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Bible Commentaries

L. M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible

Job 7

 

 

Verses 1-21

DOES GOD NOT RECOMPENSE GOOD DEEDS?

(vv.1-16)

Job's questions in verse 1 indicate why he was so distressed at God's dealings. No doubt too his friends would agree to his questions. "Is there not a time of hard service for man on earth? Are not his days also like the days of a hired man?" How many people are like Job in this matter. They consider their relationship to God as being like that of a hired man working for a righteous employer. If they do right, their recompense should be good: if they do wrong, they expect a painful recompense. But Job was suffering agonising pain. Was this the recompense for the good he had done? He had looked eagerly for his wages for doing good (v.2), and found himself enduring months of futility and wearisome nights, tossing to and fro in his bed, his flesh caked with worms and dust (vv.3-5).

Thus, Job was inferring that God was unfair in recompensing evil for good. Of course God is not unfair, and his friends, in trying to defend God's righteousness, were guilty of deciding that God was recompensing Job for his secretly doing evil. How sadly wrong in their thoughts were both Job and his friends! God was seeking to teach Job that his relationship to Him must not be that of one working for wages, but that of one whom God loved and who loved God, therefore doing good simply out of a heart of love, expecting no payment for it. Job did not at this time understand this, and neither did his friends.

In verse 6 to 10 then Job continues his description of the anguish that he endured, his days spent without hope, expecting to never see good again (vv.6-7). Thus to him his future appeared bleak and hopeless. How wrong he was! - for God had designed greater blessing for him in the future than he had ever known before; and in fact eternity has infinitely greater blessing yet. But in the meanwhile Job's feelings were those of defeat and misery, considering his life as a cloud that appears and vanishes away. Death would overtake him and he would never return to his house (vv.9-10). Actually, he desired to die: why then did he think so hopelessly as to the results of death? But our feelings often cause us to be inconsistent. Of course at that time he could not know the marvel of the death of Christ completely answering the many distressing questions that death poses. We who know Christ today have reason for deepest thanksgiving for the value of His sacrifice on Calvary and His resurrection from among the dead.

However, Job, basing his words on the feeling he has expressed, says he will not restrain his mouth, but will speak in the anguish of his spirit and complain in the bitterness of his soul (v.11). If we give way to our feelings, the effects will always be this way: we shall not be able to restrain our mouths. Sober wisdom and concern for the truth will teach us to restrain our words, but our feelings will lead us to express ourselves unadvisedly. "Am I a sea," Job asks, that is, a huge, uncontrolled creature, or simply a sea serpent, so bent on its own will that Job's friends think it necessary to impose their authority upon him (v.12).

When he looked for comfort in lying down in his bed, then he says they "scare me with dreams and terrify me with visions" (vv.23-24). He refers to the vision Eliphaz claimed to have had, and which Job considered to be, not for his comfort, but to frighten him, and this moved him all the more to choose to die, so that he declares bitterly, "I loathe my life; I would not live forever. Let me alone, for my days are but a breath" (v.16). We can understand that Job would prefer to be left alone rather than to have the cold criticism of his friends.

JOB SPEAKING DIRECTLY TO GOD

(vv.17-21)

Though answering Eliphaz, Job now addresses God directly, and in the same complaining way. "What is man?" he asks, that God should exalt him to a place where he is subjected to many direct inflictions that he considers sent by God Himself. Was Job so important that God should spend such time in dealing so hardly with him, testing him every moment? (vv.17-18). The actual answer to this is, "Yes." God considers every believer important enough for God to spend time in putting him through serious trials of faith. "How long?" (v.19). It seemed too long to Job, but God knows just the length of time that is necessary to accomplish His own ends in every case.

"Will you not look away from me and let me alone till I swallow down my saliva?" He realised that God was actually putting the pressure on him, and pleaded for relief from this. Supposing it true that he had sinned, yet what harm had this done to God whom he calls the Observer of men?" (v.20). Was God observing merely with a cold vindictive attitude, making Job a target for His temper - so that Job became a burden to himself? If Job had sinned in whatever minor measure, why would God not pardon this and take away his iniquity? (v.21). He knew he had not willingly rebelled against God in any way, and could not understand why God would not pardon any minor infractions. Now all he could do was lie down in the dust, so humiliated that God would not even be able to find him! - he would "no longer be." Of course Job's words are ill-considered, the expressions of a tortured mind. Yet it is as well that what is in the heart comes out.

 


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Bibliography Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 7:4". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lmg/job-7.html. 1897-1910.

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