“How I long for the months gone by, for the days when God watched over me, when his lamp shone on my head and by his light I walked through darkness! Oh, for the days when I was in my prime, when God’s intimate friendship blessed my house, when the Almighty was still with me and my children were around me, when my path was drenched with cream and the rock poured out for me streams of olive oil. When I went to the gate of the city and took my seat in the public square, the young men saw me and stepped aside and the old men rose to their feet; the chief men refrained from speaking and covered their mouths with their hands.” (The Holy Bible)
Human Condition: In this passage, Job is still hurt with his present sufferings. To show his friends that their arguments regarding Job’s integrity is wrong, he began looking back on the golden days of God’s favor (William B. Eerdmans 324). It was the chief thing that he rejoiced in – that he had the favor of God and the tokens of such favor (Henry 252). In the past, he felt God’s guidance and protection. He saw God’s domestic and universal blessings, but now he claims that it is no longer that way.
God Himself: This passage shows that God indeed blesses his people in various ways, and He lets them know and feel it. He is a personal God and He makes His people rejoice in it through the tokens of His favor. Nevertheless, God also allowed Job to feel as if God abandoned Him through challenging circumstances. He allows challenges in the lives of His people. These challenges are not necessarily outcomes of sin, as in the case of Job, but God still permits them to happen for His divine purposes.
Moreover, this passage shows that God is in control of all things. He has every right to give and to take away anything in man’s life. In fact, Job himself acknowledged this at the beginning of his suffering. He said in Job 1:21, “The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.”
God’s Will for Us: The passage shows two things a Christian fellow can learn from. First, the passage shows that the greatest problem of the Christian is to feel that God is far. Of course, God is never far, and He did not abandoned Job during his state of suffering. The loss of his possessions and the coming of great suffering, however, made him think that God left him. His concern was not on the loss of his possessions but on the [assumed] loss of his relationship with God (Wilson 313). Indeed, God’s blessing is not confined in what the Christian physically have. Moreover, Job’s testimony attests that the Christian’s greatest treasure is the presence of God.
Second, the passage shows that God allows afflictions for the purpose of sanctification. He permitted Job’s sufferings for a divine purpose. The loss of the tokens of God’s favor in Job’s life should not make him think that God abandoned him. He was keenly aware of his feelings of being abandoned by God (Wilson 313). Nevertheless, the Scripture is clear that God’s love and presence is not characterized by men’s feelings. Besides, God promised that everything, including afflictions, in a Christian’s life happens for good (Rom. 8:28), and that His love will never be taken away from the believer (Rom. 8:38-39). Instead of doubting, the believer must learn from what James said: “Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance” (James 1:2-3).
Henry, Matthew. Commentary on the Whole Bible Volume II (Joshua to Esther). Grand Rapids, MI: Christian Classics Ethereal Library, 2000. Print.
William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Eerdmans Handbook to the Bible. Ed. David Alexander and Pat Alexander. Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1992. Print.
Wilson, Gerald. New International Biblical Commentary. Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 2007. Print.