1 “I loathe my life;
I will give free utterance to my complaint;
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
2 I will say to God, Do not condemn me;
let me know why you contend against me.
3 Does it seem good to you to oppress,
to despise the work of your hands
and favor the designs of the wicked?
4 Have you eyes of flesh?
Do you see as man sees?
5 Are your days as the days of man,
or your years as a man’s years,
6 that you seek out my iniquity
and search for my sin,
7 although you know that I am not guilty,
and there is none to deliver out of your hand?
8 Your hands fashioned and made me,
and now you have destroyed me altogether.
9 Remember that you have made me like clay;
and will you return me to the dust?
10 Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese?
11 You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and knit me together with bones and sinews.
12 You have granted me life and steadfast love,
and your care has preserved my spirit.
13 Yet these things you hid in your heart;
I know that this was your purpose.
14 If I sin, you watch me
and do not acquit me of my iniquity.
15 If I am guilty, woe to me!
If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head,
for I am filled with disgrace
and look on my affliction.
16 And were my head lifted up, you would hunt me like a lion
and again work wonders against me.
17 You renew your witnesses against me
and increase your vexation toward me;
you bring fresh troops against me.
18 “Why did you bring me out from the womb?
Would that I had died before any eye had seen me
19 and were as though I had not been,
carried from the womb to the grave.
20 Are not my days few?
Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer
21 before I go—and I shall not return—
to the land of darkness and deep shadow,
22 the land of gloom like thick darkness,
like deep shadow without any order,
where light is as thick darkness.” – Job 10:1-22 ESV
Job continues his diatribe against God, refusing to hold back his resentment for the way the Almighty has treated him. From his perspective, he has nothing to fear from being brutally honest with God. His life can’t get much worse and if God has determined him to be guilty, there is little he can do about it. So, Job pulls out all the stops and levels a barrage of complaints against the One whom he has determined to be responsible for his unfortunate and undeserved circumstances.
Embittered by his unbearable suffering and loss, Job lashes out at God and demands that He explain Himself.
“Don’t simply condemn me—
tell me the charge you are bringing against me.
What do you gain by oppressing me?” – Job 10:2-3 NLT
Job was convinced that God was responsible for his circumstances but wanted to know what he had done to deserve such treatment. He felt that God owed him an explanation for all that had transpired and was not going to shut up until God spoke up.
In his pain and confusion, Job couldn’t resist the temptation to accuse God of injustice. As a child of God, he felt that he was being treated unfairly. After all, he could look around and see the ungodly getting away with all kinds of wickedness as if God had turned a blind eye. Yet, he seemed to believe that his status as a son of God was supposed to provide him with some kind of immunity from suffering and pain.
The recent events in Job’s life had been totally unexpected. He had no way of understanding the severity of the losses he had endured. None of it fit into the paradigm he held of God and his understanding of human existence. As a follower of Yahweh, Job believed himself to be on the winning side. He understood himself to be the work of God’s own hands and destined for blessings in this life – as long as he remained faithful. His theology led him to believe that God owed him the good life for having led a godly life, and his entire focus was fixated on the time between the womb and the tomb.
Job knew that he had a birth date and fully expected that he had a rapidly approaching death date. But he had a difficult time conceiving of anything beyond that point. In all his rantings and ravings, Job displays no concept of an afterlife. His words reveal a belief that everything that happens to a man must take place between the two bookends of birth and death. There is nothing before or after.
“I have only a few days left, so leave me alone,
that I may have a moment of comfort
before I leave—never to return—
for the land of darkness and utter gloom.
It is a land as dark as midnight,
a land of gloom and confusion,
where even the light is dark as midnight.’” – Job 10:20-22 NLT
And that gloomy perspective led Job to regret that he was ever born. His ontology was based on a faulty understanding of how the world works. Because he lived in a temporal state, he couldn’t fathom a concept like eternity. He saw nothing existing beyond the grave, simply describing it as a land of darkness, gloom, and doom. So, if the rest of his earthly life was going to be filled with nothing but trouble, he decided that death would be better than living. Non-existence would be preferable to the existential crisis in which he found himself.
Job couldn’t help but state the obvious: God was responsible for his very existence, and it looked like God was intent on bringing his life to an untimely and ignominious end.
“You formed me with your hands; you made me,
yet now you completely destroy me.
9 Remember that you made me from dust—
will you turn me back to dust so soon?” – Job 10:8-9 NLT
Once again, Job displays a dramatically different understanding of God than that of David. Both men understood the reality of suffering and wrestled with God’s involvement in it. But David viewed his birth as a blessing and not a curse.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed. – Psalm 139:13-16 NLT
David saw the hand of God in every aspect of his life, including those less-than-pleasant moments when God’s love seemed distant and difficult to comprehend. David was surrounded by wicked people who were out to take his life. He was suffering abuse and undergoing difficult circumstances, but he was able to say, “How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered! I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!” (Psalm 139:18-19 NLT).
What a contrast to the woe-is-me mentality of Job. This man, when faced with difficult life circumstances, was willing to admit that God had given him life but was quick to accuse God of having it out for him.
“You gave me life and showed me your unfailing love.
My life was preserved by your care.
“Yet your real motive—
your true intent—
was to watch me, and if I sinned,
you would not forgive my guilt.” – Job 10:12-14 NLT
Sadly, Job’s view of God was anything but optimistic. Unlike David, he didn’t perceive God as having precious thoughts about him. Rather than counting God’s many blessings, Job was busy taking inventory of all his losses – and he was far from happy with the results.
“…I am filled with shame and misery.
And if I hold my head high, you hunt me like a lion
and display your awesome power against me.
Again and again you witness against me.
You pour out your growing anger on me
and bring fresh armies against me.” – Job 10:15-17 NLT
Job had come to fear rather than revere God. He viewed God as his enemy, not his advocate. When Job looked at the future, he saw nothing but gloom. He felt completely abandoned by God and destined to a dark and dismal fate. But when faced with the inevitable difficulties of life, David reached a far different conclusion
I can never escape from your Spirit!
I can never get away from your presence!
If I go up to heaven, you are there;
if I go down to the grave, you are there.
If I ride the wings of the morning,
if I dwell by the farthest oceans,
even there your hand will guide me,
and your strength will support me.
I could ask the darkness to hide me
and the light around me to become night—
but even in darkness I cannot hide from you.
To you the night shines as bright as day.
Darkness and light are the same to you. – Psalm 139:7-12 NLT
As the apostle John wrote, “God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all” (1 John 1:5 NLT). He is not the author of light, but the eliminator of it. His light shines in the darkness. David understood that darkness was an inevitable part of living in a fallen world. He was well aware of the fact that life would have its highs and lows. But he was fully confident in God’s presence and providential care. His God was with him in the good times and the bad times. David refused to allow his circumstances to determine his concept of God. But Job still had much to learn about life and the love of God.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.