Job 6:8-10


Sermon preached on June 26, 2016 by Laurence W. Veinott. © Copyright 2016. All rights reserved. Other sermons can be found at http://www.cantonnewlife.org/.

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.

The pain and suffering that some people go through in this life is incredible. Ulrich Zwingli was a leader of the Reformation in Switzerland. Although a non-combatant, he present at the battle of Kappel in 1531 and he was killed when the his town of Zurich was attacked. In the battle that day, Zwingli's wife lost her husband, her son, her brother, her son-in-law, her brother-in-law and some of her most intimate friends. (Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 8 p. 186) I cannot even begin to imagine the pain she experienced from that loss. It was like her whole world came crumbling down.

It reminds me of the loss Job suffered when he lost his ten children.

Or we can think about people who have a very painful and terminal disease. In 1996 our good friend D. R. died of Lou Gehrig's disease. To see her suffer was very hard for those of us who watched her waste away. How hard it must have been for her. It has to be horrible to get an incurable disease. I mean, I hate having the 24 hour flu. Even though I know it's only the 24 hour flu, it seems like it's going to last forever and I can hardly stand it. How difficult it must be to have an incurable disease or injury and know that there is no hope for a cure.

In our text Job goes into more detail about his pain. In chapter 3 he told his friends that he wished that he had never been born and wondered why life was given to him. His words here in chapter 6 show the depth of his anguish. In verses 1-4 Job said,

"If only my anguish could be weighed
and all my misery be placed on the scales!
It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—
no wonder my words have been impetuous.
The arrows of the Almighty are in me,
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God's terrors are marshaled against me."

This chapter is very instructive to us in that it is very relevant to what is happening in our society. Many people are clamoring for right to die legislation. There has been much in the news in the past year about doctor assisted suicide in Canada. A year or two ago the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canadians have the right to die. Since then at least one province has passed legislation making it legal. It's my understanding that other provinces are in the process of following suit and that soon it will be the law throughout the land.

What about you when you come to the point in your life where you might face unimaginable suffering. Perhaps then you will long for death. There's certainly nothing wrong with Christians wanting to go to their heavenly home. In Philippians 1:22–24 the apostle Paul told us about his desire. He wrote,

"If I am to go on living in the body,
this will mean fruitful labor for me.
Yet what shall I choose?
I do not know! I am torn between the two:
I desire to depart and be with Christ,
which is better by far;
but it is more necessary for you
that I remain in the body."

As Christians we should have that desire. But does that mean that we are to take our lives into our own hands when suffering comes? Job certainly desired death. He was overwhelmed with suffering. In verses 8-9 he said,

"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!"

He desperately wanted release from his suffering.

So this passage is very instructive for us. So it's important that we look at Job here to see what light this passage sheds on these important issues.

The first thing we should see from our passage, and the whole book of Job is that

sometimes it's God's will that his servants go through the worst of earthly terrors.

Job was the greatest of God's servants on earth. When Job lost his possessions and his children he saw the hand of God in it. He said, (Job 1:21)

"The LORD gave and
the LORD has taken away;
may the name of the LORD be praised."

Job repeats that theme here in chapter 6. In verse 4 he said,

"the arrows of the Almighty are in me,
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God's terrors are marshaled against me."

He saw his sufferings as coming from God.

We see this throughout the Bible. Last week we saw how God told Ananias about Saul of Tarsus (soon to be the apostle Paul), (Acts 9:16)

"I will show him how much
he must suffer for my name."

It's God's will, it's God's doing, that the godly often go through great terror in this life. In Psalm 88:16-18 the sons of Korah cried out to God,

"Your wrath has swept over me;
your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken my companions
and loved ones from me;
the darkness is my closest friend."

And in Psalm 38:2–4 David said to God,

"For your arrows have pierced me,
and your hand has come down upon me.
Because of your wrath there is no health in my body;
my bones have no soundness because of my sin.
My guilt has overwhelmed me
like a burden too heavy to bear."

In Psalm 42:7 the psalmist found himself downcast and discouraged because God's,

"waves and breakers have swept over me."

God did these things.

How dark the trials that God sent on some of His servants. Consider the depth of Job's suffering. He says that if his anguish could be weighed and his misery could be placed on the scales it would outweigh the sand of the seas. Sand is extremely heavy. Job is expressing the fact that his suffering has completely overwhelmed him. He cannot imagine it being greater. He is basically saying that it is greater than he can bear. (Job 7:16)

"I despise my life; I would not live forever.
Let me alone; my days have no meaning."

For the son of Korah to say in Psalm 88 that darkness was his closest friend shows the depths of the horrors that came upon him. In 31:9-10 David said to the Lord,

"I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
my soul and my body with grief.
My life is consumed by anguish and my years by groaning;
my strength fails because of my affliction,
and my bones grow weak."

Psalm 69 uses different images. It says, (verses 1-3)

"Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths,
where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters;
the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail, looking for my God."

The depth of suffering that came upon God's servants.

There are three lessons from this.

The first comes from the fact that Job took no action to end his life.

That is significant. He was in the utmost misery and yet he never took any action to take his own life. His suffering went on for months yet all through it he kept his composure. He knew that God was doing this to him. He didn't know why. He knew his life was in God's hands. He saw it as his duty to endure, to persevere. He trusted God. He knew God was his Redeemer. Look at how he placed his life in God's hands. In Job 7:7 he called out to God,

"Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath;
my eyes will never see happiness again."

He placed his life, and his death, entirely in God's hands.

Not only that, but what would it have done to God's case, against Satan, if Job had taken his own life?

Job didn't know it, but he was the central figure in a great drama taking place between God and Satan. The whole heavenly host was watching. God's honor was at stake. Satan had told God that if he took Job's health from him that he would curse God to his face.

In fact, the one thing that Job didn't want to do, the thing that he feared more than death—was that he would fail God.

Job wanted to die because he didn't want to commit a great sin. In verses 8-10 he said,

"Oh that I might have my request,
and that God would fulfill my hope,
that it would please God to crush me,
that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!
This would be my comfort;
I would even exult in pain unsparing,
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One."

Job treasured pleasing God. The reason he desired death, the reason he longed for it, was he was afraid he would dishonor God. Job didn't want to continue to live and dishonor God. Death would be so preferable to that. He would rejoice, even exult if, when he died, he had not denied the words of the Holy One.

If Job had taken his own life, it would have been a great victory for Satan.

The second thing we should learn from this is

we should look to Jesus in our suffering.

In his suffering, Job looked to His redeemer. (Chapter 19) In a very real way, the suffering of Job points us to the suffering of Jesus. Christopher Ash writes, (Job, p. 436)

"Job points us to the mystery at the heart of the universe: a blameless believer who walks in fellowship with his Creator may suffer terrible and undeserved pain, may go through deep darkness and then at the end be vindicated…""And therefore Job is passionately and profoundly about Jesus, whom Job foreshadows both in his blamelessness and in his perseverance through undeserved suffering. As the blameless believer par excellence, Jesus fulfills Job. As a priestly figure who offers sacrifices for his children at the start and his friends at the end, Job foreshadows Jesus the great High Priest."



When you're tempted to give up in your suffering—think of Job and how he pointed to Jesus. Jesus, on the cross, suffered unbearable agony. Yet He did not shrink from His duty. Psalm 22 and Psalm 69 spoke about His sufferings. Psalm 69 says, (verses 1-3)

"Save me, O God,
for the waters have come up to my neck.
I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold.
I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me.
I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched.
My eyes fail, looking for my God."

The wonderful truth we can tell people who are suffering is that there is hope.

Jesus came to save people from their sins, from the consequences of their sin. We have such glorious hope in Christ. He has come to give us freedom from the slavery of sin, from the horror of the curse of sin. Revelation speaks of how we will be see His face, how we will be with Him forever. It says, (Revelation 21:4)

"He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death
or mourning or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away."

The great tragedy is that many people who are suffering think that physical death will be the end of their suffering.

This is not so. In Luke 12:4–5 Jesus said,

"I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid
of those who kill the body
and after that can do no more.
But I will show you whom you should fear:
Fear him who, after the killing of the body,
has power to throw you into hell.
Yes, I tell you, fear him."

Hell is a terrible reality. In the story of the rich man and Lazarus we read, (Luke 16:22–24)

"The rich man also died and was buried.
In hell, where he was in torment,
he looked up and saw Abraham far away,
with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him,
'Father Abraham, have pity on me
and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his
finger in water and cool my tongue,
because I am in agony in this fire.' "

But he got no relief. He then said to Abraham, (Luke 16:27–28

"Then I beg you, father,
send Lazarus to my father's house,
for I have five brothers. Let him warn them,
so that they will not also come to this place of torment."

Hell is a place of great horror, as Jesus said, there, (Mark 9:48)

"their worm does not die,
and the fire is not quenched.'

So we have a duty to warn people that physical death will not be the end of their suffering. Christopher Ash, Job: writes, (Job, p. 131-132)

"We learn first that the wrath of God is an unbearable pain. Job is a believer; the deepest pain he endures is that it seems to him he has fallen under the judgment of God. And he discovers, as do we, that the kindest and most well-meant religious or philosophical counsel can ultimately provide no comfort. Only the truth of the cross can do that, for only the cross reveals redemptive suffering, and only the cross prepares believers to walk in the way of the cross, knowing that as they and we fill up in our bodies what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ, we are partners with God in ushering in the new heavens and new earth. That realization transforms suffering."



Thirdly,

we must not be unmoved by the sufferings of others. We must not have cold hearts toward them.

We must have great compassion on those who suffer. Job's friends were, as he said in Job 16:2

"miserable comforters are you all!"

In verses 14–17 Job complains about this friends and their lack of compassion for him. He said,

"A despairing man should
have the devotion of his friends,
even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
But my brothers are as undependable
as intermittent streams, as the streams that overflow
when darkened by thawing ice
and swollen with melting snow,
but that cease to flow in the dry season,
and in the heat vanish from their channels."

There is such suffering going on in the world and some people are desperately trying to escape it. They want the right to die. They want doctors to help them die.

We must not be cold, unsympathetic toward them, even if we think what they're hoping and working for is wrong.

Suffering is such a great hardship. We are not to view this issue as merely a theological debate. People are hurting. Many of them are suffering great pain. In a very real way they are like Job. They feel overwhelmed by their suffering and they want release from it.

Jesus had such compassion on those who were suffering. In Luke 7:12–15 we read how Jesus and His disciples approached the town of Nain.

"As he approached the town gate,
a dead person was being carried out—
the only son of his mother,
and she was a widow.
And a large crowd from the town
was with her.
When the Lord saw her,
his heart went out to her and he said,
'Don't cry.'
Then he went up and touched the coffin,
and those carrying it stood still.
He said, 'Young man, I say to you, get up!'
The dead man sat up and began to talk,
and Jesus gave him back to his mother."

Does your heart go out to people who are suffering? Or are you like Job's friends?

Jesus even had compassion on those who didn't accept His teaching. In Mark 10:21–22 we read about the rich young ruler who thought he had kept all the commandments. He told Jesus that. We read,

"Jesus looked at him and loved him.'
One thing you lack,'he said.'
Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor,
and you will have treasure in heaven.
Then come, follow me.'
At this the man's face fell.
He went away sad, because he had great wealth."

Jesus loved Him. That young man, in his arrogance, in his greed, in his self-delusion—was loved by Jesus. So too you must love those who are suffering, even if they don't repent.