Well, we’ve been keeping up with the reading (which is good) but not with…what to call this…the critical analysis/understanding/learning portion, so tonight is a double night. Think of it like a double feature at the movies! Two for the price of one! Sweeeeet.
Job’s despair is growing heavier. Job 10:1 starts off, “I loathe my own life”. I have dealt with and know others who have dealt with depression, but can not imagine loathing one’s own life. The one saving grace I, and others have found, is our faith. Job hasn’t lost his, but he has lost his will to live. Job 10 really speaks to this with him asking God WHY God is condemning and destroying him, asking HOW he could reject something He made with his own hands, and begging to understand why he was even born. I was most impressed with Job 10:12-13 where Job makes it clear that he knows God loves and cares for him, but feels that God must be concealing this in His heart as Job doesn’t see any evidence of it. So, so sad.
In Job 11, his friend Zopher contests him. Zopher is, well, kind of a jerk. A few other choice words come to mind, but I’ll keep those to myself. He has no feeling, and is fast to condemn Job, opening with something to the effect of just because you have a lot to say doesn’t make you innocent. He goes on in Job 11:6 to claim that God is punishing Job far less than he deserves to be punished. Ouch! Seriously, this guy doesn’t have a clue what he’s talking about. I agree with Zopher that God is all seeing and knowing, but I take issue with his quick-to-judge attitude. He tells Job that if only he would confess and offer up his sins that God would forgive him and he’d be happy, but if he doesn’t, the best he can hope for is death. Ouch! What kills me is that he is making such an assumption! It again reminds me (as it should everyone, I believe) that assumptions can be so wrong and so, so hurtful.
Job 12 opens with Job striking (verbally) back…sarcasm was alive and well in the Old Testament! In today’s words, I think it would sound something like, You guys really know everything, don’t you? In fact, when you die, all knowledge will die too because you know EVERYTHING! Touche, Job. Touche. Job points out a great lesson for us in 12:5 with “he who is at ease holds calamity in contempt, as prepared for those whose feet slip”…we read this as people who are in a good place (mentally, physically, financially, etc.) mock those in need and are only too ready to kick a person when they fall down. It really speaks to the nature of some of the world today, especially some of the recent “comments” by those who claim they’re “just joking” when posting their two cents about recent tragedies in the news.
In Job 13, he continues to refute the claims of his friends. He basically tells them they have no idea what they’re talking about, they’re not listening, and they’re talking too much (Hmmm…sounds like a familiar argument…). In Job 13:7 he accuses them of lying, which he then asks them what they will do when God finds out they were lying – even if it was to defend His case. My favorite was Job 13:13, where he basically says SHUT UP (“Keep silent and let me speak”). He continues to say he wants to argue his case to God. He also – we think – makes a request to God to a) stop causing such damage to him and b) let him die so he can speak directly to Him. He again asks God to tell him what he did wrong.
Job 14 continues Job’s speech and is focused around the frailty of life. He compares a human’s life to that of a tree…if a tree is cut down, it can sprout new shoots and come back. Man – well, man is different. If cut down, he is no more. You can tell this was written before the birth/death of Christ as Job 14:12 reads, “So man lieth down and riseth not: Till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, Nor be roused out of their sleep.” This sounds – to us – as though he doesn’t believe that he will awaken in heaven (though we could be reading into this too deep). 14:14 also reads that if man had the chance to live again, he could find hope…but when man dies he’s dead, he has none.
Job’s friend, Eliphaz, speaks again in 15 with a similar opening that Job gave them earlier – basically, Job, you’re a windbag with no respect for God and doing nothing but incriminating yourself. He asks Job what makes Job so much more knowledgeable than them, and quite rudely at that. He makes it clear that the wicked will suffer, living a painful & dark life because they have “shaken their fists at God”. They may have money, and food (and subsequent weight gain!), but they live an unstable and precarious life where their money and food will not last.
Job’s response: You guys are pretty crappy friends <–ok, that’s my translation, but seriously, read Job 16:2 for yourself. That’s pretty much what it says. Job tells his friends that if they were in his place, he’d be a real friend and comfort them. He then goes back into his story of how he’s being tormented and unjustly at that.
…seriously hoping for a happy ending here.
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