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Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Job 3: The Slough of Despond

I know that God is sovereign, and that He is just and holy and merciful. I KNOW who He is and that what He has revealed to us in His word is true.... And yet, sometimes, I don't feel like it and, following my feelings, rather than my faith therefore, I don't act like it or talk like it. This is a failing on my part, not God's. Sometimes my faith is weak, and sometimes, my focus/purpose is in the wrong place.

Job had, in faith, made statements and rebukes that were right on target in Job 1 & 2. How then can he, in Chapter 3 go to such depths of despair?

Deep, desparate despair: "May those who curse days, curse that day, those who are ready to rouse Leviathan." (3:8)

Deep, dark despair: "May its morning stars become dark; may it wait for daylight in vain and not see the first rays of dawn." (3:9)

Previous-Joy/Comfort-consuming despair: "Why were there knees to receive me and breasts that I might be nursed?" (3:12)

Hope-eclipsing despair: "There (in the ground/grave) the wicked cease from turmoil, and there the weary are at rest." (3:17)

In this depth of despair, this godly man queried: "Why is light given to those in misery, and life to the bitter of soul, to those who long for death that does not come, who search for it more than for hidden treasure, who are filled with gladness and rejoice when they reach the grave? Why is life given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?"

In this query, our society lives. This is why I am afraid of this book. This is precisely why I have avoided it. I hear in the words of Scripture what I hear on the streets of my world.

I know, though that God has included Job's despair in the canon of Scripture for our good; for I know that "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work." (I Timothy 3:16&17)

So, if it rubbs me the wrong way, I must be wrong, and rather than shy away, I should dig deeper and ask God to help me understand, or change my heart.

Matthew Henry writes: "The afflicted and tempted Christian knows something of this heaviness; when he has been looking too much at the things that are seen, some chastisement of his heavenly Father will give him a taste of this digust of life, and a glance at these dark regions of despair. Nor is there any help until God shall restore to him the joys of his salvation. Blessed be God, the earth is full of his goodness, though full of man's wickedness. This life may be made tolerable if we attend to our duty. We look for eternal mercy, if willing to receive Christ as our Saviour." (

Thanks be to God for His unfathomable and everlasting goodness to us.

Happy Thanksgiving.

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