What a poetic line in the Book of Job, “Your platitudes are proverbs of ashes” (13:12). I wonder how many times we haven’t sought comfort and consolation in so-called wisdom that is not quite so wise by the standard of absolute truth. In fact this whole book provides a great challenge to us in regard to what we truly believe and hold to in times of crisis.
A friend once asked (and seriously) whether Job was a book for the unemployed! It actually provides some amazing themes, though, in focusing on the sovereignty of God who is very much in control when we are not. It also shows us that, in adversity, God is our advocate and not our adversary. He gives us the strength to advance with enough faith to trust Him for change, but enough fear to respect Him through the lack of that change.
Job even prayed for his friends who counselled him understandably, yet wrongly, to repent for any sin they surely thought to be justly responsible for his suffering. God doubly restored Job’s lost fortune when his heart was in the right place. And this was a heart that asserted in the face of loss and grief that God is able to do everything and that no purpose of His can be withheld (42:2).
To know that we have but a ‘few days and full of trouble’ (14:1) on this Earth is to have the perspective that life is short and that suffering is finite. Job was not required or able to fully know God, and so his questioning was not offensive to Him in its genuineness, either. But to know that our very life and breath is in the hands of God (12:10) sobers us to make that life count in its brevity for the purpose of Heaven in its eternity. There can be no greater joy on this Earth.