Thursday after the Tenth Sunday after Trinity Sunday
Scripture: Job 7-9 (NKJV)
7:1 “Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth? Are not his days also like the days of a hired man? 2 Like a servant who earnestly desires the shade, and like a hired man who eagerly looks for his wages, 3 So I have been allotted months of futility, and wearisome nights have been appointed to me. 4 When I lie down, I say, ‘When shall I arise, and the night be ended?’ For I have had my fill of tossing till dawn. 5 My flesh is caked with worms and dust, my skin is cracked and breaks out afresh.
6 “My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope. 7 Oh, remember that my life is a breath! My eye will never again see good. 8 The eye of him who sees me will see me no more; While your eyes are upon me, I shall no longer be. 9 As the cloud disappears and vanishes away, So he who goes down to the grave does not come up. 10 He shall never return to his house, nor shall his place know him anymore.
11 “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. 12 Am I a sea, or a sea serpent, that You set a guard over me? 13 When I say, ‘My bed will comfort me, my couch will ease my complaint,’ 14 Then You scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions, 15 so that my soul chooses strangling and death rather than my body. 16 I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, for my days are but a breath.
17 “What is man, that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart on him, 18 that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment? 19 How long? Will You not look away from me, and let me alone till I swallow my saliva? 20 Have I sinned? What have I done to You, O watcher of men? Why have You set me as Your target, so that I am a burden to myself? 21 Why then do You not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? For now I will lie down in the dust, and You will seek me diligently, but I will no longer be.”
8:1 Then Bildad the Shuhite answered and said:
2 “How long will you speak these things, and the words of your mouth be like a strong wind? 3 Does God subvert judgment? Or does the Almighty pervert justice? 4 If your sons have sinned against Him, He has cast them away for their transgression. 5 If you would earnestly seek God and make your supplication to the Almighty, 6 If you were pure and upright, surely now He would awake for you, and prosper your rightful dwelling place. 7 Though your beginning was small, yet your latter end would increase abundantly.
8 “For inquire, please, of the former age, and consider the things discovered by their fathers; 9 For we were born yesterday, and know nothing, because our days on earth are a shadow. 10 Will they not teach you and tell you, and utter words from their heart? 11 Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the reeds flourish without water? 12 While it is yet green and not cut down, It withers before any other plant. 13 So are the paths of all who forget God; And the hope of the hypocrite shall perish, 14 whose confidence shall be cut off, And whose trust is a spider’s web. 15 He leans on his house, but it does not stand. He holds it fast, but it does not endure. 16 He grows green in the sun, And his branches spread out in his garden. 17 His roots wrap around the rock heap, ‘And look for a place in the stones. 18 If he is destroyed from his place, then it will deny him, saying, I have not seen you.’ 19 Behold, this is the joy of His way, and out of the earth others will grow.
20 “Behold, God will not cast away the blameless, nor will He uphold the evildoers. 21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughing, and your lips with rejoicing. 22 Those who hate you will be clothed with shame, and the dwelling place of the wicked will come to nothing.”
9:1 Then Job answered and said:
2 “Truly I know it is so, but how can a man be righteous before God? 3 If one wished to contend with Him, he could not answer Him one time out of a thousand. 4 God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered? 5 He removes the mountains, and they do not know When He overturns them in His anger; 6 He shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; 7 He commands the sun, and it does not rise; He seals off the stars; 8 He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea; 9 He made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the chambers of the south; 10 He does great things past finding out, yes, wonders without number. 11 If He goes by me, I do not see Him; If He moves past, I do not perceive Him; 12 If He takes away, who can hinder Him? Who can say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’ 13 God will not withdraw His anger, the allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath Him.
14 “How then can I answer Him, and choose my words to reason with Him? 15 For though I were righteous, I could not answer Him; I would beg mercy of my Judge. 16 If I called and He answered me, I would not believe that He was listening to my voice. 17 For He crushes me with a tempest, and multiplies my wounds without cause. 18 He will not allow me to catch my breath, but fills me with bitterness. 19 If it is a matter of strength, indeed He is strong; And if of justice, who will appoint my day in court? 20 Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me; Though I were blameless, it would prove me perverse. 21 I am blameless, yet I do not know myself; I despise my life. 22 It is all one thing; Therefore I say, ‘He destroys the blameless and the wicked.’ 23 If the scourge slays suddenly, he laughs at the plight of the innocent. 24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked. He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, who else could it be?
25 “Now my days are swifter than a runner; They flee away, they see no good. 26 They pass by like swift ships, like an eagle swooping on its prey. 27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face and wear a smile,’ 28 I am afraid of all my sufferings; I know that You will not hold me innocent. 29 If I am condemned, why then do I labor in vain? 30 If I wash myself with snow water, and cleanse my hands with soap, 31 yet You will plunge me into the pit, and my own clothes will abhor me.
32 “For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. 33 Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both. 34 Let Him take His rod away from me, and do not let dread of Him terrify me. 35 Then I would speak and not fear Him, but it is not so with me.”
In chapter 7 we see Job turn his complaint toward God, Whom he feels is judging too harshly. Job is determined to cry out against this perceived injustice of God Who, it seems, will not leave him alone. We all would like to believe that we are more deserving of God’s favor than we truly are, because all are guilty of breaking the Lord’s commands far more than we care to confess. We often forget that only through repentance and confession is true peace found, for God will not despise a broken and contrite heart. We are quick to claim, “I have not been perfect, but what terrible sin have I committed that deserves this kind of suffering? There are many worse than me!”
How convenient it is to judge others rather than ourselves, or at least use a different standard. Bildad is quick to take this approach toward Job and use human reason to claim he would not be suffering so severely if he were not deserving of such punishment. The world, our own flesh, and the Devil torment, but God does no injustice or evil. In his despair, Job answers Bildad’s accusations with awful complaints against God. We all are far too quick to blame God for our hardships, and far too slow to offer thanks and praise to Him for our boundless, unmerited blessings!
We pray: Almighty God, all that we possess is from Your loving hand. Give us grace that we may live our lives totally ruled by Your holy righteous will and Word. Grant that our numerous sins may be drowned through daily repentance; through Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.