‘Remember, I beseech You, that You have made me like the clay! But will You bring me back to dust again?…. Your visitation has preserved my spirit!…. Are my days not few?…. Before I go whence I shall not return — even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death!’ Job 10:9-21.
In his Tracts and Treatises III:454, Calvin remarks:”He who is dust, will return to dust…. But not the spirit, which God derived from another quarter, and gave to man!… We read in the book of Job (10:9), ‘Remember how You made me from clay, and will You reduce me to dust?’…. This is said of the body. A little after, he adds: ‘Life and mercy You have given me, and Your visitation has preserved my spirit!’ (Job 10:12). That life, then, was not to return to dust!”
Job begs for a little easing of his pain, before he departs to the land of darkness. But even after that, God’s essence and personality were things Job could not doubt. For yes, ‘my soul is weary of my life’ (Job 10:1). But ‘I will say to God: “Do not condemn me!”‘ (Job 10:2); and ‘Though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him!’ (Job 13:15).
God had taken care of Job, since he was an embryo similar to the dust of the ground from which the Lord made Adam (Genesis 2:7). Since then, he had grown up. ‘You have clothed me with skin and flesh, and have fenced me with bones and sinews. You have granted me life…, and Your visitation has preserved my spirit!’ (Job 10:11-12).
‘Are my days not few?…. May I take a little comfort, before I go whence I shall not return, even to the land of darkness and the shadow of death?’ (Job 10:20-21). For Job was dust, and unto dust he would return (Genesis 3:19). ‘Then, the dust shall return to the earth — as it was. But the spirit shall return to God, Who gave it’ (Ecclesiastes 12:7). ‘The spirit of man, goes upward!’
(Ecclesiastes 3:21). ‘For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing!” (Ecclesiastes 13:14).
God had given Job life, and sustained that life amidst constant proofs of favour. His care, had guarded the spirit by which Job’s frame became a living and self-conscious creature. Job says: ‘You have perfected me as clay’ — as a perfected adult human being. ‘Will You again turn me into dust?’ (Job 10:9). ‘Your care has guarded my breath’ or spirit! (Job 10:12). ‘Why have You brought me forth out of the womb?…. Are my days not a few? Before I go to return no more, into the land of darkness and of the shadow of death!’ (Job 10:18-21).
Job desired some alleviation of his sufferings, before he descended to the grave as a land of darkness. Yet it was not a land of final extinction, but only a land of the shadow of death – until he would rise again from that shadow at the latter day when his own eyes would see his Redeemer (Job 19:25-26)! Job nowhere turns against God, but inclines to Him in prayer. The dark cloud needed only to be removed, when Job would again stand before God as His saint!
Will you again bring me back to dust? Yes, when Job’s spirit returned to God Who gave it!