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Click here to read Job 6 on BibleGateway.com

After the somewhat bittersweet advice from Eliphaz the last couple days, we get to hear Job’s first response. Not surprisingly, his responses ramble a little bit. You’ll notice as we go through Job that all the parties jump from point to point, which is a good testament to its realism. Other than detective fiction, people rarely think completely linearly. In any case, let’s get to it.

On a side note, this chapter has one of the great rallying cries of McDonald’s: verse 6 says that even tasteless food can be devoured with enough salt, as anyone who’s tried Mickey Ds dellshtacular fries can attest. Of course, Job didn’t know about BBQ sauce. Poor guy.

NOBODY KNOWS…THE TROUBLE I’VE SEEN…

Like anyone suffering, Job’s first response is that nobody really understands what he’s going through. He claims that God himself is afflicting him (vs 4), which is ironically exactly the opposite of what is going on. However, for our purposes, let’s look at it this way: no matter how similar our suffering, nobody can ever really understand another’s pain.

Even two people with similar tragedies (for example, losing a spouse) will mourn and deal with that loss in different ways. Instead of offering our own 12-step plan for dealing with pain, maybe it’s better to just let our friends know that we are there for them, whatever they might personally need. For some people, space is the best thing. For others, they want a shoulder to cry on. Every person is different, and the best thing to do may be to just ask.

AND YET, HOPE REMAINS

In his despair, Job even prays that God would kill him immediately. But notice that Job doesn’t give in to despair enough to take his own life. It’s important to remember that even for someone in Job’s place, who had more reason than anyone in history for despair, he still holds hope that God will ultimately be just. The Bible is full of people that God redeemed when all hope was lost. You just never know what the next moment may bring.

Finally, he begins in verse 14 to ask why his friends at least aren’t on his side. Instead, they heap even more burdens upon him, suggesting that he is ultimately the one to blame for all his problems. “Teach me,” he says. If his friends are so smart, let them show him where he has sinned, and he’ll repent. Until then, he cannot accept their counsel.

Today’s chapter is a little heavier than what we usually study, but as always our purpose remains the same: to look at the Bible as honestly as possible and see the real people. As anyone will tell you, pain is part of life.

Just like hope.

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