Lord, Leave Me Alone!
A daily devotion for December 6th
1 Then Job replied:
2 "If only my anguish could be weighed
and all my misery be placed on the scales!
3 It would surely outweigh the sand of the seas—
no wonder my words have been impetuous.
4 The arrows of the Almighty are in me,
my spirit drinks in their poison;
God's terrors are marshaled against me.
5 Does a wild donkey bray when it has grass,
or an ox bellow when it has fodder?
6 Is tasteless food eaten without salt,
or is there flavor in the white of an egg
7 I refuse to touch it;
such food makes me ill.
8 "Oh, that I might have my request,
that God would grant what I hope for,
9 that God would be willing to crush me,
to let loose his hand and cut me off!
10 Then I would still have this consolation—
my joy in unrelenting pain—
that I had not denied the words of the Holy One.
11 "What strength do I have, that I should still hope?
What prospects, that I should be patient?
12 Do I have the strength of stone?
Is my flesh bronze?
13 Do I have any power to help myself,
now that success has been driven from me?
14 "A despairing man should have the devotion of his friends,
even though he forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
15 But my brothers are as undependable as intermittent streams,
as the streams that overflow
16 when darkened by thawing ice
and swollen with melting snow,
17 but that cease to flow in the dry season,
and in the heat vanish from their channels.
18 Caravans turn aside from their routes;
they go up into the wasteland and perish.
19 The caravans of Tema look for water,
the traveling merchants of Sheba look in hope.
20 They are distressed, because they had been confident;
they arrive there, only to be disappointed.
21 Now you too have proved to be of no help;
you see something dreadful and are afraid.
22 Have I ever said, 'Give something on my behalf,
pay a ransom for me from your wealth,
23 deliver me from the hand of the enemy,
ransom me from the clutches of the ruthless'?
24 "Teach me, and I will be quiet;
show me where I have been wrong.
25 How painful are honest words!
But what do your arguments prove?
26 Do you mean to correct what I say,
and treat the words of a despairing man as wind?
27 You would even cast lots for the fatherless
and barter away your friend.
28 "But now be so kind as to look at me.
Would I lie to your face?
29 Relent, do not be unjust;
reconsider, for my integrity is at stake.
30 Is there any wickedness on my lips?
Can my mouth not discern malice?
1 "Does not man have hard service on earth?
Are not his days like those of a hired man?
2 Like a slave longing for the evening shadows,
or a hired man waiting eagerly for his wages,
3 so I have been allotted months of futility,
and nights of misery have been assigned to me.
4 When I lie down I think, 'How long before I get up?'
The night drags on, and I toss till dawn.
5 My body is clothed with worms and scabs,
my skin is broken and festering.
6 "My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,
and they come to an end without hope.
7 Remember, O God, that my life is but a breath;
my eyes will never see happiness again.
8 The eye that now sees me will see me no longer;
you will look for me, but I will be no more.
9 As a cloud vanishes and is gone,
so he who goes down to the grave does not return.
10 He will never come to his house again;
his place will know him no more.
11 "Therefore I will not keep silent;
I will speak out in the anguish of my spirit,
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
12 Am I the sea, or the monster of the deep,
that you put me under guard?
13 When I think my bed will comfort me
and my couch will ease my complaint,
14 even then you frighten me with dreams
and terrify me with visions,
15 so that I prefer strangling and death,
rather than this body of mine.
16 I despise my life; I would not live forever.
Let me alone; my days have no meaning.
17 "What is man that you make so much of him,
that you give him so much attention,
18 that you examine him every morning
and test him every moment?
19 Will you never look away from me,
or let me alone even for an instant?
20 If I have sinned, what have I done to you,
O watcher of men?
Why have you made me your target?
Have I become a burden to you?
21 Why do you not pardon my offenses
and forgive my sins?
For I will soon lie down in the dust;
you will search for me, but I will be no more."
Let me alone; my days have no meaning (Job 7:16b).
Job turns to God and complains about the difficulty of his present experience. He has given up. He thinks he will never see any relief and that he will go on like this to the end. And out of that meaningless suffering and hopeless darkness, he cries out in honest despair.
Have you ever felt that way?
Lord, leave me alone. I've had enough! Why are You so intent on making life miserable for me? Why don't You just let me go? Job cries out in baffled bewilderment. Now, even at this point in the book, there are some things that we must constantly remember. One is that we know something about this scene that Job does not know. We see some purpose in this that he has not yet seen that is also true about the sufferings we go through. In every time of trial there are two purposes in view: Satan has his purpose, and God has His.
Satan's purpose here was to use the pain of Job's illness to afflict his body; to use the priggish, well-intentioned comfort of his friends to irritate his soul; and to use the silence of God to assault his spirit and break his faith. But God's purpose is to teach Job some truths that he never knew before, to deepen his theology and help him understand God much better. God's truth was to answer Satan in the eyes of all the principalities and powers of the whole universe and to prove him wrong in his philosophy of life. God's purpose was also to provide a demonstration for all sufferers in all the ages that would follow that He knows what He is doing. As the book of Job unfolds, we will see how this is gradually brought to light.
What an encouragement to those of us who must go through some times of suffering to understand that it is not always because we are sinful. Sometimes suffering is the result of our sin, and we will know it when it is. But if, like Job, you know of nothing you have done that you have not dealt with and still the suffering goes on, look behind the curtain of God's purposes, and you will see that great and eternal events are hanging upon the outcome of the struggle.
Our Father, what marvelous lessons Job's sufferings teach me about my own sufferings. Help me to know more truth than Job knew and, therefore, realize that I have far less reason to give up than he did.
Life Application: When pressures in life become unbearable, do we collapse into despair, or do we choose to trust God's wisdom, and put all that we have and are into His hands?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.