Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my soul. — Job 7:11
Thick, acrid smoke billowed up from beneath our jeep. Less than an hour earlier, my wife and I had left Gardiner, Maine, after spending all of our traveling money for necessary repairs on our vehicle. We had not planned to stop in Maine, but car trouble dictated that we were not going anywhere until our vehicle was fixed.
Several times I looked under the jeep, and felt despair as I observed oil dripping from the transfer case attached to the transmission. As each drop hit the heated exhaust system, little clouds of black smoke drifted down the freeway in the direction we should have been headed. Sitting there on the turnpike, with neither tools or the know-how to fix the problem, I felt totally helpless.
After a few minutes, my wife asked, “Aren’t you going to pray?” I was feeling so frustrated and powerless that forming a prayer seemed impossible, but my wife knew what to say. She prayed a simple but sincere prayer for help. Up to that point, I had not been able to turn the key, budge the steering wheel, or move the gear stick. Suddenly, everything freed up and I was able to start the engine. I jumped out, slammed the hood shut, and headed down the freeway, thanking God for His help and for answering my wife’s prayer.
Looking back, I know our situation that day was insignificant when compared to the circumstances that Job faced in his life. In his desperation, Job cried out in the hope that God would give deliverance. Unlike the immediate response I received on the turnpike, Job had to endure for some time before the desire of his heart was granted. Yet in spite of the overwhelming nature of what he faced, he maintained his innocence and his integrity before God.
Times of distress are inevitable, and we may face situations in our lives when we need to cry out desperately to God. We can be encouraged by remembering Job and what he endured. This will help us realize that God is hearing our prayers, whether He answers immediately or not.
In today’s text, Job responded to Eliphaz’s speech, continuing to mourn the injustice of his situation instead of addressing Eliphaz’s statements point by point. Job was so acutely aware of his misery that he felt all hope was gone. Eventually, he determined that it would be better for God to take his life; then he would know assuredly that he had maintained his integrity before God.
Instead of offering sound advice or support, Eliphaz had accused Job of wrongdoing. Job, in turn, asserted that those who refuse to show kindness to a friend have turned their backs on true religion. Also, he challenged his friends to look at him and determine if he was lying about being righteous.
In chapter 7, Job provided an analogy of life as the life of a slave, saying that man has no control over his life and that he only looks forward to the end of the day when he can rest. Through most of chapter 7, Job directed his comments toward God. Job feared that if his suffering continued much longer, he might forsake God. He told God that if He did not do something soon to vindicate his name, he would die. In his desperation, Job spoke frankly. He felt his death was imminent, so there was no need to speak in guarded phrases; he expressed directly what he was thinking and how he felt.
(Hannah’s Bible Outlines - Used by permission per WORDsearch)
II. The solution of Job’s three friends
B. The first cycle of speeches
2. Job’s answer (6:1 — 7:21)
a. Job’s despair (6:1-7)
b. Job’s request for death (6:8-13)
c. Job’s rebuke of his friends (6:14-30)
d. Job’s lament before God (7:1-21)
(1) Because of life’s misery (7:1-10)
(2) Because of God’s treatment (7:11-21)
Even though we must endure trying circumstances in life, we can maintain our integrity before God simply by keeping our faith in Him. God will never fail.