Tuesday, December 5, 2023


No 32  He Cried
By the time we get to Job Chapter 3, weeks, if not months, have passed. I go for months. Job himself makes reference to months in Job 29:1,2― Moreover Job continued his parable, and said, Oh that I were as in months past. Notice other translations:
CSB If only I could be as in months gone by
CEB Oh, that life was like it used to be
CJB I wish I were as in the old days
CEV I long for the past
ERV I wish my life could be the same as it was a few months ago
EASY I would like my life to be as it was before, many months ago
EHV Oh how I wish I could be as I used to be in the months gone by
ISV I wish I could go back to how things were a few months ago 
Oh that I were as in months past (KJV) is expressed nicely in ISV’s I wish I could go back to how things were a few months ago. How many times have we said that in our own lives? It expresses the idea that matters in our lives were settled then, whereas, they are not quite so settled now. We lived months back in the middle of answers, whereas, now we swim (and are drowning) in questions. Months ago there was no pain. Pain is all I know today. Every one of us can tell that story differently―as differently as our lives are.
And so Job. Notice how his words continue in that same verse: Oh that I were as in months past, as in the days when God preserved me; When his candle shined upon my head, and when by his light I walked through darkness; As I was in the days of my youth, when the secret of God was upon my tabernacle; When the Almighty was yet with me. Allow my paraphrase: Months ago, as I lived, I knew God was taking care of me―watching over me―protecting me. I was afraid of nothing, and I had no cares for anything. I was living my life so innocently as I did when I was young. Not a worry in the world. The next statement from his lips tells his truth: When the Almighty was yet with me. 
Clearly, Job is expressing his heart of the moment → God is no longer with me. Months ago, He was. Now He isn’t. Job has gone from reveling in God’s love and basking in the Sun of His righteousness into stark darkness and utter loneliness. God was gone from his life.
Let’s catch up the last few months. In one day he lost everything meaningful in his life except for his wife and home. Shortly after those losses, he lost his health (Satan’s dastardly deed). Then he moves out of his home to go live at the city dump. [We have considered that he may have done so to prevent his wife from contracting whatever evil condition he had on his skin.] Boils and blisters cover his body. He skin itches so badly he scrapes himself with a broken piece of pottery. The lesions ooze drainage and fester. Every part of his body is wracked with pain. Nothing brings relief. Tomorrow will be the same as today―if not worse. So many days have passed that he has no hope of healing. This is his life. It continues only till he shall die, and that, he is sure, will be soon. A person can only endure so much. He was at his limit. Will today be the day I die? If not today, will it happen tomorrow? Bring it on! I’m ready! Anything is better than this!
Yet the days continue. Does his wife drop off a daily care package with just enough morsel to get him through another day? And, oh yes, don’t forget what the local kids are doing to him as he sits on his pile of ashes awaiting the relief of death. The neighborhood kids come out to taunt and curse him. And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword. They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face (Job 30:9,10). Months ago, Job had the tender respect of all around him―even the kids.
7 When I went out to the gate through the city,
when I prepared my seat in the street! 
8 The young men saw me, and hid themselves:
and the aged arose, and stood up. 
9 The princes refrained talking,
and laid their hand on their mouth. 
10 The nobles held their peace,
and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth. 
11 When the ear heard me, then it blessed me;
and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me (Job 29:7-11).  
Now the kids laugh at and make fun of him. They trip him just to laugh at him when he falls down. They push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction. They mar my path, they set forward my calamity (Job 30:12,13). As Job 30:10 said, spit in my face.
That how a day passes for Job. Just enough food to keep him alive so that he can be abused.
16 And now my soul is poured out upon me;
the days of affliction have taken hold upon me.
17 My bones are pierced in me in the night season:
and my sinews take no rest.
18 By the great force of my disease is my garment changed:
it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat.
19 He hath cast me into the mire,
and I am become like dust and ashes.
20 I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me:
I stand up, and thou regardest me not.
21 Thou art become cruel to me:
with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me.
22 Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it,
and dissolvest my substance.
23 For I know that thou wilt bring me to death,
and to the house appointed for all living.
24 Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave,
though they cry in his destruction.
25 Did not I weep for him that was in trouble?
was not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 When I looked for good, then evil came unto me:
and when I waited for light, there came darkness.
27 My bowels boiled, and rested not:
the days of affliction prevented me
(Job 30:16-27). 
Did you catch verses 20 and 21? He cries to God, but God does not hear him. God has become cruel to me. And verse 23―I know You are going to kill me. I looked for good, but only evil came unto me (Job 30:26). Is it any wonder that out of the depth of his suffering, Job cries out in anguish?

God is gone from me!

God is gone from me!
God is gone from me!
And so he sits and sits. He may not have noticed the arrival of his three best friends who had come from considerable distances to visit him and to come to mourn with him and to comfort him (Job 2:11). Notice the full passage: Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great (Job 2:11-13).  
They sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights. And they did not speak a word to him. Several customs of the day will be identified as we progress through these Scriptures. The custom here is to wait until the bereaved speaks before you speak. And they do. They wait. Seven days is a long time to sit on the ground waiting for someone to finally speak.

Could it be that Job had so blocked from his awareness the presence of people around him because of all the bad things they were doing and saying to him that he was unaware of three silent and quiet persons sitting near him? Could it be that he only became aware of their presence seven days after their arrival?

He looks up and sees them. Ah . . . friends! My friends have come to comfort me and help me.  Alas . . .somebody cares. And because they are friends, he finally opens his mouth and his anguish bursts forth profusely. Haven’t we done that with our friends at times? Among friends, isn’t it safe to say what’s on your mind―right?
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day (Job 3:1). What a way to begin! But, it’s OK. He’s with his friends. When Job finally lets loose, he will have many curses to throw out into the air and into his friends ears. But Job all the while remains careful about what he is cursing. He very, very carefully chooses his words. His cursing will be guided by this principle: He will never curse God. His deep reverence for God would allow no such blasphemous word from his lips. No matter what―he will not curse God.
        In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly (Job 1:22).
        In all this did not Job sin with his lips (Job 2:10).
At the beginning of all this, Satan was certain―absolutely certain―he could get Job to curse God. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face (Job 1:11). But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face (Job 2:5). Satan spoke both of these sentences. And Satan did not accomplish his task―he did not prove his assertions. 

Though his thinking has changed in these many months after it all began, Job will still not (and never does he) curse God. We will identify how Job’s thinking did change as we progress onward. And his thinking about God did change. Toward the end of the Book, his thinking about God will change again. This cycle may have been repeated several times. We will attempt to track his progress. There’s a word I like better than progress as used in the last sentence. I prefer the word growth. For certainly Job will grow in his understanding of God. You and I are in constant growth in the knowledge of God, are we not? The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day (Prov 4:18). The light of truth that shines in our heart is as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts (2 Pert 1:19). Never will we stop growing. Through this life and even into the world to come, we will find heaven to be a ceaseless approaching unto God.
As through Jesus we enter into rest, heaven begins here. We respond to His invitation, Come, learn of Me, and in thus coming we begin the life eternal. Heaven is a ceaseless approaching to God through Christ. The longer we are in the heaven of bliss, the more and still more of glory will be opened to us; and the more we know of God, the more intense will be our happiness. (Ellen G. White, The Desire of Ages, page 331).

We will close this study with Job and his three friends sitting on the ground together. The next study will consider issues in Job Chapter 3. Now that he has someone who will listen to him, Job begins what some call a soliloquy―a talking aloud with one’s self. One man’s talk. Not a conversation which goes back and forth. One way talk―not so much to his friends’ ears, but to God’s ears―for God is Job’s target audience. The three friends―Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar―serve more as witnesses to his talk.

Please send questions or comments to Will Hardin at P O Box 24 Owenton KY 40359 or
use the comments via Google section below.

No comments:

Post a Comment

No 48 Job's Ladder Satan's Lies  One of Satan’s many lies (installed in the Garden of Eden) is that God blesses you when you are goo...