Assumptions can be very dangerous.
We start to see the beginning of a beautiful yet tragically written conversation between Job, his friends and eventually God. It’s really the design and layout of the rest of the book.
However, in chapter 3 we see get a real sense of just how beat up Job is emotionally and physically.
We see the toll of what living in excruciating pain and grief has taken on him. He begins questioning why he was even born and wishing quite clearly that he were dead. Simply to end his pain and suffering. He doesn’t appear to be suicidal – just fed up. It’s still clear in his writing that he still sees the value of life and understands it’s precious – he’s just simply wishing for a better set of circumstances. How many of us can relate to that?
As I was reading through the ESV study bible, something caught my attention in the commentary. It referenced Job 1:10 where Satan argues to God that the reason Job feared (worshipped) God so greatly was because God had “put a hedge around him”. In other words, of course he worships you – look at all you’ve given him but if you take away those things, surely he’ll turn from you.
We know that is not what actually happened. However, the part that stood out to me was in Job 3:23 where Job says “Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?”
(Light and darkness are referenced a lot in Job’s writing and it seems to represent life and death.)
It reads to me that Job almost considers that hedge to be a burden. He also references it in Job 19:8 where it says, “He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths.”
Job views his life during these horrific circumstances and suffering as one “God has hedged in”.
Perspective is everything, isn’t it? It makes me think of how we make assumptions about others quite often and they are almost always wrong. Satan made those assumptions about Job’s character and faith and boy was he ever wrong!
Others also may look at someone like Job from just the outside looking in, see his wealth, large family and many earthly blessings and come the conclusion that his life is perfect. It would be easy to make the same argument Satan made to God saying, “Of course he worships and fears God…look how God has blessed him? His life is so easy!”
What you don’t see in those assumptions is the heart of Job. Only God knows that. We don’t see that his heart is broken. His family has been taken away. He’s riddled with grief and agony. His health is not good and he’s covered in sores from head to toe. What good are those “blessings” to him when he feels this way? In fact it would be a challenge to even see them as blessings, wouldn’t it?
While Job’s faith may not have been shaken at it’s core, it’s clear that he has a lot of questions as to why these things are happening to him. The expression, “One mans blessings are another mans curse” comes to mind. I think if you had asked Job in that moment, he would have given it all up to make the pain go away.
The one thing he never gave up is his faith in God…