January 7, Job 14-16

newshoreschurchRead Through The Bible 20201 Comment

14 Anyone born of woman
is short of days and full of trouble.
He blossoms like a flower, then withers;
he flees like a shadow and does not last.
Do you really take notice of one like this?
Will you bring me into judgment against you?[a]
Who can produce something pure from what is impure?
No one!
Since a person’s days are determined
and the number of his months depends on you,
and since you have set[b] limits he cannot pass,
look away from him and let him rest
so that he can enjoy his day like a hired worker.There is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its shoots will not die.
If its roots grow old in the ground
and its stump starts to die in the soil,
the scent of water makes it thrive
and produce twigs like a sapling.
10 But a person dies and fades away;
he breathes his last—where is he?
11 As water disappears from a lake
and a river becomes parched and dry,
12 so people lie down never to rise again.
They will not wake up until the heavens are no more;
they will not stir from their sleep.13 If only you would hide me in Sheol
and conceal me until your anger passes.
If only you would appoint a time for me
and then remember me.
14 When a person dies, will he come back to life?
If so, I would wait all the days of my struggle
until my relief comes.
15 You would call, and I would answer you.
You would long for the work of your hands.
16 For then you would count my steps
but would not take note of my sin.
17 My rebellion would be sealed up in a bag,
and you would cover over my iniquity.18 But as a mountain collapses and crumbles
and a rock is dislodged from its place,
19 as water wears away stones
and torrents wash away the soil from the land,
so you destroy a man’s hope.
20 You completely overpower him, and he passes on;
you change his appearance and send him away.
21 If his sons receive honor, he does not know it;
if they become insignificant, he is unaware of it.
22 He feels only the pain of his own body
and mourns only for himself.

Second Series of Speeches

Eliphaz Speaks

15 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:Does a wise man answer with empty[c] counsel
or fill himself[d] with the hot east wind?
Should he argue with useless talk
or with words that serve no good purpose?
But you even undermine the fear of God
and hinder meditation before him.
Your iniquity teaches you what to say,
and you choose the language of the crafty.
Your own mouth condemns you, not I;
your own lips testify against you.Were you the first human ever born,
or were you brought forth before the hills?
Do you listen in on the council of God,
or have a monopoly on wisdom?
What do you know that we don’t?
What do you understand that is not clear to us?
10 Both the gray-haired and the elderly are with us—
older than your father.
11 Are God’s consolations not enough for you,
even the words that deal gently with you?
12 Why has your heart misled you,
and why do your eyes flash
13 as you turn your anger[e] against God
and allow such words to leave your mouth?14 What is a mere human, that he should be pure,
or one born of a woman, that he should be righteous?
15 If God puts no trust in his holy ones
and the heavens are not pure in his sight,
16 how much less one who is revolting and corrupt,
who drinks injustice like water?17 Listen to me and I will inform you.
I will describe what I have seen,
18 what the wise have declared and not concealed,
that came from their ancestors,
19 to whom alone the land was given
when no foreigner passed among them.
20 A wicked person writhes in pain all his days,
throughout the number of years reserved for the ruthless.
21 Dreadful sounds fill his ears;
when he is at peace, a robber attacks him.
22 He doesn’t believe he will return from darkness;
he is destined for the sword.
23 He wanders about for food, asking, “Where is it?”
He knows the day of darkness is at hand.
24 Trouble and distress terrify him,
overwhelming him like a king prepared for battle.
25 For he has stretched out his hand against God
and has arrogantly opposed the Almighty.
26 He rushes headlong at him
with his thick, studded shields.
27 Though his face is covered with fat[f]
and his waistline bulges with it,
28 he will dwell in ruined cities,
in abandoned houses destined to become piles of rubble.
29 He will no longer be rich; his wealth will not endure.
His possessions[g] will not increase in the land.
30 He will not escape from the darkness;
flames will wither his shoots,
and by the breath of God’s mouth, he will depart.
31 Let him not put trust in worthless things, being led astray,
for what he gets in exchange will prove worthless.
32 It will be accomplished before his time,
and his branch will not flourish.
33 He will be like a vine that drops its unripe grapes
and like an olive tree that sheds its blossoms.
34 For the company of the godless will have no children,
and fire will consume the tents of those who offer bribes.
35 They conceive trouble and give birth to evil;
their womb prepares deception.

Job’s Reply to Eliphaz

16 Then Job answered:I have heard many things like these.
You are all miserable comforters.
Is there no end to your empty[h] words?
What provokes you that you continue testifying?
If you were in my place I could also talk like you.
I could string words together against you
and shake my head at you.
Instead, I would encourage you with my mouth,
and the consolation from my lips would bring relief.If I speak, my suffering is not relieved,
and if I hold back, does any of it leave me?
Surely he[i] has now exhausted me.
You have devastated my entire family.
You have shriveled me up[j]—it has become a witness;
my frailty rises up against me and testifies to my face.
His anger tears at me, and he harasses me.
He gnashes his teeth at me.
My enemy pierces me with his eyes.
10 They open their mouths against me
and strike my cheeks with contempt;
they join themselves together against me.
11 God hands me over to the unjust;[k]
he throws me to the wicked.
12 I was at ease, but he shattered me;
he seized me by the scruff of the neck
and smashed me to pieces.
He set me up as his target;
13 his archers[l] surround me.
He pierces my kidneys without mercy
and pours my bile on the ground.
14 He breaks through my defenses again and again;[m]
he charges at me like a warrior.15 I have sewn sackcloth over my skin;
I have buried my strength[n] in the dust.
16 My face has grown red with weeping,
and darkness covers my eyes,
17 although my hands are free from violence
and my prayer is pure.18 Earth, do not cover my blood;
may my cry for help find no resting place.
19 Even now my witness is in heaven,
and my advocate is in the heights!
20 My friends scoff at me
as I weep before God.
21 I wish that someone might argue for a man with God
just as anyone[o] would for a friend.
22 For only a few years will pass
before I go the way of no return.

Martin Luther, the reformer who began the Protestant Reformation, often suffered severe periods of depression. Not even the spiritual success of translating the Bible into the German language could cause these attacks to subside. Describing the extremity of his emotional state, Luther said, “For more than a week I was close to the gates of death and hell. I trembled in all my members. Christ was wholly lost. I was shaken by desperation and blasphemy of God.” On another occasion Luther was experiencing deep despair. His wife came to breakfast one morning wearing a black armband. “Who died?” Luther asked. She answered, “With the way you have been carrying on around here, I thought God had.” [Max Anders and Stephen J. Lawson (2012). HOTC Vol. 10: Job. B&H Publishing Group. 

Job is a man who once had a stalwart faith in God and now we see it wavering.  Have you ever been in such despair that you find yourself wavering in your faith?  If you have, know you are not alone.  Do as job did and turn to God in prayer.  He will answer you in His time and you will come out of the darkness.

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