John T. Willis

Friday, September 18, 2009

My Suffering is Greater than any human being can endure--Job 6-7--Part 1

Job had spent approximately 60 years of much wealth and health, and all that time Job had "feared the Lord and turned away from evil." Recently, Job has lost his wealth [including his ten grown children] and health, and in Job 3, Job wishes that he had never been born, OR that he could die now. More recently, one of Job's friends, Eliphaz [obviously speaking in behalf of his other two friends] proceeds to denounce Job for speaking in this way in Job 3, and offers several ARGUMENTS to show that all righteous people prosper and all wicked people suffer, SO Job must have sinned or else he would not be suffering in these ways. But, soon, God will revive Job to wealth and health, and Job's present complaints will vanish. This prepares us for Job's first response to Eliphaz. This appears in Job 6-7. Please read this carefully as we talk together.

Job's main point is that Job's suffering is too severe for any human being to endure. Job's speech falls into four paragraphs following an ABAC pattern.
A. My own suffering is greater than any human being could tolerate. 6:1-13.
B. You, my friends, have deepened my suffer, when you should be comforting me. 6:14-30.
A. My own suffering is greater than any human being could tolerate. 7:1-10.
C. God, you have brought my suffering upon me arbitrarily: you have made me a "target" to give me pain. 7:11-21.

In this blog, we will walk briefly through the two A. sections.
I. Job 6:1-13. Here Job give four figures or metaphors to demonstrate that Job's suffering is greater than any human being can tolerate.
a. No human being can carry on his or her back all the sand on all the shores of the nations. Verses 1-3.
b. A wild ass or an ox does not bray or low over food he is now receiving; similarly, Job would not be complaining if his tremendous suffering would lighten or remove. Verse 5.
c. A person cannot eat tasteless food without salt; similarly, Job must complain when his suffering is so great. Verse 6.
d. If a human being were made out of bronze or stones, he or she might endure such great suffering, but I am made out of flesh and bones and hair, and this suffering is intolerable. Verse 11-12.
*Job 6:4 and 7:20 compare Job with a "target." God is an archer. Job is the bull's-eye. And God never misses. This is why Job is suffering so much.
*In Job 6:8-10, Job reiterates his fervent prayer in Job 3:20-26 that God would take Job's life.

2. Job 7:1-10. Here Job gives three more figures or metaphors to demonstrate that his suffering is so great that no one could possibly endure.
a. A slave yearns for a shadow to rest under a tree for a little while. Similarly, Job yearns to have just a little relief from his tremendous suffering. Verses 1-3.
b. A laborer anticipates fair wages for his work. Similarly, Job yearns to receive a respite from his suffering. Verses 1-3.
c. Life is too short for any person to have to suffer as much as Job is enduring. Here Job stresses the brevity of life.
1. Life is swifter than a weaver's shuttle. If you have ever watched a person working with a weaver's shuttle, the shuttle moves so quickly that the human eye can hardly follow it. Life moves through just that quickly. Verse 6.
2. Life is like a "breath." Inhale-exhale--and life is over. It is too short for any person to suffer this much. Verses 7-8.
3. Life is like clouds rising over the sky. The clouds are here for a brief time, then they are gone. Life is that short. It is too short for any person to suffer this much. Verses 9-10.
*Job 7:5 gives a slight "window" into Job's illness {see Job 2:7-8). Job's flesh is clothed with worms and dirt. Job's skin harden, then breaks out again. Pus oozes out of his pores. What a horrible disease Job is enduring.

I do not know about YOU, but if I were in Job's place, I might do even worse than Job. When we suffer, we have to complain. And Job is complaining--big time. God has "wired" human beings to complain when we suffer greatly.

All along, please keep in mind that I am trying to "report" the views of Job here. Job may be right or wrong. Right now, we are trying to listen to Job's feelings and views and ideas.

What are YOUR thoughts. Share your ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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