"9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."As hard as I tried to concentrate on Genesis this morning (and I did read it), a verse jumped out at me last night and it just won't let me go until I get my thoughts about it out. Maybe after I've written about it for a bit, I can focus more on the passage I am supposed to be studying.
In Bible study last night, we flipped briefly to these verses and something about them leaped off the page for me. It was one of those lightbulb-I-never-saw-that-before moments. Probably anyone reading this saw it a long time ago, but for me, it was brand new. And when I see something like that, I just have to share (ask my husband--he's probably very glad I share with my blog now, cause I get over-the-top excited sometimes).
Anyhoo, I have always given Mrs. Job a bad rap. I think a lot of people have. Here Job is, he has lost his fortune, he has lost his children (and his heirs, which would also mean the family name would disappear), and now his health. He is mourning, he is itching, he is discouraged beyond anything I can imagine. And is his wife any encouragement at all? No. She says something hateful. She says something irrational. I tend to forget that she lost a little too. The Bible doesn't say anything at all about her health failing so she couldn't be suffering as much as Job, but take children away from a mother, and well, there is little else I can think of that would plunge her into despair. She was grieving too. Does that make her tirade acceptable? No, it does not. It might make her a little more sympathetic, but it doesn't make her the heroine. Job was able to hold his tongue, why couldn't she?
When I think of Mrs. Job, I think of this bitter woman with a pessimistic life outlook. Indeed, wouldn't Job have been better off without this negative woman?
|Courtesy of http://breadsite.org|
Then I read his response. What hit me is that he doesn't call her a foolish woman. He says she is speaking like "foolish women" do. That indicates to me that this was not characteristic of her. She would not normally say such things. Grief had overtaken her and in this moment, she said exactly what she thought. Now I realize that what is in our heart is what comes out of our mouth, but have we not all had moments where our hearts felt too empty? Or too full? I have said things in a moment that I wish I could take back. In that one moment, she said something that maybe she wished she could take back too. Maybe she didn't. I have no way of knowing. I just wonder how many times I have said something in a moment of weakness that might become my legacy. Just one moment. God chose to put these words in the Bible about Mrs. Job to help us understand some things. Obviously there is the contrast between Job's reaction and his wife's. But maybe too, it is to show us that even one moment in our lives may be the historical record by which we are judged. Perhaps she was as bitter and pessimistic as I have always thought, or maybe, just maybe, she was overcome with her pain in one moment that the worst thing she could think or say came out.
She lashed out at the only One who could ease her pain. But before, I am too harsh, I might look at times in my own life, or times to come, that I might have been less than generous with my words, that I might let the sorrow rise and the unwise words hit their mark. If God chose to record some of my less-than-stellar comments, it might have been only one moment in my life, but anyone who does not know me will judge my character by them. Just as I have often judged Mrs. Job for hers.