Welcome to the Question And Answer Series. It’s all about the book of Job. Well, most importantly, Job himself. I’m not giving a lot of press to his so-called friends. It’s not because they aren’t important to the story. They are. But what God gave me to share was about Job’s words (until we hit chapters 38-41...but we’ll chat about that later!)
Each week I‘ll give a summary of the chapters where Job is not speaking. I’ll share the focus verse from Job that is either a question or a statement. Then we’ll look at how one or more verses elsewhere in the Bible either agree with or refute Job’s verse. This journey God took me on has been fascinating. I hope it resonates with you as much as it has with me.
Our first focus verse comes from chapter six. But before we jump there, I feel I owe you at least a synopsis of chapters one through five. I strongly encourage you to read the chapters for yourself to get the full picture. In the meantime, let’s summarize.
Chapter 1 - Job is a rich man with a wife, seven sons and three daughters. He had an abundance of livestock and a great many servants. He regularly covered his children in prayer.(1-3) While these things were going on, Satan was in God’s court along with the angels. (Anyone else’s brain say “How was he there and whatever for?” -- question I will research and give my findings next week.) God and Satan had a conversation about Job that basically ended with God giving Satan permission to test Job’s faith and commitment to God with the understanding that Satan could not physically touch Job (4-12). Satan thought for sure Job would fail this test if the things that belonged to him were taken away. Verses 13-19 recount Job losing all he owned, as well as all his children. And then in verses 20-23, Job worships God because he fully trusts Him.
Chapter 2 - Satan and God have another conversation about Job. God reminds Satan that Job maintained his faith despite what God allowed Satan to do (NOTE: An important distinction is that God allowed Satan. Satan had no authority to do anything to Job until God have HIS permission) The conversation ends with God agreeing to allow Satan to attack Job’s physical person but spare his life. Satan thought for sure Job would fail this test if he suffered physically (v 1-6). Satan gave Job boils all over and Job’s wife asked him to abandon his faith. But Job still refuses to stop trusting God (v 7-10). Then his three friends, Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar came to comfort him and sit silently with him for seven days and nights (v. 11-13).
Chapter 3 - Job speaks. What does he say you ask? He wishes he was never born. He curses the day he was born. Job is quite simply undone. He goes on for twenty-six verses lamenting his life and indicating his desire for God to let him die.
Chapter 4 - His “friend” Eliphaz speaks. He talks about how innocent people are never punished by God but people who sin are. He indicates he had a vision where a voice told him no one was righteous. So that meant, Job was not righteous.
Chapter 5 - Eliphaz continues speaking. He tells Job he cannot ask for help from the angels. He goes on to accuse Job of being punished by God for some hidden sin. He tells Job he shouldn’t be upset at God because he’s being disciplined. There is a wonderful passage in verses 8-15 that describes God so well. Too bad it was set in an accusatory speech. Eliphaz adds that if Job was righteous and presented his case to God, God would “fix it”, that God would restore what was lost. (NOTE: Many people still hold this stance today that suffering, and especially extended periods of suffering results from secret sin. However, Matthew 5:45 (CSB) says, “For he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Suffering touches us all. Period.)
This now brings us to Chapter 6, where Job responds. He begins describing his grief as unbearable. And he again asks that the Lord let him die (v 1-10). The verse I want to focus on for this week and next is verse 11. This week, we’ll look at the first part of verse 11.
“What strength do I have, that I should continue to hope.” Job 6:11 CSB
Here Job is saying, “I have so little strength left, how can I hold onto hope that I would be restored, that my situation would be changed?” This is a response to Eliphaz’s words. And I get Job. I've been there many times, where I felt I could not bear it. I could not go on. Have you been there? Can you relate? But the moment I read this part of verse 11, I felt a response.
“Do not grieve, because the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10 (CSB)
The joy of the Lord is your strength Job. It is our strength when we are going handling unbearable suffering and grief. But what is the joy of the Lord? Here is what I think it is. We can look at who our God is. He is Omniscient, Omnipotent and Omnipresent. This means He knows what will happen in our lives (Omniscient or all-knowing). He has the power to carry us through and to handle the situation (Omnipotent or all-powerful). He’s always with us (Omnipresent or always everywhere).
He’s Immutable and Eternal. This means He has always been good and good to us and He has always loved us and that will never change ( Immutable or unchanging. He always was, is now and always will be. He is not bound by time so He’s already there at the resolution of your situation but still right there with you in it currently (Eternal).
He is faithful and holy and just. This is the God that, no matter how weak we are, how much our strength is fading, He's there, giving us just that bit more to go on. Can we not find joy in this God? The one who loved us when we were unrepentant sinners, not even thinking about Him at all? I think we can. We can say as the Psalmist says, “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:12, NASB)
Do not grieve as Job did. The joy of the Lord is your strength!