THE GREAT LEVELER
Gracious Father, I’m thankful that you give me strength for today’s demands, patience in problems, and power for pressures.
Read JOB 3
3 After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 He said:
3 “May the day of my birth perish,
and the night that said, ‘A boy is conceived!’
4 That day—may it turn to darkness;
may God above not care about it;
may no light shine on it.
5 May gloom and utter darkness claim it once more;
may a cloud settle over it;
may blackness overwhelm it.
6 That night—may thick darkness seize it;
may it not be included among the days of the year
nor be entered in any of the months.
7 May that night be barren;
may no shout of joy be heard in it.
8 May those who curse days[a] curse that day,
those who are ready to rouse Leviathan.
9 May its morning stars become dark;
may it wait for daylight in vain
and not see the first rays of dawn,
10 for it did not shut the doors of the womb on me
to hide trouble from my eyes.
11 “Why did I not perish at birth,
and die as I came from the womb?
12 Why were there knees to receive me
and breasts that I might be nursed?
13 For now I would be lying down in peace;
I would be asleep and at rest
14 with kings and rulers of the earth,
who built for themselves places now lying in ruins,
15 with princes who had gold,
who filled their houses with silver.
16 Or why was I not hidden away in the ground like a stillborn child,
like an infant who never saw the light of day?
17 There the wicked cease from turmoil,
and there the weary are at rest.
18 Captives also enjoy their ease;
they no longer hear the slave driver’s shout.
19 The small and the great are there,
and the slaves are freed from their owners.
20 “Why is light given to those in misery,
and life to the bitter of soul,
21 to those who long for death that does not come,
who search for it more than for hidden treasure,
22 who are filled with gladness
and rejoice when they reach the grave?
23 Why is life given to a man
whose way is hidden,
whom God has hedged in?
24 For sighing has become my daily food;
my groans pour out like water.
25 What I feared has come upon me;
what I dreaded has happened to me.
26 I have no peace, no quietness;
I have no rest, but only turmoil.”
- Job 3:8 Or curse the sea
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectReflect on these words: ‘God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son’ (1 John 5:11).
A friend, in the hospital a long time, welcomed a visit from a chaplain. One day he told me that he felt abandoned by God and did not want to pray. I read him Psalm 13, which begins ‘How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?’ He found it helpful to realize that one could be so honest in prayer. Perhaps we need to rediscover the biblical tradition of lament, such as that of Job in this chapter. Job breaks the silence; in his grief Job says that it would have been better if he had not been born; his birthday should not be celebrated (vs 1–10). Why could he not have been stillborn (vs 11–16)? All the blessings that Job has enjoyed in the past now seem to count for nothing. It is not that he wants to die; his current suffering is so acute that he wishes he had never seen life at all. He feels he would have been better going straight to the place where it was thought that everyone goes at death.
There is no hope of heaven here; everyone, rich or poor, powerful or powerless goes to the same place (called the grave, or Sheol, elsewhere in Job, e.g., 7:9). This contrasts with the surrounding cultures who thought that status and class would be preserved in the afterlife.
Thank God for the hope of resurrection and new life that we have in Christ.
Lord, I am reminded today that when I reach rock-bottom my feet are on you, the Rock of Ages.