The Bible says in Job 2:7-8, “So went Satan forth from the presence of the LORD, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes.” This time Job’s body is afflicted. Boils are extremely painful, and Job had them over every inch of his body. One of the great afflictions of mankind is pain. Often doctors prescribe painkillers in order to help people, but even that has its drawbacks because many get addicted to painkillers. Job had no painkillers that we know of. He just suffered and suffered and suffered.
And then Job had what was perhaps his greatest suffering of all: his wife turned on him. It says in Job 2:9, “Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.” If there ever was a time when Job needed some kind words and words of encouragement and support from his wife, this was the time. But there is only disrespect and mocking in what she said. Job’s wife is also saying that there is no benefit to swerving God, and there is no reason to be true if your life has been called to a path of suffering. Was she ever wrong. Instead of being a helper from heaven, Job’s wife became a tormenter from hell. Some women are foolish. They let themselves become a mouthpiece to torment and oppose and put down their husbands. It says in Proverbs 21:19, “It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.”
And so Job had this tremendous number of some of the worse sorrows of life to come against him. Job responds to his wife and says in Job 2:10, “But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” Most women are foolish just like most men are foolish. That was true in the days of Job, and it is true today. Anyone is foolish who does not have the wisdom of God from the Word of God. Anyone is foolish who has a chance to accept Jesus as Savior, and does not do it. Anyone is foolish who faces a situation in life like the people of the world instead of by faith. That is what Job’s wife did, so Job told her the truth when the words of unbelievers came out of her mouth. Job said, “Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh.” But Job spoke with both the words of faith and with an understanding of God. God is in control of everything. God is in control of good and evil. Nothing happens unless God permits it to happen. God has His reasons and His reasons are good. God knows. We do not know. If we accept the good things that God brings our way, then we should also accept the evil things and the bad things.
The Bible says in Job 2:11-13, “Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven. So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great.” Job’s three friends started well in their response to Job’s great sufferings. It says that they came “to mourn with him and to comfort him.” They also seemed to really feel Job’s pain because it says that “they rent every one his mantle, and sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven.” And there is one other thing that the three friends did that showed wisdom on their part. They did not say a word to Job for seven days. What can we really say anyway when someone suffers some terrible tragedy? Do we really know the right words to say? Those who are suffering definitely need the grace of God, and we can pray for them; but only God can give them the comfort that they need.
Basically what Job is saying is that he wishes that he had never been born. Job suffered so very much that Job concludes that never living would have been a better fate than the one he now had to endure. The Bible says in Job 3:1-16, “After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. And Job spake, and said, Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it. Let darkness and the shadow of death stain it; let a cloud dwell upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify it. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months. Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein. Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise up their mourning. Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day: Because it shut not up the doors of my mother's womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes. Why died I not from the womb? why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly? Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck? For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest, With kings and counsellers of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves; Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver: Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.” Job wishes that he had had the same fate as “infants which never saw light.”
In the next several verses Job starts listing off the things that those who are dead do not suffer. In addition to the things that Job had already recently suffered, there are other sufferings possible in life. The Bible says in Job 3:17, “There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.” This verse lists two of the sufferings of life. The first one mentioned is how unpleasant it is to live in this world because the believers are a minority. Most people do not know Jesus and do not serve God. They do not have the Bible as the foundation for their lives. Most of the leaders of society in education, in entertainment, and in politics say and do things that trouble us and make the society very worldly and ungodly. One of the things that will make the kingdom of God so wonderful is that no unbelievers will be there. As it says in Isaiah 11:9, “They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain: for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea.”
The last part of Job 3:17 talks about the “weary.” One of the sufferings of life has to do with the fact that we have limited personal resources to take on what comes our way. That is true whether we are talking about physical energy or mental strength. Life can be hard from the standpoint of the amount of work that needs to be done, or the number of pressures that can come at us one after another. There is no rest for the weary, or so it seems sometimes.
The Bible says in Job 3:18, “There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.” This verse speaks of the “oppressor.” There are human beings who oppress other human beings. This refers to keeping someone down, mistreating them, and abusing them. This happens both on a personal level and a political level. Someone gets power over people, and they abuse that power. It is definitely one of the sufferings of this life. It is one of the reasons that some people are in prison in some countries.
The Bible says in Job 3:19, “The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.” When will there be true equality? When everyone is dead. In America we try very hard to get equal rights and equal justice and equal opportunity for all, and even though we have some successes, true equality is very fleeting. We often see statements such as the following: “We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, disability, or any other status protected by law or regulation.” But in spite of such statements and many other efforts, true equality will be achieved when we have all left this earth. If you do not know Jesus as Savior, you will go from rom this earth to a worse prison with less freedom: hell. If you know Jesus as Savior you will experience the greatest of all freedoms when you are in heaven with Him. As it says in Romans 8:21-23, “Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”
The last part of Job 3:19 speaks of when “the servant is free from his master.” Slavery is not the only situation where this suffering is manifested. That is one of the reasons that people look forward to retirement: to finally be free. Of course, you have to be submissive to those in authority, but that not only is not the ideal life, it also put us in a position where we are not deciding what we do: someone else is deciding for us. That is not freedom. Even if you live in the country with the greatest amount of freedom, you are constantly required to live according to someone else’s commands and someone else’s rules. When will you be free from your masters? When you leave this earth.
The Bible says in Job 3:20-22, “Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul; Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?” Job is asking a normal question for someone who is sufferings as much as he was. Why was he still living? Wouldn’t death be better than his sufferings? In a way Christians who walk close to Jesus understand what Job was saying. We know that the next life will be much better than this one. We know that it will be better to be with the Lord than to stay alive. Paul wrote in First Corinthians 15:19, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” And also in Philippians 1:21, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Of course, we want to balance such thoughts with the knowledge that we are here on the earth as long as God wants us here, and we will leave the earth when the Lord is finished with us. We prefer to be in heaven now, but we want to go about doing the Master’s business while we have the opportunity.
The Bible says in Job 3:23-26, “Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in? For my sighing cometh before I eat, and my roarings are poured out like the waters. For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me. I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.” Once again we see in verse 23 that Job recognizes that all the things that happened to him were from God. God allowed them to happen. God decided what would happen. It was God’s will that Job go through a great time of suffering. And the sufferings hurt. Shouldn’t we suffer? Jesus was called “Man of Sorrows.” Jesus suffered and died on the cross of Calvary for us. We owe Him everything, even our happiness. We will be happy in heaven forever.
Copyright; 2018 by Charles F. (Rick) Creech
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