DESTITUTION – IN WORDS
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.
‘Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.’1
The importance of Job’s words in this chapter cannot be overestimated.
They are the words of a man who has reached rock bottom, who can no longer understand the point of his own existence (vs 1–3). Their presence in Scripture gives permission to anyone who needs to cry out in a similar way. Here, as in the psalms of lament and Jeremiah’s words after the destruction of Jerusalem, the Bible doesn’t try to silence those who need to vocalize their distress. In chapter 3, Job finally articulates the visceral pain of his loss. His speech proposes that the world would be a better place without him in it.
Job’s words resonate with the story of creation in Genesis 1. In verses 3–10, he draws on the themes of day and night as well as light and darkness. His words almost invert the creation process as day and night are fused together and the light is extinguished – leaving the primordial darkness that was originally over the face of the deep.2 Job’s suffering has led him to the point that he wishes he had never been born and that he thinks creation would be better off without him.
This leads him to question why life is given to those who are suffering. It is a cry of destitution, since Job has nothing else to give. As he listened to Job, God gives us permission to express our own moments of destitution to him. Even if our situations do not seem as extreme as Job’s, we all have moments where we feel weighed down and destitute. At those points, we may find that speaking or praying to God becomes really difficult. Job’s cries give us an example of how to relate to God in these times, whether or not we use words.
Pray for those, known to you or not, who are at the point of destitution. Pray that they may know they have permission honestly to express their emotions before God.
Lord, I am reminded today that when I reach rock-bottom my feet are on you, the Rock of Ages.
1 Prov 31:8 2 Gen 1:2
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