Read Job 14
14 “Mortals, born of woman,
are of few days and full of trouble.
2 They spring up like flowers and wither away;
like fleeting shadows, they do not endure.
3 Do you fix your eye on them?
Will you bring them before you for judgment?
4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure?
5 A person’s days are determined;
you have decreed the number of his months
and have set limits he cannot exceed.
6 So look away from him and let him alone,
till he has put in his time like a hired laborer.
7 “At least there is hope for a tree:
If it is cut down, it will sprout again,
and its new shoots will not fail.
8 Its roots may grow old in the ground
and its stump die in the soil,
9 yet at the scent of water it will bud
and put forth shoots like a plant.
10 But a man dies and is laid low;
he breathes his last and is no more.
11 As the water of a lake dries up
or a riverbed becomes parched and dry,
12 so he lies down and does not rise;
till the heavens are no more, people will not awake
or be roused from their sleep.
13 “If only you would hide me in the grave
and conceal me till your anger has passed!
If only you would set me a time
and then remember me!
14 If someone dies, will they live again?
All the days of my hard service
I will wait for my renewal to come.
15 You will call and I will answer you;
you will long for the creature your hands have made.
16 Surely then you will count my steps
but not keep track of my sin.
17 My offenses will be sealed up in a bag;
you will cover over my sin.
18 “But as a mountain erodes and crumbles
and as a rock is moved from its place,
19 as water wears away stones
and torrents wash away the soil,
so you destroy a person’s hope.
20 You overpower them once for all, and they are gone;
you change their countenance and send them away.
21 If their children are honored, they do not know it;
if their offspring are brought low, they do not see it.
22 They feel but the pain of their own bodies
and mourn only for themselves.”
This chapter is Job’s closing remarks of the first round of discussion between him and his friends. Since we’ve made it through many days of heavy poetry and debate, we’re going to do something different today. As we reach the end of this section of the book, we are going to try to think of this book in a different way, and hopefully reach a different perspective on this book. Picture this in your mind: The book of Job is like two court rooms, one in heaven and one on earth.
In heaven, God is in charge: the judge who controls the court and makes all the decisions, and because He is all-knowing and just, He has never made the wrong decision. His angels are there, to serve their King and give input. We saw in chapters 1 and 2 how one of these members of the heavenly court asks to afflict suffering and pain on a righteous man named Job, all to prove that this man only praised God because of all the things he had been given.
The second court is on earth, in the remains of what used to be all that Job had been gifted from God. Job is the defendant (the one being accused), and his three friends that had originally been there to mourn with him, are the prosecuting attorneys, arguing that Job must have done something to deserve what happened to him. At this point, each friend has spoken once, and Job is finishing up this round of arguments, responding to the friend that spoke directly before him, and to all three friends.
The main point that Job is making in this chapter is this: Human life is extremely frail and temporary. People live for a short period of time, die, and don’t ever live again on Earth. In the second half of this chapter (v. 13-17), Job describes a hypothetical situation, one that he wishes could be true. He says that if the dead could live again, it would give him hope. If this were the case, God would guard his steps, and God would cover his guilt. This situation is hypothetical to Job, only wishful thinking, but to us it is real and available through Jesus! He died for our sins, so the dead could live again in Heaven with Him, taking on the punishment for our sin that we deserve.
- Why did God allow Satan to have his way in the heavenly court discussion?
- Put yourself in Job’s shoes. What do you think you would say in response to accusations from friends, saying that you deserved the suffering that you were enduring?
- What should Job’s friends be doing instead of accusing him of sin?
By The Way
Job’s claim that life is temporary isn’t some emotion-caused claim without real substance. This message can be found in multiple places throughout the Bible. One example of this is 1 Corinthians 4:17-18:
“For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
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