A Grief Observed – Job 2:11 – 3:26

By John Bellingham on November 6, 2016
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A Grief Observed

Job 2:11-3:26

I.  Job’s Calamity (Review – Chapters 1 & 2)

1)     Job was a truly righteous man – shows us that ‘innocent suffering’ is a real phenomenon (ie. Job’s suffering was not in proportion to his deeds)

2)     Job endured the two main categories of evil:

  1. Natural evil – fire, tornado, disease
  2. Moral Evil – theft & murder

3)     Job’s trail was initiated by God Himself (cf. 1:8;  2:3)

  1. Satan operates under God’s sovereign rule and can do nothing apart from God’s permission
  2. To say that God initiated/ ordained Job’s trial is not to say that God tempted Job with evil
  3. Job understood and acknowledged God’s sovereignty within His trial (cf. 1:21;  2:10)


– The Prologue of Job (chapters 1-2) ends with a tremendous spiritual victory over Satan:  Job worships God in the midst of suffering and refuses to curse Him – a prefiguring of Christ’s work on the cross!

II.  Job’s Cursing  (2:11- 3:10)

1)     Seven Days of Silence (2:11-13)

  1. Job’s three friends are introduced
  2. Job’s tremendous grief and pain is emphasized

2)       Job Breaks His Silence with Bitter Cursing (3:1-10)

  1. Job curse is not directed toward God, but rather toward his circumstances
  2. Chapter 3 is a very dark ‘lament’ – similar to Psalm 44, Psalm 88 and Jeremiah 20:14-18

3)       Nature of Job’s Curse

  1. Job curses the day he was born
  2. Job curses the night he was conceived (Aside:  Human life/ personhood begins at conception!)
  3. Job sarcastically invites pagan sorcerers to join him in cursing by rousing Leviathan
    1. Imagery of Darkness and Blackness suggests the undoing of God’s creative work
    2. Leviathan – a mythical sea creature associated with chaos and destruction in the Ancient Near East

III.  Job’s Questioning (3:11-23)

1)     Painful Trials Cause us to ask the Most Difficult Kinds of Questions – ‘Why?’

  1. ‘Why was I born?’  (vv. 11 – 19)
    1. Job suffering is so great that he feels his life has no purpose or meaning
    2.  Job envies the still-born child
    3. Job sees death as preferable to life
      1. Information about the afterlife was progressively revealed by God
      2. Job did not have a detailed understanding of heaven and hell – although there are glimmers of hope later on (19:25-26)
  2. ‘Why doesn’t God take my life?’ (vv. 20-23)
    1. Satan saw God’s ‘hedging in’ of Job as a blessing (cf. 1:10).  Job sees it as a curse.
    2. Job desperately wants to die, but there is no suggestion that suicide is an option

Implications/ Application:

– Being in God’s will does not mean we will never go through intense depression, suffering and pain.  It is not always ‘well with my soul’ (vv. 24-26)

– True believers will sometimes deeply wrestle with doubts about God and disappointment with God

– In some situations our best expression of worship and faith is to cry out in lament.   Scripture condemns blasphemy of God, but it encourages honesty with God.

– Affirmation of God’s complete sovereignty is not to be confused with stoic fatalism.   To bear the image of God is to express a full range of emotion

– Often the best way to comfort someone in severe pain is not to offer answers, but just to be there

– We sometimes feel forsaken by God, but Jesus was forsaken by God on the cross!   In your trial never forget that the sovereign God is also the suffering God.


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