Job Chapter 10: Job’s Plea to GodFeb 22nd, 2010 | By admin | Category: Job, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name)
Job Chapter 10: Job’s Plea to God
Job 10:1 My soul is weary of my life; I will leave my complaint upon myself; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
Notice the words “my soul” (twice), “my life,” and “my complaint.” Job’s soul was weary of, or loathed, his life. In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul informed us that Christians are of a dual nature: the new man and the old man. The new man is in the vessel of the old man. Stated another way, the new creature has a monkey on his back. Although Job did not realize the duality in quite the same way that Christians do, he felt the conflict. He was making a distinction between his soul and his life—his experience in the flesh. He was weary of the experience he was having in the flesh, which was taking him downhill. One perspective of Job’s saying, “I will leave my complaint upon myself,” was that he felt like giving up. The NIV is closer to the thought: “Therefore I will give free [loose] rein to my complaint.” When a rider wants his horse to gallop, he loosens and flaps both reins. Job would now do what he feared to do a little while ago. He would give free rein about his present situation.
Job 10:2 I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; show me wherefore thou contendest with me.
It is hard to see from the written statement that Job’s mood was beginning to change. He was softening under his experience and getting into a tender mode. Unfortunately, the various translations do not bring out the tenderness. “I will say unto Eloha”—not only to God in the singular (instead of Elohim) but to God in an “Abba, Father” mode. Job was appealing to God as a Father but almost in a feminine gender. About 60 years ago, Brother Kirkwood gave a talk entitled “The Mother Love of God.” Certainly God is complete just as, on a much lower scale, Adam was complete and had a fullness before Eve was taken from him. The Heavenly Father has these traits, and even the Apostle Paul got in that mode when he yearned for those he had been privileged to bring into the truth, likening them to a fetus in the womb.
Under the crucible experience, Job was becoming a little more tenderized, and he was appealing to God something like Moses did. When God said to Moses, “Step aside and let me wipe out the Israelites,” Moses interceded and reasoned, “Oh no, do not do that. If you destroy the Israelites, people will say that you brought them out of Egypt but were not able to bring them into the Land of Promise.” Moses and Job were very unusual personages.
Job 10:3 Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
Knowing what is coming in this chapter, we would like to word verse 3 a little differently: “Is it good for thee that thou shouldest crush me, that thou shouldest disregard [me] the work of thine hands, and shine [with favor] upon the counsel of the wrong?” The word “wicked” is a little too strong. In the New Testament, the term “the wicked” sometimes means “the lawless,” a lesser degree, and here Job was talking about the counsel of his comforters. He was not saying that they were wicked persons but that they were giving wrong counsel, bad advice. When Job’s comments are softened, another perspective is given; namely, he was beginning to emerge from the crucible as a different person.
Job 10:4 Hast thou eyes of flesh? or seest thou as man seeth?
Job 10:5 Are thy days as the days of man? are thy years as man’s days,
Job 10:6 That thou inquirest after mine iniquity, and searchest after my sin?
The answer to the rhetorical questions of verses 4-6 is, “Of course not.” Similarly, Paul asked, “Should we sin so that the grace of God may abound?” (Rom. 6:1 paraphrase).
Job 10:7 Thou knowest that I am not wicked; and there is none that can deliver out of thine hand.
Job 10:8 Thine hands have made me and fashioned me together round about; yet thou dost destroy me.
Job 10:9 Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as the clay; and wilt thou bring me into dust again?
The wording in verses 7-9 is tender, as some other translations bring out. Job was talking about the skill with which the Heavenly Father made man and the delicate operation of bringing all the functional parts together in such a marvelous fashion. It was like David’s asking, “What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?” (Psa. 8:4). To a certain extent, David and Job glorified even the physical creation that God had made.
Job was trying to reason with God but not in a combative mood. “There is none [and Job included himself] that can deliver out of thine hand. Thine hands have shaped me and knit me together like a garment. Remember, I beseech thee, that thou hast made me as clay, and to dust wilt thou again bring me?” Job was pleading, and his sense of judgment was beginning to set in that there was some reason for his experience. His faith was groping for a handle on the matter. He was getting closer and closer to a realization but was not satisfied yet. He felt that he was innocent and that God knew of His innocence.
Job 10:10 Hast thou not poured me out as milk, and curdled me like cheese?
Job 10:11 Thou hast clothed me with skin and flesh, and hast fenced me with bones and sinews.
Job was talking about his own bodily appearance and shameful experience. He felt as if he had been poured out like milk and curdled like cheese; that is, he felt exposed. Some commentators give a very technical explanation about the body itself and how wondrously man is made, but Job was talking about himself, as some ensuing verses will verify.
Imagine seeing Job as he was speaking. We should keep in mind that he had not eaten any food for seven days, and now he was speaking for the second time. Since he had a disease, his skin was probably wrinkled, and his sinews showed. Depending on the circumstance, someone who is starving may have either a swollen belly or the opposite. In this case, Job was apparently skin and bones. When a person loses a lot of weight, the skin takes on a rather strange appearance. And Job’s skin was darkened somewhat (Job 30:30). Therefore, in verses 10 and 11, he was recognizing his deplorable state.
Job 10:12 Thou hast granted me life and favour, and thy visitation hath preserved my spirit.
Job 10:13 And these things hast thou hid in thine heart: I know that this is with thee.
Job was talking about his previous condition, that is, before the calamities had occurred. He was comparing his former situation in the days when he was recognized as an honorable person and the favor of God had shone upon him. He was saying, too, that God was thoroughly familiar with both his former and his present state, in which he was curdled like milk. However, while God knew these things, He was not doing anything to relieve Job’s suffering. In an indirect way, Job was asking why God did not answer him and tell the reason for his sufferings. How unbelievably blessed we are to understand the philosophy of the permission of evil in the Harvest period! Many Christians in the Dark Ages had experiences similar to those of Job.
We are living in a peculiar period at the end of the age. In the Middle Ages, people spent long hours in labor and servitude. Life is very different today—for example, brethren can carry around a laptop computer instead of heavy books—but under current circumstances, it is more difficult to attain the Little Flock. Even earlier in the Harvest period, when the Pastor was alive, the way of life in this country was rural and agrarian.
In verses 10-13, Job was saying, “Lord, you know my present situation, and I am aware that you know it.” He was waiting for a reply.
Job 10:14 If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.
Job continued, “If I sin, then thou markest me”; in other words, “If I sinned, then my calamities are justifiable. I should expect to be skin and bones.” But Job had searched his heart and did not think he had sinned. Later we will learn a little more about Job and realize the intensity of his vows—what he did time after time over years of faithfulness to God. Already we have seen that he regularly prayed for his children lest they sin. If he was worried about his children, we can be sure he was circumspect about himself to make sure he was obeying the Lord.
Job 10:15 If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head. I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction;
“If I be wicked, woe unto me; and if I be righteous, yet will I not lift up my head.” Job knew it was impossible to serve God perfectly, but in searching his heart, he realized he had done the best he could, that is, as far as was humanly possible. Moreover, Job must have searched his heart with great regularity. In contrast, we live in a careless generation today. In the past, because of the rigors of life and the shortness of leisure time, people worshipped with great energy at an hour that was most propitious. Today the Laodicean spirit comes right into our midst, and we must be on guard against it. However, as prophesied events start to occur in the world, the Lord’s people will be energized. Events will wake up both the wise and the foolish virgins to consider whether their daily walk is consistent with their consecration.
“I am full of confusion; therefore see thou mine affliction.” Even though Job was full of confusion in his thinking, he expressed himself remarkably well for being under duress. He was saying that Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar could see his affliction.
Job 10:16 For it increaseth. Thou huntest me as a fierce lion: and again thou showest thyself marvellous upon me.
“For it increaseth.” Not only had Job fasted for seven days and suffered disease, but now he was being badgered by the three comforters. Not only was he full of confusion about the permission of evil upon himself, but he had to listen to the three comforters each speak in turn. As Job was replying, the next comforter was waiting for an opportunity to speak—and did so as soon as Job was finished.
“Thou huntest me as a fierce lion.” The three comforters were hunting Job like fierce lions. They were waiting for an opportunity to badger him. Out of respect for his former situation when Job was the greatest man in the East, they let him speak and did not interrupt, but they were just waiting for their opportunity to pounce on him.
“And again thou showest thyself marvellous upon me.” This part of verse 16 can be taken two ways. Job was confused as to the reason for his current state in comparison with his previous honorable state. Now the three comforters were hunting him fiercely, but in the past, God had shown favor to Job in different ways—in his travels, in his knowledge, etc. Job could not harmonize the permission of evil. In the apostles’ day, the permission of evil was very clear, as shown by Peter’s statement “The trial of your faith … [is] much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire” (1 Pet. 1:7). But in the Middle Ages, few Christians had a Bible, and if they did, they had to keep it hidden. Moreover, without electricity, their hours for reading were very limited.
Job could not understand the admixture of good, favor, and happiness with his present sufferings, but a marvelous change would come over him. The very experience he was going through made him think, so that later he made some unusual statements. Under this pressure, the real inner man of Job was beginning to emerge and get stronger bit by bit as time went on.
Q: It is a little confusing to think that Job was talking to the comforters and then to God in the same verse. The NIV reads, “If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion and again display your awesome power against me.” Verse 17 then mentions the (three) witnesses. Was Job talking to God about the three comforters?
A: Yes. Job wanted to know why God was permitting the experiences.
Comment: As Christians, we all have unusual experiences, harsh as well as joyous. While we know the Lord is permitting other agencies to tempt us, we also know that He could (and does) stop whatever is not in our best interest. Evidently, we need disappointments and trials to cultivate in us a greater appreciation for that which is right, true, and just. The comparison is beneficial.
Job knew the three comforters were better-than-average people. They had sacrificed by traveling a long distance to comfort him, and they had come with the motive of helping him.
However, they did not understand his situation; they misread his experience just as Job himself misread it. Their badgering was not done with the intent of destroying him. They meant well, but they thought, “Job, why don’t you just admit that you have sinned? Tell us what is causing this problem.” But Job could not give them an answer because he did not know. Therefore, regardless of the motive of the three comforters, the effect of their remarks was to badger Job. Their supposed “help” just added to his sufferings.
Job 10:17 Thou renewest thy witnesses against me, and increasest thine indignation upon me; changes and war are against me.
“Thou renewest thy witnesses [plural] against me.” Of the three “witnesses,” only two had replied so far. Zophar would speak next.
We should keep in mind that all the time Job was talking to God, he was speaking about the three comforters. Job was saying that their remarks were an increase of indignation upon him. Not only was he wrinkled and skin and bones—not only was he afflicted with this loathsome disease—but also he was being assaulted verbally.
Q: For “changes and war are against me,” the NIV reads, “Your forces come against me wave upon wave.” In a war, attacks occur in different waves. Is that what Job felt he was getting from the comforters?
A: Yes, that seems to be the principle. Job was experiencing one battle or skirmish after another with scarcely a lull in between. After only slight relief, another wave would come.
Job 10:18 Wherefore then hast thou brought me forth out of the womb? Oh that I had given up the ghost, and no eye had seen me!
Job 10:19 I should have been as though I had not been; I should have been carried from the womb to the grave.
Job wished he had died at birth or as an infant, that is, before he came to any conscious state.
He did believe in a resurrection, as he would confess later in his anguish. When the burden of his present experience was compared with the favor of his former experience, the burden far outweighed the favor. Therefore, he felt it would be better if his life had been terminated at birth.
The inflection Job used in speaking would soften some of his remarks. It is true that he was questioning God, but in a more respectful way than some of the words might seem to indicate.
Job 10:20 Are not my days few? cease then, and let me alone, that I may take comfort a little,
The greatest honors will go to those who suffer the most, all things being equal, because the Lord wants to crystallize those individuals and bring them forth to their highest eternal good.
If Job had lived in the Gospel Age, he certainly would have qualified for the Little Flock, for he proved he could be entrusted with the divine nature and immortality. Not everyone will have such severe experiences because not all prove to be of that caliber. God’s hand was heavy on Jesus, our perfect pattern, for his eternal good. The furnace is sometimes very hot for the clay.
“Are not my days few? cease then … that I may take comfort a little.” Job thought he would die, but he wanted a little respite. He was getting weaker and weaker and was almost to the breaking point. He was asking for a few quiet breaths before he deceased. Job was talking from personal experience, not from a philosophical standpoint.
Job 10:21 Before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death;
Job 10:22 A land of darkness, as darkness itself; and of the shadow of death, without any order, and where the light is as darkness.
Of course verses 21 and 22 are a picture of gloom, but the meaning can be misconstrued. When Job said, “I shall not return,” he meant, “I shall not return then, at that time”; that is, Job would not return until the resurrection. He had some inkling that the fruition of God’s plan— whatever that plan was—was not near at hand. The Messiah had not yet come, and there was no indication that the fulfillment of God’s plan was imminent. Somehow he saw that it was way down the road.
Job surely did not believe in a hellfire of torment, for he said death was a “land of darkness.” Death was the land of the unknown. “Light is as darkness” in the sense that the dead know not anything.
Death is a land “without any order.” The Egyptians thought of the grave as the land of chaos.
Incidentally, clues in the Book of Job show that Job knew about Egypt. One clue is the mention of “swift [papyrus] ships” (Job 9:26). Death was considered a land of uncertainty, darkness, and chaos. The pope recently denied that the Roman Catholic Church ever taught hellfire and says that death is a place of nothingness. He blames the teaching of hellfire on those who attend the Roman Catholic Church.
As soon as Job stopped talking, Zophar, who was champing at the bit, began to speak. Job was not given a moment’s peace.