Wow, it’s been almost three months since my last post on Job. I guess this what it means by “it just takes time”. For the past three weeks I’ve been sick, and occasionally my wife will ask me “What can I do for you?”. My answer is usually, “Nothing, I just need time to pass”. Sometimes that is the only thing we can do is wait. And waiting is hard.
The last time we listed to the Book of Job, Eliphaz had just blasted Job. The book goes on:
1 Then Job replied:
2 “Even today my complaint is bitter;
his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning.
3 If only I knew where to find him;
if only I could go to his dwelling!
4 I would state my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would find out what he would answer me,
and consider what he would say to me.
6 Would he vigorously oppose me?
No, he would not press charges against me.
7 There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.
8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there;
if I go to the west, I do not find him.
9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him;
when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
The real frustration here is that God seems to be nowhere to be found. Did God make a judgement? Can Job present his case? He does not know for God does not seem to be ready to speak. The breeds frustration and anger. I know that for me in my extended illness the biggest question is why? I would be OK with it if I knew where it was going. Or if a Doctor said you have “x”, and it will take “Y” days/months/years to get better. But instead things get a little better, and then they get worse. I realize in the big scheme of illnesses, what I have is fairly minor. I don’t have cancer, or some other great trial. However, each day is still a trial. In the mean time, Job is also getting weary:
13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him?
He does whatever he pleases.
14 He carries out his decree against me,
and many such plans he still has in store.
15 That is why I am terrified before him;
when I think of all this, I fear him.
16 God has made my heart faint;
the Almighty has terrified me.
17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness,
by the thick darkness that covers my face.
I feel like I understand this feeling. After two weeks of my illness, I went to church, and we sang “You Won’t relent until you have it all, my heart is yours”. The song was penetrating, as I realized God takes whatever He wants. I don’t mean that in a negative way, rather we need to recognize that all that we have is His. This includes life, health, property, everything. All that we have is on loan. When God says he wants it all, it means that all things must ultimately be used, and directed to Him, in recognition of who He is. If we try to hoard it as something of our own, He will take it away.
1 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
2 There are those who move boundary stones;
they pasture flocks they have stolen.
3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey
and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
4 They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
the wasteland provides food for their children.
6 They gather fodder in the fields
and glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
7 Lacking clothes, they spend the night naked;
they have nothing to cover themselves in the cold.
8 They are drenched by mountain rains
and hug the rocks for lack of shelter.
9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.
10 Lacking clothes, they go about naked;
they carry the sheaves, but still go hungry.
11 They crush olives among the terraces;
they tread the winepresses, yet suffer thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
This is the universal cry of Man. We want to see God’s judgement on the things we see as wrong done on a quick and predictable timetable. We also want a lot of mercy and grace when we fail.
13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
who do not know its ways
or stay in its paths.
14 When daylight is gone, the murderer rises up,
kills the poor and needy,
and in the night steals forth like a thief.
15 The eye of the adulterer watches for dusk;
he thinks, ‘No eye will see me,’
and he keeps his face concealed.
16 In the dark, thieves break into houses,
but by day they shut themselves in;
they want nothing to do with the light.
17 For all of them, midnight is their morning;
they make friends with the terrors of darkness.
18 “Yet they are foam on the surface of the water;
their portion of the land is cursed,
so that no one goes to the vineyards.
19 As heat and drought snatch away the melted snow,
so the grave snatches away those who have sinned.
20 The womb forgets them,
the worm feasts on them;
the wicked are no longer remembered
but are broken like a tree.
21 They prey on the barren and childless woman,
and to the widow they show no kindness.
22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.
25 “If this is not so, who can prove me false
and reduce my words to nothing?”
Again, wow! In spite of all the complaints Job admits that God is just, and the sinners end is the grave. There is no ultimate glory from those who reject God. Their time is fleeting, they hide in the night, avoid they day, and are ultimately rewarded with death.
These are powerful words. Job still sees God as the one who is just. It will be interesting to see what his friends have to say next.