The Book of Job-Chapter Thirty:
"In the Light of Humiliation"
Verse 1: "But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock."
Troubles and loss can generate their own problems. It is humiliating to suffer before others. Sometimes, in my experience, the humiliation seems more daunting than the original problems. How unfair it must have seemed to Job that, in addition to everything else, he had to face the ridicule of those he had once considered his inferiors:
Verses 2-8: "Yea, whereto might the strength of their hands profit me, in whom old age was perished? For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste. Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat. They were driven forth from among men, (they cried after them as after a thief;) To dwell in the cliffs of the valleys, in caves of the earth, and in the rocks. Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together. They were children of fools, yea, children of base men: they were viler than the earth."
To be condemned by his friends was a kind of personal betrayal. This is more public:
Verse 9: "And now am I their song, yea, I am their byword."
Job chronicles the pain. The public humiliation was like salt on his open wounds:
Verses 10-14: "They abhor me, they flee far from me, and spare not to spit in my face. Because he hath loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me. Upon my right hand rise the youth; they push away my feet, and they raise up against me the ways of their destruction. They mar my path, they set forward my calamity, they have no helper. They came upon me as a wide breaking in of waters: in the desolation they rolled themselves upon me."
Job has fallen into the hands of hostile men. And it appears another bottom has dropped out in his life:
Verses 15-17: "Terrors are turned upon me: they pursue my soul as the wind: and my welfare passeth away as a cloud. And now my soul is poured out upon me; the days of affliction have taken hold upon me. My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest."
He must wear his once precious reputation, now in tatters, like a foul garment:
Verse 18: "By the great force of my disease is my garment changed: it bindeth me about as the collar of my coat."
And who does Job blame. VERY consistently, as always, he blames the Lord:
Verses 19-21: "He hath cast me into the mire, and I am become like dust and ashes. I cry unto thee, and thou dost not hear me: I stand up, and thou regardest me not. Thou art become cruel to me: with thy strong hand thou opposest thyself against me."
Job always seems to get the culprit wrong. Once again, it's not God, as he seems to feel so strongly:
Verses 22-24: "Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance. For I know that thou wilt bring me to death, and to the house appointed for all living. Howbeit he will not stretch out his hand to the grave, though they cry in his destruction."
Listen to this one very carefully:
Verse 25: "Did not I weep for him that was in trouble? was not my soul grieved for the poor?"
Can you see it, beloved? Job's suffering has unearthed another problem. One he is as blind to as he is to the wiles of Satan. He can't see his own self righteousness and hypocrisy. He has just stated that the poor (at least some of them) had been "vile" to him in the past and he was very superior to them in his own eyes while he was rich and "blessed."
Those who ridicule him now, had probably sensed all along that he looked down on them. They must have resented it back then and now they are lashing out at him in his weakened and fallen state. Job couldn't blame that on the Devil even if he DID know of him. It's the same for you and me with some of our problems. Perhaps the worst of our faults are not the ones we are currently aware of, but the ones to which we remain blind. Is it true that the Lord might allow (not cause, but allow) us to suffer at times to reveal things to us about ourselves which can only pierce through our dullness under the kind of pressure Job is experiencing?
Verses 26-28: "When I looked for good, then evil came unto me: and when I waited for light, there came darkness. My bowels boiled, and rested not: the days of affliction prevented me. I went mourning without the sun: I stood up, and I cried in the congregation."
Job just didn't get it, did he? Not yet. He's still waiting for a reward from God for his work with the poor. But it's his ATTITUDE toward the poor that needed fixing, regardless of all the "works" he had done. I hope Job emerges from all this with a new attitude toward God and his fellow men and women (ALL of them, that is). There's an old saying that goes something like: "we had met the enemy and it was us." But the great thing about trusting God through some horrible times is that we may emerge with new attitudes and a new and sobering knowledge of ourselves. Perhaps this is why you sometimes hear a person, often years after a great loss or calamity, say they are BETTER off because of it. O if we could just see even a glimpse of this hope in our sufferings, beloved. Sometimes just a sliver of light in the darkness can have great effect.
Will Job improve himself? Will his future become brighter than his past ever could have been because of all this? If so, it will take time. For now he can only lament what he sees as God's injustice toward him:
Verses 29-31: "I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls. My skin is black upon me, and my bones are burned with heat. My harp also is turned to mourning, and my organ into the voice of them that weep."
Maybe those "vile" men should have had the most sympathy for Job. They certainly had more experience with humiliation and suffering than Job's friends did. Maybe some of them would have come to his aid now if he had had more true compassion on them back when he didn't think he needed them or their help.
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