-Job speaks more nonsense mixed with truth in his grieving state during the final message to his friends in round one of their conversation. Verse one is famous to the despondent, “Man, who is born of woman, is short-lived and full of turmoil.” How often have we as human felt like this? Can anyone identify? Job sees life as a quickly fading flower that blooms and then disappears. Life flees as a shadow and does not remain. The poetic language is so thought provoking here. God sees all, that is emphasized again. Man is brought into judgment with God, Himself. Job asks the question that we as believers in Christ can easily answer, “Who can make the clean out of the unclean?” Job thinks it is, “No one!” However, he is wrong in this assumption. Maybe his depressed state is affecting his words. He does seem to recant this thought later in the chapter (Job 14:14-15). Job then contemplates the determination of days in mankind’s life by the Almighty. God sets His limits on our lifespan, which is true. Job just wants rest at this point. He wants God to leave him alone until he fulfills his days “like a hired man (Job 14:1-6).”
-Job goes natural with some tree and water metaphors in the next section. He postulates that there is more hope for a tree that can rebound from a cutting down by resprouting into new life.
Dried out plants will revive when water is added, and they spring forth back to life. “But man dies and lies prostrate, man expires, and where is he?” Job is thinking purely in the natural and neglects the spiritual with this observation. He continues, “As water evaporates from the sea, and a river becomes parched and dried up, so man lies down and does not rise.” Then he seems to connect with the spiritual at least to a degree, “Until the heavens are no longer, he (mankind) will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.” We must be careful not to make too much of Job’s theology here. What he seems to insinuate is the concept of soul sleep with awakening in the eschaton, but this can be viewed in conflict with other Scripture (2 Corinthians 5:5-10). Job wants to be hid by God in Sheol (shĕ'owl- the underworld, the abode of the deceased from earth). He longs to be concealed until God’s wrath upon this world is completed. He begs for the LORD to set a limit for him in regards to his suffering (which God did do) and remember him. Job poses the eternal question in his misery, “If a man dies, will he live again?” Then he answers his own question positively, “All the days of my struggle I will wait until my change comes.” He maintains that he will answer the call of God upon his life and keep longing for the redemptive work of His Hands. This is truly a remarkable confession of hope in the midst of grave adversity. Job must be commended here. He hasn’t totally lost sight of the truth. By no means has he given up totally. He just asks for the Sovereign to number his steps and pardon him from his sin and iniquity (Job 14:7-17).
-However, Job turns again to make some observations from nature in relation to this calamity of his life. The falling mountain crumbles away and the rock moves from its place. Water wears down stones over time and washes away the dust from the earth. In the same way, God “destroys man’s hope,” Job says in a return to wishy-washy negativity. Job admitted the LORD’s overpowering ways in how He changes man’s appearance. Man is sent departing and away by the tumults of time. Man’s sons receive honor, but in his departure from earth he will not know it. If his son’s become insignificant, the deceased will not perceive it. His body pains him, and he mourns only for himself Job deduces (Job 14:18-22). Job completes his return to futility with these words, which will ignite more conversation from his friends in a forthcoming second round of discussions (Job 15ff).
-*Application* When things go terribly wrong, our thoughts seem to scatter and become unwound. God is the only One who can keep us together in times like these. He is our Rock (Psalm 71:3, 1 Corinthians 10:4). He is our Fortress (Psalm 91:2). He is our Deliverer (Psalm 70:5; 144:2). He is the One who can keep us clean by His blood (Revelation 1:5). Let’s trust in Him when we reach our deepest depths.
Verses to Memorize: Job 14:1, 14