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Job's Sorrows and Sighs
Job 2:9-13 ; Job 3:1-26
In this study we will consider the verses which lie in the second chapter of Job beginning with verse nine where we left off in the former study and continuing through verse thirteen.
1. A helpmeet who proved a hindrance. Job's wife came unto him in verse nine of chapter two and said unto him, "Dost thou still retain thine integrity, curse God, and die."
If ever there was a time that Job needed words of sympathy and of love it was in this hour of his extremity. Nevertheless, he received from his wife no more than a nagging appeal to curse God.
Let us link up the words which Satan had said before God, "Touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse Thee to Thy face," with the words which his wife said, "Curse God, and die." There must be some vital connection between these two statements. For our part we believe that Satan entered Job's wife just as truly as he ever entered Judas.
2. A servant who stood the test. Job quietly replied to his wife, "What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?" Here is a statement that we may well weigh. There are many who are given over to complaints for the ills which befall them; but they utterly fail in their praise for the manifold good which is bestowed upon them.
In view of all this the words of Job are most assuring.
3. Satan's final strategy. Added to the boils which covered Job, and added to the nagging of the wife who failed as a helpmeet, Satan sent along three friends, to bemoan Job.
These three, Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar had heard of all the evil which had come upon Job, and had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him, and to comfort him.
For our part we are sure they might better have stayed at home. Where is he who has never heard of "Job's comforters"? They are a byword among men.
Job's three friends remind you of the one who visited a sick friend, and related to the sick one the story of all the friends and relatives that he had known who had died of the same disease.
We cannot see how they thought such actions could cheer a man who was borne down with grief.
I. JOB CURSED HIS DAY (Job 3:1 )
1. He did not curse his God. Job had already told his wife, when she bade him to curse God, that she spoke as one of the foolish women speaketh. Why blame God for everything which brings us grief and sorrow?
We are willing to grant that God permits every pain and every heartache that comes to one of His children, but He does not necessarily send it. Even when He permits it, He moves graciously in our behalf.
2. Job did curse his day. In this he was unwise. We do not condemn Him, for it is altogether human to do what he did. We sympathize with Job because he had the devil and men set against him, and his grief was very great.
Our sympathy, however, does not change the fact that Job was wrong. When the night is dark, it is the time to lean the more heavily upon God. We need to remember that "all things work together for good to them that love God."
When the Lord Jesus had broken the bread, and had drunk the wine, we read, "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out."
The Lord was like a nightingale singing in the hour of His greatest sorrow.
II. JOB BEMOANED THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH (Job 3:3 )
How piteously did Job cry, "Let the day perish wherein I was born, * * let that day be darkness; * * neither let the light shine upon it."
Job wished that he had never been born, or else that he had died as an infant. In this Job forgot, for the moment, all of the marvelous blessings which God had showered upon him through many years. When they were gone he forgot them. In this Job forgot all of the eternal blessings which lay ahead of him. But God was with him, even through these hard tests.
1. It is true that, with some men, it were better never to have been born. Jesus Christ said of Judas, the man who betrayed Him, "But woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born."
It is better never to be born, than to live in pleasure and prosperity for awhile, and then to be cut off forever, Asaph wrote, in the Spirit, "I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked." But Asaph further wrote, "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; until I went into the Sanctuary of God; then understood I their end. * * Thou castedst them down into destruction. How are they brought into desolation, as in a moment! they are utterly consumed with terror."
2. It was better for job, and better for us that Job was born. Job simply was overwhelmed with grief. He did not weigh well his words. Could job have seen beyond the curtain that hid God from him, he would have felt differently. Could Job have seen the end of the Lord, he would have rejoiced in his sorrow. Could Job have seen the eternal glories which awaited him, he would have shouted for joy.
III. JOB'S CURSES AGAINST THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH (Job 3:4-8 )
1. Job's anathema against "that day." Let us observe six statements which Job made against the day in which he was born. Job said:
1. "Let that day be darkness."
2. "Let not God regard it."
3. "Neither let the light shine upon it."
4. "Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it."
5. "Let a cloud dwell upon it."
6. "Let the blackness of the day terrify it."
Job certainly was a master in language, and he was far from a child in pronouncing anathemas. He rolled up words against the day of his birth until there was nothing left to be said. It was not a day of song, nor of gladness to him. He would have taken from his mother the joy that a man child had been born into the world. He would have taken from his father the ambition that may have flooded his soul for his new baby boy, as the men of the street gave him congratulations.
As we think of the darkness of that day our minds go to another day that was dark. The Bible reads, "Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land unto the ninth hour." This day, however, that was dark was a day of death, and not of birth. It was the day in which Christ suffered, the Just for the unjust. It was the day when God hid His eyes from His well beloved Son, because in mercy He had opened His eyes upon us who had sinned.
2. Job's anathema against "that night." Let us observe nine statements which Job made against the night, which formed part of the day, in which he was born. Job said:
1. "Let darkness seize upon it."
2. "Let it not be joined unto the days of the year."
3. "Let it not come into the number of the months."
4. "Let that night be solitary."
5. "Let no joyful voice come therein."
6. "Let them curse it that curse the day."
7. "Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark."
8. "Let it look for light, and have none."
9. "Neither let it see the dawning of the day."
Another experience of just such darkness, and blackness, and joylessness is described in the Word of God. It is a day that awaits this old earth. It will come in the time of tribulation, when God shall arise to judge men for their iniquity. That day is called in the Prophets, "The day of the Lord." It is described as follows:
"A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains."
"The day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? even very dark, and no brightness in it?"
When Job was cursing his day, he probably did not know that a day was coming when the Lord would make the earth empty and waste, turning it upside down, and scattering abroad the inhabitants thereof. He did not know that the earth would be defiled under its inhabitants, and that God would cause the mirth of the tabrets to cease, and the noise of them that rejoiced to end; that all joy would be darkened, and the mirth of the land would be gone.
IV. WHY JOB BEMOANED THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH, MEDITATION 1 (Job 3:10 )
1. Job cursed the day of his birth because his life had been eclipsed with sorrow. We may feel that in this Job did foolishly, but his grief was so great that the blackness that enshrouded him dimmed his eyes to all the blessing of the light which had for so long rested upon him. He could not remember the past blessings, because of the present afflictions. To him the grief of an hour seemed heavier than the joy of a lifetime.
We do not condemn Job, we sympathize with him. We know that had he been fully panoplied of God, God's grace would have been sufficient. Some, like Paul and Silas, have sung in the darkest of hours.
As we think of Job's anguish and bitterness of soul, we must not fail to remember that his faith did not utterly fail. Every now and then he had wonderful visions of God's grace, and, at times, he made unprecedented exclamations of praise, and of far sighted hope.
2. Christ passed; into His night of sorrow and His day of grief. The Psalmist, in describing that day, wrote these words:
"My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? why art thou so far from helping me, and from the words of my roaring; O my God, I cry in the daytime, but thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent."
Thus did the Spirit write of the darkness that shrouded the Cross, and yet, in the midst of that hour, the Spirit described the perfect trust and the unshakeable confidence of Christ in God. The words which follow the quotation above, are these:
"But thou art holy, O thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel."
Would that we, in every hour of travail, might have so perfect a trust! In the Garden of Gethsemane, with the cup of death pressed close to the lips of the Master, Christ cried: "Nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done."
V. WHY JOB BEMOANED THE DAY OF HIS BIRTH, MEDITATION 2 (Job 3:13-17 )
1. Instead of sorrow and sickness, he would have had quiet and rest. Job was willing to forego all of the years of blessing which had fallen upon him rather than to suffer the pain that now pressed him. He said that if he had died as an infant, that he should have lain and been quiet, that he should have slept and been at rest. This is indeed a beautiful conception of death. Jesus Himself said of Lazarus, when he died, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." The Holy Spirit tells us that those who "sleep in Jesus" will God bring with Him. The words "quiet" and "slept" and "rest" do not teach cessation of existence, nor do they teach the unconsciousness of the dead.
The Word of God, in discussing the martyrs who were slain for their testimony, said. "Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. And I heard a voice from Heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, sayeth the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
2. Instead of the reproach of his friends, he would have been protected from them. Verse seventeen says, "There the wicked cease from troubling: and there the weary be at rest."
We believe that this verse points us back to Job's dread concerning the onslaught of the three men who for seven days and seven nights had sat there without speaking a word. The afflicted man surmised what was coming, and dreaded it. He wished he had died with an untimely birth, or as an infant who had never seen the light, rather than to live and to be forced, in his weakness and grief, to face these would-be comforters.
VI. JOB LONGS FOR DEATH (Job 3:20-25 )
1. Is it a sin to long to die? Job speaks of the one in misery and bitter in soul. He says these long for death, but it cometh not; they dig for it more than for hid treasures. They rejoice, and are glad, when they find the grave.
We would say emphatically that it is wrong for any one under any condition to take his own life. The Word of God is positive in this. We would say, however, that it is not wicked for a saint, who is borne down with pain, and is overwhelmed with grief, to long to be taken to the Lord. We can easily understand how the martyrs were glad to die.
Paul, the Apostle, said, "I * * [have] a desire to depart, and to be with Christ." He said this although he was not at the time in anything like Job's circumstance. He simply longed for the Lord.
The Lord Jesus, as He faced the agony of death, said, "With desire I have desired to eat this passover." He was speaking, to be sure, of the bread and the wine: but these, He said, were His broken body and His shed Blood.
2. Job once more a type of Christ. Verse twenty-four says, "My sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters."
The Psalmist, in describing the anguish of Christ upon the Cross, wrote, "My God! My God! why hast Thou forsaken Me? why art Thou so far from helping Me, and from the words of My roaring?" The Lord Jesus upon the Cross was pressed beyond measure. He said, "O my God, I cry in the daytime, but Thou hearest not; and in the night season, and am not silent."
Job had quite a similar experience. He, too, said, "My roarings are poured out like the waters."
Augustine lived at a time when it cost something to be a follower of Jesus Christ, and in the following words he taught that, "You can't hurt a Christian."
"Having considered and examined into these things closely, now see whether any evil can happen to the good and faithful which ought not to be converted into a blessing for them * *. They lost all that they had. But did they lose their faith? Did they lose their godliness? Did they lose the treasures of the heart? This is the wealth of the Christian * *. Wherefore, our dear friend Paulinus, the Bishop of Nola, a man of the amplest means, who in the fullness of his heart became extremely poor, yet abundantly sanctified, after the barbarians had looted the country, and while he was kept a prisoner in bonds, used to pray in his heart, as I afterwards learned from him 'Lord, let me not be troubled for gold or silver, for where all my treasure is, Thou knowest." Texas Christian Advocate.
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Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Job 3". "Living Water". https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 21 / Ordinary 26