Chapter 3 (ESV) - After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. And Job said:
“Let the day perish on which I was born,
and the night that said,
‘A man is conceived.’
Let that day be darkness!
May God above not seek it,
nor light shine upon it.
Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.
Let clouds dwell upon it;
let the blackness of the day terrify it.
That night—let thick darkness seize it!
Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
let it not come into the number of the months.
Behold, let that night be barren;
let no joyful cry enter it.
Let those curse it who curse the day,
who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.
Let the stars of its dawn be dark;
let it hope for light, but have none,
nor see the eyelids of the morning,
because it did not shut the doors of my mother's womb,
nor hide trouble from my eyes.
“Why did I not die at birth,
come out from the womb and expire?
Why did the knees receive me?
Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?
For then I would have lain down and been quiet;
I would have slept; then I would have been at rest,
with kings and counselors of the earth
who rebuilt ruins for themselves,
or with princes who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
Or why was I not as a hidden stillborn child,
as infants who never see the light?
There the wicked cease from troubling,
and there the weary are at rest.
There the prisoners are at ease together;
they hear not the voice of the taskmaster.
The small and the great are there,
and the slave is free from his master.
“Why is light given to him who is in misery,
and life to the bitter in soul,
who long for death, but it comes not,
and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
who rejoice exceedingly
and are glad when they find the grave?
Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
For my sighing comes instead of my bread,
and my groanings are poured out like water.
For the thing that I fear comes upon me,
and what I dread befalls me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
I have no rest, but trouble comes.”
Question to consider: Can you share an example of how God has used a time of suffering to bring good?
People may argue about whether those who surrounded Job in his grief were truly his friends by what they ended up saying to him when they finally did speak, but there are not too many people who would come and sit with you covered in ash and grieve silently by your side for seven days— especially after Job’s wife scorned him the way she did.
Reflecting back on the first chapter, we found out that Job’s children celebrated the day of their birth together. In stark contrast, we have Job surrounded by his friends and cursing the day of his conception. Rather than the word of the Lord which said, “Let there be light,” Job longed for the darkness of death. He was ready to let those who performed curses by rousing Leviathan (a giant serpent), curse the day he was conceived.
If he could not curse the day of his conception, Job lamented the day of his birth. Had he only been a stillborn baby, he never would have had to face the evils of this world, let alone what he endured now. Since he was not a stillborn, Job now longed for death to relive his bitter sorrow and suffering.
Though Job longed for death, there was no indication that he would bring it about himself via suicide. Although he recognized that God’s former hedge of protection now served to imprison him into this life of pain, he never cursed God for his state. Essentially, Job was at the moment of despair, and yet even in despair, Christ could relate to his sorrow. As the writer of Hebrews wrote, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)
Sometimes our pain can be so encompassing that we fail to look at life beyond it. As difficult as it was to see his children die, I’m sure he did not regret that they lived. If Job had not been born, neither would they. One of my favorite verses in scripture is Isaiah 53:11 (NIV), “After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.” Usually I favor the ESV, but in this case, they dropped “the light of life” because it’s not in the earliest manuscripts. The intention behind the passage is the same either way, but “the light of life” makes it more obvious. I believe the suffering servant in Isaiah 52-53 was a prophecy about Jesus. After His suffering was over, He saw the life it would bring and considered it all worth it. I don’t know what pain you may be experiencing right now, but I can say that if you belong to Christ Jesus, it is not in vain.
Dear Lord, thank You for enduring what we could not in order to justify us and bring us life and salvation. In the midst of our own suffering, please help us to fix our eyes on You and not our circumstances and be satisfied in knowing that You are using it to bring others to righteousness. Amen.