Job 3:1

This book, so entirely true to nature, presents here one of the darkest moods of the grief-stricken heart. The first state is that of paralyzed silence, dumbness, inertia. Were this to continue, death must ensue. Stagnation will be fatal. The currents of thought and feeling must in some way be set flowing in their accustomed channels, as in the beautiful little poem of Tennyson on the mother suddenly bereaved of her warrior-lord-

"All her maidens, wondering, said,
She must weep or she must die." A period of agitation ensues when the mind resumes its natural functions; and the first mood that succeeds to silent prostration is that of bitter resentment and complaint. As we hail the irritability of a patient who has been deadly sick as the sign of returning convalescence, so we may look upon this petulance of grief when it finds at length a voice. We do not blame; we pity, and are tender towards the irritable invalid whose heart we know to be in its depth patient and true; and he who knows the heart better than we do is forbearing with those wild cries which suffering may wring from even constant and faithful bosoms like Job's. We may read these words of passion with consideration if God can listen to them without rebuke. There are three turns in the thought here expressed.

I. THE SPIRIT OF MAN IN REVOLT FROM LIFE. Curses on the day of his birth. (Ver. 1-10.) There seems to be some reference to the ancient belief, which we find in later times among the Romans, in unlucky or ill-starred days. Such a day, to the sufferers present feeling, must have been the day of his birth. But he will learn better by-and-by. He cannot see things rightly through the present medium of pain. True religion teaches us - the Christian religion above all - that no "black" days are sent us from him who causes his sun to shine on the evil and the good. It is only ill deeds that make ill days. We have met with Job's complaint again and again in different forms. Men and women have complained that they were brought into the world without their consent being asked, and sometimes passionately exclaim, "I wish I had never been born!" Let us admit what our calm and healthy judgment dictates - these feelings are morbid and transitory; and they are partial, because they represent only one, and that an extreme, mood of the ever-changing mind. We must take our morning, not our midnight, moods if we would know the truth about ourselves. The instinct which leads us to keep birthdays with joy and mutual congratulation should instruct us in our debt of thankfulness: "Thanks that we were men!"

II. THE IRRATIONALITY OF DESPAIR. (Vers. 11-19.) But such wishes against the inevitable and for the impossible, the mind, even in the paroxysm of despair, feels to be absurd. It sinks to a degree less irrational in the next wish that an early death had prevented all this misery. Would that a frost had nipped the just-blown flower (vers. 11, 12)! Yet this mood is only a shade less unreasonable than the former. For does not the instinct which leads us all to speak of death in infancy and early childhood as "untimely, premature," rebuke this fretfulness, and witness to the truth again that life is a good? And does not the common aspiration after "length of days," so marked in the Old Testament, supply another argument in the same direction? Job will yet live to smile, from out of the depths of a serene old age, at these passionate clamours of a turbulent grief. Again, he passes into the contemplation of death with pleasure, with a deep craving for its rest. He describes, in simple, beautiful language, that final earthly resort, where agitated brains and restless hearts find at last peace (vers. 17-19). Such a sentiment, again, is common to the experience of suffering hearts, is deeply embedded in the poetry of the world. But how far more common and frequent the happy, healthy mood which finds a zest and relish in the mere sense of existence, in the simple, natural pleasures of every day! The longing for the rest of the grave is the mood of intense weariness and disease; and it is counteracted by the mood of restored health, which longs for activity, even in heaven. Well has that poet, who has entered so deeply into all the phases of modern sadness, sung -

"Whatever crazy Sorrow saith,
No life that breathes with human breath
Hath ever truly longed for death.
life whereof our nerves are scant;
Oh, life, not death, for which we pant;
More life and fuller, that we want."

III. INTERROGATION OF LIFE'S MYSTERIES. (Vers. 20-26.) Once more, from longing for death, the distressed mind of the sufferer passes to impatient questioning. Why should life, if it is to be given to any, be given to sufferers who desire death? why should it be given to him who can find no rest, who is ever in dread of fresh woes? This complaint, again, is natural, but it is not wise. We are impatient of pain; we should otherwise have no quarrel with the mystery of being. But pain is a great fact in the constitution of the world; it is there; it is there evidently by Divine appointment; it cannot be glozed over nor explained away. The wisdom of piety is in reconciling ourselves to it as the dispensation of God, in submitting to it as his will, supporting it with patience. Then, "though no affliction for the present be joyous, but grievous, yet afterward it will yield the peaceable fruit of righteousness" (Hebrews 12:11). In hope let us -

"Strain through years
To catch the far-off interest of tears." To the question of Job the answer is - Suffering is the signet of a majestic being. The light of eternity, falling athwart our tears, forms a rainbow prophetic of our glorious destiny. But the final and most significant of all answers is the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is the union of highest life with extremest suffering. Born to suffer, and by suffering to be made perfect, the Lord Jesus Christ supplies for them that trust in him a power by which they can rise out of the mysterious darkness of pain, believing that what is tried, even as by fire, shall be found unto praise and honour and glory at his appearing. The study of this paroxysm of extreme pain of mind will be instructive if it help us to govern any similar moods which may arise in our own minds. LESSONS.

1. There is a natural and precious relief from mental pain in words,

"Poor breathing orators of miseries!
Let them have scope; though what they do impart
Help nothing else, yet they do ease the heart."

2. God, our gracious Father, is not offended by our sincerity. Greater than our hearts, he knows all things. This book and many of the psalms teach us a childlike piety by repeating words in which sufferers poured forth all their complaints as well as thanksgivings into the ear of him who misunderstands nothing.

3. There is an exaggeration in all the moods of depression. We are prone to overstate the ills of life, and to forget the numberless hours of joy in which we have instinctively thanked God for the blessing of existence.

4. The very intensity and exaggeration of such moods point forward to a reaction. They will not continue long in the course of nature. God has mercifully so constructed this fine mechanism of body and mind that these extremes bring their own remedy. Patience, then. The hour is darkest that is nearest the dawn. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." - J.

My glory was fresh in me, and my bow was renewed in my hand.
The text tells us of the renown of Job, and of the way in which the providence of God continued to maintain the glory of his estate, his bodily health, and his prosperity, His glory was fresh in him. He did not achieve a hasty fame, and then suddenly become forgotten. He did not blaze out like a meteor, and then vanish into darkness. He says that his bow was renewed in his hand: whereas usually the bow loses its force by use, and is less able to shoot the arrow after a little while, and needs to lie still with a slack string, it was by no means so with him. He could send one arrow, and then another, and then another, and the bow seemed to gather strength by use. That is to say, he never seemed to be worn out in mind or body. However, this did not last always, for Job in this chapter is telling us of something that used to be — something that was — some-thing the loss of which he very sorrowfully deplored — "my glory was fresh in me." He found himself suddenly stripped of riches and of honour, and put last in the list instead of first. So far as glory was concerned, he was forgotten as a dead man out of mind. This reads us a lesson that we put not our trust in the stability of earthly things.

I. First, then, notice THE EXCELLENCY OF FRESHNESS. "I shall be anointed with fresh oil" (Psalm 92:10). David had been anointed while still a youth to be king over Israel. He was anointed yet again when he came to the kingdom: that outward anointing with actual oil was the testimony of God's choice and the ensign of David's authorisation, and oftentimes when his throne seemed precarious God confirmed him in it, and subdued the people under him. When his dominion waxed weak, God strengthened him and strengthened his servants, and gave them great victories; so that as a king he was frequently anointed with fresh oil. Freshness is a most delightful thing if you see it in another. It is a charm in nature. How pleasant to go into the garden and see the spring flowers just peeping up. How agreeable to mark the rills, with their fresh water leaping down the hills after showers of rain. But spiritual freshness has a double charm. Sometimes we know what it is to have a freshness of soul, which is the dew from the Lord.

1. How that freshness is seen in a man's devotions. Oh, I have heard some prayers that are really fusty. I have heard them before so often that I dread the old familiar sounds. Some hackneyed expressions I recollect hearing when I was a boy. But, on the other hand, you hear a man pray who does pray, whose soul is fully in communion with God, and what life and freshness is there!

2. And so it is well to have a freshness about our feelings. I know that we do not hope to be saved by our feelings; neither do we put feeling side by side with faith; yet I should be very sorry to be trusting and yet never feeling. Whether it be joy or sorrow, let it be living feeling, fresh from the deep fountains of the heart. Whether it be exultation or depression, let it be true and not superficial or simulated. I hate the excitement which needs to be pumped up. God keep us from stale feelings, and give us freshness of emotion.

3. I believe that there is a very great beauty and excellence in freshness of utterance. Do not hinder yourself from that.

4. There should be a freshness, dear friends, about our labour. We ought to serve the Lord today with just as much novelty in it as there was ten years ago.

II. Now I will dwell upon the fear of losing it — THE FEAR OF ITS DEPARTURE. I have heard some express the thought that perhaps the things of God might lose their freshness to us by our familiarity with them. I think that the very reverse will turn out to be the case if the familiarity be that of a sanctified heart. Let me tell you some points on which, I fear, we have good ground of alarm, for we do our best to rob ourselves of all life and freshness. Christian people can lose the freshness of their own selves by imitating one another. By adopting as our model some one form of the Christian life other than that which is embodied in the person of our Lord we shall soon manufacture a set of paste gems, but the diamond flash and glory will be unknown. Another way of spoiling your freshness is by repression. The feebler sort of Christians dare not say, feel, or do until they have asked their leader's leave. If we want to keep up our freshness, however, the main thing is never to fall into neglect about our souls. Do you know what state the man is generally in when you are charmed by his freshness? Is he not in fine health? Let the fountain of the heart be right, and then the freshness will speedily be seen. I have shogun you the things by which a man may lose his freshness; avoid them carefully.

III. I close with the third point, which is this precious word which gives us HOPE OF ITS RENEWAL. Let us not think that we must grow stale, and heavenly things grow old with us: For, first, our God in whom we trust renews the face of the year. He is beginning His work again in the fair processes of nature. The dreary winter has passed away. Put your trust, in God, who renews the face of the earth, and look for His Spirit to revive you. Moreover, there is an excellent reason why you may expect to have all your freshness coming back again: it is because Christ dwells in you. Then there is the other grand doctrine of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. He dwells in you.

( C. H. Spurgeon.).

Afterward, Birth, Cursed, Cursing, Job, Mouth, Opened, Opening, Revileth
1. Job curses the day and services of his birth.
13. The ease of death.
20. He complains of life, because of his anguish.

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Job 3:1

     5167   mouth
     5567   suffering, emotional

Job 3:1-4

     5067   suicide
     5231   birthday

Job 3:1-10

     4810   darkness, natural
     5827   curse

Job 3:1-26

     5945   self-pity

March 2 Evening
There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God.--HEB. 4:9. There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; they . . . rest from their labours; and their works do follow them. Our friend Lazarus sleepeth . . . Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. We that are in this tabernacle do groan,
Anonymous—Daily Light on the Daily Path

The Trouble and Rest of Good Men "There the Wicked Cease from Troubling
Sermon 127 The Trouble and Rest of Good Men "There the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary be at rest." Job 3:17. When God at first surveyed all the works he had made, "behold, they were very good." All were perfect in beauty, and man, the lord of all, was perfect in holiness. And as his holiness was, so was his happiness. Knowing no sin, he knew no pain. But when sin was conceived, it soon brought forth pain; the whole scene was changed in a moment. He now groaned under the weight of
John Wesley—Sermons on Several Occasions

The Sorrowful Man's Question
"Why is light given to a man whose way is hid, and whom God hath hedged in?"--Job 3:23. I AM VERY THANKFUL that so many of you are glad and happy. There is none too much joy in the world, and the more that any of us can create, the better. It should be a part of our happiness, and a man part of it, to try to make other people glad. "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people," is a commission which many of us ought to feel is entrusted to us. If your own cup of joy is full, let it run over to others who
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 46: 1900

A Prayer when one Begins to be Sick.
O most righteous Judge, yet in Jesus Christ my gracious Father! I, wretched sinner, do here return unto thee, though driven with pain and sickness, like the prodigal child with want and hunger. I acknowledge that this sickness and pain comes not by blind chance or fortune, but by thy divine providence and special appointment. It is the stroke of thy heavy hand, which my sins have justly deserved; and the things that I feared are now fallen upon me (Job iii. 25.) Yet do I well perceive that in wrath
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

Whether Servile Fear is Good
Whether Servile Fear is Good We proceed to the fourth article thus: 1. It seems that servile fear is not good. If the use of a thing is evil, the thing itself is evil. Now the use of servile fear is evil, since "he who does something out of fear does not do well, even though that which is done be good," as the gloss says on Rom. ch. 8. It follows that servile fear is not good. 2. Again, that which has its origin in a root of sin is not good. Servile fear has its origin in a root of sin. For on Job
Aquinas—Nature and Grace

Whether it is Lawful to Curse an Irrational Creature?
Objection 1: It would seem that it is unlawful to curse an irrational creature. Cursing would seem to be lawful chiefly in its relation to punishment. Now irrational creatures are not competent subjects either of guilt or of punishment. Therefore it is unlawful to curse them. Objection 2: Further, in an irrational creature there is nothing but the nature which God made. But it is unlawful to curse this even in the devil, as stated above [2960](A[1]). Therefore it is nowise lawful to curse an irrational
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether in the State of Innocence Children Would have Been Born Confirmed in Righteousness?
Objection 1: It would seem that in the state of innocence children would have been born confirmed in righteousness. For Gregory says (Moral. iv) on the words of Job 3:13: "For now I should have been asleep, etc.: If no sinful corruption had infected our first parent, he would not have begotten "children of hell"; no children would have been born of him but such as were destined to be saved by the Redeemer." Therefore all would have been born confirmed in righteousness. Objection 2: Further, Anselm
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether the Blessed virgin was Sanctified Before Animation?
Objection 1: It would seem that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before animation. Because, as we have stated [4127](A[1]), more grace was bestowed on the Virgin Mother of God than on any saint. Now it seems to have been granted to some, to be sanctified before animation. For it is written (Jer. 1:5): "Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee": and the soul is not infused before the formation of the body. Likewise Ambrose says of John the Baptist (Comment. in Luc. i, 15): "As
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether Servile Fear is Good?
Objection 1: It would seem that servile fear is not good. For if the use of a thing is evil, the thing itself is evil. Now the use of servile fear is evil, for according to a gloss on Rom. 8:15, "if a man do anything through fear, although the deed be good, it is not well done." Therefore servile fear is not good. Objection 2: Further, no good grows from a sinful root. Now servile fear grows from a sinful root, because when commenting on Job 3:11, "Why did I not die in the womb?" Gregory says (Moral.
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Whether it is Lawful to Curse Anyone?
Objection 1: It would seem unlawful to curse anyone. For it is unlawful to disregard the command of the Apostle in whom Christ spoke, according to 2 Cor. 13:3. Now he commanded (Rom. 12:14), "Bless and curse not." Therefore it is not lawful to curse anyone. Objection 2: Further, all are bound to bless God, according to Dan. 3:82, "O ye sons of men, bless the Lord." Now the same mouth cannot both bless God and curse man, as proved in the third chapter of James. Therefore no man may lawfully curse
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Wesley and his Barber
Thursday, April 11 (Bolton).--The barber who shaved me said, "Sir, I praise God on your behalf. When you were at Bolton last, I was one of the most eminent drunkards in all the town; but I came to listen at the window, and God struck me to the heart. I then earnestly prayed for power against drinking; and God gave me more than I asked: He took away the very desire of it. Yet I felt myself worse and worse, till on April 5 last, I could hold out no longer. I knew I must drop into hell that moment unless
John Wesley—The Journal of John Wesley

The Rich Sinner Dying. Psa. 49:6,9; Eccl. 8:8; Job 3:14,15.
The rich sinner dying. Psa. 49:6,9; Eccl. 8:8; Job 3:14,15. In vain the wealthy mortals toil, And heap their shining dust in vain, Look down and scorn the humble poor, And boast their lofty hills of gain. Their golden cordials cannot ease Their pained hearts or aching heads, Nor fright nor bribe approaching death From glitt'ring roofs and downy beds. The ling'ring, the unwilling soul The dismal summons must obey, And bid a long, a sad farewell To the pale lump of lifeless clay. Thence they are
Isaac Watts—The Psalms and Hymns of Isaac Watts

The Poetical Books (Including Also Ecclesiastes and Canticles).
1. The Hebrews reckon but three books as poetical, namely: Job, Psalms, and Proverbs, which are distinguished from the rest by a stricter rhythm--the rhythm not of feet, but of clauses (see below, No. 3)--and a peculiar system of accentuation. It is obvious to every reader that the poetry of the Old Testament, in the usual sense of the word, is not restricted to these three books. But they are called poetical in a special and technical sense. In any natural classification of the books of the
E. P. Barrows—Companion to the Bible

The Writings of Israel's Philosophers
[Sidenote: Discussions the problem of evil] An intense interest in man led certain of Israel's sages in time to devote their attention to more general philosophical problems, such as the moral order of the universe. In the earlier proverbs, prophetic histories, and laws, the doctrine that sin was always punished by suffering or misfortune, and conversely that calamity and misfortune were sure evidence of the guilt of the one affected, had been reiterated until it had become a dogma. In nine out
Charles Foster Kent—The Origin & Permanent Value of the Old Testament

One Thing is Needful;
or, SERIOUS MEDITATIONS UPON THE FOUR LAST THINGS: DEATH, JUDGMENT, HEAVEN, AND HELL UNTO WHICH IS ADDED EBAL AND GERIZZIM, OR THE BLESSING AND THE CURSE, by John Bunyan. London: Printed for Nath. Ponder, at the Peacock in the Poultry, 1688.[1] ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. According to Charles Doe, in that curious sheet called The Struggler for the Preservation of Mr. John Bunyan's Labours, these poems were published about the year 1664, while the author was suffering imprisonment for conscience
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Death Swallowed up in victory
Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory! D eath, simply considered, is no more than the cessation of life --that which was once living, lives no longer. But it has been the general, perhaps the universal custom of mankind, to personify it. Imagination gives death a formidable appearance, arms it with a dart, sting or scythe, and represents it as an active, inexorable and invincible reality. In this view death is a great devourer; with his iron tongue
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 2

Meditations for the Morning.
1. Almighty God can, in the resurrection, as easily raise up thy body out of the grave, from the sleep of death, as he hath this morning wakened thee in thy bed, out of the sleep of nature. At the dawning of which resurrection day, Christ shall come to be glorified in his saints; and every one of the bodies of the thousands of his saints, being fashioned like unto his glorious body, shall shine as bright as the sun (2 Thess. i. 10; Jude, ver. 14; Phil. iii. 21; Luke ix. 31;) all the angels shining
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The book of Job is one of the great masterpieces of the world's literature, if not indeed the greatest. The author was a man of superb literary genius, and of rich, daring, and original mind. The problem with which he deals is one of inexhaustible interest, and his treatment of it is everywhere characterized by a psychological insight, an intellectual courage, and a fertility and brilliance of resource which are nothing less than astonishing. Opinion has been divided as to how the book should be
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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