Job responds to the last two chapters over the next two chapters. This one addresses the friend’s arguments. Next chapter he seems to return to thinking about his situation.
First he addresses their criticisms of his language… Of course he’s been a bit salty!
He goes further and says how he’s longed for death, just so he’d die without denying God’s words. They are underestimating how little strength he has not to curse God. He has no fight in him at all.
He’s making them aware how deep their lack of empathy is.
By the way, Job is an experience, it’s so well done! I have to read it a couple of times to get my concentration in, but it’s not actually difficult. It deserves to be just read, it is the prime experience of it, a summary is so much less.
So next he assures his friends he has not got some great hidden sin, he accuses them of being fair weather friends, of just being afraid of his misfortune – which is so true, sometimes people treat misfortune like it’s contagious, or need to assert a sense of control over life by saying it’s somehow deserved.
He ends this section saying ‘look at me! It’s your ol pal speaking, I’m not lying!’ I’m certainly not prepared for how precisely – and freshly- this ancient poem pinpoints my foibles.
I have lots of opportunities to comfort those suffering various kinds of misfortune at church, at work, even at home. Job’s message is:
don’t fear me,
don’t get desensitised to my words so they mean nothing to you.
I do crave honesty, but don’t give me facile, dismissive answers.
Don’t be unreliable.
Don’t fight the truth that I am the same as you: there but for the grace of God…
Time to pray.