Pondering Job in a Pandemic – Chapter 17

Job 17 is a difficult chapter. Here Job concludes this speech. In his conclusion he further critiques his friends and their lack of help. He further loathes his suffering. He then raises some difficult questions near the end, which he does venture to answer here.

Firstly, it is helpful to recognise in the Old Testament, the word “Sheol” is not a word for Hell. It is simply the place of the dead. A near synonym would be the “grave”. It is where all people go when they die.

In verses 13-16, Job seems to recognise that if he resigns himself to nothing more than a hope for death, that this is really no hope at all. He has expressed just this desire before. In the midst of his suffering, out of utter pain and desperation he has wished he had never been born or that his life would just end. He has preferred death to his current suffering.

Yet, here he seems to be acknowledging this as an attitude that does not communicate hope. He doesn’t offer here an alternative or a solution to this attitude.

Yet even this is vitally important for us. Most who are reading this probably can’t really imagine a time when they would be so distraught they would prefer death over one more day living with their suffering. Some of you reading this have felt this way. Some may feel this way even now. A Christian is not immune to this kind of suffering and this kind of thinking.

Where Job comes to here isn’t the finish line, he hasn’t arrived to a right understanding, he hasn’t given us here how we should think at these times. Yet he has corrected his former thinking and helped us see how we ought not to think.

We are not to think that our life would be better if we were just dead. We must fight against such ideas, which are ultimately from Satan. We must battle against such hopelessness. We must go beyond where Job is even and fix our eyes on our Heavenly Father, entrusting ourselves to our Saviour – Jesus Christ.

Job is headed in the right direction. God will continue to work in him. Our Heavenly Father will continue the work He has begun in us as well. If you are His child, even your suffering is part of His good purposes for you. He has not abandoned you. He has not left you with no hope.

Let us look to our Suffering Saviour and in Him find every hope to entrust ourselves to God until He takes us home to be with him.

Soli Deo Gloria

Items to focus your faith:

  • Here are some resources from Joe’s blog on Euthanasia and suicide.
  1. Euthanasia (Download MP3 – 20MB)