Job continues his prayer
Job thinks that he will die soon
v1 I am just an ordinary man. My life is short. And my troubles are constant.
v2 I am like a flower that will soon die. Or, like a shadow that cannot last. v3 But, God, you watch me. And you are my judge. v4 I am not holy. So I cannot make myself holy. v5 You have decided the length of my life. I cannot live longer. v6 So, do not watch me! Let me be calm until my time on earth ends.
This is a wonderful chapter. In this chapter, Job starts to have a new hope for his future.
Our lives on earth are short. Job said that we are like flowers. Some flowers are very beautiful. But they may last only for a few hours. Or, Job said that we are like shadows. A shadow has a clear shape. And it moves like a person. You could almost think that your shadow was alive. But your shadow disappears in a moment.
So our lives may be beautiful, like the flowers. And they may be active, like shadows. But we shall soon be dead.
God is our judge. He knows all our deeds. And we are not holy. We do many wrong things. Our good deeds cannot make us holy. We deserve God’s punishment. Job did not yet realise that God loves us. Or, that God would send Jesus to die for us.
God decides how long we shall live. Job thought that he would die soon. But in fact, God had a different plan for Job (Job 42:16-17).
Job asks whether a dead man can live again
v7 A tree is better than a man. If someone cuts down a tree, the tree grows again. Its new branches will grow. v8 Its roots may be old. And the tree may seem dead. v9 But when rain starts to fall, new leaves appear. Then, the tree grows like a plant in a garden.
v10 But a man becomes weak and he dies. He breathes for the last time. Then he is dead. v11 A man is like a lake that becomes dry. Or, like a river without water. v12 The man’s body lies in its grave. While heaven remains, a dead man will not wake from sleep.
v13 God, I wish that you would hide me. Bury me in my grave! But when you are not angry with me, select a date. And then, remember me! v14 A man who dies cannot live again. But I will wait until that date, when you will give me relief. v15 Then you will call me. And I will answer you. You will desire me, because you made me. v16 Although you will watch me, you will not record my evil actions. v17 You will remove my evil actions. You will lay my evil actions aside, like something in a bag.
When Job thought about flowers and shadows (verse 2), he felt hopeless. But then Job remembered that God also created the trees. And trees seemed mysterious to Job.
You can cut down a tree. Its branches become mere wood. And the tree has no leaves. The tree many seem dead for many months. But that tree can grow again. You might expect such a tree to be very weak. But in fact, the new branches may be very strong.
The thought about the tree gave new hope to Job (verses 13-17).
At first, the tree did not seem like a man to Job. Job thought about the death of a man’s body. That body simply returns to the earth. Job thought that such a body could never become alive again. Perhaps Job did not remember that God created man from the dust (Genesis 2:7). The Bible teaches that even our dead bodies will live again (1 Corinthians 15:21-22).
Then Job thought about sleep. A person who sleeps will wake. A dead body does not wake. But Job wished that his dead body would wake. And this thought gave him hope that he would meet God.
Job thought that God caused his troubles. So, Job thought that God was angry. In fact, God was not angry with Job. God was pleased with Job. And God did not cause Job’s troubles. The devil caused Job’s troubles.
The Bible teaches that our spirits do not sleep after death. When we die, our spirits go to heaven or to hell. And this happens immediately (Luke 23:43). In heaven or hell, we are conscious (Luke 16:22-26).
But Job thought that, perhaps, God would allow him to sleep. And he thought that, in the future, God would meet with Job. The Bible says that God will change us in the future (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). Then our bodies will not be like the bodies that we have now (1 Corinthians 15:35-44). In that day, Job could speak with God (verse 15). Paul also taught this (1 Corinthians 13:12). And in that day, God would forgive Job’s evil deeds (verse 17). This idea was also right. When we confess our evil deeds to God, he forgives us because of Jesus.
This paragraph contains many ideas that Job did not really understand. But Job said these things because God showed him what to say (1 Peter 1:20-21).
The end of a man
v18 But even a mountain can fall. Even a rock can move. v19 And a river can carry stones and soil away. So men have no hope. v20 God overcomes a man. God sends that man away. Even the man’s face changes. v21 That man does not know if his sons receive honour. And that man does not know if his sons suffer.
v22 Such a man feels only his own pain. And only that man’s spirit will know his despair.
Job’s thoughts about a tree gave him hope (verses 7-9). But then he thought about the earth itself. Even mountains do not last always. Job saw how rocks can fall from mountains. The rain takes the soil from the mountains. And the soil goes into the sea. This process is called erosion. The soil never returns to the mountains.
So again Job thought that men could never live again after death. A man’s face would change in death, but this would be hopeless (verse 20). A dead man would not know what happened to his children (verse 21). The dead man would not be glad about their honour. And he would not be sad about their shame.
Job supposed that a dead man had a spirit. But that spirit would not feel anything good.
Job felt hopeless again.