Job Replies: My Complaint Is Just
6 Then Job answered and said:
“Oh that my vexation were weighed,
and all my calamity laid in the balances!
For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
therefore my words have been rash.
For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;
my spirit drinks their poison;
the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass,
or the ox low over his fodder?
Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,
or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?
My appetite refuses to touch them;
they are as food that is loathsome to me.
“Oh that I might have my request,
and that God would fulfill my hope,
that it would please God to crush me,
that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!
This would be my comfort;
I would even exult in pain unsparing,
for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
What is my strength, that I should wait?
And what is my end, that I should be patient?
Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze?
Have I any help in me,
when resource is driven from me?
“He who withholds kindness from a friend
forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed,
as torrential streams that pass away,
which are dark with ice,
and where the snow hides itself.
When they melt, they disappear;
when it is hot, they vanish from their place.
The caravans turn aside from their course;
they go up into the waste and perish.
The caravans of Tema look,
the travelers of Sheba hope.
They are ashamed because they were confident;
they come there and are disappointed.
For you have now become nothing;
you see my calamity and are afraid.
Have I said, ‘Make me a gift’?
Or, ‘From your wealth offer a bribe for me’?
Or, ‘Deliver me from the adversary's hand’?
Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the ruthless’?
“Teach me, and I will be silent;
make me understand how I have gone astray.
How forceful are upright words!
But what does reproof from you reprove?
Do you think that you can reprove words,
when the speech of a despairing man is wind?
You would even cast lots over the fatherless,
and bargain over your friend.
“But now, be pleased to look at me,
for I will not lie to your face.
Please turn; let no injustice be done.
Turn now; my vindication is at stake.
Is there any injustice on my tongue?
Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?
Job 6 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Eliphaz’s advice was as filling as the whites of an egg. Tasteless and devoid of flavor, his words certainly did not give him any strength. It’s almost like a judge having someone sit before him who was guilty, it appears he had already made his mind up in Job’s situation.
The tragedy, which will become more galling as these conversations unfold, is these well-meaning men are so set in their ways and lacking compassion – it pushes Job further into darkness and a heaviness of heart. He wishes his life to be over.
Have you ever felt like that? Maybe you do right now. You simply want to quit, give up, toss up your hands and surrender. He longs for death as he simply cannot see how anything good can come from where he is or even how he could rise above the fray of the wreckage and feel joy again.
His complaint returns to the same theme he uttered in chapter 3 as he mourns the day of his birth. Although he’s short of taking his own life, he wishes God would do it for him. Fortunately, God did not answer Job’s plea. You see, God had a greater plan for his life than he could see.
So often if we were honest, we respond many times just like Job. When life gets tough, when things seem to continue to spiral out of our own control into hardship we want a way out. Trusting God in the good times is commendable. Holding fast to Him in the rough times reveals where that trust truly stands. I have witnessed too many crash and burn through a terrible tragedy or unexpected hardship. Sadly their response reveals where their faith rested.
There is no easy antidote to these feelings except to continue to surrender our feelings to God and allow His Spirit to heal our brokenness of mind and spirit. Only He can do that. It is a day to day surrender, even a moment to moment one at times. If you currently are in such a state, may this story help us remember that although we do not understand what is going on, there is some explanation beyond our reason. More to the point, God in all His mercy did not answer Job’s request and sustained him through all the questions and darkness. He will most certainly do the same for you. Don’t give up!
Job 6 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Here are some points we can draw from Job’s response in chapter 6:
- Job is under tremendous stress. On top of his physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual pain, he is also dealing with ignorant statements from those closest to him. This warrants a harsh tone in Job’s response to his friends and family. His response is raw. Can we really blame him?
- Job believes God is sovereign in allowing this suffering. In verse 4, Job compares the trials he’s facing to arrows being shot from heaven striking his body with poison. He knows that all of this is well within God’s control, which is why his wrestling is so intense.
- Job still believes God is holy. Job struggles with the same issue that many of us today struggle with. He knows God is holy and just, but he doesn’t understand why he must go through this. He admits that if he is supposed to die, he is fine with that and will actually “leap for joy.” Job sees no reason for living with suffering. He doesn’t understand the purpose. “Why would God ‘will’ suffering?” Job ponders.
- Job rebukes his friends for their lack of support. Job’s grief is not acknowledged by his friends. This is a troubling situation for someone who is struggling with such horrific circumstances. Even for those today who are in Job’s position, the last thing that they want to hear is judgment.
Many of us can relate to the feelings above. We just want to know, “Why God…?” In our attempt to figure everything out, we contemplate how we are going to move on. For Job, he has decided it would be better not to move on. It seems that everything Job had thought about God is suddenly being challenged, and he would rather die believing that God is good than continue on this path only to have his faith fail him in the end.
Job doesn’t seem to directly contemplate suicide but he does contemplate the idea of the Lord wiping him from the Earth so his suffering can end. Those of us who know the rest of the story are cheering him on. Keep going Job! Don’t give up! There is hope on the horizon!
Easy for us to say, right?
But this thought brings pause. Do we have an advocate cheering us on today?
In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings. 27 And He who searches the hearts knows the Spirit’s mind-set, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.Romans 8:26-27 HCSB
Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens—Jesus the Son of God—let us hold fast to the confession. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tested in every way as we are, yet without sin. 16 Therefore let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us at the proper time.Hebrews 4:14-16 HCSB
Let us hold fast to our confession. Let us trust in the groanings of the Spirit. There is hope and there is new life. More importantly, our God has proven He is full of both grace and truth. He will make a way!