The Book of Job-Chapter Six:
"Walking in Job's Shoes"
Job's answer to the criticism of Eliphaz seems tepid at first:
Verses 1-3: "But Job answered and said, Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up."
Job is in too much pain to defend himself or be clever. But he is honest about it:
Verse 4: "For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me."
Job didn't realize that Satan had a hold of him. He assumed that it was God. Don't make this error today, beloved. God is all Light and there is no darkness in Him (see I John 1:5 for instance). The miseries of the world are of Man's own making with Satan's efforts thrown on the pile. This understanding is critical to a person's view of the Lord and Salvation. It is not in God's nature to be cruel, small minded, selfish, or hateful. But when we start thinking He is because of our tribulations, we get lost and very confused. What Job says next is, basically, "Hey, what in the world is going on?" Listen to his frustration:
Verses 5-7: "Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder? Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg? The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat."
Confusion about the basic nature of God is the worst, but it seems most universal form of spiritual ignorance. It is a natural hallmark of unbelief, but when it creeps in to the life of a believer like Job or one of us today, the whole world seems to melt into chaos. And Satan must be pleased. For what can come next but deep discouragement? In these next verses we see once again that is exactly where Job is right now:
Verses 8-9: "Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off!"
One of the greatest promises of Heaven is an end to the confusion about God's true role in the calamities and joys of life. Somehow, in that day, it will become eternally clear that God is Good. All Good. And all believers will finally be freed from the nagging doubts of this life and reach out with a Love and abandonment toward Him that eluded them in prior times. I don't think Job is truly suicidal here, but he is instinctively longing for a better world and the freedom of it. But then Faith, the amazing gift of God to men, springs up again in old Job:
Verses 10-12: "Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One. What is my strength, that I should hope? and what is mine end, that I should prolong my life? Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?"
Job remembers his beliefs and service, his spiritual identity. He acknowledges to Eliphaz and to himself that he is only human and weak and has been further weakened by his great trials. Then, finally he is ready to answer Eliphaz:
Verse 13: "Is not my help in me? and is wisdom driven quite from me?"
I translate this loosely as Job saying to his friends, "Hey, I'm not crazy. There are some crazy things happening to me right now, but I'm still in contact with God. I'm suffering but that doesn't mean I'm spiritually blinded." And so here it comes. Job reproves Eliphaz. It took some time for him to get up the strength, but he's ready now and this is how our chapter ends:
Verses 14-30: "To him that is afflicted pity should be shewed from his friend; but he forsaketh the fear of the Almighty. My brethren have dealt deceitfully as a brook, and as the stream of brooks they pass away; Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid: What time they wax warm, they vanish: when it is hot, they are consumed out of their place. The paths of their way are turned aside; they go to nothing, and perish. The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them. They were confounded because they had hoped; they came thither, and were ashamed. For now ye are nothing; ye see my casting down, and are afraid. Did I say, Bring unto me? or, Give a reward for me of your substance? Or, Deliver me from the enemy's hand? or, Redeem me from the hand of the mighty? Teach me, and I will hold my tongue: and cause me to understand wherein I have erred. How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? Do ye imagine to reprove words, and the speeches of one that is desperate, which are as wind? Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend. Now therefore be content, look upon me; for it is evident unto you if I lie. Return, I pray you, let it not be iniquity; yea, return again, my righteousness is in it. Is there iniquity in my tongue? cannot my taste discern perverse things?"
We hear much more about Job these days than from Job. He may scare the modern audience or congregation. But if you read carefully above and consider carefully you may get a new respect for Job. He did not suffer in vain. This was a part of his calling. Job had a message to deliver from the Lord. We don't have to be healthy, wise, wealthy, etc. to have a message from the Lord. Job calls out to us. Eliphaz is wrong, he says. The righteous may suffer and may suffer greatly at times. They are still righteous in the Lord. Even if, like Job, they can't understand their own pain. They can still serve God...through the pain or loss. Job says listen everybody, it is NOT well with my soul today. But so what. I can still worship the Lord and do. That old song is crazy. You can't always be content in this life. The poor man who wrote that song lost his mind. Job knew better. There's nothing righteous about acting content when horrible things happen or you have reason to mourn or show concern. Beloved if you need to mourn for a just reason today or in the future, go ahead. But, like Job, include God, let him in and trust Him through the bad time.
In his Letter to the Romans Paul mentions rejoicing AND weeping in the early Church (chapter 12, verse 15). And what greater example do we need than Christ Who, like Job, admitted His pain and distress to God and to us through the Scriptures. Jesus wasn't singing "It is Well with My Soul" in the garden. What did He actually say? Look at it in Matthew 26:38...
"Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me."
Christ was not confused as Job was. He did understand Satan's role in His trials. Christ understood everything, perfectly, but it all still hurt, and He admitted it. He became a "man of sorrows" and had to become "acquainted with grief." Think about that. None of us will ever suffer as much as Christ. None of us will ever have as much to lose as Christ did or as far to fall, but what a comfort He should be to us when we must spend time walking in Job's shoes.
Click Here before printing