Job 3 part 3
For 7 days and 7 nights Jobís 3 friends sat in silence with him, but Job could not stand it any longer and he unloads his thoughts before God and his friends. As we begin to look at the statements Job made and the response his friends made later, we need to keep in mind that all of these events are written in poetic form.
Job 3:1 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.
Job was not some mindless robot that could take this suffering without being affected by it. At first, he handled what was dished out to him fairly well, but now after he had more time for things to sink in, he becomes an emotional wreck. As we will see in this chapter, Job will speak from his heart, and he lets God know exactly how he feels, and †he does not hold back.
When I think about Job, it reminds me of how honest we should be with God when we pray to Him. Yes, He knows everything about us, but we must learn to open up to God and be as honest as we can. Many of us have trouble expressing our true feeling to others, but this should not be the case with God.
At this point in Jobís suffering, he begins thinking that he would have been better off if had not born and he curses his birth. This does not mean that he cussing, but that he felt like his life was worthless and that his life was not worth living. Job is not the only righteous OT person to curse the day of his birth. Jeremiah did the same in:
Jeremiah 20:14 Cursed be the day in which I was born! Let the day not be blessed in which my mother bore me!† 15 Let the man be cursed Who brought news to my father, saying, "A male child has been born to you!" Making him very glad.† 16 And let that man be like the cities Which the LORD overthrew, and did not relent; Let him hear the cry in the morning And the shouting at noon,† 17 Because he did not kill me from the womb, That my mother might have been my grave, And her womb always enlarged with me.† 18 Why did I come forth from the womb to see labor and sorrow, That my days should be consumed with shame?
Both Job and Jeremiah show us that when a righteous person suffers their perspective on life changes, and it even causes them to say things that would not normally say. Satan knows that many people can handle and bounce back from many things, but when a person suffers physical with their health it becomes more challenging.
All of us in the room have experienced this in our lives, some more than others. When you having a good day and your health is good, and youíre not having many aches or pains, you can deal with the ups and downs of the day pretty easy. But now let say you wake up with bad headache or a sickness of some kind. How does that change your day? Well, for me it makes the day much harder, and little things that would not normally bother me, will frustrate me to no end. When we donít feel good, we become very edgy and we canít wait for day to end.
Letís take it to the next level. Not all of us have probably experienced extreme pain, but those of us who have can relate to Jobís emotional outburst and how felt in his heart. One of the most painful experiences that I have ever had was when I started recovering from having an eardrum grafted into my left ear. The pain medicine they gave me did not seem to help, and I could think about was the pain and wished I could just be knocked out because I didnít care about anything else. Now I was 15 when this happened and I didnít know much about God at that point in my life, but I may have cursed the day of birth if I had thought about it.
I want you to think about the different pains you have been in that lasted for days. Think about how those pains or that illness weighed heavy on your mind. Try to remember how you felt about life in general. Think about how irrationally you became. When we put ourselves in the shoes of Job and Jeremiah as we think about our lives, it helps us to understand why these righteous men would curse the day of their birth even though should not have because it a blessing to live your life for God.
In verse 2-10 Jobís main thought is why was I born?
Job 3:2 And Job spoke, and said:† 3 "May the day perish on which I was born, And the night in which it was said, 'A male child is conceived.'† 4 May that day be darkness; May God above not seek it, Nor the light shine upon it.† 5 May darkness and the shadow of death claim it; May a cloud settle on it; May the blackness of the day terrify it.† 6 As for that night, may darkness seize it; May it not rejoice among the days of the year, May it not come into the number of the months.† 7 Oh, may that night be barren! May no joyful shout come into it!† 8 May those curse it who curse the day, Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan.† 9 May the stars of its morning be dark; May it look for light, but have none, And not see the dawning of the day;† 10 Because it did not shut up the doors of my mother's womb, Nor hide sorrow from my eyes.
Job is being dramatic about the day of his birth. He wishes that day that he was born did not exist. He wished God had skipped over that day. All of the verses bare out this fact from different angles. In the midst of cursing the day of his birth Job makes an interesting statement in verse 8. He says,
8 May those curse it who curse the day, Those who are ready to arouse Leviathan.†
What is Job talking about here when he talks about those who are ready to arouse the Leviathan. This statement has become controversial is because of the Leviathan.
Many scholars identify the leviathan of this verse with a mythological creature described in Ugaritic myths. According to such mythology, a marine monster named Lotan was capable of altering the entire world order by eclipsing the Sun or Moon with its body (Payne, 1980, 1:472).
Among the clay tablets found in ancient Ugarit (present-day Ras Shamra), there was one that described with similar words a creature called Lotan: ďWhen thou hast smitten Lotan, the fleeing serpent [and] hast put to an end the tortuous serpent, the mighty one with seven heads...Ē (as quoted in Pfeiffer, 32:209).
Ancient mythology describes a sea creature with 7 heads, and others have said that that certain men had the ability to call the monster to surface to blot out the sun or the moon. The reason this is controversial is because those who want turn the OT events into mythology would say that Job believed and was using mythology in his statement here, which they conclude means that many of things said in the Bible are just part of mythology, which is a false assumption.
If Job is referring to a mythological creature, he never states that the myth is true. If he was referring to this myth, he was just borrowing from the imagery of it to say that he wished that these men would have called up this beast to blot out the day of his birth.
Roy Zuck made the following observation concerning mythology and its relation to the book:
Was Job indicating belief in a creature of mythology? No, he was probably doing nothing more than utilizing for poetic purposes a common notion that his hearers would understand.
We can understand this line of reasoning because many of us have no problem using mythical creatures associated with certain holidays to make a point even when we know they do not exist. While Job may be referring to mythology here it does not mean that he believes it.
Mr. Coffman adds this:
We shall find other references to mythological ideas in Job, but these are no reflection upon the views of Job as a devout monotheist.† There are many mythological echoes in the speech patterns of all nations.† Our own names for the days of the week and the months of the year are derived from ancient mythology.† January is named for the Roman god of portals and beginnings; the word February is from a pagan festival celebrated in that month; March, like one of the planets, is named from Mars, the Roman god of war; May comes from Mata a pagan goddess of growth; June is derived from Juno, in Roman mythology; she was the wife of Jupiter, the goddess of marriage, and the queen of the gods; the name Tuesday is from Tiu (pronounced: te-oo), worshipped by the Teutons as the god of war; our name for Wednesday comes from Woden, the old English name for the chief of the Norse gods; and Saturday was derived from Saturn the Roman god of agriculture.
I also want to point out that leviathan is used in several different ways in the Bible. Out of the 5 times leviathan is mentioned, 3 of the references may refer to mythology, with one being verse 8. The other two are:
Psalm 74:14 You broke the heads of Leviathan in pieces, And gave him as food to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
Notice the reference to the Leviathan having multiple heads.
Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with His severe sword, great and strong, Will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan that twisted serpent; And He will slay the reptile that is in the sea.
Here Isaiah uses the Leviathan metaphorically to refer to the enemies of God. Again, in no way does that Bible say the mythological version of this 7 headed beast is real.
There are least two times in Scripture where the leviathan is being used to describe a real animal.
Psalm 104:24 O LORD, how manifold are Your works! In wisdom You have made them all. The earth is full of Your possessions --† 25 This great and wide sea, In which are innumerable teeming things, Living things both small and great.† 26 There the ships sail about; There is that Leviathan Which You have made to play there.
The writer of this Psalm is talking about how God is the creator and how He created the Leviathan. When God begins to humble Job with His wisdom in Job 41, God says this about the Leviathan.
Job 41:1 "Can you draw out Leviathan with a hook, Or snare his tongue with a line which you lower?† 2 Can you put a reed through his nose, Or pierce his jaw with a hook?† 3 Will he make many supplications to you? Will he speak softly to you?† 4 Will he make a covenant with you? Will you take him as a servant forever?† 5 Will you play with him as with a bird, Or will you leash him for your maidens?† 6 Will your companions make a banquet of him? Will they apportion him among the merchants?† 7 Can you fill his skin with harpoons, Or his head with fishing spears?† 8 Lay your hand on him; Remember the battle -- Never do it again!
God continues to talk about the Leviathan all the way through this chapter, but in these first 8 verses, we can see that God is not talking about a mythological creature, He is talking about a real animal. Some scholars suggest that the Leviathan was a crocodile. While there are some similarities mentioned that would describe a crocodile that are some that would not work. So, it is believed that the Leviathan is a dinosaur that was alive during the time of Job, but now is extinct.
The main point I want you to get is that sometimes the Bible may use the imagery associated with mythology to make a point, but it never states that the myths are true. We have seen how the Bible possibly uses the Leviathan as a myth, metaphorically, and as real animal.
In verses 11-19 Jobís main question is why wasnít I born dead?
Job 3:11 "Why did I not die at birth? Why did I not perish when I came from the womb?† 12 Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should nurse?† 13 For now I would have lain still and been quiet, I would have been asleep; Then I would have been at rest† 14 With kings and counselors of the earth, Who built ruins for themselves,† 15 Or with princes who had gold, Who filled their houses with silver;† 16 Or why was I not hidden like a stillborn child, Like infants who never saw light?† 17 There the wicked cease from troubling, And there the weary are at rest.† 18 There the prisoners rest together; They do not hear the voice of the oppressor.† 19 The small and great are there, And the servant is free from his master. †††
If the day of Jobís birth could not be blotted out the next best thing would have been for him to be born dead. At this point, he wished that he had either been stillborn never seeing the light of day, or he wished he could have just laid there and died instead of being feed by his mother.
He associates death with being asleep and being a rest. He further states this in verses
17 There the wicked cease from troubling, And there the weary are at rest.† 18 There the prisoners rest together; They do not hear the voice of the oppressor.† 19 The small and great are there, And the servant is free from his master. †††
Even though Job is not speaking by the inspiration of God, his here are Biblically correct. When we die we are no longer bound to this earth or those who were over us. We will not have to face the toils of this life or be concerned about the wicked because they will be in a separate place from us. We learn from the story of the Rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 that when we die we are either taken to Abrahamís bosom described as Paradise, or if we are wicked, we be taken to where the rich man was, which is described as the place of torment.
All faithful Christians will go to the place of comfort and we will get to rest from our labors as:
Revelation 14:13 †Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' " "Yes," says the Spirit, "that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them."
While many fear death, as a faithful Christian it should be a time of joy because of the peace and the rest it will bring. Paul had this attitude, which is why he said,
Philippians 1:23 For I am hard pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.† 24 Nevertheless to remain in the flesh is more needful for you.
At this point in Jobís was willing to give up all the good that he had experienced in his life so far because he wanted to be born dead. Again, some of us may havethought this same way when we were suffering, but we should never wish that on ourselves because even when bad things happen, we should never want to lose all the wonderful things that we have experienced in life.
In the remaining verses Job wants to know why he canít die now.
Job 3:20 "Why is light given to him who is in misery, And life to the bitter of soul,† 21 Who long for death, but it does not come, And search for it more than hidden treasures;† 22 Who rejoice exceedingly, And are glad when they can find the grave?† 23 Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, And whom God has hedged in?† 24 For my sighing comes before I eat, And my groanings pour out like water.† 25 For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, And what I dreaded has happened to me.† 26 I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, for trouble comes."
Again Job want to know why he must suffer so, and why canít he just die. His desire to die right now is greater than the desire of searching for hidden treasure. He would rejoice if could just crawl in a grave and all this misery would be gone.
Before all this began, the devil accused God of giving Job a hedge of protection and blessing, but now Job is accusing God putting him in a hedge of suffering. While Job never cursed God or turned from Him all the way, he fell short when he made this accusation and later he repents of this along with other false accusations he made.
Verse 24 indicates that his disease has affected his appetite, or it could mean that his pain is as regular as his meals. Job worse nightmare had come true and now he is not at ease, he canít sleep well. His life has been turn upside down by all the events.
†Even though Job is noted for his patience overall, we can see that his faith was not rock solid all the way through this ordeal. Even though the devil was not able to make him curse God, he still did his damage and he did find a weak spot in Jobís armor. We need to realize as faithful Christians that our faith can be tested and while the devil may find a weak spot in our armor, we need to follow Jobís example and never turn all the way from God or curse him. Of course we have the benefit of knowing that in the end that Job does repent of his sins and is once again reconciled to God, and we must never be to proud to repent of our wrong doings so that we too can be reconciled to God.
In conclusion we learn several lessons from this dramatic chapter.
1. We can see that righteous people can have a weak moment in their faith when they are suffering from the arrows of adversity.
1 Corinthians 10:12 Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Just because someone one may fall it does not mean that they cannot get back up and continue on the path of righteousness.
2. We must never underestimate the effect of losing someone in our life, our finances, or our physical health. The best way for us to be prepared for such losses is by having a close relationship with God by studying His Word and praying often. As Paul says:
Colossians 3:2 †Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.
The closer we are to God, the easier it will be for us to deal with the sufferings that will come in our life. The more we understand that bad things happen, the less surprised we will be when they do. One thing we need to remind ourselves of is that this life we live is temporary and when we make it to heaven we will no longer have to deal with death, disease, or pain.
3. We can learn from men like Job and see where they failed in their time of weakness and we can try not to repeat their failures.
The last thing I want point out about this chapter and the book of Job is that is an inspired book of the Bible that accurately records what happened to Job, but one thing we need to keep in mind is that neither Job nor his friends are speaking by the inspiration of God even though some of the things they may say are Biblically correct. We can see this in several places throughout out the Bible because it records the words of those that are lying sometimes and it even records the words of the devil. So, when you are looking at Scripture, you need to ask the question, Is this person speaking by the inspiration of God or is it simply recording that personís personal thoughts. However, when God speaks starting in chapter 38, we can know what is being said is of God.
After Job finishes his emotional outburst his friends began to give their two cents worth on why Job is suffering and Job will defend himself against their accusations. We will examine the first round of speeches and Jobís defense next week. So, I want you to read Job 4 Ė 14 in preparation for next weekís lesson.