John T. Willis

Saturday, September 19, 2009

My Suffering is Greater than any human being can endure--Job 6-7--Part 2

In Job's first response to Eliphaz in Job 6-7, Job argues that his suffering is greater than any human being can possibly tolerate. In the previous blog, we suggested that these two chapters fall into an ABAC structure. We dealt with the AA paragraphs: Job 6:1-13; 7:1-10. In both of these paragraphs, Job declares that no human being could endure the suffering Job has experienced. Now, we move into the B and C sections of Job's speech.

I. My friends have abandoned me in my time of dire need. Job 6:14-30.
a. Of all people, one should expect a true friend to "be there" and support and comfort a person is great distress and grievous suffering, like Job has experienced. But Job declares that his three friends: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar, have abandoned Job in his darkest night. Job affirms that one who "withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty"--verse 14. Again, we encounter the idea of "the fear of the Lord." The fear of the Lord is respecting, honoring, revering, standing in awe of, highly regarding God. But this has to do with the way a person treats another person. Job asserts that his friends should have shown kindness to Job, but instead, they withheld kindness.
b. Job uses three figures to communicate this idea.
1. Job's friends are like wadis--streams that fill up when rain falls, but soon love all their water and become bone dry. Job says his friends treat Job in just that way. Job yearns for water--and Job's friends return dryness. Verses 15-21.
2. Job declares he has not asked his friends to give Job anything at all. All Job desires and wishes is that his friends would reach out in love in understanding and sympathy in his time of great suffering. Verses 22-23.
3. Job proclaims that Job's friends are so coldhearted and unsympathetic that they would not hesitate to stoop so low as casting lots over an orphan to gain money and bargain over a friend to gain wealth. Verses 24-27.
c. Job concludes in this paragraph by asserting that he is not lying, that he has done not wrong, and that he requires just vindication. Verses 28-30.

II. God, YOU have brought bitter suffering into my life, and therefore I want to die. Job 7:11-21.
a. Job has been speaking to Eliphaz, but at the end of this speech, Job turns directly to God, pleading that God will put Job to death. God--Why have you picked me out specially to make me suffer like this? Since you are treating me this way, I want to die. Verses 11-15.
b. Twice, Job cries out to God: "LET ME ALONE" [notice verses 16 and 19].
"Let me alone, for my days are a BREATH." Life is very short.
"Let me alone UNTIL I SWALLOW MY SPITTLE." God, you are smiting me mercilessly. GIVE ME A BREAK. I have to "catch my breath." Verses 16-19.
c. O God, I may have committed sin. If so, I acknowledge my sins. YOU have specifically picked me out to be your "target." Why are you not willing to forgive me and pardon me my sins, so I may have a reprieve from this terrible suffering? Verses 20-21.

What do YOU think in response to Job's first speech? Remember, I am simply trying to faithfully report Job's position at this point in his series of speeches. Is Job right? Is Job wrong? How would you feel under similar circumstances? I imagine you or a close friend or family member has suffered in similar ways. You should empathize with these issues. Share your thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU. How can I help YOU? God somehow patiently bears along with all of us in tough times. The book of Job helps us work through the greatest difficulties in life. Abundant Blessings.

John Willis


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