Will you never look away from me, or let me alone even for an instant?
– Job 7:19
Are not my few days almost over? Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy before I go to the place of no return, to the land of gloom and utter darkness,
– Job 10:20-21
“But as a mountain erodes and crumbles and as a rock is moved from its place, as water wears away stones and torrents wash away the soil, so you destroy a person’s hope.
– Job 14:18-19
God assails me and tears me in his anger and gnashes his teeth at me; my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes.
– Job 16:9
“Though I cry, ‘Violence!’ I get no response; though I call for help, there is no justice.
– Job 19:7
“I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer; I stand up, but you merely look at me. You turn on me ruthlessly; with the might of your hand you attack me. … Yet when I hoped for good, evil came; when I looked for light, then came darkness. The churning inside me never stops; days of suffering confront me.
– Job 30:20-21, 26-27
“To Job in his misery, God seems a villain who ‘destroys both the blameless and the wicked’ (9:22) – the reverse image of Jesus’ concept of a merciful Father whose sun shines on the righteous and unrighteous. As C. S. Lewis said in his journal of grief after his wife’s death, ‘Not that I am (I think) in much danger of ceasing to believe in God. The real danger is of coming to believe such dreadful things about Him. The conclusion I dread is not ‘So there’s no God after all,’ but ‘So this is what God’s really like.’ Deceive yourself no longer.’ Is God a Cosmic Sadist? asked Lewis with characteristic bluntness, echoing Job’s doubts. …
“Yet the tale of Job has an ironic twist. As Soren Kierkegaard put it, ‘The secret in Job, the vital force, the idea, is that Job, despite everything, is in the right.’”
– Philip Yancey, The Bible Jesus Read
The first Scripture (Job 7) is the opposite to most other references to God watching over us. In Psalms, there are eight references to God not hiding face, verb tense varies (13:1, 27:9, 44:24, 69:17, 88:14, 102:2, 104:29, and 143:7). In these references, the psalmist is wanting God NOT to hide his face. The only psalmist call for God to hide His face is in Psalm 51:9, “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.” In all nine cases, the idea of God watching over us is a good thing, but to Job who is suffering and thinking that God is punishing him, Job wants to hide from God.
The second Scripture (Job 10) reference goes along those lines, as if Job wants to simply hide and sulk. This could be partially due to Job’s friends being less than helpful and reinforcing the concept that Job is being punished.
Job has lost all hope by Job 14, blaming God for destroying hope. The New Testament talks of Jesus establishing Hope.
By Job 16, Job is ranting that God is angry. Many today argue that there is no difference between God doing bad things or allowing them to happen. I do not agree. This world is fallen. Satan reigns in this world, but only within the limitations that God sets. We have sinned. We are not perfect. We live in a broken world. It should not surprise us when things become unnecessarily hard to accomplish. Is God impeding us? Is it Satan? Is it coincidence? It happens too often for me to consider coincidence. I must believe that it is Satan. Job places the blame on God.
In Job 19, Job laments that there is no justice. I know that I am not perfect and do not deserve salvation. Upon Judgment Day, I want mercy, not justice.
Job 30 is kind of a summary. I notice when I don’t feel my best, I tend to repeat myself, summarize, etc.
Now that we have looked at Job’s laments, it becomes obvious how people can take verses out of context. Job 3 through Job 37 are a collection of ‘pop’ psychology theories and laments by a man that is hurting. It is quite dangerous to quote from these chapters without context. Job is like a guy on the old Hee Haw television show singing about his troubles. The chorus goes, “If it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck at all. Gloom, despair, and agony on me.”
As for Job’s friends, their theories obviously still existed during the times of Jesus, and unfortunately, still today. When we become born-again, we are forgiven of our sins. We cannot at that point be punished for them. Yet, calamity might strike us in the form of something like Job. It is not punishment, as it was not with Job, but we must bear the pain and suffering. As is within our power and the power we can gain from God, we must show God’s love at this time of suffering.
In all of Job’s laments, he may have been misguided in his intellectual understanding, but he never cursed God as his wife told him to do in Job 2. He blamed God, but he also knew God was his only ticket out of his suffering.
We have an advantage over Job. Many scholars say that Job was the first book written in the Bible. He had no other source than word of mouth, and he wasn’t hearing good words from his friends. We have the Bible that gives us a different picture of God than what was mentioned by Job’s friends. We know that God loves us. As His chosen people, we know that God will not punish us. We know that the source of evil against us is the Devil. And we know that the pain and suffering will not follow us into the next life. Yes, we have that advantage also. With Jesus’ resurrection, we have proof of our own resurrection to come.
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God Alone.