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Lesson 5: Curse the Day *

Introduction: Recall that in Job 2:9 Job's wife advised him to "curse God and die?" Job refused. Instead, we learn this week that Job cursed his own existence. Do you know someone who has ended their existence? When I was young, my mother was concerned that I would take my life because of a break-up with my girlfriend. I don't recall my thoughts then, but I doubt that Mom had a reason to be worried. When I hear of someone who killed their spouse, I think, "Why not divorce?" My attitude is the same about suicide, why not just change my life? If you are like me and do not understand such thoughts, Job introduces us to the desperate thinking of those in the depths of depression. Let's dig into our study of the Bible and learn more!

  1. Curse the Day

    1. Read Job 3:1-3. What does Job wish? (That he had never been born.)

      1. Why would he come to that conclusion? His life had been fabulous (or so it seems) before Satan attacked him. Why not wish that he would die now as opposed to not having been born? (It makes no logical sense, but here are a couple of suggestions. Sometimes when we suffer a great deal, we react in ways that are not logical. Second, Job is confused and angry about how "justice" is working out in his life. If he does not understand life, perhaps it would have been better to have never become a part of it.)

    2. Read Job 3:4-6. What else does Job desire with regard to his day of birth? (That God forgets about it. He wants all official records of the day of his birth wiped away.)

      1. Compare Job's wishes with reality of his situation. Is that what God wants? (Just the opposite. Job is God's warrior, His most important rebuke to Satan. Job is a hero in God's eyes.)

      2. What does this teach us about understanding what God thinks about us?

    3. Read Job 3:7-9. What else does Job wish with regard to his birthday? (No one would rejoice about it. Instead, his birthday should be cursed.)

  2. Rest of Death

    1. Read Job 3:10-13. Job wishes that he had never been born, or that he would have died at birth, and that God would forget about his birthday and that humans would curse instead of bless that day. What do these verses tell us about the reason for Job's bizarre desires? (Job says that if he had never been born, or if he had died at birth, he would enjoy the peace of death.)

      1. If that is Job's goal, why not just kill himself? Why not say to his faithful wife, "You want me to die, how about killing me?" (Among all of Job's terribly discouraging thoughts, killing himself is not one of them. It must be that Job believed that taking his own life is not a path God condons.)

    2. Read Job 3:13-15. How is Job's situation like rulers who build palaces, who were rich with gold and silver? (Job is ruined. When you are dead it does not matter that your palace has been destroyed or your gold lost. Job wants to die so that the ruin of his life will no longer matter.)

    3. Read Job 3:16-19. What is Job's view about the nature of death? (He sees it as a release from trouble. He does not see the wicked burning or the righteous enjoying the delight of heaven.)

      1. Do you think this is intended to teach us something about the hereafter? (The Old Testament is much more obscure about death than the New Testament. Solomon said essentially the same thing in Ecclesiastes 9:9-10, that the grave is the end of life and there is no future. On the other hand, the New Testament is filled with references to the afterlife, especially for those who trust God.)

      2. Given Job's understanding of death, can you imagine the grief he suffered because of the loss of his children?

  3. Nature of Life

    1. Read Job 7:1-3. Based on what you know about Job, does this make any sense? (No! He was the "greatest man [in] the East," Job 1:3. I have no doubt that he worked hard, at least at one point, but to compare himself to a "slave" or a "hired man," is ridiculous.)

      1. Wait a minute! Is Job talking about his past life? (When Job says, "so I have been allotted months of futility," it seems that he is only talking about his life after Satan's attack.)

    2. Read Job 7:4-5. Job cannot sleep. Is that his "hard service" ( Job 7:1)? (I think the correct understanding is that Job is talking about his life now and not his past life. Job points out that workers look forward to the evenings and payday. He is longing for his terrible night of suffering to pass because his is uncomfortable and cannot sleep.)

    3. Read Job 7:6-8. Is Job saying that his nights drag on, but his days flash by? (I don't think so. He is saying that his good life flashed by. Now the good life is gone and he is without hope.)

      1. Think about Job's statement about life. Will that be true of you? At some point you will say, "the good life has ended, and I'm now just hoping to die?" (For many this is true. It is a powerful argument for paying attention to your diet and fitness, so that you improve the odds that when you become old you can still enjoy life.)

  4. The Complaint

    1. Read Job 7:11. Has Job's attitude changed? (Yes. He says that his good life is over, he hopes for death, and therefore he will complain because he is bitter.)

      1. Read Job 2:4-5. Has Satan won? (No! Job is not cursing God, he is coming to God with his complaint.)

    2. Read Job 7:12-16. What is Job's complaint? (God has him in such a terrible situation that he prefers to be dead. He wants God to "let [him] alone.")

      1. Do you think this is what Job really wants, or is this just his depression talking? (To the extent that Job thinks God brought his trouble, he would like to be left alone.)

    3. Read Job 7:17-18. What does Job think God is doing to him? (Examining him, testing him.)

      1. I've written before that Job would never, in a thousand years, figure out the reason for his suffering. But, here we see that I might have been wrong. Job senses that he is being tested.)

        1. Is God testing him? (This is Satan's idea.)

    4. Read Job 7:20. Job switches to another reason for his suffering, what is it? (That he sinned, and God make him a "target" because of it.)

      1. Is Job still trusting God? (Job thinks that God must be testing him or targeting him because of his sins. He wants God to "let me alone" ( Job 7:19). But, whatever the true reason for his suffering, Job is still turning to God for the solution to his problems.)

    5. Read Job 7:21. What does Job think about grace? (He believes in it. He asks God to forgive his sins for soon he will surely die.)

      1. Re-read Job 7:19 and compare it to the end of Job 7:21. Are these two statements in conflict? (Yes. Job says on the one hand that God is constantly watching him. On the other hand he says that God will be searching for him.)

        1. What does that teach us? (When we have friends or family who are, like Job, suffering, we can expect that they will not always be thinking clearly. We saw that earlier in this lesson and we see it again now.)

        2. What is our obligation in situations like that? (Read Job 1:11-13. I think this approach has a lot of merit. As we go through this book we will see how Job's friends tried to correct his views. But, that did not seem to help.)

    6. Friend, Job is still an inspiration to us when we suffer. Job complains, his thinking is confused at times, and he is depressed. Yet in all of this he turns to God for the answer. Will you determine to always look to God for the answers to your problems in life?

  5. Next week: The Curse Causeless?
* Copr. 2016, Bruce N. Cameron, J.D. All scripture references are to the New International Version (NIV), copr. 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society, unless otherwise noted. Quotations from the NIV are used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers. Suggested answers are found within parentheses. The lesson assumes the teacher uses a blackboard or some other visual aid.

© 2021 Bruce N. Cameron, J.D.
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