Job 7-9

job7.jpgGreetings!  Job shifts from responding to his friend, Eliphaz, and begins speaking to God.  He is clearly in anguish and very depressed.  He doesn’t understand the situation but doesn’t appear to accuse God outright.  It is challenging enough not to sin, but especially so when we are suffering.

Job correctly notes that God watches over us, but it isn’t in the sense of watching us be tormented.  Part of faith is reminding ourselves that God wins in the end and that He can make good come out of evil. 

7     “Does not man have hard service on earth?

Are not his days like those of a hired man?

2 Like a slave longing for the evening shadows,

or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages,

3 so I have been allotted months of futility,

and nights of misery have been assigned to me.

4 When I lie down I think, ‘How long before I get up?’

The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.

5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs,

my skin is broken and festering.

6 “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle,

and they come to an end without hope.

7 Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath;

my eyes will never see happiness again.

8 The eye that now sees me will see me no longer;

you will look for me, but I will be no more.

9 As a cloud vanishes and is gone,

so he who goes down to the grave does not return.

10 He will never come to his house again;

his place will know him no more.

11 “Therefore I will not keep silent;

I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,

I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

12 Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep,

that you put me under guard?

13 When I think my bed will comfort me

and my couch will ease my complaint,

14 even then you frighten me with dreams

and terrify me with visions,

15 so that I prefer strangling and death,

rather than this body of mine.

16 I despise my life; I would not live forever.

Let me alone; my days have no meaning.

17 “What is man that you make so much of him,

that you give him so much attention,

18 that you examine him every morning

and test him every moment?

19 Will you never look away from me,

or let me alone even for an instant?

20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,

O watcher of men?

Why have you made me your target?

Have I become a burden to you?

21 Why do you not pardon my offenses

and forgive my sins?

For I will soon lie down in the dust;

you will search for me, but I will be no more.”

Now Bildad responds and criticizes Job’s words.  He assumed that Job was suffering because of Job’s sins and not for some other reason.  We do suffer from our sins, but we can also suffer because of natural causes or the consequences of the sins of others.

Bildad

8     Then Bildad the Shuhite replied:

2 “How long will you say such things?

Your words are a blustering wind.

3 Does God pervert justice?

Does the Almighty pervert what is right?

4 When your children sinned against him,

he gave them over to the penalty of their sin.

5 But if you will look to God

and plead with the Almighty,

6 if you are pure and upright,

even now he will rouse himself on your behalf

and restore you to your rightful place.

7 Your beginnings will seem humble,

so prosperous will your future be.

8 “Ask the former generations

and find out what their fathers learned,

9 for we were born only yesterday and know nothing,

and our days on earth are but a shadow.

10 Will they not instruct you and tell you?

Will they not bring forth words from their understanding?

11 Can papyrus grow tall where there is no marsh?

Can reeds thrive without water?

12 While still growing and uncut,

they wither more quickly than grass.

13 Such is the destiny of all who forget God;

so perishes the hope of the godless.

Job’s friends mix some truths in with their misunderstandings.  Forgetting God will lead to hopelessness and damnation.

14 What he trusts in is fragile;

what he relies on is a spider’s web.

15 He leans on his web, but it gives way;

he clings to it, but it does not hold.

16 He is like a well-watered plant in the sunshine,

spreading its shoots over the garden;

17 it entwines its roots around a pile of rocks

and looks for a place among the stones.

18 But when it is torn from its spot,

that place disowns it and says, ‘I never saw you.’

19 Surely its life withers away,

and from the soil other plants grow.

20 “Surely God does not reject a blameless man

or strengthen the hands of evildoers.

21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter

and your lips with shouts of joy.

22 Your enemies will be clothed in shame,

and the tents of the wicked will be no more.”

Job

9     Then Job replied:

2 “Indeed, I know that this is true.

But how can a mortal be righteous before God?

3 Though one wished to dispute with him,

he could not answer him one time out of a thousand.

4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast.

Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?

5 He moves mountains without their knowing it

and overturns them in his anger.

6 He shakes the earth from its place

and makes its pillars tremble.

7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;

he seals off the light of the stars.

8 He alone stretches out the heavens

and treads on the waves of the sea.

9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,

the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.

10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,

miracles that cannot be counted.

11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;

when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.

12 If he snatches away, who can stop him?

Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’

13 God does not restrain his anger;

even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.

14 “How then can I dispute with him?

How can I find words to argue with him?

15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;

I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.

16 Even if I summoned him and he responded,

I do not believe he would give me a hearing.

17 He would crush me with a storm

and multiply my wounds for no reason.

18 He would not let me regain my breath

but would overwhelm me with misery.

19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!

And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him?

20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me;

if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.

21 “Although I am blameless,

I have no concern for myself;

I despise my own life.

22 It is all the same; that is why I say,

‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’

23 When a scourge brings sudden death,

he mocks the despair of the innocent.

24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,

he blindfolds its judges.

If it is not he, then who is it?

25 “My days are swifter than a runner;

they fly away without a glimpse of joy.

26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,

like eagles swooping down on their prey.

27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,

I will change my expression, and smile,’

28 I still dread all my sufferings,

for I know you will not hold me innocent.

29 Since I am already found guilty,

why should I struggle in vain?

30 Even if I washed myself with soap

and my hands with washing soda,

31 you would plunge me into a slime pit

so that even my clothes would detest me.

32 “He is not a man like me that I might answer him,

that we might confront each other in court.

33 If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,

to lay his hand upon us both,

34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,

so that his terror would frighten me no more.

35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,

but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

Job generally has a right understanding of God.

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