Friday

30 January 2015

“If mortals die, will they live again?” (v. 14)

Psalm: Psalm 91


Background

As we considered on Wednesday in relation to Job's opening outburst, Job's perspective differs greatly from that of modern-day Christians as he is unable, in his suffering, to cling to the promise of eternal life. It is very difficult to place ourselves in Job's shoes and to understand his pain and loss coupled with the belief that after death comes only the oblivion of sleep (verse 12). Several of the Psalms reference Sheol (verse 13) as a sort of communal grave, where every person (be they king or slave) is beyond God's reach after death. While a tree that has been chopped down may sprout again (verse 7), in Job's eyes, there is no hope for renewal for humans beyond the grave. Job maintains that, given the shortness of a human life, he has suffered enough and that God (who set the limit on the human lifespan) should now cease punishing him.

Job is still unable to understand why God is punishing him (despite his friends' assertions that he simply must have committed a terrible sin for which is now being disciplined), but he clings to the hope that God's anger will be temporary, and that if he could only hide away (perhaps in the refuge of Sheol) for a period of time, God would then seek him out again (verse 13). Although Job cannot cling to the promise of eternal life, he still hopes that somehow, he will find his way back into God's favour and once again be acknowledged as God's own creation (verse 15).


To Ponder

  • What do you think the resurrection means for people who lived before Jesus' time on earth?
  • What does the promise of eternal life mean to you in the face of earthly suffering? What difference would it make if, like Job, you knew of no such concept?


Bible notes author: Naomi Oates   

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