Please read chs 6-7, see if you can answer the following;
Questions: Chaps. 6 & 7. 1. How would you express the extent of Job’s suffering? 2. What do you think he inferred by the poison arrows 3. What do you think Job meant when he referred to; a, the white of an egg b, the braying of a donkey?
4. What was Job’s request? 5. What did Job say his friends were like? Can you see the significance of the description? 6. How near to death do you think Job was? 7. What did Job mean by the reference to the days going faster than a weaver’s shuttle. 8. Why did Job want to die sooner rather than later.? 9. Do you think nightmares come from the devil? 10. Can you see any similarity in Job’s circumstances, (in these two chapters) with those of Jesus? Study Notes chs. 6 & 7:
His Suffering: It is not always easy to discern the extent of a person’s suffering, for everyone has a different pain threshold. There are some who never complain, and others who tell you every detail and go to enormous lengths just to answer the every day salutation of “Hello, how a’ you?” Now that I am old I often answer those who ask me “never ask an old person how they are, because you could get a very long reply” It is a worthwhile exercise to make a careful note of all the verses that relate to Job’s suffering and the physical description of his disease. He suffers not only in body, but also in soul and spirit. If only my “anguish” could be weighed, is an expression from a wounded spirit, rather than the pain or irritation of the bodily ailments. Verse 4 says; “My spirit drinks in the poison from the arrows” In ch.7:11, Job speaks of the “anguish of his spirit” and the “bitterness of his soul”.
“And all my misery be placed on the scales” Misery is suffered in the soul. Surely a reminder and confirmation that the sufferings of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, far outweighed the physical pain of Calvary.
A depressed or anguished spirit issues forth into the soul resulting in misery or unhappiness. It may be true to say that suffering is increased when God is involved. For example a man may suffer pain physically, having been wounded or having hit himself against a brick wall. The human mind can cope far more easily with that because one sees the reason and possibly the consequent cure or healing. But when we bring God into the equation, we wrestle with thoughts of whether it is his will or not, and why did He allow it, etc. The relationship with God is always affected. Job’s anguish came from his total inability to discern why God had inflicted these troubles upon him. Sometimes our sense of guilt can help us cope with a misfortune, but in Job’s case there was definitely no guilt complex, to ease the pain of anxiety and perplexity in the mind. Job’s friends probably regarded him as a bit of a moaner. Job seems to say here and in other places, “if you only knew how much I was suffering”, and furthermore most of his moaning was about the injustice or lack of purpose in it all.
So, how much then did Job suffer? Give a thought to the fact that if God gave Satan a yard of permission, would he use only two feet? Surely he would use every inch of the permission afforded to try to fulfil his purpose. His great desire to get Job to curse God, was motivated really by his greater desire to rob God of His glory, for God had boasted of “His servant Job”. Job made God feel good, enough to boast about him as his creature. Job glorified God. Men will boast of their football team or of the company which employs them, provided they are themselves exalted in the boasting. If the team doesn’t do very well, then there are not so many supporters around, but if they have a spell of success then their supporters come crawling out of the woodwork in vast numbers, even people one never thought were supporters. In modern day football, if one local team beats another local team then the winning supporters have what they call “bragging rights”, until they play again. So if my team defeats your team then your boasting is in vain and you are robbed of your glory. If God’s boasting of Job could have been proved in vain, then God would have lost his Glory. It is a profound thought within the plan of salvation that God’s ultimate glory is bound up in man being glorified. How far then did Satan take Job into suffering? The only line drawn by God was death. Therefore, we must believe that Job was as near to death as any man ever came. Ch.19:20 says that He had escaped ”by the skin of his teeth”. In this speech he says his life is but a breath. He was a breath away from death. For that is all Satan left him with. The worst thing about all this from Job’s point of view was that he could not go over the line, he could not die.
God the Instigator. That God was the instigator of his suffering is clear by the reference to the poison “arrows of the Almighty”. Indeed a terrible thing to say, if it were not true. In this case, God was prepared to carry the can, for being “Almighty” the buck stops with Him, otherwise He is not the all Mighty One. Job’s mention of poison arrows illustrates the slowness of the death he was enduring. It adds to the apparent “cruelty” of the attacker. (Though apparently, someone has said, that good health is the slowest form of death.) His Patience. Job’s Patience is legendary, but he himself was not aware of any great gift in this department. In ch.6:11, he fears that if he doesn’t die soon, he might fail in his ability to endure and thus lose faith and curse God. “Am I made of stone or bronze” he cries. His friends would not have said that Job was a patient man. (Note ch.4:1 and in ch.15 Eliphaz is not describing the appearance of a patient man) and some of the scathing sarcasms of Job, directed at his friends don’t reveal any meek and mild, longsuffering spirit. But when scripture speaks of patience as a spiritual quality it really means “endurance”. Job had plenty of that, and it is a quality that marks the true believer as a child of God. Anyone can believe, but only those who have their faith tested in tribulation, have this “endurance”. It is the evidence of endurance that God looks for before he stamps his “approval” upon believers. We can read this from Romans ch.5:1-8- Tribulation produces Endurance, (A.V. patience), Endurance brings the “Approval” of God ( A.V experience) and such approval brings glory to God, and we have the hope of sharing that glory, because he has promised that if we suffer with him, we will also reign with him. God boasts of no others, for they are the believers who bring glory to Him and the believers who will share in His eternal glory. Although Job did not know it, he was destined to receive twice as much as he had lost, and of course, everlasting glory, in the eternal purposes of God. “All those who live godly will suffer persecution”
His Request. Verse 8; His request was that God would take his life. He could see no reason or purpose for his suffering, and therefore he could see no reason for living. (ch.7:16). Life was as meaningless as there is taste in the white of an egg (ch.6.:6.). ‘’ I have been allotted months of futility” Ch.7:3:
His Friends. They had obviously told him to stop moaning, but he maintains that if He was granted his request then he would stop moaning, as surely as a donkey stops braying when he gets some food. His disappointment in his friends is a feature of the book. Chapter 6.:14-23 gives us wonderful evidence of this. They are as intermittent streams which flow just at the time they are not needed. They are what we would call, fair-weather friends. In the winter when the snows melt and the rain is falling the streams flow freely; But in the summer time when the weary, thirsty traveller wants refreshment, he turns off the dusty road and climbs up the mountain side, only to find that the streams have dried up. Job says that he had never asked any of them for a penny, yet now that he is in need of comfort, and understanding, they haven’t a pennyworth of comfort to offer.
His Integrity; Ch.6:28-30: In chapter 2 v.3 we read that God attributes integrity to his character. Chapter 1:8 of the NIV, God describes him as “blameless and upright”. In the authorised version of the bible he is described as “perfect”. It is really quite surprising how many good folk seem to take question of the preacher, should he dare to call Job “perfect”. The fact that all men are sinners, makes it impossible for them to agree that Job could be blameless or perfect. But that is exactly the stance that his friends took. They argued, that no-one was perfect; - “How can a mortal man be righteous before God” is a maxim even quoted by Job. However, the fact remains, that God counted Job blameless and a man who maintained his integrity in tribulation. Who can argue with God. Job’s friends obviously were taken aback by Job’s continued declaration of innocence, and that the suffering he was enduring was from God. The two facts were totally contrary to all that they believed and indeed contrary to what Job himself once believed. His friends regarded his accusations against God as a slur upon the character of God, for they maintained that God would not punish the innocent, as this would be totally unjust. Elihu later in the discussion says, “Can he who hates justice govern?” Job himself now knows that much of what he believed in the past was untrue, or at least it was no longer true in his case. The friends felt that they were being righteous in defending God’s character as a just God, but Job did not think God needed defending by men, for being God he could do what he liked. Also being a lawyer himself, and God being a just God, he felt quite confident that he would be able to set a good case before him on his own behalf. Though many things were disputed in this debate, one thing was agreed that all men are sinners, and as Romans ch.3 says. “There is none righteous, no not one.” We can establish from Romans ch.1 & 2 that a man is judged according to the light he has received. It can be argued that Job lived in the very misty early morning light of God’s revelation to man, but nevertheless he walked in the light he had received. Therefore Job’s righteousness before God, was on the basis that his sins had been dealt with by sacrifices he had offered daily, according to the demands of a holy God. (But we should maybe keep in mind that this story is among the poetical books, rather than in the historical books.) Job maintained his belief in his integrity because he had never deliberately disobeyed the law of conscience nor failed to pay his dues to God. He certainly was not to be numbered among the wicked. Job’s friends’ philosophy was that the wicked suffered and the righteous were blessed. His suffering therefore made it possible for him to affirm categorically that suffering was not meted out along such clear lines of demarcation. Some of the wicked lived very trouble free lives, and as in Job’s case, some righteous and innocent people suffered. (see ch.9:22-24) It was of no comfort to Job to be told he must repent in order for God to remove this sickness, and in his case, totally inappropriate,. Not only was it not the right solution but it laid further stress of unjust condemnation from those he had previously thought were his friends. They at least, should have believed him, knowing him to be an honest man.(v.28) Furthermore, in verse 30, he maintains that he had never spoken anything in malice against God. He would know if there was malice in his heart against God, and testified that there was none. He was merely stating facts, and God being on the side of truth, would not condemn him for stating facts.
Was Job sinless? Job regards himself as “innocent” and “blameless”, terms easily enjoined in the legal context of the book and characters. Job’s righteousness before God was because he had fulfilled all the demands of God. He had given to God all that He demanded and more, for his own sins and the sins of his family. He even offered sacrifices for sins they may have committed unwittingly. At no time did he deliberately sin, but in his quest to find out why God was dealing with him in this way, he suggests that perhaps God might have still found offences or sins in his account. (ch.7:21.) In verse 20 he says “If I have sinned what have I done to you?” Later he refers to the sins “of his youth”. Perhaps he is referring to the sins of childhood, where wrong might have been done innocently. He would not confess to deliberate disobedience to God’s demands or commands. These last few verses of chapter 7 (17-21) are not without humour, as Job personifies the Divine. Some of us may know the experience of watching people, and being fascinated by them, especially if it is that they annoy us. Everything they seem to do, for some reason or another, may seem to get on our nerves. They do nothing deliberately, it is just the type of personality they are which “gets up one’s nose”. There is a definite element of this implicit in these verses. Job does not condemn God for it, for He is God. Job is genuinely sorry if this is the case and pleads that God might forgive him for being such an awkward lump, before he dies.
His Suffering. Job 7:1-5; “Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth? Are not his days also like the days of a hired man? 2; Like a servant who earnestly desires the shade, and like a hired man who eagerly looks for his wages, 3. So I have been allotted months of futility, and wearisome nights have been appointed to me. 4, When I lie down, I say, ‘When shall I arise, and the night be ended?’ For I have had my fill of tossing till dawn. 5. My flesh is caked with worms and dust, my skin is cracked and breaks out afresh. v.13-16:. When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,’ 14. Then You scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, 15. So that my soul chooses strangling and death rather than my body. 16. I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, for my days are but a breath. Chapter seven once again gives us a lively description of Job’s personal relationship with God. He regards God as his boss who has given him a job to do which he does not particularly like, but he knows that he will be clocking off at the end of the day and going home to the refreshment and rest of home. Such people today are often called “clock-watchers”. Job was such a man waiting for his knocking off time,- which of course in this case, was Death. Many will know the experience of being ill and how the nights drag and how eagerly and impatiently one waits for the morning. While all others are asleep and at rest, the loneliness and darkness seems to augment the suffering. In Job’s case he says, the daylight no sooner comes, than it is gone and it is night again. He describes his physical condition as “My body is clothed with worms and scabs, my skin is broken and festering” Even when he gets some sleep it seems that he is tormented with nightmares and Job even attributes these to God’s doing. Now that we know the devil and not God, was the creator of his suffering, can we suppose that nightmares are of the devil also? (ch.7:14) There is no question that Job did not think he was to get better. He looked forward to death as a time of relief and release. Ch.7:7 and v.16 remind us forcibly that when Jesus offers “Everlasting life” in the Gospel (John ch.3:16). He is definitely not referring to life on this earth. There are lots of people who would not want to live forever on this earth, especially those whose lives are full of suffering and deprivation. For life to be v.13-16 worthwhile, life has to have meaning (ch.7.:16). Without meaning, Everlasting Life would at the best be boring and at the worst be hell.