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." []  Just as the Devil looked for people to torture during Job’s day, so he looks for people he can torment today.  Praise God a day is coming when this adversary/accuser will be locked away & then forever dealt with!

8 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”

  1. God understood immediately what Satan was getting at.  By saying he was walking to & fro on the earth was an insinuation of the Devil’s power among the world (Jesus acknowledged that he is the ruler of this world – Jn 12:31) & he was surveying all of the unrighteousness that was there.  Satan had been successful in tempting Adam & Eve to sin (though even that had been allowed & foreknown by God), and it seems that the Devil was gloating.  In response, God shows the Devil someone that the Devil couldn’t gloat about: Job.
  2. Question: is God offering Job up for the slaughter (as it were)?  No.  God is proud of Job!  God has absolute confidence in the faith that He knows is in Job & that Satan has nothing on him. Obviously Job knows nothing of this conversation – and if the Holy Spirit had not revealed it to the author of the book, we’d never know about it either.  It’s worth wondering, however: what (if any) are the conversations that God has about you & me?  We have no clue about the conversations of heaven, but we can know this much: in Christ, God sees us as blameless & upright, just like Job.  In Christ, God sees us as His own servants, just like Job.  In Christ, God even sees us as His own children.  Praise God!  The blessings of the thoughts of God towards us!

9 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? 10 Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. 11 But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”

  1. We’ve heard of “fair weather friends” – Satan basically accuses Job of being a “fair weather” believer.  The Devil’s response back to God is: “Sure, Job fears you – why wouldn’t he?  You’ve bribed him through Your blessings.”  Job seemed to have been one of the wealthiest men on the planet – why wouldn’t he worship God?
    1. Of course wealth is no guarantee of worship.  It’s not hard to find examples of extremely rich men & women who are wealthy in the things of this world, but destitute & impoverished when it comes to their true spiritual need of salvation.  On the contrary, some of the poorest people on the planet have some of the richest faith in Christ.  Obviously Satan has never been too concerned with the truth; he’s simply living up to his name as the “adversary” & accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10).  Satan hates born-again believers, and he’ll trump up any charge he can in order to try to take us down.
  2. What’s Satan really claiming here?  Basically that God is not worthy of worship on His own & that the only reason people do worship Him is because God bribes them.  From his initial fall, Satan has always been envious of God & wants to be worshipped AS god – and his pettiness is showing here. 

12 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power; only do not lay a hand on his person.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

  1. Amazing!  God actually allows Satan to go after Job – though with a limitation on what Satan can do.  Question: “Is this right for God?  Is this how a just God ought to act?” [] We may not like the answer, which is: those aren’t the right questions to be asking.  We need to understand that we worship the INFINITE Almighty God whose ways are higher than our ways and thoughts are higher than our thoughts. (Isa 55:9)  The only reason we know this much about Job’s circumstances is because God graciously revealed them to us.
  2. It’s impossible for us to question God’s motives (as an infinitely lower created being, how could we even expect to understand certain things?); it IS possible for us to ask about God’s actions.  IOW, it’s not the “why,” but the “what” that we ought to ask.  The “why” might be forever unknown, but the “what” is often revealed to us.  What happened with Job?  God gave permission to Satan to go after Job, but it was a limited permission.  Satan was sovereignly limited by God & could not go beyond God’s allowance because God is infinitely stronger than Satan.  The “what” is: God allowed a circumstance, but still supervised it.
    1. The same could be said about any number of things that we face.  We don’t know “why” a loved one died, but we do know the “what”: God is still in control & He loves us.  We don’t know “why” we’re struggling so hard financially, but we do know the “what”: God is our loving provider, and will provide wisdom when we ask.  We don’t know “why” certain temptations grab us the way they do, but we know the “what”: God has promised to provide a way of escape.  There are many questions for which we’ll never know the “why” – but we can often know the “what” – and beyond that, we know the “Who.”  God Himself is on the throne, and we are His children through Jesus Christ.  Jesus has already demonstrated His love for us by dying for us while we were yet sinners.  The “Who” is absolutely phenomenal – and when we maintain our focus on Him, He’ll get us through those times that we ask “why.”

13 Now there was a day when his sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house; 14 and a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, 15 when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 16 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!” 17 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

  1. In a single day, all of Job’s vast wealth was taken from him.  Whether through theft & war, or by natural disasters (lightning storms) – everything was gone.  Livestock, servants – all stolen or killed, with just a single survivor in each case.  Yet the worst was yet to be announced.

18 While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, 19 and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people, and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”

  1. The death of the servants alone would have been tragic, but this was the worst possible outcome.  A final natural disaster (a tornado) took the life of all of his children at one time.  Total tragedy.
  2. Keep in mind the chronology of how all of this took place.  As soon as one servant delivered the news, another would come in.  In a matter of minutes, Job’s entire life changed.  One moment he was wealthy & had a happy family; the next minute he was destitute & childless. 
  3. In popular movies today, Satan is often portrayed as a sympathetic character – as if he’s been misunderstood by the world & not such a bad guy.  Let there be no doubt that Satan is a murderer.  God had given permission for Satan to do what he wished, save touching the physical person of Job & what does he turn around to do?  Kill multitudes of servants & all of Job’s children.  The Devil is a murderer – as Jesus said, he does not come except to steal, kill, and destroy (Jn 10:10).  This is not a sympathetic misunderstood character; this is an evil enemy of God who will rightly be tortured forever in the lake of fire in Hell.

20 Then Job arose, tore his robe, and shaved his head; and he fell to the ground and worshiped.

  1. Sign of humility, brokenness, and mourning.  No doubt, this would have struck Job to the core of his being.  Yet notice what else he did: worshiped God.
  2. Objection: “How can someone possibly worship God as such as time like that?!”  Scripture never tells us if this was easy or difficult for Job; it simply tells us that he did it.  And no doubt it was the best possible thing to do.  We CAN worship God even in the midst of our grief.  God does not stop being God when tears stream down our face. If anything, those are the times that we need to be in the presence of God the MOST; we certainly cannot afford to turn our back on God during times of sorrow.  Who better to comfort us than the God who loves us, died for us, and brought us into His own family?
  3. How did Job worship?  See vs. 21…

21 And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; Blessed be the name of the LORD.” 22 In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong.

  1. Job had the right perspective.  As much as this grieved him (and don’t fall into the trap of thinking this didn’t hurt), Job understood the sovereignty of God.  Job did not question God’s motives; he simply understood God’s grace.  Truly everything that we have (including family members) are a gift from God – everything in the entire universe is God’s to command and control.  If God gives, we proclaim His name to be blessed.  Yet God is still blessed even when He takes away.
  2. Keep in mind there are two innocent parties here: Job and God.  Job did not charge God with wrong – but neither did God DO any wrong.  God was absolutely innocent in all of this.  God permits evil, but God is not the author of it – and there’s a big difference between the two!

Job 2 (NKJV)
1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the LORD. 2 And the LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”

  1. Repeat of what happened before.  Apparently, this was a fairly regular occurrence. Note Satan doesn’t bring up the subject of Job at all (knowing that he failed in his temptation).  God prompts his memory a bit…

3 Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.”

  1. God affirms that Job’s faith had not changed.  Job was just as blameless & upright after his trials as he had been prior to them.  Again, there’s absolutely no question here of Job’s innocence – God explicitly says that the Devil was the one who incited God to allow these things; it had nothing to do with Job.  The attempt to destroy him was “without cause.
    1. Why is this point getting hammered so much?  Because that’s exactly our assumption so often.  Job’s friends will assume it of him – and we’re no different overall.  When asking Jesus about a man born blind, the disciples’ specifically asked if was the man’s sin or his parent’s sin that caused him to be born blind.  Jesus’ reply was simple, but profound: John 9:3, "Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him." []  The blind man had been born blind in order to show forth the glory of God when Jesus would go on to heal him.  Likewise with Job’s sufferings.  He hadn’t done anything to deserve the suffering, but God would be glorified through it all.
    2. Beware of the spiritual blame game!  Trust Christ, and know that God is somehow working things to His glory.
  2. Interestingly, it seems that God is boasting in Job.  Gotta love that. J Like any father who is proud of his child that did the right thing, so God the Father is proud of His children.  Writing of the fulfillment of the promises to Jerusalem, Zephaniah prophesied that God would rejoice over them with gladness & singing (Zeph 3:17).  What a marvelous thought it is that God Himself would rejoice over us because of the grace shown to us in Christ Jesus!

4 So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. 5 But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” 6 And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”

  1. Satan’s 2nd accusation against Job.  Earlier, he had accused Job of worshipping God out of a bribe of blessings; next he accuses Job of hypocrisy.  In the Devil’s twisted thinking, he basically said, “Sure, Job will worship you when someone else gets hurt; but not when his own body is tortured – he’ll hate you then!”  Obviously Satan ignores the emotional anguish that Job endured by losing all 10 of his children in a single day – all that matters to the Slanderer is a baseless accusation.
    1. The Devil is a liar.  The sooner we learn that, the better!
  2. Again, God grants Satan limited permission to act.  Satan could touch his body, but not his life. Spiritually, we can endure something similar.  In spiritual warfare, we can endure all sorts of trials and temptations from the Devil.  We can endure all sorts of attacks (and we are promised that they will come).  Yet the Devil can never take our eternal life away from us.  He cannot snatch us out of the Father’s hand! (Jn 10:29)

7 So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. 8 And he took for himself a potsherd with which to scrape himself while he sat in the midst of the ashes.

  1. What the specific physical disease was, we don’t know.  Some have suggested a type of smallpox – whatever it was, it seemed to thicken his skin enough to where the only scraping that would bring relief was a piece of broken pottery.  Job was left in constant physical pain and anguish – all added on top of his emotional anguish from losing his family.
  2. What does Job need?  A comforter.  He’s not going to get it…

9 Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!”

  1. Not exactly helpful.  Just a hint wives: don’t take counseling lessons from Job’s wife!
  2. To be fair, Job’s wife had lost just as much as Job had (other than the physical pain).  All 10 of her children were gone & she was now as poor & destitute as Job was.  Yet she gave into the temptation of Satan, and thought cursing God was deserved.  Whereas Job had praised God, his wife did exactly what Satan had attempted to get Job to do.
  3. It’s also possible she thought that if Job cursed God, God would allow Job to die, thus putting him (and her) out of his misery.  Even so – where is the compassion here?  Where is the comfort?  Good spouses point their mates TO God; not away from Him.  As a helpmate, Job’s wife failed.  (Thankfully, it seems that they reconcile at the end of the book.)

10 But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

  1. Her words were indeed foolish.  Job understood that true faith means that we have faith in God at ALL times, in ALL circumstances.  Faith that lasts only as long as the next blessing isn’t faith; it’s spiritual harlotry.  Faith that only exists in times of blessing is a pseudo-faith that will just as easily go to the next so-called “god” down the road that gives a blessing as well.  True faith sticks to Christ, no matter what.  As Simon Peter affirmed to Jesus after some really tough teaching – “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (Jn 6:68)  True faith acknowledges that outside of Jesus Christ, we have no other place to turn.  The truth of the matter is that God is God & we’re not.  If we can’t go through Jesus & receive what He has to give, then we can’t go at all.
  2. Job passed this test as well – though the results of this will last the remainder of the book.

11 Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his own place—Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite. For they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him, and to comfort him. 12 And when they raised their eyes from afar, and did not recognize him, they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven. 13 So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his grief was very great.

  1. If the book had ended here, this would have been a wonderful report about his friends.  Some of them seemed to have travelled far distances to get there, and once they arrived they simply grieved alongside Job.  They rent their clothes & sat in the same ashes Job sat it.  They were silent for 7 days (the time of grief after someone had died), and simply wept with Job.  If they had but stayed silent, they would have offered a tremendous ministry to their friend!
  2. Sometimes we lose sight of this when we’re ministering to someone who’s grieving.  We feel a pressure to say something, and (more often than not) we end up saying the wrong thing.  Silence is OK!  There’s no reason to force out meaningless words or trite clichés.  In times of grief, people often don’t need forced explanations; they simply need someone to comfort them & be with them.  Weep with those who weep (Rom 12:15).

Job 3 (NKJV)
1 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.

  1. Ch 3 is when the book begins in earnest.  We’re going to find that there’s a lot of honest emotion in the next 30+ chapters – even if the doctrine isn’t 100% certain.  It’s been established that Job thus far had not sinned; what he’s going to go on to say are simply the honest words of a hurting heart.  What his friends are going to say contain a lot of half-truths & straight out error.  From this point until the response from God at the end of the book, we need to read with a discerning eye.  What is recorded is accurate to what was said; but it may not be completely accurate regarding the character of God or His desires for us.

2 And Job spoke, and said: 3 “May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, ‘A male child is conceived.’ 4 May that day be darkness; May God above not seek it, Nor the light shine upon it. 5 May darkness and the shadow of death claim it; May a cloud settle on it; May the blackness of the day terrify it. 6 As for that night, may darkness seize it; May it not rejoice among the days of the year, May it not come into the number of the months. 7 Oh, may that night be barren! May no joyful shout come into it! 8 May those curse it who curse the day, Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan. 9 May the stars of its morning be dark; May it look for light, but have none, And not see the dawning of the day; 10 Because it did not shut up the doors of my mother’s womb, Nor hide sorrow from my eyes.

  1. Job 1st curses the day of his birth (and even the day of his very conception).  In understandable anguish, he wishes that the day never existed on the calendar, but would disappear completely.  In his grief, Job says that if he had never been born, he never would have experienced all of his current sorrow.
  2. In a sense, that’s true – but he also would never have experienced all of the years of blessing.  He would have missed out on all of the years of happiness that had come before.  Yet that’s exactly what depression & grief does: blind our eyes to everything except the immediate circumstance.  (Which is one reason it’s important to simply weep with those who endure those times.)

11 “Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb? 12 Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse? 13 For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; Then I would have been at rest 14 With kings and counselors of the earth, Who built ruins for themselves, 15 Or with princes who had gold, Who filled their houses with silver;

  1. Next, Job wishes he had died as soon as newborn infant.  What normally is a day of rejoicing had turned into a day of regret for Job.  In his mind, in death, at least he would have gone to the abode of the dead (Sheol, the Hebrew concept of the Greek “Hades”).  At least there, he would have joined others.

16 Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child, Like infants who never saw light? 17 There the wicked cease from troubling, And there the weary are at rest. 18 There the prisoners rest together; They do not hear the voice of the oppressor. 19 The small and great are there, And the servant is free from his master.

  1. Job backs up even further to wish himself a stillborn child.  Again, he cries out to be in the place of the dead, where he believes he would finally find rest.  In his mind, he thought that even the wicked & oppressed equally find rest in death – surely he would as well.
  2. In truth, this isn’t what we see in the New Testament.  The believer certainly finds rest, as we’re absent from the body & present with the Lord (2 Cor 5:8).  Yet that’s not the case with people who have rejected Christ as Lord.  It’s appointed to them to die once & then go to judgment (Hb 9:27).  There is no rest for them.

20 “Why is light given to him who is in misery, And life to the bitter of soul, 21 Who long for death, but it does not come, And search for it more than hidden treasures; 22 Who rejoice exceedingly, And are glad when they can find the grave? 23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, And whom God has hedged in? 24 For my sighing comes before I eat, And my groanings pour out like water. 25 For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me. 26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes.”

  1. Job has found no rest – and wonders why he cannot die.  He had feared a day like the one he was experiencing, and he saw no possibility of relief from it.

Conclusion:
Did Job suffer?  No doubt.  His suffering was raw & at the deepest levels emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  No amount of theology can take away the reality of what Job endured.  Yet theology does tell us two things: (1) Job was not being punished by God, and (2) God loved Job in the midst of his sufferings.

Our sufferings are absolutely real.  No nice sounding Christian pop-theology platitude can take away the reality of it.  Yet the theology of Job is just as true for us: as child of God, God loves you in the midst of your suffering…even as He allows it.

Above all when we think of suffering, we need to remember there is One who suffered on our behalf.  If there is ever a day we believe that we have not done anything to deserve our suffering (and indeed, we may not have) – surely Jesus did absolutely nothing deserving of suffering.  He was absolutely innocent.  As blameless as Job was, the righteousness of Christ Jesus infinitely exceeded that of Job’s.  Yet Jesus in all of His righteousness still suffered & still died.  Of all the sufferings we may not have deserved, HIS suffering was certainly the suffering we all deserved.  He died on our behalf – He took the wrath of God that WE deserved – His body was broken for us in order that we might be forgiven and live.

There are two responses to all of that: (1) Turn away from sin & surrender your life to Jesus Christ as your God & King. … (2) In whatever way in which you’re suffering, turn in faith to the One who has suffered for you.  Beyond anyone else, He understands tragedy, pain, and heartache…  When you’ve lost it all, turn to the One who sacrificed it all for you – He’s worthy of your trust.

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