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Man that is born of a woman is of few days, he's full of trouble. He comes forth like a flower, and is cut down: he flees also as a shadow [or the shadow on the sundial], and continues not ( Job 14:1-2 )
Oh, what a pessimistic kind of view of life. "Man that is born of a woman is of a few days and full of troubles." Cheer up. It will soon be over. You're of few days but it's full of trouble. "Like a flower you blossom out but then you're cut down. Like the declining shadow on the sundial." You're soon off into oblivion. You cease to exist.
And do you open your eyes upon such a one, and bring me into judgment with thee? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one. Seeing his days are determined, the number of his months are with thee, thou hast appointed his bounds that he cannot pass; Turn from him, that he may rest, till he shall accomplish, as an hireling, his day ( Job 14:3-6 ).
Job is really here sort of speaking to God now.
For there is hope of a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, as a tender branch thereof it will not cease. Though the root thereof wax old in the earth, and the stock thereof die in the ground; Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant ( Job 14:7-9 ).
Now Job says, "There is no hope for man, he's cut down and that's it, that's the end. Now even for a tree there is hope if you cut a tree off, it may spring up again out of the trunk, or out of the roots. There's hope for a tree, that it might bud forth again even if it's cut down. But for man there is no hope. You cease to exist. You're cut off and that's it."
The man dies, and wastes away: yea, man gives up the ghost, and where is he? As the waters fail from the sea, and the flood decays and dries up: So man lies down, and rises not: till the heavens be no more, they shall not awake, nor be raised out of their sleep. Oh that you would hide me in the grave, that you would keep me secret, until thy wrath be past, that you would appoint me a set time, and remember me! ( Job 14:10-13 )
Oh, Job said that it was just all over. That I would go into that oblivion. Now, again, we must remember that Job is speaking not divinely inspired truths. The things that Job are saying about death cannot be taken for doctrinal truth. This is Job talking. This is Job talking out of his own limited knowledge and understanding. This is Job expressing his own ideas of what death is, not what God's truth is about death, but what his own ideas are about death. And the Jehovah Witnesses, Seventh Day Adventists, and others have made a tragic mistake in turning to the book of Job for their proof text for the soul sleep doctrines. In the thirty-eighth chapter, when God comes on the scene, and God begins to question Job, the first thing that God says is, "Who is this who darkeneth with words of counsel without wisdom or without knowledge?" All you guys talking all these things and you don't know what you're talking about. Then God said to Job, "Okay, gird yourself up, I'll ask you a few questions. You think you've got the answers, let Me ask you a few questions. Number one, have you been beyond the gates of death? You know what's there? You've been talking about death, 'Oh death come, you know, hide me in oblivion, and all. There I'll know nothing. There everything is silent, and all.' Hey, have you been there? Do you know what's going on there?" And God rebuked him for the statements that he was making concerning death, because he didn't know anything about it. And thus, it is absolutely wrong to go to the book of Job to find scripture proof text for soul sleep.
Job then in verse Job 14:14 cried out, "If a man dies, does he go on living?" Now this is one of the basic questions that lies deep underneath a lot of crud in all of our lives. When you get right down to basic issues. When you get right down to the bottom line. What are the really important things? Surely it isn't what you take in your lunch pail for lunch tomorrow, or what shoes shall you wear, or what suit shall you wear to work. The really important things are questions like Job is asking now. And these are the questions that are deep down in every man, and when someone who is close to you dies, it becomes very important to you. If a man dies, does he go on living? Or is death the end? Is death the final chapter? Is the book closed and is it all over when a man dies? Is that the end? Or does he go on living? Is there a dimension or sphere where life continues? Is there a continuation of life after death?
Jesus answered this question of Job. Up until the time of Jesus there was no adequate answer; it was just a burning question. But Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life, and he that believeth on Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live; and he who lives and believes in Me shall never die" ( John 11:25 ). If a man dies, does he go on living? Jesus said, "Absolutely yes. If he lives and believes in Me, he'll never die." He goes on living. It's in another sphere, it's in another dimension, but life continues. Life does not end. You experience a metamorphosis. You move out of your tent, this earthly tent, your body, and you move into the building of God, not made with hands, that is eternal in the heavens. "For as long as we are at home in this body, living in this body, we are absent from the Lord," but he said, "I would choose rather to be absent from this body and to be present with the Lord." ( 2 Corinthians 5:7-8 ) "We know that when the earthly tent, our body, is dissolved, we have a building of God, not made with hands, eternal in heaven. So we who are in this body do often groan, earnestly desiring to be freed, not to be an unembodied spirit but to be clothed upon with the body which is from heaven" ( 2 Corinthians 5:1-2 ). So, if a man dies, yes, he does go on living in a new form, a new body, there in the presence of God.
all the days of my appointed time [Job said] will I wait, till my change comes ( Job 14:14 ).
A little glimmer of hope in a question, but then he goes right back into despair.
Thou shalt call, I will answer thee: thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands. For now thou numberest my steps: dost thou not watch over my sin? My transgression is sealed up in a bag, thee sew up mine iniquity. And surely the mountains falling cometh to nothing, and the rock is removed out of his place. The waters wear the stones: and they wash away the things which grow out of the dust of the earth; and you destroy the hope of man. You prevail for ever against him, and he passes: you change his countenance, and send him away. His sons come to honor, and he doesn't even know it; they are brought low, but he perceives not of them. But his flesh upon him shall have pain, and his soul within him shall mourn ( Job 14:15-22 ). "
Copyright © 2014, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, Ca.
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Job 14". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 8 / Ordinary 13