In the midst of life we are in death
Pray: Ask God to speak to you through his word today
Consider: How strong are you?
Bible Reading: Job 14:1-22
Insight: This is the last part of Job’s long speech which he addresses directly to God and in which he appears to have calmed his temper somewhat. It is as if the passion and anger has subsided and he now speaking in a more melancholy mood. He begins by reflecting on the fact that man is born from the body of the ‘weaker’ gender so of course he will inherit some of her weakness, he is under her care and guidance for the first part of his life after all. He considers the flowers, which in the East often only bloom for a day or so, then the shadows that continually change as clouds flit past on a sunny, breezy day. And he is baffled why a God that is the same today, tomorrow and yesterday should take notice and punish someone as weak as Job.
Then like a man at the end of his life he grieves for the days ahead that he won’t live, saying that he has been alive for too short a time and in contrast to God’s endless days. Even the trees are better off than people in terms of the number of the length of their life.
Many people today don’t believe that God sees them or takes notice of them but not Job, he has the opposite concern. He thinks God is taking too much notice of him and the minute things he does wrong. Again, he asks God again to turn his face away so that he might have some rest before he dies. He knows that even brave strong men die but what he doesn’t know is where they go. Even if he said they went into Sheol (the underworld, a place of death where people went when they died, a place of stillness that is cut off from God) he couldn’t say where that was. But still he asks that his suffering would only be for a set number of days and perhaps God would allow him to go there and rest for a bit before coming back to a renewed restored relationship with God. For now though it is as if God has noted every wrong that he has done, keeping each note safe and drawing them out and holding them against Job.
Finally Job goes back to the beginning and talks about how weak we are. He compares the downfall of a wealthy or righteous man to that of a mountain collapsing, a rock falling, water eroding rocks and tracks that are washed away in a flood. All are a solid and secure part of the landscape, that once changed, leave no trace of what was there before. And so it is with you and I when we die.
Pause: Stop and listen to the voice of God, don’t rush on.
Picture: Is there a picture in scripture or in the world around you that helps?
Ponder: Think more deeply. what else does this relate to and what else does scripture say?
For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten. (Ecclesiastes 9:5)
Pray: Spend time in conversation with God; be completely honest and open.
Promise: Decide what needs to change, commit to it and consider writing it in your journal.
Further Reading: John Goldingay, Job for Everyone.
- Holiness as a Challenge to be Human (frted.wordpress.com)