Pondering Job in a Pandemic – Chapter 7

Job 7 is a hard chapter to read. This is still Job’s response to Eliphaz, but in this portion Job speaks more to God than to Eliphaz. What he says probably makes many of us uncomfortable. From what we know from ancient Jewish sources, it made them uncomfortable too. To some extent, Job is expanding on what he said back in chapter 3. Yet he is specifically dealing with the accusation that he must have some specific sin which is the cause of all his troubles.

In verses 1-10 Job outlines the severity of his trouble. His is in agony. His is miserable. The physical pain, the loss of sleep, the hardship is near unbearable.

Transparently, Job says in verse 11 that he is going to raise a complaint in the bitterness of his soul. And he does… Job cannot understand why God is doing this to him.

Remember, Job doesn’t know what we know. He doesn’t know chapters 1 & 2! He cannot comprehend why this is happening. He would rather God just leave him alone.

Finally in verses 20-21 Job asks, is all of this because of sin in me? He doesn’t seem to think it is or identify any sin that could be the cause. He is just at a complete loss for other options. It is almost as if, out of any other options, he is thinking, “Maybe Eliphaz is right!”

Of course, we know Elpiphaz isn’t right. Job does too, yet at the moment in the heat of suffering he gives in to a questioning complaint. As we are told in chapter 1, Job doesn’t accuse God of wrongdoing. Yet, Job is not perfect in his speech. His complaint is out of bitterness.

All Job has known about God he still believes. But God’s inexplicable ways have his mind perplexed to the breaking-point. Job is in the right; but he does not know that God is watching with silent compassion and admiration until the test is fully done and it is time to state His approval publicly. (Andersen)

We like to talk about ‘having the faith to be healed,’ but what about having the faith to be sick?” (Mason)

“Job was not being punished; he was being honored. God was giving to him a name like that of the great ones of the earth. The Lord was lifting him up, promoting him, putting him into the front rank, making a great saint of him, causing him to become one of the fathers and patterns in the ancient Church of God. He was really doing for Job such extraordinarily good things that you or I, in looking back upon his whole history, might well say, ‘I would be quite content to take Job’s afflictions if I might also have Job’s grace, and Job’s place in the Church of God.’” (Spurgeon)

Are any of us immune from the sin of complaint? Even at the best of times, we are so prone to complain to God (even if just under our breathe) about the smallest inconveniences. How much more so when we find ourselves truly suffering.

The remedy for such bitterness of heart and complaint is repentance and faith. Repent of our sin, even the sin of a lack of trust in the goodness of God. Turn to God once again, and from our troubles in faith.

So often, it will be the experience of trail and discipline that God will use to teach us more of His character and focus our faith on Him and Him alone. We must kiss the rod and look to the Son, Who was smitten for us.

Soli Deo Gloria

Items to focus your faith: