The Weight of Job’s Grief and Calamity:
Faith in God in the Darkest Night
“1But Job answered and said, 2Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together! 3For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. 4For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do set themselves in array against me.” (Job 6:1-4)
One can almost feel the weight of Job’s discouragement on their own shoulders and in their own heart as Job pours out the description of his sorrows. His grief at the loss of his children was so fresh, yet Eliphaz had made the wound deeper by telling him those children would still be here and would be great if he had not been living in sin. God would have kept him from calamity if he had not been living in iniquity.
But calamity had already come. Job’s children were already gone. Oh, the sorrow and despair that must have enveloped him! He had little hope of things improving in this life, and Elizphaz’ words put out any spark of hope that might have remained. There was no more spirit in Job.
As Job looked at his life, he did not see any unconfessed sin. He knew his heart was right with God. Yet, it seemed to him that God was against him. His life was pierced with God’s poisoned arrows. The terrors of God were in array against him.
Job saw not even a glimmer of hope. He did not know that these terrors and sorrows came from Satan. He did not know God was using his life to bring down the haughtiness of Satan and bring glory to Himself. Job could only look at his circumstances and surmise that God was against him. Yet, Job never lost his trust in God. He had faith in God, even in the darkest night.
Longing and Pleading for Death
“5Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder? 6Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg? 7The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat. 8Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for! 9Even that it would please God to destroy me; that he would let loose his hand, and cut me off! 10Then should I yet have comfort; yea, I would harden myself in sorrow: let him not spare; for I have not concealed the words of the Holy One.” (6:5-10)
Even the animals are content when they have sufficient to eat. Sometimes the grass of the wilderness dries up, and the wild donkeys bray. When the oxen’s crib is empty, they will start lowing. The stomachs of these animals complain at the empty feeling within. Job had such an empty feeling in his stomach.
In the past, Job enjoyed good, tasty food. Now, eating was drudgery to him. Perhaps salt was an expensive commodity in his day. How he enjoyed the flavor it added to otherwise unsavory food! “Imagine,” he says, “trying to eat the white of an egg without salt.” (See verse 6) Before all this tragedy came upon him, Job would not even touch such tasteless food. Now it was his sorrowful meat.
This may seem like a small trial, but to Job it was a big one. Everything he treasured was taken away from him. Each day of his life was filled with misery and pain. He longed to find just one comfort, even if it were only a tasty meal. But even his food was horrible. It was tasteless. There was no pleasure in eating it. Job had not one thing to enjoy, not even a flavorful meal.
This was too much for Job. He just wanted to die. How he begged God to take His hand off him and destroy him! At least there would be comfort in the grave. Job was not afraid to die and he had no regrets. He had faithfully declared God’s word and could die with a clean conscience. Death seemed like the only thing that held hope for him.
Though he longed for death, Job did not take the matter into his own hands. He knew his times were in God’s hands. He dared not take his own life, but he begged God to take it. He had been faithful to God, and now he was content to die, for he could die with a clean heart.
Do you long to die? Does it seem like there is no reason to live? Has everything that ever gave you joy or hope been taken away? You are not alone. Job suffered these things. He had not one thing left to enjoy. All was gone – his children, the companionship of his wife, the fellowship of friends, the help of his servants, his animals, and even good food. How he longed for death! Yet, he did not take his own life. Rather, he pleaded with God to take it, for he saw no more joy in living. Even in his desire for death, Job trusted in God. God put this example in the Bible so that you could see that His strength is enough, even in this. God still holds your hand, even through the darkest night.