Introduction: After responding to his misguided friends, Job again spoke directly to God. Job reached the wrong conclusions from his tragedies by concluding that God was set against him. Although misguided in his despair, Job addressed concerns that all sinners would face without Jesus. Through Job’s laments to God, Jesus reveals mankind’s need for salvation and His path to redemption. This includes: (1) mankind’s universal sin, (2) its need for salvation, (3) the inability of sinners to hide their sins from God, (4) the inevitability of physical death, (5) mankind’s eternal resurrection, (6) Jesus’ plan for eternal redemption, and (7) His eternal hope.
First, Job lamented that all mankind is doomed to live short lives that are filled with turmoil. Consistent with Job’s lament, the Bible confirms that all creation is subjected to futility because of original sin. Second, Job then lamented that mankind was subject to God’s judgment because of its inability to cleanse itself of its sins. Also consistent with Job’s lament, the Bible confirms that all mankind is in need of salvation because of its sins. Third, Job then lamented that he saw no way to escape from God’s control and judgment upon every aspect of his life. Although Job had reached the wrong conclusions regarding his own life, he was correct that mankind cannot hide their sins from God. God’s standard of holiness is therefore worthy of complete reverence. Fourth, Job observed that, unlike the plants which can regrow through their seeds, mankind is appointed to an inevitable and final physical death on Earth. This is consistent with the Bible’s revelation that all mankind is appointed to die one physical death because of sin. Fifth, in his torment, Job questioned if he could hide from God’s wrath after death and whether peace in his afterlife was possible. The Bible confirms that all mankind will be resurrected into one of two types of eternal existence. For sinners who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior, there will be no escape from God’s judgment. Sixth, Job wished that he could find a way to have his unknown sins forgiven and have his fellowship with God restored after he died. Although Job was not under God’s judgment, he spoke prophetically of the hope that Jesus offers those who are under judgment. Through faith in Jesus, your sins can be forgiven and your fellowship with God restored. Finally, because Job believed that God viewed him as his enemy, he believed that his situation was hopeless. God did not view him as an enemy. But Job addressed a need that all sinners face. Jesus offers everyone the hope of His eternal love and fellowship in heaven.
Job’s lament that mankind is born into a short, tumultuous life. As part of Job’s direct address to God, he lamented that mankind was doomed to live a short life of turmoil: “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil. 2 Like a flower he comes out and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.” (Job 14:1-2). Job’s lament is part of a central teaching of the Bible. All mankind is subjected to original sin.
Mankind is born into sin and turmoil. Job cried out that everyone was doomed to live a life that “is short-lived and full of turmoil.” (Job 14:1). Eliphaz also previously stated that mankind is born into sin: “7 for man is born for trouble, as sparks fly upward.” (Job 5:7). In response to Eliphaz, Job agreed that mankind was born into bondage: “Is a person not forced to labor on earth, and are his days not like the days of a hired worker?” (Job 7:1). Because of Adam and Eve’s sins, all mankind is cursed: “Then to Adam He said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, ‘You shall not eat from it’; cursed is the ground because of you; with hard labor you shall eat from it all the days of your life.” (Gen. 3:17). “For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope” (Ro. 8:20). “Remember what my lifespan is; for what futility You have created all the sons of mankind!” (Ps. 89:47). Thus, all creation has been subjected to the consequences of original sin. This includes pain, turmoil, and for some, despair.
Job lamented that mankind was doomed to live a short life of turmoil1
Mankind’s life on Earth is short. Job also cried out that 2 Like a flower he comes out and withers. He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.” (Job 14:2). Job previously made a similar claim in the context of his belief that life is short-lived and futile: “Remember that my life is a mere breath; my eye will not see goodness again.” (Job 7:7). The Psalmist also stated that mankind has a short life span, which will wither over time like grass: “My days are like a lengthened shadow, and I wither away like grass.” (Ps. 102:11). “As for man, his days are like grass; like a flower of the field, so he flourishes.” (Ps. 103:15). “Remember what my lifespan is; for what futility You have created all the sons of mankind!” (Ps. 89:47). “Man is like the breath; his days are like a passing shadow.” (Ps. 144:4). “A voice says, ‘Call out.’ Then he answered, ‘What shall I call out?’ All flesh is grass, and all its loveliness is like the flower of the field.” (Is. 40:6). Similar warnings appear in the New Testament to advise against boasting about tomorrow or in a person’s wealth or physical beauty: “but the rich person is to glory in his humiliation, because like flowering grass he will pass away.” (Jam. 1:10). “Yet you do not know what your life will be like tomorrow. For you are just a vapor that appears for a little while, and then vanishes away.” (Jam. 4:14; 1 Pet. 1:24). Thus, original sin has also shortened everyone’s lifespan, and none should boast about their flesh or future.
Job’s lament that mankind cannot cleanse itself of its sins on its own. Job next lamented that all mankind is subject to God’s judgment because it cannot cleanse itself of its sins: “3 You also open Your eyes on him and bring him into judgment with Yourself. 4 Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one!” (Job 14:3-4). In reference to verse four, one commentator observes “This short verse, a question and answer, presents the cardinal theological doctrine of total depravity. We do not know whether Job was thinking back to Adam; but the fallenness of the race, inherited sin, and associated doctrines all relate to this simple verse (cf. 15:14; 25:4; Ps. 14:1b; 51:5; John 3:6; Rom. 5:12).” (Robert Alden, The New American Commentary, Vol. 11, Job (B&H Publishing Group 1993) p. 166). Because mankind cannot cleanse its own sins, mankind is in need of a Savior.
Job lamented that mankind cannot cleanse itself of its sins2
All are in need of Jesus because none can cleanse their own sins. Job questioned how any person could claim to be free of sin before God (Job 14:4). This was a question that he asked previously: “Can mankind be righteous before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?” (Job 4:7). Bildad would later ask a similar question (Job 25:4). The Bible reveals that all have fallen short of God’s standards of holiness because of sin. “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.” (Ecc. 7:20; Ps. 14:3; Ro. 3:10, 23). “When they sin against You (for there is no person who does not sin) and You are angry with them and turn them over to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, distant or near;” (1 Kgs. 8:46). “Behold, I was brought forth in guilt, and in sin my mother conceived me.” (Ps. 51:5). “And do not enter into judgment with Your servant, for in Your sight no man living is righteous.” (Ps. 143:2). Moreover, no one can claim to clean their own sins: “Who can say, “I have cleansed my heart, I am pure from my sin?” (Prov. 20:9). “Although you wash yourself with lye and use much soap, the stain of your guilt is before Me,” declares the Lord GOD.” (Jer. 2:22). Thus, “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jo. 1:8). Thus, everyone needs what Jesus offers through faith in His sacrifice. Are you turning to Jesus to cleanse your sins (1 Jo. 1:9)?
Mankind needs a mediator to reconcile with God the Father. The book of Job establishes that Satan has access to God’s Court, and he uses that access to level charges against God’s people. Job pleaded for someone to defend him in God’s court (Job 9:32-33). “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high. . . That one might plead for a man with God as a son of man with his neighbor!” (Job 16:19, 21). Job, however, pleaded in faith because he believed that his Redeemer existed: “Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, He will take His stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25). The Redeemer that Job prayed for was Jesus Christ. His is your counselor (Is. 9:6) and your only mediator to God the Father (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus also advocates for you in the same heavenly court: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” (1 Jo. 2:1b). “Christ Jesus . . . also intercedes for us.” (Ro. 8:34). “Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25). “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 Jo. 5:14). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8). When you are in need or feel that you are under attack, do you plead to Jesus as your advocate?
Job’s lament that mankind could not hide their sins from God. Job next lamented that he saw no way to escape from God’s control and judgment upon every aspect of his life: “5 Since his days are determined, the number of his months is with You; and You have set his limits so that he cannot pass. 6 Look away from him so that he may rest, until he fulfills his day like a hired worker.” (Job 14:5-6). In his despair, Job incorrectly believed that God had preordained him to a life of judgment. He sadly believed that God’s watchful eyes only added to his judgment. Although Job reached the wrong conclusions regarding his life, he was correct that God is sovereign and worthy of mankind’s respect.
God predestined the events in your life based upon His knowledge of your choices. Because God knows in advance our choices, Job proclaimed that God had “determined, the number of his months” (Job 15:5). The Psalmist also revealed that God preordained the number of days of each person’s life: “My times are in Your hand; . . .” (Ps. 31:15a). “Your eyes have seen my formless substance; and in Your book were written all the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Ps. 139:16). God also appoints every season in your life: “A time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.” (Ecc. 3:2). This includes an appointed time to die and give an account of your life before Jesus: “And just as it is destined for people to die once, and after this comes judgment,” (Heb. 9:27; 2 Cor. 5:10). Thus, every person must take sin seriously and honor God’s standards of holiness and righteousness.
No sin can be hidden from God. Job asked God to “Look away,” because he knew that nothing could be hidden from God (Job 14:6). Job later asked: “Does He not see my ways, and count all my steps?” (Job 31:4). The prophet Hanani also later revealed: “For the eyes of the LORD roam throughout the earth, so that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.” (2 Chr. 16:9a). David also proclaimed: “A Psalm of David. LORD, You have searched me and known me.” (Ps. 139:1). Solomon also observed: “For the ways of everyone are before the eyes of the LORD, and He observes all his paths.” (Prov. 5:21). The book of Hebrews further declares “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.” (Heb. 4:13). Thus, no one can seek to hide their sins from God.
Every person is mastered by either sin or God. Job previously pleaded with God in sadness to “6 Look away from him so that he may rest, until he fulfills his day like a hired worker.” (Job 14:6). Job also previously complained to God that he had been treated unfairly after a life of faithful service: “1 Is a person not forced to labor on earth, and are his days not like the days of a hired worker? 2 As a slave pants for the shade, and as a hired worker who eagerly waits for his wages,” (Job 7:1-2). Job saw himself as a conscripted servant for God. His Master determined the terms of his working conditions. Yet, through the lens of his suffering, he saw no hope of receiving his metaphorical servant’s wages. Job was again wrong about the reason for his suffering. But he was correct that every person has a master. Either you are in bondage to sin (Jo. 8:34; 2 Tim. 2:26), or God is the master over your life (Ro. 6:18, 20-21). No one can claim to have two masters (Matt. 6:24). Are you a servant of Jesus or of the desires of your flesh?
Job laments the finality of death. Job then lamented that, unlike the plants of the Earth, all mankind is destined to die and cannot hope to be reincarnated again on Earth: “7 For there is hope for a tree, when it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and its shoots will not fail. 8 Though its roots grow old in the ground, and its stump dies in the dry soil, 9 at the scent of water it will flourish and produce sprigs like a plant. 10 But a man dies and lies prostrate. A person passes away, and where is he? 11 As water evaporates from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dried up, 12 so a man lies down and does not rise. Until the heavens no longer exist, He will not awake nor be woken from his sleep.” (Job 14:7-12). Job’s lament pointed to the need for God to provide a way for mankind to live again after leaving their Earthly bodies. This was a need that only Jesus could fulfill.
Job lamented that no one could escape death3
Mankind is appointed one physical death with no hope of reincarnation. Consistent with Job’s words, the Bible clearly states that each person will die only once: “And inasmuch as it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment,” (Heb. 9:27; Gen. 3:19). “What man can live and not see death? Can he deliver his soul from the power of Sheol? Selah.” (Ps. 89:48). Thus, in 553 A.D., the Second Council of Constantinople declared that reincarnation is a hearsay. All must therefore look to God for eternal life.
Job questioned the ability of mankind to find life after death. Having reached the wrong conclusion regarding the source of his misfortune, Job questioned whether he could escape God’s wrath after death and if an eternal life without struggle was possible: “13 Oh that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You, that You would set a limit for me and remember me! 14 If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my struggle I will wait until my relief comes.” (Job 14:13-14). Although the Sadducees denied the existence of a resurrection, “This chapter proves Job believed in the possibility of resurrection, though he saw man differently than the tree that can be cut down and immediately renewed. Man lies down and does not rise till the heavens are no more (v. 12). But the assumption is that man will be raised.” (Frank Gaebelein, Elmer Smick, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, 1, 2 Kings, 1, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job (Zondervan Publishing House 1988) p. 923). The New Testament makes clear the answer to Job’s questions. Everyone will be resurrected after death. For the unsaved, there is no escaping God’s wrath. Yet, for believers, Jesus offers an eternal resurrection that will be free from all struggle and pain.
Every person faces a resurrection into one of two places. Job never doubted that life existed after death. He saw “Sheol” as the place where his soul would go after death. “When a cloud vanishes, it is gone; in the same way one who goes down to Sheol does not come up.” (Job 7:9). “If I hope for Sheol as my home, I make my bed in the darkness; . . . Will it go down with me to Sheol? Shall we together go down into the dust?” (Job 17:13, 16). But God later corrected Job’s incorrect presumptions about the afterlife (Job 38:2; 17). When Jesus was incarnate, the Jews who believed in an afterlife referred to their place of rest as Abraham’s bosom. Jesus referred to this place in the context of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk. 16:19-31). When Jesus died, He brought the righteous in Abraham’s bosom to heaven (Acts 2:31). He also spoke of many sitting with Abraham at the feast in heaven (Matt. 8:11; Lk. 14:15). For those who died after Jesus’ resurrection, He taught that each dead person is “asleep” until His return. His believers will be the first to rise: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (1 Thess. 4:16). According to the Bible, each person then faces judgement: “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” (2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Jo. 4:17). Jesus also taught that everyone would either live again in heaven (Jo 11:23-26; 1 Cor. 15:3-57) or a resurrected state of eternal suffering in outer darkness (Matt. 22:13). Thus, everyone should treat sin seriously and seek to follow God’s standards of righteousness. Sin will not cause a believer to lose their salvation. But believers will still need to provide an account of their lives at the judgment seat of Christ. Thus, you must prepare to meet Jesus with reverence and humility (Phil. 2:12).
Although God is slow to anger and quick to forgive, He will eventually judge sin. God is slow to anger and quick to forgive: “6 Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; 7 who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, . . .”’ (Ex. 34:6-7). “But You, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness and truth.” (Ps. 86:15; 103:8; 116:5). Jesus never changes (Heb. 13:8). He is slow to anger and quick to forgive because He wants all to come to repentance: “The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2 Pet. 3:9). “Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” (Ro. 2:4). Yet, because God is just (2 Thess. 1:6), He will one day judge all sin (Ps. 94:23). Jesus will one day come to judge the nations and His enemies (Joel 2:1; Rev. 8-9; Is. 11:4; 63:1-6; 2 Thess. 1:7-9; Rev. 9:6; Ps. 110:4-7). Satan and his demons will be judged in the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20). Thus, every person must take sin seriously by repenting of their sin and by fearing God by hating evil things (Prov. 8:13).
Believers will be resurrected into an incorruptible body in heaven. The New Testament answers Job’s question: “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14a). Through faith in Jesus, He promises that believers will be “born again” (Jo. 3:1-16). You also will be born again into paradise, without any pain and suffering: “We also wait for our change to come. · We shall be changed into immortality at the resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:50-53). · When we see Him, we will be like Him (1 John 3:2). · Our bodies will be gloriously transformed (Philippians 3:21). · David was confident he would be changed into God’s likeness (Psalm 17:15).” (David Guzik on Job 14).4
Job longs for the forgiveness of his sins and the restoration of God’s fellowship. Having convinced himself that God was punishing him for an alleged hidden sin, Job expressed his desire that God might one day forgive his sins and desire his fellowship again: “15 You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for the work of Your hands. 16 For now You number my steps, You do not observe my sin. 17 My wrongdoing is sealed up in a bag, and You cover over my guilt.” (Job 14:15-17). Job had again reached the wrong conclusions regarding the reasons for his afflictions. Yet, he spoke prophetically about what Jesus offers to all who face judgment because of sin. Through faith in Jesus, He offers to forgive your sins, redeem you, and restore your fellowship with God.
Job never claimed to be without any sins. Job hoped that God would number his steps, yet without observing his sin (Job 14:15). This was his hope that his allegedly hidden sin could be forgiven. In addition to reflecting Job’s humility, these words contradicted Zophar’s false charge that Job held himself out to be a man without sin (Job 11:4).
Jesus promises to forgive your sins when you confess them. While Job did not know if his hidden sins could be forgiven, the New Testament offers the assurance that Jesus will forgive any sin that you confess to Him: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). “I acknowledged my sin to You, and I did not hide my guilt; I said, “I will confess my wrongdoings to the LORD”; and You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah” (Ps. 32:5). If you are condemning yourself for a sin you have confessed, that is the enemy speaking in your head. Or, if you refuse to forgive someone who confesses their sins to Jesus, you are acting on the enemy’s behalf.
With faith in Jesus, He will also forget your sins. The prophet Isaiah revealed that God will also forget your sins: “I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.” (Is. 43:25). This promise is repeated in the New Testament (Heb. 8:12). Have you given thanks for Jesus’ mercy and grace in forgiving and forgetting your sins?
Jesus promises to redeem you. Job longed for what he believed would be a time when God would want to talk with him and value Job as His servant: “15 You will call, and I will answer You; You will long for the work of Your hands.” (Job 14:15). In effect, Job sought redemption in the form of God seeking his fellowship and valuing the man Job had become for God. Through faith in Jesus, He will redeem you from the curse of breaking the law: “Christ redeemed us from the curse of the Law, . . .” (Gal. 3:13). “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin in our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21). As a redeemed servant through the blood of Jesus, God longs to spend all eternity calling to you and spending time with you.
Job saw his life as without hope. Because Job believed that God viewed him as an enemy (Job 13:24), he believed that God was seeking to crush him, with no hope of restoration: “18 But the falling mountain crumbles away, and the rock moves from its place; 19 water wears away stones, its torrents wash away the dust of the earth; so You destroy a man’s hope. 20 You forever overpower him and he departs; You change his appearance and send him away. 21 His sons achieve honor, but he does not know it; or they become insignificant, and he does not perceive it. 22 However, his body pains him, and his soul mourns for himself.” (Job 14:18-22). Job previously lamented that: “6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and they come to an end without hope.” (Job 7:6). Although incorrect in his beliefs, Job spoke to the need all have for hope through Jesus.
Jesus offers you eternal joy in heaven. While Job did not know Jesus, believers today no longer have a reason to fear death. Jesus promises to resurrect believers and give them eternal joy in heaven (1 Thess. 4:13-17; Rev. 20:4-6; Is. 35:10; Is. 60:2). Paul described the joy of heaven as something beyond what humans have seen or experienced (1 Cor. 2:9). Are you sharing the good news with the broken-hearted?
Jesus loves you and longs for your fellowship. Through faith in Jesus, your fellowship with Him is assured: “God is faithful, through whom you were called into fellowship with His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9). Jesus spoke of the Parable of the Wedding Feast (Matt. 22:1-14) and the Parable of the Great Banquet (Lk. 14:15-24). Jesus will marry His Church at the wedding feast of the Lamb: “Then he said to me, ‘Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’’ And he said to me, ‘These are the true words of God.”’ (Rev. 19:9).
Image credit: Job 14 Bible Pictures: Job (bibleencyclopedia.com)↩︎