Friday, July 25, 2014

Job 1:20-22 Bible study: grief and anguish

20 ¶  Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, 21  And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. 22  In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.

Tearing one’s clothes is a sign of mourning and grief.

Genesis 37:29  And Reuben returned unto the pit; and, behold, Joseph was not in the pit; and he rent his clothes. 30  And he returned unto his brethren, and said, The child is not; and I, whither shall I go?

Shaving the head apparently was a pre-Law custom for signifying mourning and loss. This and other heathen rituals regarding the expression of grief and loss were forbidden to the Hebrew under the Law.

Leviticus 21:1 ¶  And the LORD said unto Moses, Speak unto the priests the sons of Aaron, and say unto them, There shall none be defiled for the dead among his people: 2  But for his kin, that is near unto him, that is, for his mother, and for his father, and for his son, and for his daughter, and for his brother, 3  And for his sister a virgin, that is nigh unto him, which hath had no husband; for her may he be defiled. 4  But he shall not defile himself, being a chief man among his people, to profane himself. 5  They shall not make baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corner of their beard, nor make any cuttings in their flesh.

Falling to the ground is a position of worship. In fact, being prostrate on your face is a sign of submission and humility before God.

Joshua 5:13 ¶  And it came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?14  And he said, Nay; but as captain of the host of the LORD am I now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship, and said unto him, What saith my lord unto his servant?

1Corinthians 14:24  But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25  And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.

 Job’s lament brings to mind this verse by Paul…

1Timothy 6:7  For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.

…and these verses…

Genesis 3:19  In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

Psalm 49:16  Be not thou afraid when one is made rich, when the glory of his house is increased; 17  For when he dieth he shall carry nothing away: his glory shall not descend after him.

But, Job eschewed evil speaking against God. As explained previously he refrained his tongue from such evil. The fact that you grieve at loss, or suffer emotionally at the death of someone you love is not sin, nor is it evidence of a lack of faith. It is what we who are tied to this world, in this body, naturally do when that which we cherish is removed and our worst fears are realized.

Death is inevitable.

Ecclesiastes 8:8  There is no man that hath power over the spirit to retain the spirit; neither hath he power in the day of death: and there is no discharge in that war; neither shall wickedness deliver those that are given to it.

And, although we who have the faith of God know it is but for a short time the loss we experience now is real and bitter.

2Corinthians 5:6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Would you bless the name of the Lord if He permitted everything you love and everything you worked for to be taken from you? Or is your devotion conditional upon having a pleasant time of life and then dying peacefully in your sleep? The Book of Job should be a warning to those who are trying to make a business deal with God; worship, faithfulness to church, and good works in exchange for guarantees of a relatively pain-free life.

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