“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).
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.
Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? – Job 2:10 (JPS)
As I wrote yesterday in my blog, I was pleasantly surprised by the blessing that the Lord gave me. But something else happened, that disquieted me. After the phone call, we were about to start our morning prayers, and clearly I and my wife were very nervous. How would the day be? Would I be able to travel for a whole day? How about eating out? We were very nervous and even thought of asking our cousin to postpone the trip. Then as we started to pray, something happened.
Suddenly the Spirit of the LORD moved us to realize our errors. Say, if the LORD has given a severe affliction yesterday, like I had to endure last year, what would have we done? We would have accepted it as a lesson that the Lord is teaching us, that He would give enough grace and strength to go through the trial, we would have praised Him for considering us worthy to stand such a trial and we would have thanked Him for the lesson He taught us using the trial. Yes, we would have accepted the evil from the hand of God, because we know His loving hand is behind the rod that chastens us.
But the moment a blessing comes our way, something good comes our way, we are wary of so many things that could go wrong. Our attitude is so tuned out, that till we started praying and the Holy Spirit made us realize, we did not understand that this good, this blessing is also from the same loving hand of our Father. That He may choose this very blessing to teach a valuable lesson to us. That He would give enough grace and strength to go through the day. That if I praised Him for the affliction, then I must praise Him more than ever for this blessing; thank Him that He considered this poor man’s prayer and is showing me a favor that I do not deserve; that even in this blessing, the good Teacher has a way to teach His lessons.
Yes, the Lord rules over everything – both good and bad; whatever reaches you, who is under His mighty arm, reaches you only because God our Father allows it; whatever we receive, an affliction or a blessing, it is only because our Lord and Redeemer Jesus Christ has given us enough grace to sustain, to endure without falling.
So, for the last one year, the Lord taught me that He is the Ruler over everything and whatever He allows in my life is aimed at my sanctification and edification; but my mind has taken it only for the afflictions and trials. Yesterday the LORD corrected my learning. God our Lord is the Ruler of EVERYTHING. And, if we humble ourselves, we can always learn from our blessings as well as from our afflictions. True devotion is not only accepting evil from God, like Job did; but also accepting the two-fold blessing in an equanimous manner, just like Job did. Amen.