Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Job 30: Job Again Complains to God

This essay is #35 of an ongoing series on the book of Job. Click here to start at the beginning.

Job

Job's soliloquy now turns to his disease and his mistreatment at God's hand:

And now my soul pours itself out within me; days of suffering take hold of me. Night pierces my bones; my gnawing pains never cease. With great power God grasps my clothing; he binds me like the collar of my tunic. He has flung me into the mud, and I have come to resemble dust and ashes. (Job 30:16-19) 

Job sees God's actions toward him as violent and uncaring. He then underscores this by his next prayer:

I cry out to you, but you do not answer me; I stand up, and you only look at me. You have become cruel to me; with the strength of your hand you attack me. You pick me up on the wind and make me ride on it; you toss me about in the storm. I know that you are bringing me to death, to the meeting place for all the living. (Job 30:20-23)

So the Lord God is silent and cruel and plans for Job to die.

Surely one does not stretch out his hand against a broken man when he cries for help in his distress. Have I not wept for the unfortunate? Was not my soul grieved for the poor? But when I hoped for good, trouble came; when I expected light, then darkness came. My heart is in turmoil unceasingly; the days of my affliction confront me. I go about blackened, but not by the sun; in the assembly I stand up and cry for help. I have become a brother to jackals and a companion of ostriches. My skin has turned dark on me; my body is hot with fever. My harp is used for mourning and my flute for the sound of weeping. (Job 30:24-31) 

Job declares the injustice of his situation. 

This is short, but I am going to take up the next part of Job's speech tomorrow. It is Job's last hurrah. It is his declaration of righteousness that deserves not the trouble that he has endured. It is the last information that we will need about Job before Elihu speaks.

It is interesting to note that Job again appeals to his concern for the poor, in spite of those who gladly would drive from the community with whips. I think this underscores the irony that I brought out yesterday. Job's status has dropped below those very people and yet Job has no new concern for them. As the drama moves to Elihu's and then the Lord's speeches, the cracks in Job's character become more visible.

Next: Job declares his righteousness

<>< Test everything. Cling to what is good. ><>

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