Job 13:27-14:6

Sermon preached on February 4, 2018 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2018. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at

Unless otherwise noted, quotations are from The Holy Bible: New International Version (NIV). Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

Is life worth living? The German writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, (quoted from Christopher Ash. (Job, p. 169)

"once said in his old age that he could hardly think that he had been really happy for more than a month in his whole life."

If you're not happy should you go on living? Does that mean that life is not worth living?

A few days before my brother died I was taking my turn sitting at his bedside. He was asleep and I was sitting on a chair next to the bed. At one point he woke up. It took him a few seconds to get his bearings, but when he did he looked at me and said,

"It was all worth it, Larry. It was all worth it."

Then he put his head down and went back to sleep. I'm not positive what he meant by that but I think he was saying that in spite of the horrible way he was dying, his life had been worth living.

But other people don't feel that way. They're suffering and they want it to end. They want to die, to end their lives. There are movements in many countries to legalize the right to die. Some people want to go further than that and they believe that doctors should have the right to kill old people, or very sick people, even if the person doesn't want to die. In some countries they are making sure that certain fetuses are put to death because they believe that if the fetuses were allowed to be born they would be a burden to society, that their lives wouldn't be worth living. On more than one front we are entering into a culture of death.

In our text we see Job suffering greatly but we don't see Job expressing any desire to take his own life, or for any other human being to take his life. But it is clear that he wanted to die. In verse 13 of chapter 14 Job said to God,

"If only you would hide me
in the grave and conceal me till your anger has passed!"

One of the main things we see here is that

Job believes that his life is not worth living.

Over and over in our text Job describes his suffering using terms of hopelessness. Job 13:28 refers to his life as decaying like a like something rotten. He said,

"So man wastes away like something rotten,
like a garment eaten by moths."

What's the point of a life like that? If you discover rotten food in your fridge or pantry what do you do? You do two things. You throw it out and you chastise yourself for not throwing it out earlier. There's no point to having something rotten around. It's worse than useless. It's not something neutral, it's a big negative. If you have one rotten potato in a bag, the sooner you get rid of it the better. If you leave it, the rottenness will quickly spread to the other potatoes. Job feels that way about his life.

Can you imagine feeling like that? Job goes on and in Job 14:14 Job sums up his current situation as,

"All the days of my hard service"

Job is complaining that he feels like he is a slave. If he lived in the 20th century he might say that he felt like he was a prisoner in a concentration camp.

In 14:6 he refers to man's existence as like that of a,

"hired man"

He doesn't have freedom, ownership of anything. He is working for someone else.

In Job 13:27 Job said,

"You fasten my feet in shackles;
you keep close watch on all my paths
by putting marks on the soles of my feet."

He is saying that God is his feels his life is one where his feet are in stocks. He feels like one who is publically disgraced, like some criminal who is bond and displayed in the public square. He says that God has been keeping close watch on his paths, he feels like a prisoner who is being punished by doing forced labor. He says that because of the marks on his feet he is confined, that his feet cannot walk free. (Ash, p. 168)

In addition to all that, in spite of the good that Job has done—Job feels the weight of his sin. We looked at that a couple of weeks ago. 13:26 Job feel guilt from the sins of his youth. In 14:17 he feels that God is keeping track of his sins, that they are building up a case against him, just like Marley's Chains in Charles Dicken's
A Christmas Carol.

In 14:4 Job states that he can't become better on his own. He said,

"Who can bring what is pure
from the impure? No one!"

Job's sufferings, his knowledge of his sin, his friend's accusations, his lack of hope regarding life after death, all contributed to Job's frustration with life. In many verses Job suggested that his life was not worth living. In Job 14:1 Job says,

"Man born of woman is
of few days and full of trouble."

Job states that his days are full with turmoil. Tremper Longman III writes, (Job, Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms; p. 211)

"The word for 'trouble' (roĢ„gez) is formed from a verb that means to shake or tremble (rgz)… the shaking… here, indicates anxiety, stress, and fear."

I've seen people in that condition. It's extremely sad to see someone like that, where life has dealt them a blow that in some ways breaks them. If we live long enough we're all going to suffer blows like that. Tragedies, death, great suffering will come our way. David J. A. Clines writes, (Job 1–20, WBC 17; p. 324)

" 'Turmoil,'… signifies (not simply 'trouble'… [it] is the 'tumult of feeling and the onslaught of sufferings'… Job is full of, 'satiated with'… restlessness (7:4) and shame (10:15); it is this fullness that makes him empty, dried up, and feeble."

Thoughts of our sins sometimes threaten to overwhelm us. We are filled with such guilt. In 13:21 Job says this period of his life is one where God is,

"frightening me with your terrors."

It seems he can't enjoy any peace or have any hope. He feels that God is against him.

In contrast to Job here, you Christians should know that your lives have great meaning. This is because

your lives are tied to God's glory and because of that everything you go through has great meaning.

Although Job didn't know it, his sufferings were part of a great drama. Satan's great aim in bringing these disasters and suffering on Job was to get him to curse God. In Job 1:11 Satan said to God,

"stretch out your hand
and strike everything he has,
and he will surely
curse you to your face."

And in chapter 2, after Job had successfully clung to God and praised Him after the disasters came upon him, Satan said to God, (Job 2:4–5)

"Skin for skin! A man will give all he has
for his own life.
But stretch out your hand
and strike his flesh and bones,
and he will surely
curse you to your face."

This contest was being played out in front of the whole heavenly host. It reminds me of what the apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 4:9

"For it seems to me that God has put
us apostles on display
at the end of the procession,
like men condemned to die in the arena.
We have been made a spectacle
to the whole universe,
to angels as well as to men."

So it was with Job. Job was at the center of a great drama. Job's life was tied to God's glory. Was God's grace to Job going to be enough? Was Job going to honor God or curse Him? Everything that Job did during his trial was significant. (Actually, everything that Job did during his whole life was significant.) If he had cursed God as his wife suggested, Satan would have been vindicated in front of the whole heavenly host. Job would have let God down and would have given the fallen angels an opportunity to exult over Job cursing God. It would have been a great tragedy. Instead of Job bringing glory, honor and praise to God, as he was created to do—Job would have disgraced himself and dishonored God and giving God's foes an opportunity to rejoice. It would have been like when David sinned by committing adultery with Bathsheba and then murdering his husband, Uriah the Hittite. Nathan the prophet said to David, (2 Samuel 12:14 NASB)

"by this deed you have given occasion to
the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme,"

As a Christian you are in the exact same situation as Job and David.

You belong to Christ. You are united to Him. He calls you His own. When you were baptized you were baptized, (Matthew 28:19)

"in the name of the Father and
of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,"

God has put His name on you.

He has bought you at a price. This means that you have a duty to honor God. (1 Corinthians 6:20) That's why you were created—to give glory, honor and praise to God. John Calvin says that this is, (Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 1:12)

"the chief end of our whole life—that we may promote the Lord's glory."

His glory is tied to your behavior.

If you do any work, you should do it in God's name, for His glory. We are supposed to do everything in the name of Jesus. In Colossians 3:17 the apostle Paul wrote,

"And whatever you do,
whether in word or deed,
do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus,
giving thanks to God the Father
through him."

In 2 Thessalonians 1 the apostle Paul spoke of the 2nd coming of Jesus and how he will punish those who do not obey the gospel. In verses 11-12 he wrote,

"With this in mind,
we constantly pray for you,
that our God may count you
worthy of his calling,
and that by his power
he may fulfill every good purpose
of yours and every act
prompted by your faith.
We pray this so that the name of
our Lord Jesus may be glorified in you,
and you in him,
according to the grace of our God
and the Lord Jesus Christ."

God intends to be gloried in you, His people. Just as He gave grace to Job, so He gives grace to you. As such, you are to live to God's glory. 1 Corinthians 10:31 says,

"So whether you eat or drink
or whatever you do,
do it all for the glory of God."

Christians, if your life is tied to God's glory then it means that your life, your behavior is very significant.

It couldn't be any more important. Yes, you may think that your life is insignificant. But it's not.

I'm sure the widow we read about in Mark 12:42 thought her life was insignificant. She had lost her husband. The money that she had, two small copper coins was about as insignificant as it could be. Yet when she put the two copper coins in the temple treasury, Jesus put her above all the others, even the rich who threw in large amounts. Jesus said of her, (Mark 12:43–44)

"I tell you the truth,
this poor widow has put more
into the treasury than all the others.
They all gave out of their wealth;
but she, out of her poverty,
put in everything—all she had to live on."

Can you imagine? God put her story in the Bible. For all ages people will read of her offering and how it was greater than all the others. That story is there for people who think they're insignificant.

This means that

The works that you do, are significant.

Your work is not in vain. What you do in this life is important. In Revelation 14:13 we read,

"Then I heard a voice from heaven say,
'Write: Blessed are the dead
who die in the Lord from now on.'
'Yes,'says the Spirit,
'they will rest from their labor,
for their deeds will follow them.' "

Our deeds will follow us. Many will hear the words, (Matthew 25:21)

"Well done, good and faithful servant!"

Even small things you do will be rewarded. In Matthew 10:42 Jesus said,

"And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water
to one of these little ones because he is my disciple,
I tell you the truth,
he will certainly not lose his reward."

In 1 Corinthians 15:58 the apostle Paul wrote,

"Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm.
Let nothing move you.
Always give yourselves fully
to the work of the Lord,
because you know that
your labor in the Lord is not in vain."

Your works are significant because Jesus considers them done to Him personally. In Matthew 25:34–40 Jesus spoke of the last day. He said,

"Then the King will say to those on his right,
'Come, you who are blessed by my Father;
take your inheritance,
the kingdom prepared for you
since the creation of the world.
For I was hungry and
you gave me something to eat,
I was thirsty and
you gave me something to drink,
I was a stranger and you invited me in,
I needed clothes and you clothed me,
I was sick and you looked after me,
I was in prison and you came to visit me.'
Then the righteous will answer him,
'Lord, when did we see you hungry
and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
When did we see you a stranger and invite you in,
or needing clothes and clothe you?
When did we see you sick or in prison
and go to visit you?'
'The King will reply,
'I tell you the truth, whatever you did
for one of the least of these
brothers of mine, you did for me."

Isn't that incredible? What you do for others Jesus considers it done to Himself. The things that you do for others are so significant.

Not only are your works significant,

when you're suffering like Job—your life, your sufferings are significant.

Suffering has a great place in the life of God's people. They purify us so that we can better serve God. 1 Peter 1:6–7 says,

"In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while
you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials.
These have come so that your faith—
of greater worth than gold, which perishes even
though refined by fire—may be proved genuine
and may result in praise, glory and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed."

In our sufferings we can glorify God. In John 21 Jesus told that when he was older he was going to be stretched out and carried where he did not want to go. John wrote, (John 21:19)

"Jesus said this to indicate
the kind of death by which
Peter would glorify God."

We can glorify God in our deaths. In our worst sufferings, we can be such a light to this world, shining light on the grace of God.

This is because in suffering we can show others the life of Jesus living in us. In 2 Corinthians 4 Paul listed how he and his fellow workers were suffering. He wrote, (2 Corinthians 4:8–9)

"We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed;
perplexed, but not in despair;
persecuted, but not abandoned;
struck down, but not destroyed."

He continued, (2 Corinthians 4:10–11)

"We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus,
so that the life of Jesus
may also be revealed in our body.
For we who are alive are
always being given over
to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life
may be revealed in our mortal body."

Do you see what he's saying here? The life of Jesus is in us. If Jesus' life is in you, your life can't be insignificant. Your life can't be useless. Christ continues to live on this earth—in you, so that people can see Christ in you. What a privilege is ours! What glory is ours! Live so as to show Jesus living in you!

May God give us grace to do so.