Chapter one gave us a glimpse into Job’s plight, but the narrative flows quite quickly. It would seem that Job’s troubles have only just begun when his friends arrive and that the book covers a short period of time. But chapter seven tells us that months have now passed, and Job’s unrelenting misery continues without resolution. Equally important, it is obvious from Eliphaz’ speech that Job’s “friends” are going to be of little help. They will be like streams that carry water in the rainy season, but when the earth is parched and you go to find them, they are gone.
Eliphaz is the first to speak to his friend, and in chapter six, Job replies.
The common view of trouble in the ancient world was that when it came, God brought it. Job also believes this, as do his friends. With that theology, it’s hard not to blame God for troublesome times – and that’s what Job does.
I’m intrigued by these words in chapter six: “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant what I hope for, that God would be willing to crush me, to let loose his hand and cut me off!”
Job wishes to die. There is no reason for him to live – at least in his own mind. But also in his mind he believes that God has his hand on him, protecting him in some way from the end.
What a glorious thought!
No matter how bad it gets, as long as I have life, it could be worse. God’s protective hand is on me, his presence with me. And even if I die, it is God who takes me home to glory (see Psalm 73:24).