Scripture to meditate on:
“I loathe my very life;
therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
I say to God: Do not declare me guilty,
but tell me what charges you have against me.
Does it please you to oppress me,
to spurn the work of your hands,
while you smile on the plans of the wicked?
Do you have eyes of flesh?
Do you see as a mortal sees?
Are your days like those of a mortal
or your years like those of a strong man,
that you must search out my faults
and probe after my sin—
though you know that I am not guilty
and that no one can rescue me from your hand?
“Your hands shaped me and made me.
Will you now turn and destroy me?
Remember that you molded me like clay.
Will you now turn me to dust again?
Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese,
clothe me with skin and flesh
and knit me together with bones and sinews?
You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.
“But this is what you concealed in your heart,
and I know that this was in your mind:
If I sinned, you would be watching me
and would not let my offense go unpunished.
If I am guilty—woe to me!
Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head,
for I am full of shame
and drowned in my affliction.
If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion
and again display your awesome power against me.
You bring new witnesses against me
and increase your anger toward me;
your forces come against me wave upon wave.
“Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
If only I had never come into being,
or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!
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,
to the land of deepest night,
of utter darkness and disorder,
where even the light is like darkness.” – Job 10
Job is miserable. Who can blame him? At the time of his life when he should be enjoying his children and grandchildren, and indulging in the fruits of decades of hard work, he instead has nothing. No family. No home. No money. Even his health is failing him. Adding insult to this tragic injury, his only company is a trio of friends intent on persuading him that he brought this disaster on himself. I’ve had my share of bad days… but nothing to tell Job about.
At this point in the story Job is speaking out without restraint against God. He is angry and he doesn’t care who knows it. “I will tell God: “Do not declare me wicked. Tell me why you accuse me? Is it right for you to oppress me?” (vs. 2-3) Job’s friends are probably a little shocked by this frank language. But Job’s bitterness is pouring out.
Job’s lament here sounds an awful lot like what we hear from the Psalmist.
“Will the Lord reject forever?
Will he never show his favor again?
Has his unfailing love vanished forever?
Has his promise failed for all time?“ (Psalm 77: 7-8)
But the message of the book of Job, and of the Psalms, is not that life is unfair, but that God is wise, sovereign and perfectly just. In the midst of his grieving Job has lost sight of that goodness. As we deal with our own frustrations we have an advantage that Job did not. We can look ahead, to see the Messiah, to know that the rescue is near.
“Why did you bring me out of the womb? Why did I not die before any eye saw me?” – Job 10:18
Questions to ponder:
- Job and his friends seem to assume that suffering means that God must despise him. What do you think about that assumption?
- Have you ever poured out your frustrations before God as the Psalmist does?
- How has God responded to your calls for he