Chapter 30 (ESV) - “But now they laugh at me,
men who are younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to set with the dogs of my flock.
What could I gain from the strength of their hands,
men whose vigor is gone?
Through want and hard hunger
they gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation;
they pick saltwort and the leaves of bushes,
and the roots of the broom tree for their food.
They are driven out from human company;
they shout after them as after a thief.
In the gullies of the torrents they must dwell,
in holes of the earth and of the rocks.
Among the bushes they bray;
under the nettles they huddle together.
A senseless, a nameless brood,
they have been whipped out of the land.
“And now I have become their song;
I am a byword to them.
They abhor me; they keep aloof from me;
they do not hesitate to spit at the sight of me.
Because God has loosed my cord and humbled me,
they have cast off restraint in my presence.
On my right hand the rabble rise;
they push away my feet;
they cast up against me their ways of destruction.
They break up my path;
they promote my calamity;
they need no one to help them.
As through a wide breach they come;
amid the crash they roll on.
Terrors are turned upon me;
my honor is pursued as by the wind,
and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud.
“And now my soul is poured out within me;
days of affliction have taken hold of me.
The night racks my bones,
and the pain that gnaws me takes no rest.
With great force my garment is disfigured;
it binds me about like the collar of my tunic.
God has cast me into the mire,
and I have become like dust and ashes.
I cry to you for help and you do not answer me;
I stand, and you only look at me.
You have turned cruel to me;
with the might of your hand you persecute me.
You lift me up on the wind; you make me ride on it,
and you toss me about in the roar of the storm.
For I know that you will bring me to death
and to the house appointed for all living.
“Yet does not one in a heap of ruins stretch out his hand,
and in his disaster cry for help?
Did not I weep for him whose day was hard?
Was not my soul grieved for the needy?
But when I hoped for good, evil came,
and when I waited for light, darkness came.
My inward parts are in turmoil and never still;
days of affliction come to meet me.
I go about darkened, but not by the sun;
I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
I am a brother of jackals
and a companion of ostriches.
My skin turns black and falls from me,
and my bones burn with heat.
My lyre is turned to mourning,
and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.
Question to consider: What are some names that have become a curse word in society?
After reminding people of his blessed past, Job contrasted it with his current state of bitterness. Rather than being respected as a chief, he was now a curse in the mouths of men who have been driven out of society for their low character. Shepherding was considered a lowly job. Caring for the dogs that ran with the flocks was even worse. Dogs were not considered “man’s best friend” during this time. They were mangy, flea-ridden creatures that had little use other than keeping flocks together and helping to ward off predators.
Not only did Job lament that his name was being used as a curse among men, but he felt forsaken by God and wracked with pain. Chronic, physical pain leaves a person continually exhausted, and yet it is very difficult to sleep because of it. With the affliction of pain, the loss of every earthly thing of value, and the silence of God in his prayers, Job felt like God had pushed him into the mud and made him a curse to the nations. He went from being someone of great joy and singing to someone of desperation and mourning.
When I think of names over the years that have been made into a curse word, I think of Benedict Arnold who is associated with treason, or Adolf Hitler who is associated with murderous evil, or Judas Iscariot who is associated with ultimate betrayal. Job, however, went from being a name of great reverence and respect to the lowliest curse even though he did nothing to deserve it. In this, I can only think of Christ who emptied Himself of all majesty and became a curse for us. Have you ever thought about the fact that the name of Jesus is considered by some to be the name above every name and by others as a curse even though He never sinned? Imagine if people cursed the name of Buddha or Muhammad in such a manner?
Unlike Job, we have the promise that Christ will never leave us nor forsake us. It is important that we spend time in God’s word and with the body of believers with which Christ has left us. As Paul exhorted the church at Rome concerning that body, “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” (Romans 12:15-18)
Dear heavenly father, thank You for listening to our prayers and giving us Your Spirit to comfort us and lead us to all righteousness. Give us a desire to serve Your church and support one another in love. Amen.