www.BibleMountain.com

Why is life given to those who suffer?

4,000 years ago there was a man named Job who had a good life. He was wealthy and respected, and the pleasures of his life outweighed any suffering he had to endure. But then he lost everything, including his children and his health, and suddenly his suffering vastly outweighed his pleasure. When that happened, he started pondering a basic question that has been pondered continuously throughout human history. Why is life given to those who suffer? Why is life given to those who suffer day after day, week after week, month after month, and year after year? Today we’re going to examine why Job was suffering, because the explanation for his suffering is a great lesson for us in trying to understand why suffering exists in our lives.

Thanks for watching this episode of Bible Mountain dotcom. This is the fifth episode in a series on the life of Job called “Why Do People Suffer”. Our text for today is Job chapter 3, but before we read that, let’s review the beginning of Job’s story.

This red box represents the first five verses of Job chapter 1. These verses tell us Job was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil. Seven sons and three daughters were born to Job. His possessions also were 7,000 sheep, 3,000 camels, 500 yoke of oxen, 500 female donkeys, and very many servants.

ChartThe black box represents Job chapter one verses 6-22. In this section Satan appeared before Yahweh. Verse 8: The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth,” Verse 9: Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing?” Satan went on to claim Job only feared God because God had made Job rich. Because of this accusation, God allowed Satan to test Job; thus, in Job 1:14-15 we read, The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them, and the Sabeans attacked and took them. In verse 16 we read, The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep. In verse 17 we read, The Chaldeans formed three bands and made a raid on the camels and took them. And then in verses 18-19 we read, Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brother’s house, and behold, a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people and they died. Now let’s look at verse 22. Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God. Satan was wrong. Job remained loyal to God even though he lost all his possessions and all his children.

The brown box represents Job 2:1-10. In this section Satan appeared before Yahweh again. The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth”. Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin”. This time Satan claimed Job would curse God if Job’s skin and flesh were afflicted. Once again Satan was allowed to test Job. Verse 7: Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. But once again Satan was wrong. Verse 10: In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

That brings us to the fourth section: Job chapter 2 verse 11 through chapter 3 verse 1. Verse 11: Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this adversity that had come upon him, they came each one from his own place. Then they sat down on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights with no one speaking a word to him, for they saw that his pain was very great.

So, the first two chapters of Job tell us at one time Job was very wealthy, but he lost all his possessions and all his children, and then he was in great pain from boils that covered his body from head to toe.

The large red box represents today’s passage: Job 3 verses 2-26. After Job’s friends arrived, he lamented his condition. Today’s passage is the contents of his lament. Job’s lament was written in poetical form so let’s start by contrasting Hebrew poetry with English poetry.

English poetry is all about rhyme. Roses are red, Violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, And so are you. You rhymes with blue. This is typical English poetry. English poetry is all about rhyme.

Hebrew poetry is all about parallelism. There is synonymous parallelism in which the same idea is stated two or more times using different words. There is antithetic parallelism in which two or more thoughts are contrasted. And there is synthetic parallelism in which an idea is stated and then expanded. So with this understanding of Hebrew poetry, let’s read Job 3.

Job 3:2-5

And Job said, Let the day perish on which I was to be born,

And the night which said, ‘A boy is conceived.’

Notice the parallelism here. Job started by wishing the day of his birth had never existed, Then he expanded on that by wishing the night of his birth had never existed. The next line says

May that day be darkness;

“That day” refers to the day of his birth. Wishing for his birthday to be darkness is the same as wishing it would perish. Next line:

Let not God above care for it,

“It” refers to the day of his birth. God not caring for the day of his birth is the same as it perishing. Next line:

Nor light shine on it.

Let darkness and black gloom claim it;

Let a cloud settle on it;

Let the blackness of the day terrify it.

In each of the last four lines the pronoun “it” refers to the day of his birth, and each of these lines is a different way of wishing the day of his birth had never existed. So the essence of Hebrew poetry is all these lines can be summed up in one line: Let the day perish on which I was to be born. Job was wishing he had never been born.

Now let’s read verses 6 through 9. Notice again Job repeated the same thought over and over.

Job 3:6-9

As for that night, let darkness seize it;

Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;

Let it not come into the number of the months.

Behold, let that night be barren;

Let no joyful shout enter it.

Let those curse it who curse the day,

Who are prepared to rouse Leviathan.

Let the stars of its twilight be darkened;

Let it wait for light but have none,

And let it not see the breaking dawn;

All these lines can be summed up in one line: As for the night of Job’s birth, let darkness seize it. Job was wishing he had never been born. Let’s go to verse 10.

Job 3:10

Because it did not shut the opening of my[Job’s] mother’s womb,

Or hide trouble from my eyes.

Notice the word “because”. Job was wishing the day of his birth had never existed because he didn’t want to be enduring the trouble he was experiencing. Notice the parallelism. “Hide trouble from my eyes” expresses the same sentiment as “shut the opening of my mother’s womb”. Verses 11 and 12:

Job 3:11-12

Why did I not die at birth,

Come forth from the womb and expire?

Why did the knees receive me,

And why the breasts, that I should suck?

All these lines can be summarized by this line: Why did I not die at birth? Let’s go to verses 13 through 15. The first word is “for”. This word indicates Job was about to explain why he was wishing he had died at birth.

Job 3:13-15

For now I would have lain down and been quiet;

I would have slept then,

I would have been at rest,

With kings and with counselors of the earth,

Who rebuilt ruins for themselves;

Or with princes who had gold,

Who were filling their houses with silver.

The second line repeats the idea expressed in the first line. The third and fourth line expand on the idea expressed in the first two lines. And then the fifth and sixth lines repeat the idea found in the third and fourth line. And once again, all these lines can be summarized by the first line. For now I would have lain down and been quiet. If Job had died at birth, he would have been at rest and not suffering the agony he was suffering.

Next we see the word “or”. Job was wishing he had died at birth so that he would be at rest or

Job 3:16-19

Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be,

As infants that never saw light.

There the wicked cease from raging,

And there the weary are at rest.

The prisoners are at ease together;

They do not hear the voice of the taskmaster.

The small and the great are there,

And the slave is free from his master.

Job stated it would be better if he had never existed and then he expanded on that thought by mentioning the weary, prisoners, and slaves and how they are better off being dead rather than enduring the agonies of life. Let’s continue at verse 20.

Job 3:20-23

Why is light given to him who suffers,

And life to the bitter of soul,

Who long for death, but there is none,

And dig for it more than for hidden treasures,

Who rejoice greatly,

And exult when they find the grave?

Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,

And whom God has hedged in?

The basic idea in these verses is this: Why is light given to him who suffers? This is a very important question and we will come back to this later. Job finished by once again expressing his agony.

Job 3:24-26

For my groaning comes at the sight of my food,

And my cries pour out like water.

For what I fear comes upon me,

And what I dread befalls me.

I am not at ease, nor am I quiet,

And I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.

All these lines can be summarized by the last line: I am not at rest, but turmoil comes. Let’s review Job’s speech. Job said,

Let the day perish on which I was to be born,

As for that night, let darkness seize it,

because it did not shut the opening of my mother’s womb.

Why did I not die at birth?

For now I would have lain down and been quiet;

Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I would not be,

Why is light given to him who suffers?

I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.

This is the essence of what Job said. Now that we understand what Job was communicating, let’s read the whole passage without interruption so we can enjoy the artistic expression of the poetry.

Job 3:2-26

Let the day perish on which I was to be born,
And the night which said, ‘A boy is conceived.’
May that day be darkness;
Let not God above care for it,
Nor light shine on it.
Let darkness and black gloom claim it;
Let a cloud settle on it;
Let the blackness of the day terrify it.
As for that night, let darkness seize it;
Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
Let it not come into the number of the months.
Behold, let that night be barren;
Let no joyful shout enter it.
Let those curse it who curse the day,
Who are prepared to rouse Leviathan.
Let the stars of its twilight be darkened;
Let it wait for light but have none,
And let it not see the breaking dawn;
Because it did not shut the opening of my mother’s womb,
Or hide trouble from my eyes.
Why did I not die at birth,
Come forth from the womb and expire?
Why did the knees receive me,
And why the breasts, that I should suck?
For now I would have lain down and been quiet;
I would have slept then, I would have been at rest,
With kings and with counselors of the earth,
Who rebuilt ruins for themselves;
Or with princes who had gold,
Who were filling their houses with silver.
Or like a miscarriage which is discarded, I[Job] would not be,
As infants that never saw light.
There the wicked cease from raging,
And there the weary are at rest.
The prisoners are at ease together;
They do not hear the voice of the taskmaster.
The small and the great are there,
And the slave is free from his master.
Why is light given to him who suffers,
And life to the bitter of soul,
Who long for death, but there is none,
And dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
Who rejoice greatly,
And exult when they find the grave?
Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,
And whom God has hedged in?
For my groaning comes at the sight of my food,
And my cries pour out like water.
For what I fear comes upon me,
And what I dread befalls me.
I am not at ease, nor am I quiet,
And I am not at rest, but turmoil comes.

Let’s go back to this question: Why is light given to him who suffers, Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, And whom God has hedged in? Job was suffering and he asked why. I think most of us have asked this question. All of us have suffered at some point in our life, and we ask why. Or we see other people suffering and ask why. Let’s talk about why Job was suffering. Let’s look again at Job chapter 1.

Job was blameless, upright, fearing God and turning away from evil.

The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth,”

Then Satan answered the LORD, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not made a hedge about him?”

Then the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your power,

Satan was allowed to attack Job and test Job’s loyalty to Yahweh. Why was Job suffering? Job suffered because he was a casualty of the spiritual battle taking place in heaven between Yahweh and Satan. In other words, Job suffered because God had an objective to accomplish that was more important than Job. Let’s look at another example of this:

John 9:1-3

As Jesus passed by, He saw a man blind from birth. And His disciples asked Him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he would be born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was neither that this man sinned, nor his parents; but it was so that the works of God might be displayed in him.”

This man suffered his entire life so that Jesus could come along and heal him and demonstrate God’s power. God had an objective to accomplish that was more important than this man’s reputation or eyesight. So why do we suffer? Why is life given to those who suffer? Sometimes people suffer because God has an objective to accomplish that is more important than us. It is more important than our health, our comfort, our prosperity, our reputation, or our life. Job was a great man, but he was expendable because God’s objective against Satan was more important than Job. Likewise, we are expendable because God’s agenda is more important than us.

One last thought: perhaps we should look at suffering as an opportunity. Consider Job 2:3.

Job 2:3

The LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man fearing God and turning away from evil. And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”

Look again at this line. “And he still holds fast his integrity, although you incited Me against him to ruin him without cause.”When Job persevered through his suffering, he gave God an opportunity to put Satan down. Perhaps we should look at our suffering as an opportunity to do the same.

 

“Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.”

 

Would you like to be notified when new posts are published?

  • Free Email Subscription

    Get a free video every week. All you need to do is enter your email address below. Your email address will not be sold nor given away.


  • Follow Bible Mountain via Social Media