Job’s speech continues, and… Wow. I don’t really know what to say. He’s really down, really depressed, just wanting to die; and it sounds like he’s accusing God of not forgiving him and helping him (verses 20-21).
But I think there are some good lessons we can take from this chapter.
Is there not an appointed time to man upon earth? are not his days also like the days of an hireling?Job 7:1 (KJV)
We’re only here on earth for a time. God allows us a specific amount of time to live (which, of course, varies for each person). We don’t know when we’ll die, when our time will be up–we just don’t know.
Well, that’s scary. Which is why we need to be prepared. Since we don’t know when we’re going to die (or when Jesus will come back), we need to be ready to go at any time. I’m not saying parcel out your stuff to family and friends, buy your coffin, make all the funeral plans, and sit there and wait to die. Absolutely not! I mean be right with God, maintain good relationships with others, stuff like that. Our lives are but a vapor that quickly vanishes (James 4:14). We’re here right now, but we could be gone by tomorrow–or even by the next minute.
I once read an anecdote about a Christian woman who lived in expectancy of Jesus’ second coming. One day when she was out and about, some teenage boys asked her, “You think Jesus could come back soon, right?” She replied, “Oh yes!” They said, “Well, you’d better go home and get ready!” She looked at them and answered, “I don’t have to get ready, I stay ready.”
That’s what we should do: expect Jesus to come back (or our lives on earth to end) any minute, and stay ready.
What is man, that Thou shouldest magnify him, and that Thou shouldest set Thine heart upon him?Job 7:17 (KJ21)
Job wonders, “God, why do You care about us humans? Why are You always present, always watching?”
Psalm 8:4 asks the same question: “What is man, that You take notice of him, that You visit him?” (my words) David goes on to add in verses 5 and 6, “You’ve made him a little bit lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor. You’ve given him dominion over the things You’ve created.” (my words)
“Who are we, God, that You even notice us? We’re not important, not worth anything, not deserving of Your love. And yet-yet somehow, for some reason, You care.”
So I guess this is kind of two lessons. #1, we need to recognize that we really are nothing; we’re sinners who deserve to die, that’s all. But, #2, God still loves us; He thought we were to die for. 🙂
I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away mine iniquity? for now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.Job 7:20-21 (KJV)
It sounds like Job is accusing God of being out to get him, of wanting to torture him and make his life miserable. “Why have You set me as a mark against You?”, in my thinking, means “Why do You view me as Your enemy, a target to hit?” (Again, this is just the way I see it; I could be wrong.) It also seems he’s saying God’s not forgiving him.
Part A of Lesson #3: You see what Job calls God? “Thou preserver of men.” God preserves us. Protects us. Keeps us alive. If it wasn’t for Him, we’d all be dead right now. Actually, we wouldn’t be alive in the first place! He is our Preserver.
Part B of Lesson #3: The only time God views us as an enemy is when we are. When we’re not following Him, not obeying, desiring wrong things, trying to fit in with the world, etc.–that’s when we are His enemies. And He. Will. Come. After. Us. Not because He now hates us, no, but because He is holy and He is jealous. He wants us to be His. All His.
So if we’re facing trials, we need to take a long, hard, honest look at ourselves in the mirror of His Word and see if there’s sin in our lives. And if there is, we need to take care of it. Repent of it; stop doing it; get things right!
Part C of Lesson #3: God will always, always, ALWAYS forgive us. But we need to ask, need to repent.
AND there are consequences for sin. David got Bathsheba pregnant and killed her husband, trying to hide his sin; he repented and asked for forgiveness, but that child? That child died. We make the choice to sin, and we must pay for that choice. Yes, we’ll be forgiven; yes, God’ll still love us. But there are consequences. Sin affects people–it’ll affect you and it’ll often affect others; there are no victim-less crimes.
Part D of Lesson #3: Not-repented-of and not-forgiven sin will kill. You could take this a couple different ways, I guess. It will kill our relationship with God. It will kill or at least weaken our relationship with other people. It will kill our testimony, our effectiveness as a witness. It will kill our self-esteem, our joy, and our peace. And it can literally kill us (drunk driving or using drugs, for example).
Anyway, that’s all for now. 🙂 And again, I’d like to hear your thoughts on all of this. Thanks for reading!