Continuing to try to track the argument of a man racked with pain — emotional, spiritual, and physical. Job’s getting bolder but, at least for this guy in the chair, not always clearer. Nevertheless, here’s what I’m picking up from what I think Job’s laying down in chapter 14.
Job is operating in an “under the sun” mode. The same mode Solomon was in as he wrote Ecclesiastes. Not “under the sun” as in there’s no God above the sun. But “under the sun” as in this is it folks, your years are but threescore and ten, or if you’re really strong fourscore (Ps. 90:10). So if this is it, why should God care? Or as Job puts it to God, “Since [man’s] days are determined . . . look away from him and leave him alone” (Job 14:5-6).
Leave me alone God. That appears to be Job’s bottom line with his “under the sun” paradigm. As Sovereign You’ve appointed my days and numbered my months, I’m okay with that. And, just as a river eventually “wastes away and dries up”, so too “a man lies down and rises not again” (14:11-12). So, let me take the days You’ve allotted, and I will honor You for those days during those days (Job 1:21), but leave me alone. This suffering makes no sense if all there is life under the sun. In fact, by allowing such things to happen “You destroy the hope of man” (14:19).
A logical argument perhaps. But only if you get one crucial question wrong.
“If a man dies, shall he live again? All the days of my service I would wait, till my renewal should come.”
(Job 14:14 ESV)
Can the dead live again? If so, this would give me hope through all my years of struggle, and I would eagerly await the release of death.
(Job 14:14 NLT)
Resurrection. That would make sense of a life seemingly filled with train-wrecks. If a man dies and lives again, then we have some greater context to put present suffering within. If there is “renewal” to come then there just might be purpose in pain. If something is happening in the really, really hard here and now that prepares us for a much, much better there and then, maybe I can endure it (with some divine assistance).
“If a man dies, shall he live again?”
That’s the question Job’s not answering correctly. That’s the missing piece in Job’s enigmatic puzzle. Resurrection.
Hmm, “coincidence” that this reading is on the same day as my reading in John 11.
Jesus said to [Martha], “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in Me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”
(John 11:25-26 ESV)
Do I believe this? If yes, then it changes everything. While it doesn’t answer the why of suffering, it does provide the hope that there will be a what — that present suffering fits into a future context. While it doesn’t ease the pain, it contains it to but a season as we anticipate that day and place when we rise again and God will “wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away” (Rev. 21:4).
“If a man dies, shall he live again?”
Yes! Absolutely! You betcha’! Count on it!
It makes all the difference.
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
(Romans 8:18 ESV)
Sustained in our suffering by His abundant grace. Saved through our suffering for His eternal glory.
Made me sit back and consider the promise and ask myself, am I really prepared to accept any and all suffering in this life that will come with an attitude that passes all understanding (peace) because of the what, an eternal life of glory with God, I have been promised. So… Amen to your post and may we be found faithful!