A MAN OF CONSTANT SORROW
“Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psa. 33:12a). May our nation be great because she is good. God bless America.
Read JOB 6
6 Then Job replied:
2 “If only my anguish could be weighed
and all my misery be placed on the scales!
3 It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—
no wonder my words have been impetuous.
4 The arrows of the Almighty are in me,
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God’s terrors are marshaled against me.
5 Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass,
or an ox bellow when it has fodder?
6 Is tasteless food eaten without salt,
or is there flavor in the sap of the mallow[a]?
7 I refuse to touch it;
such food makes me ill.
8 “Oh, that I might have my request,
that God would grant what I hope for,
9 that God would be willing to crush me,
to let loose his hand and cut off my life!
10 Then I would still have this consolation—
my joy in unrelenting pain—
that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.
11 “What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
What prospects, that I should be patient?
12 Do I have the strength of stone?
Is my flesh bronze?
13 Do I have any power to help myself,
now that success has been driven from me?
14 “Anyone who withholds kindness from a friend
forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
15 But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,
as the streams that overflow
16 when darkened by thawing ice
and swollen with melting snow,
17 but that stop flowing in the dry season,
and in the heat vanish from their channels.
18 Caravans turn aside from their routes;
they go off into the wasteland and perish.
19 The caravans of Tema look for water,
the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope.
20 They are distressed, because they had been confident;
they arrive there, only to be disappointed.
21 Now you too have proved to be of no help;
you see something dreadful and are afraid.
22 Have I ever said, ‘Give something on my behalf,
pay a ransom for me from your wealth,
23 deliver me from the hand of the enemy,
rescue me from the clutches of the ruthless’?
24 “Teach me, and I will be quiet;
show me where I have been wrong.
25 How painful are honest words!
But what do your arguments prove?
26 Do you mean to correct what I say,
and treat my desperate words as wind?
27 You would even cast lots for the fatherless
and barter away your friend.
28 “But now be so kind as to look at me.
Would I lie to your face?
29 Relent, do not be unjust;
reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.[b]
30 Is there any wickedness on my lips?
Can my mouth not discern malice?
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.
‘He was despised and rejected by others, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.’1
Job’s response to Eliphaz in chapter 6 is full of frustration for two reasons: first, Job’s friends don’t understand the depth of his suffering; and second, they are trying to blame him for his misfortune. The first few verses of the chapter are a poetic expression of the experience Job is going through. The language of ‘anguish’ (v 2), ‘God’s terrors’ (v 4), ‘tasteless food’ (v 6) and ‘unrelenting pain’ (v 10) vividly vocalizes the reality of living in deep suffering. It is for this reason that many Christians throughout history have found consolation in the words of Job in their own experiences of suffering.
Throughout the rest of the chapter, Job pleads to be understood and to be treated with kindness. It is here that the book of Job resonates with the prophecies of the Suffering Servant in Isaiah. The words in Isaiah 53:3, prophesying that the expected Messiah would be a ‘man of suffering’, aptly describe the experience that Job is going through: he is a Man of Constant Sorrow. The Suffering Servant in Isaiah points to the kind of Messiah Jesus was to be: rejected and suffering, taking on the sin and iniquity of the world to bring redemption to many. This is where the experience of Job fits within the wider biblical story. The sorrow that Job experiences is no different to the suffering God takes upon himself on the cross.
Within the book of Job, our suffering finds resonance within the Bible. Viewing it through the lens of the wider biblical story, however, shows us so much more. Jesus has walked the road of greatest pain before us. At the point of deepest suffering on the cross, he brought victorious redemption, salvation and hope to us all.
Spend some time reflecting on the suffering and sorrow of Christ on the cross. Bring your own sorrow to him and know the power of God’s love for you.
Blessed Lord Jesus, just like Job there are times when life overwhelms me. I pray that as my days are, so shall my strength be (Deut. 33:25).
1 Isa 53:3, TNIV
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