Before we begin, let us pray:
Blessed Lord, who caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning: Grant us so to hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them, that we may embrace and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which you have given us in our Savior, Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
We come now to the last section of Job’s reply to Eliphaz. In here Job reflects on the misery and brevity of our lives here on earth. He laments his physical and mental condition and because of this difficult, he does not know anymore if he can sustain receiving more of it without giving up.
So Job asks God to intervene. He seeks for a redeemer. He needs someone who can take aways his transgession. Job prays for deliverance and he wants God to act soon. He pleads for help and asks God to rescue him.
Our preaching contains two points and they are: 1) Job laments to God about his pain; 2) Job seeks God’s intervention
Job laments to God about his pain
“Has not man a hard service on earth, and are not his days like the days of a hired hand? Like a slave who longs for the shadow, and like a hired hand who looks for his wages, so I am allotted months of emptiness, and nights of misery are apportioned to me. When I lie down I say, ‘When shall I arise?’ But the night is long, and I am full of tossing till the dawn. My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt; my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh. My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle and come to their end without hope.
“Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good. The eye of him who sees me will behold me no more; while your eyes are on me, I shall be gone. As the cloud fades and vanishes, so he who goes down to Sheol does not come up; he returns no more to his house, nor does his place know him anymore (verses 1-10)
Job continues to lament the miserable condition that he is in because of the testing he receives from God. At the point, we have learned a good deal about his physical, mental states. Both his body and soul are in anguish and he reminds us of the misery and brevity of this life. And here we are exhorted by Scripture to again consider suffering as a potent reminder to long for deliverance asking God to save us from our misery.
Verses 1-3 Job compares himself to a hired servant who labors day and night and only finds relief when he ends his work and receives his pay. Even with a long toil, slaves receives a brief pleasure of resting when the air is blowing and the shade of a tree offers relief from the direct heat of the sun.
So even these men who labors and toils find relief from it and yet compared to him, he break comes further torture and pain. He is mentally suffering nightmares and hallucinations. According to one commentary, Job experiences “fever, sleeplessness, delirium, skin ulcers, and running sores infested with worms.” These things haunt him constantly and offers him no rest and we can read it from verses 4-5. Job suffers nights of sleeplessness. He finds no peace from his situation and verse 6 explains that he is at the end of his rope. He knows he cannot last any longer.
So in verses 7-8 Job reminds everyone about the brevity of life. Life is but a mist. Here today, gone tomorrow. Life here on earth is eventually futile and vain. And in verses 9-10, Job emphasizes the fate of all men which to die and perish. We only have but one life in creation and after this we face the judgment throne of God.
Job’s lament here offers Christians the proper perspective in life. That while creation provides us pleasure in the end when we are sick and dying, we realize its transient nature. This brings us misery as well knowing how brief life is. Job reminds everyone the incomparable difference between this life and the life to come, between transient and eternal matters of life. In the New Testament, it is James who exhorts us to exercise wisdom when boast about tomorrow. He wrote: “Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin. (James 4:13-17). Job and James teach us to view life not against transient things because it leads us to boasting. Instead, they wants us to see life from the eternal perspective for it will sure leads us to humility before God.
Let us know our place and lot in this world and continue to face all hardships with humility and submission to God.
Job seeks God’s intervention
Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. Am I the sea, or a sea monster, that you set a guard over me? When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,’ then you scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, so that I would choose strangling and death rather than my bones. I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Leave me alone, for my days are a breath.
What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning and test him every moment? How long will you not look away from me, nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit? If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be.” (verses 11-21)
Job turns to God for answers. He raises to God all of his complaints, wants to understanding, and needs God to intervene. Job reflects on the futility of life and how it is but a vapor and yet God pays much atttention to him. So he asks God to respond to him and grants his request. Job needs a redeemer who can suffer on his behalf.
Verses 11 signals again for us Job continuing lament before God. He mentions his mouth, spirit, and soul complaining for his sorrowful conditions. Job’s whole being is in pain and he wants God to rescue him. Why did Job turns to God for deliverance and not from anyone else? Because he knows that it is God who is sovereign over it and concurring every action.
In verse 12, Job compares this action from God as God’s vengence against his enemies. The sea monster represent great evil. Of course, Job is not saying God considers him as the devil but he uses it a metaphor for God’s wrath and vengence.
Now Verses 13 to 15 narrates Job’s experience as result of God’s exacting work against him. He is tormented and again expresses his desire for death. These severe actions against him makes him realize the futility of it all knowing life is brief and suffering such pain if there is no purpose is futile (verse 16)
So Job in verse 17 to 18 interogates God for the purpose of the creation of man and how it relates to God’s sending him trials and testing. Verses 19 to 20 explain how God’s judgment is so precise and nothing escapes it so for sinful people like Job, like you and me, we are definitely condemned by it. That is why in verse 21, Job asks for a redeemer. He needs someone who can go between God and man. Job understands our need for a savior.
We know Job is right. No man can say themselves. Our pain and suffering points to our need for rescue. It serves no purpose other than to glorify God for redemptive work. Job was able to make sense of it all knowing that God ordains our sufferings to expose the vanity of life and points us to the humility of our Savior.
God sent his own Son to suffer and die. He did so in order to deliver us from our sins and misery and give us eternal life with him. The Son volunteered to offer himself as a once and for all sacrifice for sin and bore upon himself the wrath of God so we are spared from it and instead of condemnation, we receive pardon, instead of eternal, we receive eternal life. The Holy Spirit seals us with the mark of God’s abiding presence sustaining us in our sanctification and even protecting us not to finally and permanently fall away. God the Spirit preserves God’s people in his presence and enables them to persevere in the end.
This is our comfort Christians that when we suffer know God abides in us as he promised to do so. Let alone delivers us from the testing and trials. So let us continue to move forward in our journey and press on in faith. Peter exhorts: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you (1 Peter 4:12-14)
Let us seek God in our suffering, patiently wait on him, and glorify God for it. Amen.
ZCRC(Imus), God is our redeemer who sends his Son to suffer and die on our behalf and pours out, together with the Son, the Spirit to abide with us and in us so he can sustain us during adversity. So let us put trust in him. Amen.
Rev. Lance Filio is a minister of the Word and Sacraments at Zion Cornerstone Reformed Church (Imus). He finished his Bachelor Degree in Electronics Engineering at Mapua Institute of Technology and He is currently taking his Master of Arts in Theological Studies (MATS) at MINTS. He lives in Taguig City, Philippines with his wife and three children.