Walled Off From God's Belssing
He is not saying, “I wish I was never born because this hurts so much,” but “I wish I was never born if I have to live without God.”
Doesn’t suffering of such magnitude signify something? It is not merely the affliction itself that Job finds so hard to bear; it is the sudden and inexplicable change in God’s posture toward him that circumstances seem to signal. How can anyone endure such disaster and not assume that God has turned against him?
But now an anguished Job complains that God has fenced him about to keep any help from reaching him. To Job it appears that God has locked him into turmoil and thrown away the key.
Job’s lamentation ultimately magnifies God by articulating the immeasurable value of His favor and the irrelevance of life without it. If God means this much—that man is better off not to have lived at all than to live without Him—then this God must be supremely desirable above life itself. Securing His pleasure must be the single worth-while ambition in life
I. Why Was I Born?
A. His Wish
B. His Reason
He unleashes a spirit of anguish that threatens to contradict his earlier resolve. As the dialogue progresses, Job expresses both anger (18:4) and despair (6:26). “Grief is an almost unavoidable consequence of bereavement, maltreatment, or pain.”19 Is Job, then, a positive or negative example of grieving? Neither, really. Job is a realistic example of grieving by one of the godliest men in Old Testament history. This is what grief looks like, sometimes even for spiritually mature saints, because even spiritually mature saints are human.
Why Did I Live?
A. His persistent question
In this question are wrapped up all the questions of all sufferers throughout the ages. “Why me?”
B. His problems erased
To the once-noble man from Uz—weary with grief, spent from scratching his sores, and completely befuddled with why God should allow these tragedies to happen to a “blameless and upright” man—such alternatives were welcome indeed.
“Job is determined to be absolutely honest with God. Job tells God everything, every fear and every doubt.… God prefers we speak with him honestly, even in our moments of deepest gloom, than that we mouth innocuous clichés far removed from reality.”
God does not blame us if in our suffering we frankly vent our despair and confess our loss of hope, our sense of futility, our lamentations about life itself.… Of course, it is possible in grief and misery to say the wrong things, to say blasphemous things.… But within certain boundaries, it is far better to be frank about our grief, candid in our despair, honest with our questions, than to suppress them and wear a public front of puffy piety. Whatever “resolution” the Book of Job provides turns on Job’s questions and God’s responses. Without the questions, there would have been no responses.
Hypocrisy masquerades in many guises. You may think it a noble thing not to want to offend God with your faltering faith, nagging doubts, or disturbing questions. So you put on a false bold front, say and pray all the right spiritual things, and teach your soul to bite its lip. But hypocrisy in any form is not noble or helpful.
The divine Physician cannot treat us if we pretend everything is fine and refuse to open up to Him. Hypocrisy hinders healing and denial is therapy resistant.
III. Why Can’t I Just Die?
A. What Job longs for
B. What Job fears
Perhaps Job is saying that the one thing he dreaded ever happening—the loss of God’s blessing and favor—and which he took pains to avert, even for his own children (1:5), has now happened; and what is worse, “he has no idea why.”
No one should conclude that Job 3 suggests or condones suicidal tendencies. Job was not suicidal. He never contemplated taking his own life. Suicide was not an option. The closest brush with suicide in the story was his wife’s suggestion that he “curse God and die”—that is, commit a willful act of blasphemy to provoke God’s instantaneous judgment. Job recoiled in horror at this suggestion from his would-be “enabler” (2:9–10).
Even amid torturous grief and bodily pain, Job was not suicidal but submissive to the will and timing of a sovereign God. In despair over what he assumed was incurable misery, Job wanted God to kill him outright (see 6:8–10). As it turned out, his assumption was shortsighted and entirely mistaken. “Despair is only for those who see the end beyond all doubt.” Job did not, and neither do we. Yet even Job’s “death wish” was just that—a wish, a request, a prayer ultimately resigned to the wishes and purposes of the Lord of life.