Thursday, January 12, 2017
Daily reading assignment: Job 3-4
Job 3:1 begins with the phrase, “After this”…reminding us this ancient man of the Scriptures is nigh overcome with the losses he has suffered in Job 1…his children and servants are dead; his vast livestock holdings destroyed; his life made even more miserable by boils that afflict his body (Job 2:7-8). Adding to his misery is the company of his wife whose bitterness tempts Job to “curse God, and die” (2:9).
Hearing all he has suffered, “three friends” (2:11) arrived at the close of chapter 2 proposing to be a comfort to their heartbroken friend. Seeing Job and realizing his pitiful condition exceeded even their imaginations, his friends wept and in silence, sat down and commiserated with his sorrows (2:11-13).
The silence of their empathy is broken when Job expresses the sentiments it would have been better had he never been born (Job 3:2-12) and he would welcome death rather than bear the sorrows afflicting his body and soul (Job 3:13-19). Lamenting his misery (3:20-23), Job questioned why God gives “light” (lit. life) to a soul that longs for death as an escape from earthly sorrows (Job 3:20-23).
Any who have suffered egregious sorrows and disappointments can relate to the despondency that took hold on Job’s soul. Such thoughts of death are universal among those heavy laden with sorrows and are borne by young and old, rich and poor, the famous and infamous. Pain, sorrows, sufferings, and disappointments can drive a soul to entertain dark and ominous thoughts.
Providentially, we know Job will live and suffer through these sorrowful, haunting trials and the day will come when he will humble his heart and testify of God, “He knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).
Holding his tongue no longer, “Eliphaz the Temanite” (4:1), one of Job’s friends, questions if Job, who has counseled many will now accept the same counsel for himself (Job 4:2-6). Hardly giving comfort, Eliphaz proposes a question that haunts any given the privilege of ministering to others: When sorrows and suffering come my way, will I accept the spiritual counsel I have imparted to others or will I falter and flounder in the throes of self-pity? (4:5-6)
Eliphaz’s words are biting, implying Job’s religion had been “fair-weathered”, but now that storms have touched his life he faints in the midst of adversity (4:7-11). Reasoning wrongly, Eliphaz implies the losses and sorrows faced by Job are indicative of his lack of piety and guilt (4:12-21).
I close today’s devotional thought wondering what counsel you might give those facing troubles and trials. Perhaps you find yourself in the midst of such sorrows.
It is human nature to bemoan our sufferings and long for deliverance. Assuredly, a time of self-examination is wise; however, to wallow in prolonged self-pity is not the object or end of trials. We cannot understand all that is in the mind of God for our lives; however, we should accept He is Sovereign, sickness and sorrows are temporal, and His way is perfect (Psalm 18:30).
Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith