Patrolling the earth (Zech 6:7-6:8)

“When the steeds came out,

They were impatient

To patrol the earth.

He said.

‘Go!

Patrol the earth!’

Thus,

They patrolled the earth.

Then he cried to me.

‘Look!

Those who go toward the north country

Have set the Spirit of Yahweh

At rest

In the north country.’”

The horses were impatient to get going to patrol the earth.  The angel told them to patrol the earth.  Thus, they went on their way, patrolling the whole world in every direction.  Then this angel told Zechariah that the black horses with their chariot going north had the Spirit of Yahweh, the Holy Spirit, so that they were going to bring rest to the north country.

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Job’s lament (Job 30:24-30:31)

“Surely one does not turn against the needy.

When in disaster they cry for help.

Did I not weep for those whose day was hard?

Was not my soul grieved for the poor?

But when I looked for good,

Evil came.

When I waited for light,

Darkness came.

My inward parts are in turmoil.

They are never still.

Days of affliction come to meet me.

I go about in sunless gloom.

I stand up in the assembly.

I cry for help.

I am a brother of jackals.

I am a companion of ostriches.

My skin turns black.

My skin falls from me.

My bones burn with heat.

My lyre is turned to mourning.

My pipe is turned to the voice of those who weep.”

This is Job’s final summary lament. The so-called patient Job was upset about his situation. Job had tried to help the needy and the poor when they needed help. However, no one heard his cry for help. He was looking for good things, but all he got was evil things. He wanted light and all he got was darkness. His stomach was upset with various afflictions that had come to him. Every day was a cloudy day. He was like a brother to wild dogs and ostriches. His skin was turning black and falling off. His whole body felt like it was burning up. His musical instruments only played mourning and weeping songs. This was the Job who did not like his situation. This was the distressed impatient Job pleading with God.

Job angrily responds (Job 21:1-21:6)

“Then Job answered.

‘Listen carefully to my words!

Let this be your consolation!

Bear with me!

I will speak!

Then after I have spoken,

Mock on!

As for me,

Is my complaint addressed to mortals?

Why should I not be impatient?

Look at me!

Be appalled!

Lay your hand upon your mouth!

When I think of it

I am dismayed.

Shuddering seizes my flesh.’”

Job went on the defensive. He told his friends to listen to his words. After he was done, then they could continue to mock him. He has every reason to be impatient. This then is the impatient and not the patient Job. He told his friends to look at him. Put their hands over their mouths in silence, a sign to be quiet since they did not know what they are talking about. Job was shuddering, He was going to let them know how he felt.

Job realizes that he has no help (Job 6:8-6:13)

“O that I might have my request!

That God would grant my desire!

That it would please God to crush me!

That he would let loose his hand!

That he would cut me off!

This would be my consolation.

I would even exult in unrelenting pain.

I have not denied the words of the Holy One.

What is my strength?

Why should I wait?

What is my end?

Why should I be patient?

Is my strength the strength of stones?

Is my flesh bronze?

In truth,

I have no help in me.

Any resource is driven from me.”

Job has one request, to be crushed by God. Death would be preferred to his present situation. He has never denied the words of the Holy One, God, without explaining what these words were. Then he asked a series of questions. What is his strength that he should wait longer? What is his end and why should he be patient? Does he have the strength of stones and the flesh of bronze? These sarcastic questions led him to realize he had no help. All his resources were gone. He sounded like a crushed man. He seemed like he had been abandoned by everybody. In fact, it seems like this is the impatient Job, not the hero of patience.

Eliphaz speaks to Job (Job 4:1-4:6)

“Then Eliphaz the Temanite answered.

‘If one ventures a word with you,

Will you be offended?

But who can keep from speaking?

See!

You have instructed many.

You have strengthened the weak hands.

Your words have supported those who were stumbling.

You have made firm the feeble knees.

But now it has come to you.

You are impatient.

It touches you.

You are dismayed.

Is not your fear of God your confidence?

Is not the integrity of your ways your hope?’”

Now finally, someone other than Job speaks. Eliphaz the Temanite, who was one of his 3 friends, felt that he was forced to speak. Although he did not want to offend Job, he started out gently. He will represent the traditional opinion of retribution that God was punishing Job for something that he had done. Eliphaz reminded Job that he had instructed many people. Using beautiful metaphors, he said that Job had strengthened the weak, supported the stumbling, and firmed up the feeble. However, now the problems have come to Job. Suddenly Job was impatient. Where was his confidence in God? Where was his hope based on his integrity? Eliphaz chided Job for being impatient and not trusting in God.