The Book of Job-Chapter Seven:
"The Deal Breaker"
Just when it seems he can go no farther down in his slide, Job sinks again. Here we see him really questioning God. Bear in mind that this man was righteous before God. This passage is all the sadder because of that. These are not the ravings of a heretic or atheist. Job thought (as we often do today) that he had a "deal" with the Lord. And that God had broken that agreement:
Verses 1-4: "Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling? As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for the reward of his work: So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me. When I lie down, I say, When shall I arise, and the night be gone? and I am full of tossings to and fro unto the dawning of the day."
In his trouble and afflictions, even the passing of time has become painful for Job. Depression has turned him into a clock watcher and a calendar watcher. That is an unhealthy lifestyle and not what God desires for anyone. Just existing in his suffering has made life itself a detested chore.
Verse 5: "My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome."
Job had already lost wealth and possessions, family and friends, and now finally at Satan's hands, his health too. This sets him into a panic about the brevity of life and how plagued and hopeless his has become:
Verses 6-10: "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle, and are spent without hope. O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good. The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: thine eyes are upon me, and I am not. As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more."
And now, driven by his fears, Job chooses to speak out against the Lord:
Verse 11: "Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul."
Is it unrighteous to complain before the Lord or about Him? Remember now, the Scriptures consider Job to be a righteous man despite these and other statements. He is not cursing God, as the devil predicted. But he isn't hiding his agony or trying to suppress it either. It takes courage to be honest (REALLY honest, beloved) with God. Later on in the Book of Ezekiel, Job will be cited as a "hero" of the faith (see Ezekiel 14:14, 20). We need to consider that too as we proceed:
Verse 12: "Am I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me?"
What in the world is Job saying now? I think he had believed that it was his riches and prosperity, the "Good Life," that separated him from the rest of God's creation. But he was in error and that was never true.
Verses 13-15: "When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaints; Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life."
The pain has penetrated Job's mind, heart, and soul. Even sleep is not an escape. Job seems unaware that those nightmares are coming from the devil. This was another error on his part. And now we plainly see the fruit of his wrong thinking:
Verse 16: "I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity."
He despairs of this life and disparages the idea of eternal life (at least for him). And, he thinks, if God won't bless him, if the blessings are gone, then he doesn't want any contact with the Lord. I, to be really honest, have thought that way before in my life. This Book of Job is not as obscure as it may seem at first glance. Many of us can relate very much to it! Again I ask you, is it wrong to be honest with the Lord?
But Job is wrong. Wrong about his problems. Wrong about the "Good Life" he has lost. Wrong about his true relationship with God. But one thing he is doing right is remaining honest and open before God. It's painful to listen to in parts, but isn't it wonderful also to see how, even when deceived into thinking he has been abandoned by the Lord, Job still turns to Him and pours it all out before God. Yes, he is a man of faith. And the Word is clear that true faith makes a man righteous.
But Job is wrong. And when we are wrong about the Lord it makes us bitter:
Verses 17-19: "What is man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? And that thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment? How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle? "
If you won't keep me in blessings, can't you at least leave me alone, he cries. If there are no more earthly blessing, our "deal" is off. Our relationship is fractured. But at least stop oppressing me, Job is saying to God. Leave me alone. Let me have a second of peace to at least swallow my spit!
Were you ever angry at God, beloved? Perhaps you are right now. I have been at times. Did you realize that you can tell Him about it and complain directly to Him, whatever your issues may be. He listened to Job, even when Job was wrong about God and even when Job got bitter against Him.
God is a person and so are we. He is Perfect, but until we are resurrected and made perfect, we cannot have a perfect relationship with God. He knows this. There will be questions, frustrations. I think that's why He is willing to listen to you and to me today, any time and ALL the time, no matter what. But there is a condition. Like Job, we must come openly and honestly and, most importantly, in faith that He is real. Even if your issue is about faith itself, I still urge you to bring it to Him directly. And shouldn't we try to consider God's frustrations in dealing with us, His "highest" creation? Have you read a newspaper lately? I need look no farther than my own heart to realize I have frustrated Him. That's why we need a Savior Who totally satisfies God. If Jesus is not your Brother in the Faith, you and God are never going to get past the frustration stage in your relationship. Not in our day and age! If you want to explore this "doctrine of Christ" and the Faith further, read carefully Hebrews, chapters 1-5.
As we close this solemn chapter, Job (weakened by pain) is going to buy into a form of Eliphaz's error. Namely that earthly blessings are the bottom line in providing evidence of a righteous life. And if you have troubles, then God MUST be punishing you for some transgression. But that is wrong, the "Good Life" is not the deal breaker in our relationship with God. Satan is the one who believes that. We MUST NOT. Christ obviously DID NOT. Satan is the one who is pushing that so hard on Job, but ultimately Job will not believe it either.
For now, however, Job will render this understandably pathetic, and I believe, totally erroneous plea as he probably assumes that the next loss will be of his life:
Verses 20-21: "I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be."
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