Monday, October 23, 2023

A Foolish Lament (Job 3:1-10)

“May the day perish on which I was born …” (Job 3:3).

Job is to be praised for not cursing God as Satan wanted him to. In the midst of his suffering, however, he cursed the day of his birth which in effect curses God’s providence. This heart-wrenching display of human emotion and grief, while common enough, should not be emulated because it dishonors God. Job did not curse God, but he did question God’s wisdom.

“To curse the day of our birth because then we entered upon the calamitous scene of life is to quarrel with our God of nature, to despise the dignity of our being, and to indulge a passion which our own calm and sober thoughts will make us ashamed of,” Henry wrote. “Certainly there is no condition of life a man can be in in this world but he may in it (if it not be his own fault) so honor God, and work out his own salvation, and make sure a happiness for himself in a better world. Then he will have no reason at all to wish he had never been born, but a great deal of reason to say that he had his being to good purpose. Yet it must be owned, if there were not another life after this, and divine consolations to support us in the prospect of it, so many are the sorrows and troubles of this that we might sometimes be tempted to say that we are made in vain and to wish we had never been. There are those in hell who with good reason wish they had never been born. But on this side of hell, there can be no reason for so vain and ungrateful a wish. It was Job’s folly and weakness to curse his day.”

Job’s lament is foolish because it hopes for something that cannot be. It curses something—the day of his birth—that cannot be hurt. It asks for something that were it possible to bring it to pass would have been dreadful for Job’s mother. He wished for something that would have brought her pain and suffering. And lastly, it despises the goodness of God in giving Job life and existence. We should never undervalue human life, no matter how afflicted it might be. All human life, being made in the image of God, is of great value and worthy of dignity. Do not ever curse the day of your existence, but look forward to a better day when you will behold the glory of your Creator with a body and circumstances devoid of affliction.

Read Lamentations 3:1–33. How is the first part of this passage similar to Job 3? What kind of change is there in verse 22? What gives Jeremiah hope? Instead of cursing the day of his birth, what does he do? What should you do when you are afflicted? If you have behaved like Job, confess it to God. As Jeremiah did, put your hope in God.