[This is Week 2 of a 6-week preaching series on Job.]
Job 3:1-10; 4:1-9; 7:11-21
The patient Job of chs. 1-2 gives way to the anguished Job, who curses the day of his birth. His friends, who started out well, offering him their comforting presence in silence for 7 days (Job 2:13), now offer him advice instead. They claim that the innocent don’t perish, but Job’s experience (and ours) says otherwise. They claim that suffering is the result of sin, that Job must have done something wrong to deserve such suffering.
Job’s response is more honest: He laments. He calls a spade a spade. He holds on to his integrity, knowing that he has done nothing to deserve his suffering. He speaks directly to God about his suffering and holds God accountable to God’s promises. In this, he echoes the psalmists.
Job’s friends are useless theologians; they talk endlessly about God without ever speaking to God on behalf of their friend. Job is more direct. He begins by speaking about God, but then moves more and more to speaking to God, beginning in ch. 7. (For this, he will be commended by God at the end of the book.)
How do we react to suffering, ourselves or someone else’s? Are we honest or do we say only what we think we should say? Job’s laments give us permission to lament, to bring our deepest hurts, fears and anger to God in prayer and to know that God hears.