Pondering Job in a Pandemic – Chapter 6

Chapter 6 is the first half of Job’s first reply to one of his friends. Clearly this is Job’s reply to chapters 4 & 5, his reply to Eliphaz.

The opening of his reply is a cry of pain, vexation, sorrow. Even a cry to God to end all of this by crushing Job fully – to end Job’s suffering but ending his life.

It is hugely significant to see that Job crys out to God in the midst of his suffering. He does to charge God with wrong. Yet he does not cry out to some nameless deity or “power above”. He crys out to God. Job knows that what has come upon him has come upon him by the hand of God. Verse 4 – these are the arrows of the Almighty. Job doesn’t understand “why” but he knows there is no one else to cry to, but God.

Actually on Sunday, NT Wright, a fairly famous Theologian from the UK wrote an article in Tim Magazine titled, “Christianity Offers No Answers About the Coronavirus. It’s Not Supposed To“. If you know enough about Wright’s theological “journey” over the last 20 years an article like this, from him, will not be surprising in the least. It is a sad read.

I certainly agree with Wright that Christians need to learn to lament and the Psalms offer a wonderful resource for us on how to lament as God’s people. Knowing the Psalms and even singing the Psalm as congregations of God’s people is lost on much of this generation and that is very problematic.

Yet Wrights “answer” goes too far. He removes hope in the midst of lament but removing God from our suffering. Even more, by making God a victim Himself.

There will be times today or in coming days or weeks or even months due to all that we and our world is experiencing when you will weep – when you should weep. Make sure, like Job, you know God. Come to know Him more and more through His word, so that when you weep you cry out to Him. Not to question His character or charge Him with wrong, but because you know only He can hear our cry and, in the end, He will answer. We may not know when or how, but we can confidently rest in this truth.

The remainder of chapter 6, from 24-30 is Job essentially asking Eliphaz to identify the sin in Job’s life that he has failed to acknowledge. It is unloving to accuse someone of sin and not help them identify that sin in their life. If we are not going to lovingly care for them in our reproof, we ought to just stay quiet!

Soli Deo Gloria

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