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The Book of Job THEME: The Patience of Job

Patience:  the bearing of provocation, annoyance, misfortune, or pain, without complaint, loss of temper, irritation, or the like.  An ability or willingness to suppress restlessness or annoyance when confronted with delay.  Quiet, steady perseverance; even-tempered care; diligence.

Upon review of the exact dictionary definition of patience one might consider the common expression The Patience of Job to be somewhat of a misnomer.  Chapter 3 alone is enough to grasp the depth of Job’s suffering.  He is so distressed he suggests bringing in skilled professionals to help him curse the day of his birth.

Job 3
After this, Job opened his mouth and cursed his day (birthday).
And Job said,  Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night which announced, There is a man-child conceived.
Let that day be darkness! May not God above regard it, nor light shine upon it.
Let gloom and deep darkness claim it for their own; let a cloud dwell upon it; let all that blackens the day terrify it (the day that I was born).
As for that night, let thick darkness seize it; let it not rejoice among the days of the year; let it not come into the number of the months.
Yes, let that night be solitary and barren; let no joyful voice come into it.
Let those curse it who curse the day, who are skilled in rousing up Leviathan.
Let the stars of the early dawn of that day be dark; let [the morning] look in vain for the light, nor let it behold the day’s dawning,
Because it shut not the doors of my mother’s womb nor hid sorrow and trouble from my eyes.
Why was I not stillborn? Why did I not give up the ghost when my mother bore me?
Why did the knees receive me? Or why the breasts, that I should suck?
For then would I have lain down and been quiet; I would have slept; then would I have been at rest [in death] With kings and counselors of the earth, who built up [now] desolate ruins for themselves,
Or with princes who had gold, who filled their houses with silver.
Or [why] was I not a miscarriage, hidden and put away, as infants who never saw light?
There [in death] the wicked cease from troubling, and there the weary are at rest.
There the [captive] prisoners rest together; they hear not the taskmaster’s voice.
The small and the great are there, and the servant is free from his master.
Why is light [of life] given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul,
Who long and wait for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,
Who rejoice exceedingly and are elated when they find the grave?
[Why is the light of day given] to a man whose way is hidden, and whom God has hedged in?
For my sighing comes before my food, and my groanings are poured out like water.
For the thing which I greatly fear comes upon me, and that of which I am afraid befalls me.
I was not or am not at ease, nor had I or have I rest, nor was I or am I quiet, yet trouble came and still comes [upon me].

Job goes on in chapters seven and ten to make it clear that he has no intention of holding back his bitterness and complaint.

Job 7:11
“Therefore I will not restrain my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.

Job 10:1
“My soul loathes my life;
I will give free course to my complaint,
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.

Based on pure textbook definition, Job was not a patient man nor did he suffer in silence.

Who could blame the man?  Forget the financial aspect of his great loss.  Forget the immediate decline of his socio-economic status and the elimination of the regard from his community as a successful, wise patriarch.  Put aside the disloyalty of his so-called friends and their accusations of hidden sin in his life.  Each of those by itself would be  a traumatic, distressing blow to the best of us not to mention all of them in one fell swoop.

Job lost all ten of his children in the blink of an eye.

Job lists fidelity to his wife as one of his virtues and it is clear that his ten children were grown because they had their own homes and took care of themselves away from the shelter of the parental wing.  Even if we don’t know specifically, it is clear that this was an established family based on a partnership through marriage of at least a good thirty years if not much longer.  There is no perfect marriage.  There is no perfect family.  There are no perfect wives.  There are no perfect husbands.  There are no perfect mothers.  There are no perfect fathers.  There are no perfect children.  It takes time, effort, energy, love, and a host of forgiveness to grow a close-knit family.  The tearing of the heart and the damage to a marriage the death of just one child can bring is overwhelming.  Job and his wife lost ten of their children all at once.

Based on modern day medical science we know that traumatic events can weaken a person’s immune system and open the door for present conditions in the body to escalate or for new conditions to manifest both physically and emotionally.  Shock, grief, and depression leave a person vulnerable on multiple fronts.  From a human point of view, Job was ripe for a stroke, heart attack, suicide, or a host of other very unpleasant conditions.

Satan had no problem attacking Job, creating for him the worst day of his life, and then returning to afflict him with physical misery.  If you ever question the depth of evil present in the world because of Satan refer to the book of Job. 

Job had every reason in the world to complain.

Job complained but he would not turn his back on his God.  In chapter 10 verse 21 Job states, THOUGH HE SLAY ME, YET WILL I TRUST HIM.  

Job 1:20-22  Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Iyov got up, tore his coat, shaved his head, fell down on the ground and worshipped; he said,
“Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
and naked I will return there.
Adonai gave; Adonai took;
blessed be the name of Adonai.”
In all this Iyov neither committed a sin nor put blame on God.

Job 2:7-10  Complete Jewish Bible (CJB)
Then the Adversary went out from the presence of Adonai and struck Iyov down with horrible infected sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. He took a piece of a broken pot to scratch himself and sat down in the pile of ashes.

His wife asked him, “Why do you still hold on to your integrity? Curse God, and die!”

But he answered her, “You’re talking like a low-class woman! Are we to receive the good at God’s hands but reject the bad?”

In all this Iyov did not say one sinful word.

Job experienced the worst a person could imagine and then it went a level deeper.   He cursed the day he was born.  He prayed for death.  Job complained.  Job was indignant.  Job wanted to go toe to toe, head to head with God Almighty.  That is bold if not insane.  After all that Job still declared that with or without flesh left clinging to his bones he would see God and God would be on his side.

Perhaps the patience of Job should have been interpreted the Resolve of Job.

Job 19:25-29  For I know that my Redeemer and Vindicator lives, and at last He [the Last One] will stand upon the earth. And after my skin, even this body, has been destroyed, then from my flesh or without it I shall see God, Whom I, even I, shall see for myself and on my side! And my eyes shall behold Him, and not as a stranger! My heart pines away and is consumed within me.  If you say, How we will pursue him! [and continue to persecute me with the claim] that the root [cause] of all these [afflictions] is found in me, Then beware and be afraid of the sword [of divine vengeance], for wrathful are the punishments of that sword, that you may know there is a judgment.

James 5:11  You know how we call those blessed (happy) who were steadfast [who endured]. You have heard of the endurance of Job, and you have seen the Lord’s [purpose and how He richly blessed him in the] end, inasmuch as the Lord is full of pity and compassion and tenderness and mercy.

Exploring the Themes of the Book of Job

The Book of Job:  Themes and Meaning
THEME: Job as Sinless, Blameless, Upright Before God

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RELATED STUDIES ON WHY THE BLAMELESS SUFFER

God Hardens Us to Difficulties
Is David Your Soul-mate?

 

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2 comments on “The Book of Job THEME: The Patience of Job

  1. harman747
    June 2, 2014

    Reblogged this on harman747's Blog.

  2. The Water Bearer
    August 7, 2012

    Awesome post! Thanks for the confirmation!

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