Reading through the Bible together
Job continues to outline his situation. He ended in chapter 16 by saying that his days are numbered. He said his spirit is destroyed and the grave is ready for him (v. 1). Every day I have to look at mockers coming by to provoke me, he says (v.2). Mockers or no mockers, Job utters a small prayer that God pay attention to him. He wants “surety” from Him (v. 3). The word surety is known also in the New Testament as a “pledge of future blessedness” (Hebrews 6:5).
He will not flatter his friends who cannot understand and do not know how to exalt the Lord (vv. 4-5). God has made Job a byword with the people and he has become one in whose face they spit (v. 6). Instead of beautiful harmony his friends consider him like a monotonous drum. Physically his eyes are dimmed and he sees only shadows (v. 7). Just as an upright person is appalled by flattery and an innocent person rises up against hypocrisy, so a righteous person holds fast to his way and the one whose hands are clean grows stronger (vv. 8-9).
Job continues, “All of you should return and come back, but still I will not find one among you who is wise” (v. 10). Job says that his days are passed and his purposes and the thoughts of his heart are all broken off (v. 11). His thoughts turn night into day, probably because he cannot sleep, and the talk of his friends turn the light of the day into night (v. 12). Job says, “I wait for the grave as my house and to spread my bed in darkness” (v. 13). If that is Job’s real desire, then he has called the grave “my father” and “my mother and my sister” the worms (v. 14). Where then is Job’s hope? (v. 15). Even the Egyptian Book of the Dead which Moses was familiar with asks the same question: “When a man sees corruption, where then is his hope and who shall see it?”
Job continues about the condition of the grave: “the gates of the grave shall close and they shall rest upon the dust of the earth” (v. 16). It was Pharaoh Amenhotep II’s wish that his father Thutmosis III, the Pharoah from whom Moses had to flee to Median to save his life, would not suffer decay: “My body shall be established, and it shall neither fall into ruin nor be destroyed on this earth.” The Egyptians wished to deny the reality of the grave.
We will either still be in the grave or join others on the resurrection morning. We want to abide in Christ our Righteousness with a pledge of future salvation. This is our humble plea. Amen
Koot van Wyk
Kyungpook National University
Sangju, South Korea