MOCKED BY THE HOMELESS
Loving Lord, grant me the profound inner peace that comes from trusting you completely. I love you, Lord.
Read JOB 30
“But now they mock me,
men younger than I,
whose fathers I would have disdained
to put with my sheep dogs.
2 Of what use was the strength of their hands to me,
since their vigor had gone from them?
3 Haggard from want and hunger,
they roamed[a] the parched land
in desolate wastelands at night.
4 In the brush they gathered salt herbs,
and their food[b] was the root of the broom bush.
5 They were banished from human society,
shouted at as if they were thieves.
6 They were forced to live in the dry stream beds,
among the rocks and in holes in the ground.
7 They brayed among the bushes
and huddled in the undergrowth.
8 A base and nameless brood,
they were driven out of the land.
9 “And now those young men mock me in song;
I have become a byword among them.
10 They detest me and keep their distance;
they do not hesitate to spit in my face.
11 Now that God has unstrung my bow and afflicted me,
they throw off restraint in my presence.
12 On my right the tribe[c] attacks;
they lay snares for my feet,
they build their siege ramps against me.
13 They break up my road;
they succeed in destroying me.
‘No one can help him,’ they say.
14 They advance as through a gaping breach;
amid the ruins they come rolling in.
15 Terrors overwhelm me;
my dignity is driven away as by the wind,
my safety vanishes like a cloud.
16 “And now my life ebbs away;
days of suffering grip me.
17 Night pierces my bones;
my gnawing pains never rest.
18 In his great power God becomes like clothing to me[d];
he binds me like the neck of my garment.
19 He throws me into the mud,
and I am reduced to dust and ashes.
20 “I cry out to you, God, but you do not answer;
I stand up, but you merely look at me.
21 You turn on me ruthlessly;
with the might of your hand you attack me.
22 You snatch me up and drive me before the wind;
you toss me about in the storm.
23 I know you will bring me down to death,
to the place appointed for all the living.
24 “Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man
when he cries for help in his distress.
25 Have I not wept for those in trouble?
Has not my soul grieved for the poor?
26 Yet when I hoped for good, evil came;
when I looked for light, then came darkness.
27 The churning inside me never stops;
days of suffering confront me.
28 I go about blackened, but not by the sun;
I stand up in the assembly and cry for help.
29 I have become a brother of jackals,
a companion of owls.
30 My skin grows black and peels;
my body burns with fever.
31 My lyre is tuned to mourning,
and my pipe to the sound of wailing.
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.
‘By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept.’1 Look for a place of quietness to sit and weep – and tell God how things really are.
This chapter is a lament for all that Job has lost. It is hard to read, but lament has its place in our walk with God. There is a whole book called Lamentations in God’s Word and many of the psalms also express it clearly. A lament is a song, poem, or prayer expressing grief, regret, or mourning. It does not always offer solutions or explain reasons for the trouble being lamented. It lays the facts before God and others, often in very moving ways. Job laments the social and physical consequences of what he is going through. In what ways does lament form part of our worship today? It is hard to be mocked by others. Sticks and stones may break our bones but being called names is not painless. Job is reeling under the weight of rejection and scorn. He is being mocked by rogues, a ‘base and nameless brood’ (v 8). It is like approaching a homeless beggar only to have them taunt you because they see how bad your own situation is. Job was in big trouble – and to cap it all he was being ridiculed by people who had not managed their own lives or places in society well and were, themselves, in a deep mess. Very often in life, criticism comes from those whose own house is far from being in order. What matters is what God thinks about us, not those who may mock or insult us.2
Job’s disappointment is keen and his spiritual wounds are exposed (v 26). All this leads to a churning in his heart and mind. Coping with disappointment in the life of faith is one of its greatest challenges. Job survived by pouring it out before the Lord in lament. There is a lesson for us here.
Take a few moments to be real before God about your situation. Pour out to him your sorrow and disappointment. Then praise him for his steadfast love and faithfulness.
Compassionate One, you tell me to bear others’ burdens, but I know my initial response is to draw away from them. Forgive me Lord, and help me develop a tender heart.
1 Ps 137:1 2 Rom 8:33
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