Monday, October 28, 2013

CXCVIII - Job 3-7 - Silence is Broken

Job 3 – Job Speaks

In just a matter of a few short days, Job has suffered more misfortune than any one man in recorded History.  Not many days ago he was one of the wealthiest men in the world with all the status attached.  He had ten healthy and happy children, having given him many grandchildren.  But he is now without any possessions, and all of his children and grandchildren have been killed.  As if that wasn’t enough, he has now been afflicted with a tormenting disease.  He has gone to sit at the city trash dump, as he feels unfit to join society.  Three of his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar have traveled great distances to visit Job in his misfortune.  As I stated before these were good friends to do what they have done, although somewhat misguided in their efforts to help Job.  At the end of chapter 2, these three friends have been sitting with Job for seven days, not saying a word.

Chapter 3  -  Job’s Opening Speech

Job began to speak.  Job seemed to just want someone to listen and have compassion on him, then perhaps encourage him.  He was in such pitiful shape.  He goes on to say that his life seemed to have no value, and he was just waiting to die.  He goes on in this chapter to express the wish that he had never been born, and questions why it happened in the first place.  He repeatedly curses the very day he had been born, wishing he had not been allowed to live.  Then in the latter verses he actually is envious of the dead because they could sleep and have rest from their troubles and pain.  {As I stated in the last post, these sores on his body itched and hurt constantly, not allowing Job to get any comfortable sleep.  The absence of sleep made him even further desperate for relief of some kind.}

Chapter 4-5  -  Eliphaz’ First Speech

As you read these speeches by these men, you will find that they speak eloquently, even poetic in style at times.  But their messages are clear.  Eliphaz begins his speech softly and compassionately, complimenting Job on having lived his life in an honorable manner.  But he then seems to turn insensitive.  Early in his speech he insists that the righteous prosper and the sinful suffer.  By this he inferred that Job must have committed some horrible sin.  {No wonder Job gets defensive.}  Eliphaz says in 5:8, “If I were you, I would appeal to God”.  {Imagine what goes through Job’s mind right now.  I can relate.  There have been times in my life that I have been on my knees in prayer many times for weeks.  I then begin to explain my plight to someone and he says, “You just need to pray about it”.  Although the person is well-meaning, it is frustrating to hear.}  Then in verse 17, Eliphaz’ sense of piety exposes itself when he says “Blessed is the one whom God corrects”.  Job doesn’t need to hear things like this right now.  {It's like he is saying, "You are the lucky one, getting all this attention from God.}  Eliphaz is basically giving the advice:  Repent and you will be rewarded.

Chapters 6-7  -  Job Replies to Eliphaz

These two chapters are a bit sad to read as we try to understand how Job feels, especially chapter 7.  Job’s opening comment (I paraphrase) says he wishes he could accurately describe his anguish.  {Ever feel like that?  Do you ever wish you could come up with the words to convince someone of the seriousness of something?  Very frustrating.}  Job seems to ramble somewhat, but his comments accurately reveal his state of mind.  He was miserable, confused, and disappointed that his friend Eliphaz had taken a scolding tone toward him.  He wanted to defend himself.  He acknowledged that God was in control of everything, and was confused that God had afflicted him so.  He does not apologize for complaining, as he says that “even animals do not complain without a reason”.  He again reveals his thought that he wanted God to kill him rather than punish him with continuing to live the life he now has.  Beginning in 6:14 Job expresses disappointment in his friends.  He had hoped they would comfort and encourage him.  Instead they cast shame on him.  He challenged them to refute his claims of unfair afflictions.  {Remember this was a desperate man, sick and sleep-deprived.  He was in no mood to mince his words for the sake of sparing someone’s feelings.}  In chapter 7 Job concluded his speech with a prayer to God.  He begged God for relief, and suggested that God had been cruel to him.  He added that soon he would be in his grave, beyond God’s reach.  (There were spiritual truths Job was not yet aware of.)

Next Post  -  Bildad Speaks

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