Category Archives: Bible Characters

Let the Teacher choose the School – The Prison

You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I AM. – John 13:13 (NKJV)

Joseph was called for greater things. Even as a child, he had two dreams that told everyone, including his jealous brothers and his over-protective father, that he was destined for great things. Yet, there was one small problem. For all the glory and honor the Patriarchs possessed, they – Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were tent-dwellers, sojourners passing through the Promised Land. They still were not city dwellers; naturally, any little inclination they would have had, would have vaporised with Sodom and Gomorrah, and with what happened to the progeny of Lot.

But the plan that the Lord had for Joseph included him being a city dweller, to live in a mansion, and take care of various chores. How many times it has happened with us? We have received great promises, but we have no idea about the demands that have to be met before those promises are fulfilled. So, the Lord took Joseph away from the protective hands of his father, from the safety of his tents in Canaan. Though he was sold as a slave, he was bought by Potiphar, the chief officer of Pharaoh, and the commander of the royal guard (Genesis 39:1).

There Joseph learned, though as a slave, what it meant to live in a mansion, working with so many others, and slowly being in charge of all of them. This was his calling, and again, I would have thought his education was complete and when the time was right, God would fulfil His promises to Joseph. Yet again, how little I know of God’s way of teaching!

Just like David, who had the basic training needed in the palaces of Saul and the battle fields of Israel, Joseph had his basic training in the mansion of Potiphar. But as it was with David, there was more training needed, for Joseph to become the refined gold that the Lord had in His mind. And like David, in one day, Joseph was taken out of the comforts of Potiphar’s mansion, and was thrown into the confines of a prison. And the most intense training that he needed, started there.

The Bible tells that the Word of the Lord refined him (Psalm 105:19) right there. Just like David became a shining diamond in the wilderness of Judah, Joseph became refined gold in the prisons of Egypt. As someone pointed out: If Joseph had not been Egypt’s prisoner, he would never have been Egypt’s governor; the iron chain about his feet ushered in the golden chain about his neck.

Dear friend, are you wondering why God has suddenly put you in a prison? Why are you confined to four walls, when you have all the basic training needed? Because the Lord needs you to be refined by His Word. For His plans are greater for you than you imagine. So, let His Word refine us when we are inside the prison walls. So, when we come out, may everyone be astonished as how pure we have become. Amen. Glory to be our God and to His Son Jesus Christ, and may His grace be upon us.

Psalm 105_19

Advertisements

Being enlarged when in distress

“Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress” (Psalm 4:1, KJV).

This is one of the grandest testimonies ever given by man to the moral government of God. It is not a man’s thanksgiving that he has been set free from suffering. It is a thanksgiving that he has been set free through suffering: “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.” He declares the sorrows of life to have been themselves the source of life’s enlargement.

And have not you and I a thousand times felt this to be true? It is written of Joseph in the dungeon that “the iron entered into his soul.” We all feel that what Joseph needed for his soul was just the iron. He had seen only the glitter of the gold. He had been rejoicing in youthful dreams; and dreaming hardens the heart. He who sheds tears over a romance will not be most apt to help reality; real sorrow will be too unpoetic for him. We need the iron to enlarge our nature. The gold is but a vision; the iron is an experience. The chain which unites me to humanity must be an iron chain. That touch of nature which makes the world akin is not joy, but sorrow; gold is partial, but iron is universal.

My soul, if thou wouldst be enlarged into human sympathy, thou must be narrowed into limits of human suffering. Joseph’s dungeon is the road to Joseph’s throne. Thou canst not lift the iron load of thy brother if the iron hath not entered into thee. It is thy limit that is thine enlargement. It is the shadows of thy life that are the real fulfillment of thy dreams of glory. Murmur not at the shadows; they are better revelations than thy dreams. Say not that the shades of the prison-house have fettered thee; thy fetters are wings– wings of flight into the bosom of humanity. The door of thy prison-house is a door into the heart of the universe. God has enlarged thee by the binding of sorrow’s chain.
– George Matheson

Psalm 4_1

Job’s Wife – Like a foolish woman

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

3. Job’s Wife – The LORD Understands Depression

4. Job’s Wife – The Silent Sufferer

5. Job’s Wife – Her Broken Heart

6. Job’s Wife – To Bless or To Curse

7. Job’s Wife – Blessing While Sinning

8. Job’s Wife – Satanic Sarcasm

9. Job’s Wife – Bless God and die!

“You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
– Job 2:10 (NIV)

In the last blog about Job’s wife, I explained how Job’s wife did not ask Job to curse God and commit suicide; instead, she actually wanted Job to thank God for all the good things He had given them in their life and to prepare for death. However, that explanation has one last hurdle to cross – that would be Job’s response to his wife. “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?” How could Job respond like this, if his wife was not asking him to curse God and kill himself?

Let us note that Job did not say that she was a foolish woman; instead says that she was talking like a foolish woman. So, she was apparently virtuous, but the recent happenings in their life made her talk like a foolish woman. But if she said, “Bless God and die!”, how could that be foolish?

Let me explain it from what I have undergone in the last 16 months, since I have become sick. There are times, I have praised the Lord and thanked Him for all the good things He has done for me, for all the sins He has forgiven, and for all the trials He has allowed in my life, and have asked God earnestly to take me away. If I turn back today and see those moments, two things are very noticeable. The first one is: those were the moments of weaknesses, not of strength. Second is: I have uttered those prayers only if either I had lost hope on all the promises of God and/or if I was unable to bear the excruciating pain I was undergoing. So, if you look carefully, I blessed God and prepared for my death, only when I was feeling weak. Whatever the reasons are, when I blessed God and prepared to die, it was not the right thing to do, but a very foolish thing to do. I did it, because either I had no hope or no strength left in me. I did not look at the Lord for hope or for strength.

So, when Job’s wife asked him to bless God and die, she was not saying it because of a grateful heart; nor because she knew her husband’s time was up. She said so, because she did not have any hope of Job being delivered from his disease, and/or, she wanted Job’s suffering to end.

Note that when she lost all her children and her fortune in one single day, she did not say so. Because she still had Job. She still had her upright, noble, blameless man, who held fast to his integrity, and was appreciated by the Lord Himself. There was a chance for Job to earn everything he had lost; there was a chance that they could bear more children together. But when he started suffering and his entire body was covered with boils, the scintilla of hope she had had vanished. She could not see any more good thing happening – ever again, in their life. So, she wanted Job’s pain to end sooner than later. She was looking all this from the world’s point of view – hence it was foolish.

Job’s answer explains her point of view more clearly. They were getting so many good things from God. They had ten children, they had money, a reputation to die for, and they were very prosperous. But did she ever feel that this was the zenith of their prosperity, that from the next day onwards, it would be downhill, so they must bless God and die? No, she never felt that way. Most of us never will. When we get blessing upon blessing from God, when we are prosperous by His grace, we would never think of blessing God and preparing for our death. Even when we know that we have received all the good things we were hoping to get from the Lord, we would not ask for that. Because there is always a hope that our tomorrow may be better than today.

But when things go downhill, when our afflictions seem to continue longer than we expected, when the pain becomes unbearable, we lose hope that tomorrow may be better than today. Instead, we have no hope left for a better tomorrow.

If we really believe that the Lord we serve is God Almighty, that everything that happens to us comes only with His explicit permission, that whatever happens, happens for the good of us, then even in the darkest of times, we will find hope; like David did at Ziklag. That was why David proclaimed that he would have lost heart, if he had not believed that he would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of living (Psalm 27:13). As the Scriptures point out that anyone who is among the living has hope, for a living dog is better than a dead lion (Ecclesiastes 9:4).

Ecclesiastes 9_4

Job’s response could be paraphrased like this: we received good from God, hoping that tomorrow He would bless us more. So, why are we not receiving the evil from God, with the same attitude; that tomorrow, He may send blessings on our way? And as long as I live, there is hope that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. But if I die, then there is no hope left. So, don’t talk like a foolish woman.

Yes, dear friend in Christ, as long as we are alive, there is always a hope that our God will deliver us from evil. Let us not yield to the circumstances that are fleeting and talk foolishly against the Spoken Word of God, which does not change. Yes, Jesus Christ does not change. HE is the Same yesterday, today, tomorrow, forever and ever. May the LORD God bless us. And I thank our Lord for helping me to conclude this small series on Job’s wife. Thank you for joining me. I hope it has been a blessing for you too. Praise be to His Name alone. Amen.

Psalm 27_13

Job’s Wife – Bless God and die!

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

3. Job’s Wife – The LORD Understands Depression

4. Job’s Wife – The Silent Sufferer

5. Job’s Wife – Her Broken Heart

6. Job’s Wife – To Bless or To Curse

7. Job’s Wife – Blessing While Sinning

8. Job’s Wife – Satanic Sarcasm

In the previous blogs, by the grace of God, I hope I have explained how the word ‘barak’ was mistranslated as ‘curse’ in the three instances in the first two chapters of the Book of Job. It still leaves us with that one verse that matters the most. Those words Job’s wife utters in Job 2:9.

And his wife said to him, “Are you still holding fast to your integrity? Bless God and die!” (LITV)

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (NKJV)

Now, if we consider that ‘barak’ means to bless, and hence Job’s wife did say “Bless God” instead of “Curse God”, we have two questions that need to be answered. The first question would be why if she said to bless God, did she add “die” to that? To answer that question, let me talk about a conversation that happened in July this year.

I met this elderly couple who have been ministers of God, for more years than my age is. For a long time, the church they pastored to was considered a beacon of Light and Truth to many people in our town. The church members were delivered from many bondages; the believers prospered; 24/7 someone would be praying in the church; youth would be praising the Lord even at 3 AM; many people were being saved; many believers became servants of God and branched out. It was during this time, the Lord gave them great promises regarding the future of the church and various plans He has for them.

But for the last 20 years or so, things took a rough turn. Except on Sundays and Fridays, when there are appointed times for worship and prayer, no believer would come to pray. Many believers suffered severe financial losses. Those who came to the church with myriad of problems were not delivered any more. For few years, there was no baptism at all in the church. The church members seem to be lost. The ministers themselves have fallen on hard times for quite a long time.

When I was talking to the elderly ministers, I was talking about the great promises that the Lord has given them and to my surprise, they were not giving much importance to those promises. They told me that they were not focussing on those promises anymore. They had had a good run. For many years, the church was thriving, the members were prosperous, and God had used them to save so many souls. They are grateful for all those blessings. They have decided to spend the rest of their lives to thank God for the good things He has done in their life, for letting them do His ministries faithfully for so long, and to await either the Second Coming of our Lord or the sweet deliverance of death. They have, they declared in a firm voice, absolutely no compunctions about the various promises not fulfilled. They had a fruitful life, they are thankful for that, and they have decided to bless the Lord for all those good things He has in their life and to prepare for death.

“Bless God and die!”

I hope that conversation has made it clear what it means to ‘bless God and die.’ Job’s wife was not telling him to blaspheme God and then to commit suicide. She was telling him, instead of hoping that things would change for him, he must bless God for all the good things he had enjoyed in his life and be prepared to meet his Creator.

Now that may sound alien to us, but the Bible does have a record of such an instance. As we know, the 11th chapter of Hebrews is known as the “Hall of Fame of Heroes of Faith”, and for a good reason. But if we read carefully, we will see certain oddities in the names of the heroes, and also what things are considered to be “of faith” by the Spirit of God. Most striking of those oddities would be what had been recorded for Jacob.

There were many incidents in the life of Jacob, where he exhibited great faith in trusting God against all odds. Yet, the Scripture records the final moment of Jacob, as an act of faith, that deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. And that record is:

By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff. – Hebrews 11:21 (NKJV)

Jacob, as he was dying, leaned on the top of his staff, which accompanied him in his lonely walk when he ran away from his brother, and worshiped the Lord; apparently Jacob, knowing his death was imminent, was blessing God for all the good things He had done in his life, and died.

This was what Job’s wife was asking him to do: Bless God and die!

However, that leaves with still one more question to answer… Job’s response to that. God willing, we will see discuss his response tomorrow. Peace be with us all. Amen.

Hebrews 11_21

Job’s Wife – Satanic Sarcasm

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

3. Job’s Wife – The LORD Understands Depression

4. Job’s Wife – The Silent Sufferer

5. Job’s Wife – Her Broken Heart

6. Job’s Wife – To Bless or To Curse

7. Job’s Wife – Blessing While Sinning

As I wrote in one of the previous blogs, the Hebrew word for blessing, ‘barak’ is translated as ‘curse’ in the Scriptures four times only. All those four instances occur in the first two chapters in the Book of Job. Yesterday, we saw that the first instance mentioned in Job 1:5 is mistranslated because of our limited understanding of sin. Today, God willing, we will see the next two verses where the word ‘barak’ is translated as ‘curse’.

Those are Job 1:11 and Job 2:5.

“But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” (Job 1:11, NIV)

“But stretch out Your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” (Job 2:5, NIV)

I have grouped them together, since both have identical words, both were uttered by Satan, and both times in the presence of the Lord Almighty. If you use ‘bless’ instead of ‘curse’, this is what we get.

“But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely bless You to Your face.” (Job 1:11, my paraphrase using the literal translation of the word ‘barak’)

“But stretch out Your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely bless You to Your face.” (Job 2:5, my paraphrase using the literal translation of the word ‘barak’)

Now, I am sure you can see that the sarcastic tone is more evident in this original translation. The common translation simply says that if God allowed evil to happen in the life of Job, he would curse the Lord. But the original, literal translation says this: right now, since God is protecting Job and made his life prosperous, Job is blessing Him. But let God stretch out His hand and allow evil to happen in the life of Job, then he will not just bless God, but will bless Him to His face.

The devil is being sarcastic here, and it is more evident when we use the original word intended by the Scriptures.

God willing, we will deal with the actual words that Job’s wife said tomorrow. May the Spirit of the Lord be with us. Amen.

Job’s Wife – Blessing While Sinning

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

3. Job’s Wife – The LORD Understands Depression

4. Job’s Wife – The Silent Sufferer

5. Job’s Wife – Her Broken Heart

6. Job’s Wife – To Bless or To Curse

So it was, when the days of feasting had run their course, that Job would send and sanctify them, and he would rise early in the morning and offer burnt offerings according to the number of them all. For Job said, “It may be that my sons have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” Thus Job did regularly. – Job 1:5 (NKJV)

In the previous blog, I mentioned that the word ‘barak’ was translated as ‘curse’ in four verses in the Book of Job. The first instances is in Job 1:5, when Job said that probably his sons had sinned and cursed God in their hearts. The literal translation must read as: “Perhaps my sons have sinned, yet blessed God in their hearts” (YLT). So how do we understand that?

First let us see why the translators changed the meaning of ‘barak’ from blessing to curse, based on the context. Since Job was worried about his sons committing sins while being drunk, we won’t imagine that the sin would involve blessing God. Most of the drunkards curse God, or take the Lord’s Name in vain. So, changing the meaning of ‘barak’ from blessing to curse fits into our simple understanding of sin.

Simple understanding of sin is quite ‘simple, it is white and black in nature. This is sin, this is not. So, we group curse with sin, because both are dark in nature. We won’t group blessing with sin, because they are polar opposites. But, true Christians, who have battled with sin, like Apostle Paul writes about in Romans chapter 7, would know that sin is not that easy to define. It is not a simple – “they were drunk, they had sinned, therefore they would have surely cursed God”.

Sin makes people stupid. It blinds their eyes. Now, let us read the Young’s Literal Translation again.

“Perhaps my sons have sinned, yet blessed God in their hearts.”

Can we bless God while sinning? Can we give thanks to God, while doing something unholy? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. In my Christian life, I have seen three types of people thanking God while sinning.

1. The flippant ones: I have seen some rich kids, who are Church-goers, brought up in good Christian family, getting wasted on one of those days, spending so much money on sin, and say, “Thank God, my old man is loaded.” Did they really thank God? No. But deep in sin, in a flippant manner, they thank God for giving their parents so much money.

2. The guilty ones: This is the majority crowd. I have seen young believers thanking God so profusely, if we don’t know why they were thanking God, we would be easily deceived. I have spoken with some of them, and have found that they were leading a double life. They have committed sin knowingly and all the time, they have been praying, “Lord, please let no one know about this sin. Please. If You have to punish, You punish me. But, let no one else find out.” And when they are not caught red-handed in their sins, they actually thanked God for the ‘mercy’ He has shown them. I mean, they sincerely pray to God while sinning, and thank God for His mercies. It took me a while to make them understand that sin is an abomination to God and instead of asking Him to cover your sins, next time pray that you do not sin.

3. The ones with no chance: Many years back, I had this Christian friend who used to visit me during weekends and we would go to the Church together. One weekend, he was a no-show. But when I came back from the church, there he was, with a guilt-ridden face. I found out that he had a sexual encounter with a woman he did not even know, and hence did not feel like coming to the church. When I heard this, I just asked, “What were you thinking?” And he blurted out his answer and it sort of stunned me. His answer was, “I guess, I was really thanking God for this.” He was sincere in his response and when I probed further, he explained. He was from a strict Christian family, where even looking at a TV ad was considered a deadly sin. Because of his upbringing, he had trouble talking with girls, and hence had no friends from the opposite sex. Boys also had avoided him, because he was considered “a walking woman repellent”. So, he was very sure that he was never going to marry and that he would be die as a virgin. So, when he got a chance, though he knew it was a sin, he was grateful that God had given him a chance after all. He was genuine in his thanksgiving.

Now, I know it is stupid. Blessing God for a chance given to sin. But, sin makes us stupid. It makes us to do stupid things. I had seen people doing stupid things because of sin, was astonished how could they be that stupid, and then went and did those very stupid things because I had fallen in sin. Is it hypocritical? Yes, it definitely is. Is it inappropriate? Without any question. Yet, people keep doing that, because sin makes us hypocritical and stupid.

Now stop and think about Job’s sons. They had everything to live a luxurious life; yet, the Bible tells that on his appointed day (Job 1:4), each would arrange a feast in their houses. The appointed day refers to their birthdays. These were rich kids. Their day to day life could have been a feast. But once a year, on their birthdays, they had feasts. Even then, the next morning, they had to wake up early, so that they could be sanctified by their righteous father. In such an austere life, Job had every reason to believe that they might have blessed the Lord while sinning. And it is worse than sin itself – thanking God for giving a chance to sin, implies that God is the reason for sin. It is against the nature of God Most Holy. It is blasphemy and scandalous. It is also hypocritical. In every way, blessing while sinning is worse than sinning and cursing. That was why Job called his sons early in the morning to sanctify them.

Job had understood human nature better than us, and knowing how sin would make us do stupid things, like blessing God for a chance to sin, he said: “Perhaps my sons have sinned, yet blessed God in their hearts.” It is our limited understanding which changed the meaning of the word ‘barak’ so that we understand the verse as we wanted to. Sin makes us stupid. Let us accept and praise the Holy Spirit for opening our eyes so that we can see the price of our stupidity, the Savior Who was crucified for our iniquities.

Sin

Job’s Wife – To Bless or To Curse

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

3. Job’s Wife – The LORD Understands Depression

4. Job’s Wife – The Silent Sufferer

5. Job’s Wife – Her Broken Heart

He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. – Numbers 23:20 (NKJV)

In one of the previous blogs, I mentioned that to really get what Job’s wife said, we need to understand one of the well-known words in the Bible, a word we all know well, thanks to the American politics. And, that word is the Hebrew word, “barak.” I remember when Barack Obama became the Democratic nominee, beating Hillary Clinton, everyone I talked to, knew the meaning of the word “barak’ – “to bless” or “a blessing.” Yes, this Hebrew word means either “to bless” or “a blessing”. In that form, we have other derivatives, like “giving thanks to”, “to kneel down”, etc. But the word is associated with only beneficent connotations.

In Job 2:9, the last few words that Job’s wife are translated as thus: “Curse God and die!” These are the words that have made Job’s wife being compared to Jezebel, Michal and other unsavory women in the Bible.

Almost all the translations have these words – except two translations. They have a slightly different, but very significant translation, when I first saw those translations, I was actually very confused. One is Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) and the other one is Literal Translation of the Holy Bible (LITV). And both these translations have translated that verse like this:

“Bless God and die”. – Job 2:9 (YLT, LITV)

Now, for one translation to differ from another is not new; everyone looks at each word from a different context. But here the translations are not just different, they are exact opposite to what we generally have read in the Bible. That’s not something we often see in the Bible. Also note that these two translations are “literal” translations. That means, they translate the words as they are, and do not change the meaning of the words based on other considerations.

So, what did Job’s wife actually say? If you look at the Hebrew word used by Job’s wife, you will surprised to see that she had used the word “barak” here. That is, what she actually said was “Bless God and die!” Except, it has been translated into “Curse God and die” for so many years. Why?

In the KJV translation, the word ‘barak’ is used 330 times. Out of which, 324 times, it refers to “blessing” or one of the positive connotations. Twice it is translated as “to blaspheme”, both used in the account of Jezebel murdering Naboth in 1 Kings chapter 21. We will not worry about that translation for now. But out of 330 times, 4 times, the word ‘barak’ is translated as “to curse” or “curse”. That is 1.21%, and any student of Science would tell you to ignore that translation. However, we cannot apply such logistics to the Word of God. So, let us go a little deep into this particular translation.

All the 4 times, where the word ‘barak’ is translated as ‘curse’ occurs in the Book of Job and all those 4 occurrences are in the very first two chapters. Those four verses are:

1. When a period of feasting had run its course, Job would send and have them purified. Early in the morning he would sacrifice a burnt offering for each of them, thinking, “Perhaps my children have sinned and cursed God in their hearts.” This was Job’s regular custom. (Job 1:5, NIV, emphasis mine)

2. “But stretch out Your hand and strike everything he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” (This is Satan telling God what would be Job’s response if he lost all his fortunes, Job 1:11, NIV, emphasis mine)

3. “But stretch out Your hand and strike his flesh and bones, and he will surely curse You to Your face.” (Once again, Satan telling God about how Job would react if the Lord touches his flesh and bones, Job 2:5, NIV, emphasis mine)

And finally, we have the ‘infamous’ words of Job’s wife.

4. His wife said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (Job 2:9, NIV, emphasis mine)

So, why would the interpreters translate ‘barak’ as ‘curse’ only in these four incidents? Something surely is lost in translation. We will see these verses individually and may the Spirit of the Lord help us in understanding the Scriptures as it is written. When God has blessed, it is not right for us to reverse it. (Numbers 23:20)

Numbers 23_20

Job’s Wife – Her Broken Heart

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

3. Job’s Wife – The LORD Understands Depression

4. Job’s Wife – The Silent Sufferer

Who can bear a broken spirit? – Proverbs 18:14 (NKJV)

Imagine the life of Job’s wife just a day before calamity struck her family. Her husband was prosperous, well-respected – both in this world and in the presence of God, and he was the greatest of all the people of the East. She had seven sons and three daughters, who lived in such a unity. Each son’s birthday was celebrated by all the brothers and sisters together. From what Job said later, we understand that they treated their servants well, and in turn they were respected well. From the outset, it would look like that she would be the poster woman for “The Virtuous Woman” from Proverbs 31. Life was good. Serene. Blessed.

Then 24 hours later, she had lost everything. All her children were killed; all their valuable were raided by the enemies and all their servants were dead. Just in 24 hours, her life changed from being perfect to completely void. Yet, the Scriptures do not record her of wailing, or cursing God, or berating Job for their losses. Even when Job said, “The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (Job 1:21, NKJV), she did not rail against him. She suffered her losses stoically, reflecting that she was, indeed, noble in nature.

Then one day, she saw her loving husband covered with boils, from bottom to top, sitting in the middle of the ashes, scarping himself hard with a potsherd. It is one thing to suffer a sudden loss, but to suffer a war of attrition, where you are witnessing your loved one suffer, right before your eyes, without an end in the sight, is entirely a different thing; such an attrition will break even the strongest of the spirits. And who can bear a broken spirit?

If you have seen your loved one suffering in pain every day, withering away daily, right before your eyes, with no hope whatsoever, you already know how difficult it is.

Our Immanuel, Jesus Christ, knew that the death and the eventual burial of Lazarus was going to bring great glory to our Father, that the Son of God also would be glorified, and that Lazarus would come back alive and his entire family was going to rejoice. Yet when He saw Mary and Martha were weeping, John records that the Lord groaned in the spirit and was troubled (John 11:33) and eventually, the Lord Himself wept (John 11:35). If our Lord, knowing what He was about to do, groaned in the spirit and was troubled, and if the Lord Himself wept, then imagine how much He understands how brittle our hearts. Jesus knows our weaknesses more than we do. And He sympathizes with us and is compassionate towards our broken spirit.

Suffering and afflictions are at times hard. But waiting without any sliver of hope is also equally hard. If afflictions affect our body and mind, attrition breaks our spirit. It is with a broken spirit, Job’s wife uttered those six words. But, even then, she did not speak against the Lord or even against her husband. As they say, something was lost in translation. God willing, may the Spirit of our Lord lead us to the Truth as it is in the Scriptures.

Proverbs 18_14

Job’s Wife – The Silent Sufferer

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

3. Job’s Wife – The Lord Understands Depression

“And a sword will pierce your own soul too.” – Luke 2:35 (NIV)

If we read the first two chapters of Luke carefully, we will notice how many times and how many different people called Mary, the mother of our Lord, as blessed. Imagine the joy she would have felt with so many people blessing her and her Child. Also, imagine how jubilant she would have felt when Simeon took Child Jesus in his withering hands, and blessed God, and finally blessed Joseph and Mary. But, he did not stop there, did he? He went on to add that one last line: And a sword will pierce your own soul too.

Now, the passion of Jesus Christ is the fulfilment of the Lord’s just nature. Our Lord is a Righteous Judge and Jesus had to pay the price for our sins. That is why He came as the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. But why must a sword pierce Mary’s soul? What part does her suffering have in our salvation? None whatsoever. Yet, she had to suffer silently as she saw her Divine Son being crucified, as a sword pierced her own soul.

Yes dear friends, whenever God chooses someone to be His chosen vessel, when God decides someone must go through the furnace to be purified, there would be a silent sufferer whose very soul is pierced by a sword. People will be focussing on those who are the clay in the Great Potter’s hands, but no one will notice the silent sufferer who is standing by side, with tears and prayers in their hearts. People will looking at the molten silver in the crucible, the bright shiny gold being melted in the furnace, but no one will notice that sword piercing the soul of the loved ones of those vessels.

I noticed that many commentators had pointed out that the devil spared Job’s wife so that he could use her to torment Job and aggravate his suffering. Did the devil really spare Job’s wife? The Scriptures says otherwise.

In Job 2:5, the devil asks the Lord “to stretch out His hands, and touch Job’s bone and flesh, and then Job would surely curse God to His face!” Since it was Job who was suffering, we assume that his wife was spared. But compare carefully what Satan tells… Job’s bone and flesh… with another part of Scriptures, which we are very familiar with, what Adam tells about his wife: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” (Genesis 2:23, NKJV, emphasis mine).

No, dear friend, the devil did not spare Job’s wife. For he knows better than us, that when we are afflicted by him, a sword will pierce the souls of our dear ones. It can be our spouse, our parents or our children. But, don’t forget that as you are suffering openly, there is a silent sufferer nearby, whose soul is pierced by a sword, because of what you are undergoing. And dear friends, if you are blessed to witness someone being formed by the Great Potter, spare a thought for the silent sufferer who is nearby; they may have a gentle smile in their face, but surely their very soul is pierced by sword. And may the Lord of Job’s wife bless those silent sufferers, just like He blessed Job’s wife.

Luke 2_35

Job’s Wife – The Lord understands depression

1. Job’s Wife – Introduction

2. Job’s Wife – Balaam’s Wise Utterance

The Lord our God created us. There is nothing in us that would surprise the Omniscient God. In His infinite wisdom, the Lord knows everything about us. We cannot hide anything from our Creator. Everything is naked before His eyes. Even from far off, He understands our thoughts. Even before we speak a word, even as it is formed in our tongue, the Lord knows. That’s why David says, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me” (Psalm 139:6, NKJV).

In His mercies, our Father in Heaven also understands depression. Whether it was Moses, the great prophet or David, the man after God’s own heart, they had suffered depression. Hope deferred makes the heart sick, declares Solomon (Proverbs 13:12, NKJV). Even the great heroes of faith suffered from depression, as things did not turn out as they expected. As time ran out, they had to endure their hearts losing their confidence.

In his utter depression, a broken-hearted Elijah pleaded with God to take his life as he was not better than his ancestors (1 Kings 19:4). And there is something we need to notice here. Though Elijah said that prayer in depression, the Lord never reprimanded him for that. More importantly, He did answer Elijah’s prayer: the Lord did take away Elijah, except not in the way the prophet wanted. This is our God. This is our Father in Heaven.

The Lord understands depression. When we utter certain things because we are depressed, He knows the broken heart behind those utterances. When we say few things that we would not normally say, our Father in Heaven knows that we are saying such things because we are downcast. What the Lord does not like, what He hates is murmuring against Him. But a broken-heart, the Lord does not despise. In face, the Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit (Psalm 34:18). Our Great Physician binds those who are heart-broken, and heals them.

Of course, the greatest depression we see is in the Garden of Gethsemane. Our Savior Jesus Christ came for one purpose – to die on the Cross, so that we are saved. Yet the night before, He suffered so much in his anguish, he sweat drops of blood (Luke 22:44). Our Teacher’s soul was so deeply grieved to the point of death, in His depression, He asked the Father “to remove that cup from Him.” But regaining His composure, He added, “Yet not what I will, but what You will” (Mark 14:36). Again God our Father did not reproach His Son for that prayer. Since we know that our Lord Jesus is without sin, His utterance “to remove that cup from Him” was not a sin.

It is in this light, we need to look at the utterance of Job’s wife. By the Spirit of God, hopefully, before we finish this series, we will be able to see that her ‘irate’ directive to Job was actually very similar to the prayer of Elijah, and to an extent, and I am saying this with utmost humility and trepidation, is similar to our Lord’s prayer asking that the cup be removed from Him.

But to reach that point, we need to understand one of the well-known words in the Bible; a word we all know well for nearly a decade now, thanks to the American politics.

Psalm 34_18