Job 3 – “Paint Me Boils And All”

It had been 7 days and 7 nights of silence as Job sat in the ashes with his three best friends (Job 2:13). Finally Job broke the silence! What would he say? Would he finally crack and curse God and die (See Job 2:9)? Did he curse God, his enemies, the weather, the disease, or his wife? No! Did he curse himself? No! He just lets off steam and curses the day of his birth, moaning that it would have been better that he had never even been born.

The next best thing, Jobs thinks, would have been to have died at birth. And in the rest of the chapter (vv.11ff) Job asked a lot of “Why?” questions. We aren’t told that he was asking God, or his three friends. Perhaps he was just thinking out loud.

The text of this chapter does give us some insight into the way the ancients thought about life after death – that there was a certain freedom from the things of this world. It isn’t until we come to the New Testament that we are informed that there is a place of comfort and another place or torment (See Lk. 16:19-31; Jn.11; Acts 17:30-31; Rev. 20:11-15).

What was it that Job so greatly feared? We are told that Job said, ‘For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me’ (v.25). Over the years I read books and heard sermons that left us with the impression  that Job’s problems were caused by himself because he had “let his hedge down”, that he “opened the door to the devil through fear”, that “he had stopped operating in faith and was operating in fear”! Where in the text does it ever say any of that? Such Bible teachers have read into the text their own views in an attempt to make the text fit with their beliefs. You see, if there was anything that Job feared, it was the fear of the LORD (See Job 1:1, 8, 9; 2:3), and it is the consensus of many Bible scholars that Job’s greatest fear was that he had lost the favour of the LORD, that the LORD had left him. Well, which view is correct? We would have to read the following chapters of the counsel of Job’s friends and see if they can answer Job. Lets’ hope that none of us today end up being miserable counsellors!


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