Today: [Job Seven] Have You Ever Wanted to Die? In this chapter Job prays for death. He accuses God of using him for target practice. He laments because he would have preferred to die in the night rather than face another day of suffering. We all go through such times in one way or another. In Job we learn how to avoid the pitfalls that Job stumble into and hopefully spare ourselves by God’s wisdom the same experiences.
[Job 7:1-21 KJV] 1 [Is there] not an appointed time to man upon earth? [are not] his days also like the days of an hireling? 2 As a servant earnestly desireth the shadow, and as an hireling looketh for [the reward of] his work: 3 So am I made to possess months of vanity, and wearisome nights are appointed to me. 4 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. 5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of dust; my skin is broken, and become loathsome. 6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope. 7 O remember that my life [is] wind: mine eye shall no more see good.
In this chapter Job continues his lament, wishing for death. He speaks of man appointed time on earth asking when is this all going to be over. As a servant looks forward to the end of the day he looks forward to his own death – as though to hasten it by his desire. He sees death as the reward that he will receive for a life of suffering. He struggles to process all that is happening to him but is driven by his own frustration and can’t stop thinking about it. He goes to bed and gets up wishing for the end of the day. He laments that he wakes up and finds that he hasn’t died in the night. He has no more hope and has no more expectation that anything good will every happen to him.
Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever been waylaid by circumstances of life and just threw up your hands declaring “I quit!” What we are seeing is not only Job’s despair but his anger. He is angry at God and angry at his friends. He feels it is not fair that he has suffered such things and simply wants to die and be done with it. In the final analysis his life has spiraled completely out of his control and he would rather not live than live a life over which he has no autonomy.
Job is not in a position to be instructed although there are many things that he says that could be corrected. His friends will correct him but not from a tender heart. For us looking on at this scene we find it difficult to take in. We can’t overcome Job’s words because his suffering makes him somewhat of an authority in the situation. In his complaint he insists that we listen because he is hurting more than we are. Let us consider the following from the words of Paul:
[Phl 4:8 KJV] 8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things [are] honest, whatsoever things [are] just, whatsoever things [are] pure, whatsoever things [are] lovely, whatsoever things [are] of good report; if [there be] any virtue, and if [there be] any praise, think on these things.
Paul wrote the letter of Philippians to Timothy and the church he led because they were scandalized in their faith over his imprisonment and the rampant persecution taking place at the time. This exhortation from Paul was given when he was in chains. In essence he was saying “don’t wallow in your suffering…” Words have power and out of the heart are the issues of life. What you dwell on becomes a dominion in and over your life. Whatever is in your heart in abundance will become the predictor of what happens next. Job greatly feared. Fear was in him in abundance by his own admission. The thing that was in his life in abundance dictated the circumstances that would play out in his immediate circumstances. What is it in your heart? If you don’t like what is in your life change what is in your heart.
8 The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no [more]: thine eyes [are] upon me, and I [am] not. 9 [As] the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: so he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no [more]. 10 He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more. 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. 12 [Am] I a sea, or a whale, that thou settest a watch over me? 13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaint; 14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions: 15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, [and] death rather than my life. 16 I loathe [it]; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days [are] vanity.
Job continues his rant declaring that he doesn’t expect to live. In fact he says “I will not refrain my mouth because I am about to die…” He knows his words are out of order. He realizes he needs to be quiet and therefore justifies his continued speech by claiming the right to speak because he is about to die and because of his deep suffering. He challenges God asking the question “what did you do – set an arbitrary limit on my days as you limit the sea to only coming so far at high tide?”
He goes on to complain that even when he sleeps God (in his view) is persecuting him with terrible dreams. I am not surprised to see that Job is having troubling dreams. When God cannot get through to you in your waking life he will speak to you in your dreams. Troubling dreams, disturbing images many times are God provoking us to reflect on our actions or choices in order that He can get our attention and change the direction of our lives. Job rejects all of this and simply demands that God would leave him alone and let him die.
17 What [is] man, that thou shouldest magnify him? and that thou shouldest set thine heart upon him? 18 And [that] thou shouldest visit him every morning, [and] try him every moment? 19 How long wilt thou not depart from me, nor let me alone till I swallow down my spittle? 20 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? 21 And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I [shall] not [be].
Job challenges God asking Him why He would ever promote a man if He was only going to try him and trouble him at every moment. In all of this there is no thought from Job or from his friends that it wasn’t God that was initiating all this suffering. The real culprit, Satan himself goes unnamed and undiscovered. Yes it is true that Job did not curse God as his wife suggested but his words were very stout against God and against His goodness in our lives. He accuses God of using him for target practice. He flippantly agrees with Elipaz “Ok I have sinned…” which he doesn’t really believe and then demands of God “why don’t you forgive me then – if you are in fact punishing me as Elipaz contends…”
There is no answer because this isn’t about Job being in sin. This is about the ramifications and consequences of living in a fallen environment. God has not targeted Job. The only thing we see God proactively doing in Job’s life is having put a hedge round about him to protect him from the consequences of the fear that Job later on admits was in his own heart. Remember that Job said that what he feared the most came upon him. In other words he feared calamity more than he feared God Himself. Yet because of Job’s integrity and his flawed humanity God had put a protection around Job to shield him from the assault that Satan had a right to bring against him because of his fear.
What do you fear? Are you struggling with fear in your life? There is an antidote. Fear is a spirit that only tracks your life because it finds in your thoughts, words and meditations a habitat conducive to it’s nature. Reject fear. Refuse to meditate on the negative. Choose to have no opinion. Never answer your accusers. Throw yourself on God’s mercy. Trust in his undeserved lovingkingdness in your life. Eventually fear will leave because your faith will be found toxic to it’s existence in your life.
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