This devotional is about Job 6.
In chapter 6, Job continued lamenting the painful afflictions that had come into his life. He had asked his wife in chapter 2:10b: “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” But now the sorrow of his reversal in life was weighing down on him much more heavily. He viewed the devastation he had experienced as a direct attack from God (v. 4) and wished that God would just kill him so that he could die without cursing God (vv. 8-10). Job was tempted to curse God because he felt there was no future for him, nothing to look forward to, no encouragement left for this life (vv. 11-23). He concluded this chapter by asking for proof of his disobedience (vv. 24-30).
Although we know personally and theologically that Job was not perfectly sinless, we also know from chapters 1-2 that God did not allow these problems into Job’s life to punish him.
But Job didn’t know why God allowed all this trouble in his life. In that way, he’s like us most of the time. If I break the law and get caught, then I know that the “trouble” in my life is my fault while I’m being prosecuted.
But if I’m living my life as I always have and suddenly my house catches fire and burns to the ground, then I am left to wonder. Why did God allow this? Was it something I did?
When we cannot see a direct cause for the problems in our lives, we tend to speculate in one of two directions. Either:
- I did something and God is punishing me for it
- Or God is mistreating me unjustly.
This is what Job was wondering so he demanded that God answer him. In verses 29-30 he said, “Relent, do not be unjust; reconsider, for my integrity is at stake. Is there any wickedness on my lips? Can my mouth not discern malice?”
If you were one of Job’s friends, how would you respond to the feelings and questions he expressed in this chapter? His friends were sure that God was not unjust so they were likewise certain that Job did something wrong.
Is that how we treat people who are hurting and dealing with problems? Do we assume that God is punishing them for something?
That isn’t comforting to anyone, but could it be correct? How would God want us to respond to someone in Job’s situation?
Maybe we know enough about Job’s story to give the right answer biblically. But does that knowledge guide us when we are talking with hurting people? Can we offer friendship and comfort and encouragement to other believers without wondering or implying that they are somehow to blame for their suffering?