Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 10: Job 3-4; Matthew 8:1-17

The book of Job is a great example of how to grieve correctly, and how to be a friend to those who grieve. In modern society we try to be so strong and in control of every situation. In Job 3 a devout man of God shows us that it really is ok to be human. Job has just been through a horrible ordeal. He lost his children, his livestock, his servants and his good health: he has a right to grieve.

Job shows us that there is nothing wrong with questioning the circumstances, and wishing we didn’t live in such a sinful world: “Why wasn’t I buried like a stillborn child, like a baby who never lives to see the light? For in death the wicked cause no trouble, and the weary are at rest” (Job 3:16-17).

Job is questioning the calamity that has befallen him, but he never curses God. This is the significant point that his friends seem to miss. Job doesn’t understand the ways of God, so he’s allowed to be confused.

According to commentator Matthew Henry, Job’s friend Eliphaz “charges him with weakness and faint-heartedness”* for how Job is now acting. He sees Job’s actions as a hypocritical breech of character. In Job 4:3-6 Eliphaz says to Job,

“In the past you have encouraged many people; you have strengthened those who were weak. Your words have supported those who were falling; you encouraged those with shaky knees. But now when trouble strikes, you lose heart. You are terrified when it touches you. Doesn’t your reverence for God give you confidence? Doesn’t your life of integrity give you hope?”

We’ll see in later passages that Job hasn’t lost reverence or hope in God, as his friends seem to think. At the moment, he is just grieving, but he will still continue to worship God in spite of it all.

How do you react in times of grief? How do you respond to what life hands you? What kind of friend are you to others who grieve?

Prayer: Lord, please help me to learn from the story of Job, and to always stay true to you, even as I grieve in the hard times. Help me also to be an encouraging friend to those in need.

*Henry, Matthew. "Commentary on Job 4." . Blue Letter Bible. 1 Mar 1996. 2009. 17 Jul 2009.

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