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We continue our chronological Scripture reading in the Book of Job. There are some difficult passages in Job, but I pray my efforts through Heart of A Shepherd will be an enhancement to your understanding. Thank you for embarking on this devotional journey.
Review – Remember, Job was in a dark place in life. He had suffered the loss of possessions (1:14-18), and the deaths of sons and daughters (1:15-19). Boils and open sores from his head to his feet added to his misery (2:7-8), and the harsh judgments of three “friends” well-nigh overwhelmed him (Job 4-5). Job’s friends came to him under the pretense of pity and compassion (2:11-13), but their words betrayed their prejudice of his present state.
The first friend to speak was Eliphaz, who argued God blesses the righteous and punishes the wicked. The implication was, in spite of his plea of innocence, Job was afflicted because he refused to confess his sin (Job 4-5). Job’s response to Eliphaz’s harsh judgment began in chapter 6, and continued to chapter 7.
Job 7 – Failing Hope
In his anguish, Job found Eliphaz’s words weighty and unsettling. Disheartened and despairing of life, Job’s thoughts turned dark, and he reasoned death alone might afford him relief from his distress.
Job’s Lamentations (7:1-6)
In his dejected state, Job pondered the brevity of life and that every man has his “appointed time…upon earth” (7:1). Physically afflicted, and emotionally despondent, he felt his days had come to nothing (7:3). With his body consumed by illness and disease, Job tossed and turned on his bed through the night (7:4-5). He felt his days rushing toward death, and confessed he was in a hopeless state (7:6).
Job’s Reflections on Death (7:7-10)
Praying to the LORD, Job was reminded his life was as unpredictable as the wind (7:7). He realized the inevitability of death (7:8-9), and all that a man has attained in life is soon passed, and will belong to others (7:10). Oh the tragedy of sinners whose treasures are in this world, and not in heaven. All such men are fools in God’s judgment, for they lay up treasures for themselves, and are “not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21).
Job’s Longings for Afflictions to Cease (7:11-16)
Eliphaz had berated Job for looking to death as an escape from his sorrows (Job 4-5). Yet, Job answered him and declared, “I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul” (7:11). He confessed, if his spirit were like a roaring sea, or a whale, he could have a boundary to reign in his sorrows (7:12). But when Job retreated to his bed, there was no relief from the terrifying dreams that emanated through the black expanse of night (7:13-14). He was so overcome with sorrow, he felt as though his very life (i.e., soul) was strangled (7:15). In fact, he had come to literally “loathe life” (7:16).
Job’s Petition for Pardon and Deliverance Him (7:17-21)
Our study of Job 7 concludes with Job asking a question that would later be echoed by David, “What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him?” (David wrote, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him?” (7:17; Psalm 8:4) Stating the same in the vernacular of the 21st century: “Why should God be concerned with common man?” After all, man is unpredictable, and ever given to change, and the LORD is ever trying the heart of man (7:18). Job wondered, how long before he would be left alone to die (7:19).
Job’s Confession: “I have sinned.” (7:20-21)
Some scholars suggest Job said, “If I have sinned” (7:20). He acknowledged God as the giver and preserver of life, but complained it seemed he was a man marked for afflictions and troubles (7:20). He felt his life was wasted under the burden of sin (7:21), yet, he found no pardon or forgiveness (7:21). So, Job resigned himself to death, and said, “now shall I sleep in the dust” (7:21).
Job 8 – The Counsel of Bildad the Shuhite
Chapter 8 recorded the counsel of Bildad the Shuhite, the second of Job’s friends. Like Eliphaz, Bildad came “to mourn with [Job] and to comfort” him (2:11); however, his counsel was insensitive and severe. He had listened to Job’s response to Eliphaz, and his plea for mercy and understanding. However, unlike Eliphaz, Bildad made no pretense of kindness, and his words were harsh and judgmental (8:2).
Bildad’s proud tone evidenced he had little experience with trials and hardships that bear the fruit of humility. He condemned Job’s lament (8:2), and alleged he had inferred God was unjust (8:3). Indirectly, Bildad implied Job’s children were dead because they sinned against God (8:4). Echoing Eliphaz’s counsel, Bildad reasoned, if Job was “pure and upright” God would bless him (8:5-7).
Closing thoughts (8:8-21) – So much more could be taught from this passage, but those lessons must wait until another year. Our devotion concludes with Bildad charging Job as a hypocrite (8:8-19), suggesting he had been forsaken by the LORD: “Behold, God will not cast away a perfect man, Neither will he help the evil doers”(8:20). Bildad’s counsel lacked compassion, and his reasoning lacked humility and spiritual discernment. He not only failed Job as a friend, he added to his sorrows. Tragically, His judgments were contrary to the ways of the LORD who is loving, compassionate, longsuffering, and just.
I conclude with a treasured principle for all who love the LORD:
“We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28)
Copyright © 2023 – Travis D. Smith
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