Tuesday, July 19 (July 19 – July 23 Daily Devotions written by Daniel D. Maurer)
Job 16, Job Replies
Job doesn’t hold back with how low things have gotten for him. One of the beautiful aspects of the Hebrew Scriptures is how down to earth, up front, honest, and real to life the stories are. This passage is no different; Job gives testimony to his pain. His telling is a metaphor and hyperbole—we don’t believe that Job’s guts were actually split open—but he tells it as he sees it: “[God] slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy; [God] pours out my gall on the ground.” (v. 13b)
Such honesty is refreshing. It’s easy to speak to God in our best, Sunday-morning language. Privately, perhaps, we are more open to communicate our real feelings. The words of Job should give us permission to yell at God to say how truly awful we feel.
Still, Job looks to God as his witness. He knows that his hope ultimately rests with the Infinite One.
Recently, I have been transcribing the account of a Syrian man who had to flee his country for my fourth published book. His story is nothing short of heart wrenching. It certainly puts the petty worries I sometimes have, such as whether I should pay a worker to stain my backyard fence or if I should do it myself, into perspective.
I think Job’s honesty is a word of grace for us today. Maybe it’s permission to swear or cry in disgust. God can handle Godself with our temper tantrums, both the petty and even the righteous ones. In fact, maybe a little letting loose with God as our witness would do us good.
Today's Reading: Job 16
Then Job answered: “I have heard many such things; miserable comforters are you all. Have windy words no limit? Or what provokes you that you keep on talking? I also could talk as you do, if you were in my place; I could join words together against you, and shake my head at you. I could encourage you with my mouth, and the solace of my lips would assuage your pain.
“If I speak, my pain is not assuaged, and if I forbear, how much of it leaves me? Surely now God has worn me out; he has made desolate all my company. And he has shriveled me up, which is a witness against me; my leanness has risen up against me, and it testifies to my face. He has torn me in his wrath, and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me. They have gaped at me with their mouths; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me. God gives me up to the ungodly, and casts me into the hands of the wicked. I was at ease, and he broke me in two; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; he set me up as his target; his archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys, and shows no mercy; he pours out my gall on the ground. He bursts upon me again and again; he rushes at me like a warrior. I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and have laid my strength in the dust. My face is red with weeping, and deep darkness is on my eyelids, though there is no violence in my hands, and my prayer is pure.
“O earth, do not cover my blood; let my outcry find no resting place. Even now, in fact, my witness is in heaven, and he that vouches for me is on high. My friends scorn me; my eye pours out tears to God, that he would maintain the right of a mortal with God, as one does for a neighbor. For when a few years have come, I shall go the way from which I shall not return."