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MOCKED BY HIS INFERIORS
What a contrast was Job's condition now! Prominent men of dignity had once shown Job every respect, but now young men of what might be considered the lowest class, were making Job the subject of their mockery, - men whose fathers Job would have disdained to employ to work with the dogs that cared for his flocks (v.1). This reveals. another side of Job's character. He spoke before of his delivering the poor and the fatherless and those who had no helpers (ch.29:12). Was it love for them that really moved him? If so, where was his love for this class of people whom apparently he had looked at with contempt? Now they are treating him with contempt, and he feels deeply insulted. Again this shows the pride that Job needed to have broken down, and which was indeed broken down later.
He goes on to describe the sorry condition of these mockers. "Their vigour has perished. They are gaunt from want and famine" (vv.23). Job does not consider that some such people may not be to blame for their condition, but seems to think that, because they are reduced to a state of having to scrounge their food from unhealthy sources (v.4), being driven from men to live in caves or clefts in the valleys (vv.5-6), therefore then were not worth considering. For he says, "they were sons of fools, yes, son of vile men." Can God not save sons of vile men? Indeed he can, and often does. Ought not Job to have been concerned for others who were so reduced, specially when he himself had been reduced from his previous state?
JOB FEELS THEIR SCORN
"They abhor me, they keep far from me; they do not hesitate to spit in my face" (v.10). This was true of men's treatment of the Lord Jesus too, but it did not shake His confidence in the living God. Job considered that, because God had afflicted him, therefore "the rabble" had cast off restraint (v.11) to see in Job an opportunity of venting their evil tempers against him. In fact, this was similar to the Lord Jesus, whose words in Psalms 69:26 surely speak to us, "They persecute Him whom thou hast smitten." How different however was His case from that of Job; for God smote the Lord Jesus on account of our sins. Men, ignorant of such grace, only used the occasion to heap further abuse on the Son of God. If Job at that time had had the example of the Lord Jesus to consider, he might have thought rather differently. But Job allowed himself to be so affected by men's treatment of him that he became virtually unable to look up.
"They break up my path, they promote my calamity." He is evidently thinking of these scorners as intent on throwing him into confusion as to his normal path, and promoting (or increasing) the calamity the Lord had brought upon him. The crushing of this seemed to him like breakers of the sea rolling over him, as swept by a violent storm (vv.13-14). Under such persecution he became terror-stricken, and what prosperity he knew was as a passing cloud (v.15).
JOB'S SOUL POURED OUT
In these verses Job describes the agony of his suffering with his soul poured out, his very bones seeming to pierce him in the night, with unabated pain (vv.16-17). His garment, rather than being a becoming adornment, had become disfigured because his body was emaciated, so that the collar of his coat was ill-fitting.
But he no longer talks now of the persecution of callous men: rather, he attributes his sufferings to God, saying, "He has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes" (v.19). It is good that he recognises that whatever suffering he may have and from whatever source, yet God is the One who has allowed it. But Job ought to have realised that God would not allow it if it was not going to be of pure blessing to Job in the end. Later he did realise the truth of Romans 8:28, "All things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." But at the moment he was so overwhelmed by his calamity that he would not give God credit for being who He is.
JOB FINDS NO HELP FROM GOD
What seems the most devastating misery for Job is that he considers God is against him. He cries to God but is not heard (v.20). Of course God heard him, but God answers only at the right time and in the right way. Had God become cruel to him? He thought so, but it was the love of God that delayed an answer. What he considered God's hand strong against him was really the strength of God's love for him.
"You lift me up to the wind"(v.22), that is, God was exposing Job to the cruel winds of circumstances, and had therefore thwarted any possibility of success for the poor sufferer. All he could look for now was the pain of death (v.23) which he speaks of as "the house appointed for all living." This fact itself ought to have calmed him to realise that his case was not absolutely unique: others were appointed to the same end.
Would God deal harshly with a heap of ruins? Job hardly thought this would be the case, yet he felt himself to be only that (v.24). Why should he continue to be troubled? Did he deserve such treatment as this? Why, he had "wept for him who was in trouble, and his soul had been grieved for the poor" (v.25). It is sad that Job was virtually claiming to have been more considerate than God was! Why did he allow such words to fall from his lips?
He looked for good as a result of his apparent goodness, but evil came to him (v.26), and darkness came rather than light. But we can never enjoy the light of God's presence when we maintain our own self-righteousness. No wonder then his heart was in turmoil, unable to rest (v.27), and he had no expectation of anything but "days of affliction." He felt he had sunk as low as the animals, jackals and ostriches (v.29), but he was still speaking as a man! What music he had enjoyed was now turned into mourning and weeping.
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Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Job 30". L.M. Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28