"Job restored to prosperity" by Laurent de la Hyre
I’ve not spent much time reading Job. It begins one of Professor Horner’s Lists and yesterday I read the third chapter of each of those lists.
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. [Job 3:2-6 KJV]
I was struck with the beauty of the description. I can understand why John L. McKenzie, in “Dictionary of the Bible,” calls the book of Job "the most profound and literary work of the entire Old Testament." It is poetry at the same time describing God’s interaction with this one man.
In those four verses, we read Job’s cursing the day he was born, but never once blaming God for that birth. We were told earlier in Job:
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. [Job 1:1 KJV]
He prayed and sacrificed for his children, too:
And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually. [Job 1:5 KJV]
I have seen and heard less righteous blame God for happenings in their lives. Here is a bereft man with his friends and he only mentions that God should not look upon the day of his birth.
I’m afraid that I’ve looked upon Job as poetry and a lesson in patience without seeing the painful reality of this historical figure. For the first time I could visualize him sitting in ashes, clothes torn in spiritual agony for the loss of his children, scraping away the oozing from the painful sores afflicting him. All because God allowed it to happen – and for thousands of years it brings opportunity to acknowledge God’s sovereignty. There would have been no example for us had Job cursed God for his pain. Instead, we see God’s provision for Job, His own patience as Job and his friends work through “WHY?”
Micah tells us what God requires
He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? [Micah 6:8 KJV]
Can we do so through unbearable pain and sorrow until we see God’s plan unfold?