Job Chapter 10
Amidst the pain and sorrow of his losses and injustice, Job in effect lived an entire life of pain and sorrow in a short time. That's why it seemed overwhelming to him. Almost any human would suffer as horribly as Job did (as many humans have and do when faced with catastrophic loss or illness) if everything happened in such a short time. But physical life, even if it lasts a century, is a short time compared to the eternity that awaits the righteous (see the Fact Finder question below). Job's "I loathe my life" (see below) was in principle quoted by Jesus Christ in His teaching "For whoever would save his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man, if he gains the whole world and forfeits his life? Or what shall a man give in return for his life?" (Matthew 16:25-26 RSV)
"I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul [see Where Is Your Soul?]. I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why Thou dost contend against me. Does it seem good to thee to oppress, to despise the work of Thy hands [see Christ The Creator] and favor the designs of the wicked? Hast Thou eyes of flesh? Dost Thou see as man sees? Are Thy days as the days of man, or Thy years as man's years, that Thou dost seek out my iniquity and search for my sin [see What Is Sin?], although Thou knowest that I am not guilty, and there is none to deliver out of Thy hand?
Thy hands fashioned and made me; and now Thou dost turn about and destroy me. Remember that Thou hast made me of Clay; and wilt Thou turn me to dust again? [see Dust To Dust] Didst Thou not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? Thou didst clothe me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. Thou hast granted me life and steadfast love; and Thy care has preserved my spirit [see Ghost and Spirit: What's The Difference?].
Yet these things Thou didst hide in thy heart [see Conscience]; I know that this was Thy purpose. If I sin, Thou dost mark me, and dost not acquit me of my iniquity. If I am wicked, woe to me! If I am righteous, I cannot lift up my head, for I am filled with disgrace and look upon my affliction. And if I lift myself up, thou dost hunt me like a lion, and again work wonders against me; Thou dost renew Thy witnesses against me, and increase thy vexation toward me; thou dost bring fresh hosts against me.
Why didst thou bring me forth from the womb? [see Born Again, How and When?] Would that I had died before any eye had seen me, and were as though I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave. Are not the days of my life few? Let me alone, that I may find a little comfort before I go whence I shall not return, to the land of gloom and deep darkness, the land of gloom and chaos, where light is as darkness." (Job 10:1-22 RSV)
Job Chapter 11
Job's friend Zophar then took his turn to console Job by reminding him of the greatness of God and the lowliness of man. Despite their "Old" Testament perspective (see The Older Testament and The God Of The Old Testament), they knew "that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves" (see Why Blood?).
"Then Zophar the Naamathite answered: "Should a multitude of words go unanswered, and a man full of talk be vindicated? Should your Babble silence men, and when you mock, shall no one shame you? For you say, 'My doctrine is pure, and I am clean in God's eyes.' But oh, that God would speak, and open His lips to you, and that He would tell you the secrets of wisdom! [see The First Scientist] For He is manifold in understanding. Know then that God exacts of you less than your guilt deserves.
Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty? It is higher than heaven [see How High Is Heaven?] - what can you do? Deeper than Sheol [see Sheol and Hades] - what can you know? Its measure is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea [see The Lord's Plumb Line].
If He passes through, and imprisons, and calls to judgment, who can hinder Him? For He knows worthless men; when He sees iniquity, will he not consider it? But a stupid man will get understanding, when a wild ass's colt is born a man.
If you set your heart aright [see The Process Of Conversion], you will stretch out your hands toward Him. If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not wickedness dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure, and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away. And your life will be brighter than the noonday; its darkness will be like the morning. And you will have confidence, because there is hope; you will be protected and take your rest in safety. You will lie down, and none will make you afraid; many will entreat your favor. But the eyes of the wicked will fail; all way of escape will be lost to them, and their hope is to breathe their last." (Job 11:1-20 RSV)
Job Chapter 12
Job understood the truth, "I have understanding as well as you," but it was he that was suffering, not his friends. Job felt the same temporary abandonment that The Messiah would later (see Eloi, Eloi, Lama Sabachthani?). But through it all, The Lord is the pathfinder to life for the repentant, but to those who refuse His Way, He "makes them wander in a pathless waste."
"Then Job answered: "No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you. But I have understanding as well as you; I am not inferior to you. Who does not know such things as these?
I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called upon God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock. In the thought of one who is at ease there is contempt for misfortune; it is ready for those whose feet slip. The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hand. But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or the plants of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of The Lord has done this? In His hand is the life of every living thing and the breath [see Giving Up The Ghost] of all mankind. Does not the ear try words as the palate tastes food? Wisdom is with the aged, and understanding in length of days.
With God are wisdom [see God's Wisdom] and might [see Might Makes Right and The Coming World Dictator]; He has counsel and understanding. If He tears down, none can rebuild; if He shuts a man in, none can open. If He withholds the waters, they dry up; if He sends them out, they overwhelm the land. With Him are strength and wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are His. He leads counselors away stripped, and judges He makes fools. He looses the bonds of kings, and binds a waistcloth on their loins. He leads priests away stripped, and overthrows the mighty. He deprives of speech those who are trusted, and takes away the discernment of the elders. He pours contempt on princes, and looses the belt of the strong. He uncovers the deeps out of darkness, and brings deep darkness to light. He makes nations great, and he destroys them: He enlarges nations, and leads them away. He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth, and makes them wander in a pathless waste. They grope in the dark without light; and he makes them stagger like a drunken man." (Job 12:1-25 RSV)
Fact Finder: Why does God allow humans to suffer through Trials and Tribulations?
See Why Does God Allow Suffering? and Making Sense Of It All