Job 6:1 But Job answered and said,
2 Oh that my grief were throughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the balances together!
3 For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.
4 For 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.
5 Doth the wild ass bray when he hath grass? or loweth the ox over his fodder?
6 Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?
7 The things that my soul refused to touch are as my sorrowful meat.
8 Oh that I might have my request; and that God would grant me the thing that I long for!
In this text we have the first of Job’s many responses to his dilemma. He did not even address the false accusations of Eliphaz here. He spoke of that which was real. Job spoke of his grief. The Hebrew word here speaks of anger and indignation. The word for “calamity” here speaks of “desire and ruin”.
It is natural for a man to grieve the loss of family and possessions. It is wrong for a person to try to take that anger out on God or others. Job did not understand why he was facing the things that had just happened to him. He believed the answer lay with God. He was not blaming God for what happened, but he would increase his demand to speak with God about what was happening. It seems that in spite of Job’s walk with God, he did not understand that God knew all about what was happening to him. It is easy to sit back and accuse Job of things. It is important to learn the right lessons from this book. It is important to develop a right theology about God and His dealings. It is also important to walk humbly with God in all things. We do not need to live in fear of imagined tragedies. We need to build trust in God into our daily lives so that we will be prepared for whatever we face in life.
In Job’s mind his grief and calamity were heavier than the sand of the sea. We know that Elijah faced severe challenges in his life as well. At one point he complained to God that he had been very zealous for God and yet he was left abandoned by God. God showed him that he was wrong. He provided the necessary help for Elijah. God would also provide the necessary help for Job. As we have already noted, it is important to have a godly family to support one another. That is what the true local church is for. It is a place where the Word of God is taught and studied. It is the place where saints can come to talk about their hopes and their struggles. A true church is not a gossip house. It is a house of prayer.
Job did not believe that his words could reach to God at this point. In verse 4 Job too assumed that God was dealing with him for something. He did not understand the spiritual conflict that was an ongoing issue. He did not understand that the devil tried to use human beings as pawns in his fight against God.
James tells us:
James 1:2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations;
3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.
4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
These are the words of God. They are easy for us to say when things are going well. We need to learn to be able to live by them whether things are going good or not. The following verses in James 1 tell us how we can do that. We need God’s wisdom in order to be able to understand at least somewhat, what is going on. We can know that every situation a true child of God faces is for His glory. We can also know that there is much for us to learn from Him. He is all wise and He is never experimenting to see if something is a good idea.
James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.
Those who are saved can appreciate that Job faced trials that most of us will only read about. We can be thankful to God for His mercy and grace toward us. Should we face difficult trials, we can learn from this book how we should respond to them. We can see that it is possible to be in despair. It is possible to assume that God is nowhere near at hand. It is important to be reminded that God is much greater than we are and that even though we cannot understand what is going on, we can be blessed in trusting in Him through it all.
In verse 5 we learn that an ass does not bray if it has grass to eat. An ass is normally a quiet animal. It does not chatter for nothing. An ox also does not make noise when it is eating. It is content with what it has as long as it is good food. In verse 6 Job continues his analogy but now with human food. We like salt in our food. Some people do not like the white of the egg because it does not have much taste. Personally, I have never noticed that. I have salt and pepper on my egg and I like the entire egg. Because I eat the egg together and I fry it in lard or butter, it takes on some of that flavour as well.
In verse 7 Job further explains what was going on in his soul. Job was not one to bottle up his thoughts within him. He was willing to express what was going on in his life. Again, as a saint expresses his or her concerns, other saints would have that Godly compassion to pray for the person and seek to help them see the glory of God in the midst of the trials.
In verse 8 we see that Job knew that his answer was found in God. This is an important attitude to have. It is good to have friends who want to help. It is good to have friends who truly know the Lord and can give wise counsel. Job’s friends were an anchor to drag a person down. They were of no help to him. His wife was also of no help to him. He did not sense that God was there either.
God has given us His Word to help us to know that if we know Him, He is always near at hand. When a Christian harbours sin in their life, God can seem distant. The problem is not with God, it is with the child of God. Confess the sin to God and be forgiven and restored to right fellowship. If, through honest examination from God’s Word, no sin is identified, then we need to wait on the Lord to show us what He is wanting us to learn from a certain trial.
Psalm 139:23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:
24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
I find those two verses very helpful in my life. I can deceive myself into believing all is well. If I truly ask God to search my heart, He will tell me what is actually going on. I am thankful that He is always ready to forgive and to lead me in the way everlasting.
Job would learn some very important lessons in his time of trials. This time would not be wasted in his life because he would learn those lessons. His friends would go through some time of self-gratification, but then they would face the justice of God. They too needed to learn some lessons. We are not told if they learned them or not. We are told that God continued to bless Job.
We can choose to learn the important lessons that Job needed to learn or we can assume we are so much wiser than Job, as his three friends assumed. Learning the lessons God has for us is always better than assuming we already know the answer. Knowing the true God as your own personal God and Saviour is always the right place to start. Be honest with Him, and know His peace and blessing today.