Chapter 16:1-17 (ESV) - Then Job answered and said:
“I have heard many such things;
miserable comforters are you all.
Shall windy words have an end?
Or what provokes you that you answer?
I also could speak as you do,
if you were in my place;
I could join words together against you
and shake my head at you.
I could strengthen you with my mouth,
and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
“If I speak, my pain is not assuaged,
and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me?
Surely now God has worn me out;
he has made desolate all my company.
And he has shriveled me up,
which is a witness against me,
and my leanness has risen up against me;
it testifies to my face.
He has torn me in his wrath and hated me;
he has gnashed his teeth at me;
my adversary sharpens his eyes against me.
Men have gaped at me with their mouth;
they have struck me insolently on the cheek;
they mass themselves together against me.
God gives me up to the ungodly
and casts me into the hands of the wicked.
I was at ease, and he broke me apart;
he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces;
he set me up as his target;
his archers surround me.
He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare;
he pours out my gall on the ground.
He breaks me with breach upon breach;
he runs upon me like a warrior.
I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin
and have laid my strength in the dust.
My face is red with weeping,
and on my eyelids is deep darkness,
although there is no violence in my hands,
and my prayer is pure.
Question to consider: How was Job’s suffering a type and shadow of Christ?
As difficult as Job’s grief and disease was to bear, it must have felt like a continuous assault to hear the accusations from his friends. If Job’s words were a bunch of hot air coming from his belly then from where did their words come? Given the false accusations of sin against Job, I think the implication is that their words originated from Satan. If the situation was reversed, and Job was visiting his friends who had experienced terrible loss and disease, he would have offered words to strengthen and comfort them rather than kick them when they were down. They criticized him for rejecting their advice which they professed to be the comfort of God, but they left him cold and empty.
Instead, Job only had his own words which did not bring him comfort or assuage his pain, and yet his silence was not helpful either. He felt exhausted and alone— worse than alone actually because he felt like God had let him fall into the hands of wicked men. Job poetically compared his situation to someone who was being torn apart and pierced by his enemies while his blood poured out on the ground. Through it all, he did not retaliate nor cry out against those who persecuted him.
I believe Job is a type and shadow of Christ in his suffering. Surely Job could also have cried out in this moment, “My God! My God! Why have You forsaken me?” Although Job was not bearing the sins of the world like Christ, Peter could have used these words about him in his suffering, “He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.” (1 Peter 2:22-23)
Dear Lord, thank You for suffering so that we can be made righteous. We are blessed to live at a time when we can look to You during our times of suffering and know that it will serve Your good and holy purpose. Amen.