Reflections From JOB 7-10: “THE CONVERSATION OF A VEXED JOB CONTINUES WITH HIS FRIENDS”


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Job’s misery continues to be revealed as a hired slave waiting for wages (7:1-2) whose flesh is grossly wasting away without rest, “My flesh is clothed with worms and a crust of dirt, my skin hardens and runs.”  Job is like a man whose existence will be forgotten (7:7-10), even though he can’t see any sin which merits his suffering:

 20 “Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, So that I am a burden to myself? (7:11-21).

Then Bildad the Shuhite like Eliphaz speaks up—eventually comes to “God’s defense”—and asks, “Does God pervert justice…” (8:3-4), no! so if his sons were not blameless, then their calamity was on them and the same is true of Job! (8:5-22). Job agrees with the content of Bildad’s theology, but disagrees with his premise because it’s faulty according to Job—he’s not guilty!  Of particular impact is the description of those who trust in everything but God:

“Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the rushes grow without water?  12 “While it is still green and not cut down, Yet it withers before any other plant.  13 “So are the paths of all who forget God; And the hope of the godless will perish, 14 Whose confidence is fragile, And whose trust a spider’s web. (Job 8:11-14)

That’s an amazing metaphor describing the futility of recalcitrant human beings who will not acknowledge their Creator.  Job here is pegged as one such creature.  He understands that before God Almighty he can’t stand and is utterly at His mercy (9:1-12), even though he can’t see his own guilt.  Worse still is that Job doesn’t have a lawyer who can represent him before God (9:33) and his experience sees that “the scourge kills suddenly.”  Again Job declares:

“It is all one; therefore I say, ‘He destroys the guiltless and the wicked.’  23 “If the scourge kills suddenly, He mocks the despair of the innocent.  24 “The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; He covers the faces of its judges.  If it is not He, then who is it?”  (9:22-24)

Job seems to be complaining that in God’s might and in the affairs of man, God is ultimately behind said events, but why does He allow injustice to flourish?  Why Job’s misery?  It’s a puzzle to him.  Why do the wicked seem to flourish and the righteous become downtrodden?  This wrestling of the soul is especially vexing to the one undergoing trial.  Job continues his protest of God’s dealings with him:

‘According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty,
Yet there is no deliverance from Your hand.”  
(10:7)

 He’s utterly flummoxed with this life and desires he had never existed:

“Why then have You brought me out of the womb?
Would that I had died and no eye had seen me!
19 ‘I should have been as though I had not been, Carried from womb to tomb.”  (10:18-19)

I’m overwhelmed with Job’s situation, there’s no hand to save from God’s power, there’s no words to confound His wisdom, there’s only the casting of the self on His mercy and grace for any hope in this life or the one to come.  In a very detailed way, God’s ways are not ours.  He is God and we…are not!

(SDG)

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