Job Speaks to God About Death

A life-threatening experience has a way of rearranging one’s priorities. That was true in the lives of former Texas Governor John Connally and his wife after he was wounded by the assassin who took the life of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. In an interview, Connally ex … More

Death

In this passage, Job turns from the confidence that he could win his court case against God to a complaint about life’s futility and death’s certainty. He says that life is brief and full of trouble (v. 1). There is nothing any truer than that; trouble is the common denominator of mankind. All of us have had trouble. Sickness, loneliness, disappointment and death cause Job to say that life is not fair. He states that no man is perfect, or sinless, so what harm would there be in dealing with all men less severely.

Like a flower, man is born to die. He disappears like a shadow (v. 2) or like evaporating water (v. 11). Man’s days are numbered (vv. 3-6), but does he have a future? Job’s strongest image is that of a tree (vv. 7-12). Chop it down and its stump remains, and there is always a possibility that the tree might sprout again. The tree has hope, but man has no hope. When he dies, he knows that God is going to call him, and he will answer the call. In other words God is not through with us at our death. God leaves no stump behind. Man is more like water that evaporates or soaks into the ground; it can never be recovered again ( v. 11). Job just wants to be remembered (v. 13).

Job raises an important question, “If a man die, shall he live again?” (v. l4). He says death is a release from the burdens of this life, and like an honorary discharge or a changing of the guard. Though Job anticipated that death would release him from life’s woes. Even in death Job knows that God is going to call him, and he will answer the call (v. 15). We need to remember that the Old Testament does not say much about the resurrection of the dead. This is why Job’s pessimism about death is understandable. In fact, it is remarkable that he had hope that God would hide him with the dead and bring him out again.

Application

When I must endure suffering, I have an advantage over Job. I know that the dead in Christ will rise again. My hope is based on Christ’s promise in (John 14:19).

Job 14:1-15 (English Standard Version)


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