Daily Devotions

How long will You not depart from me?

Job 7:17-20

‘What is man, that You should magnify him — and that You should set Your heart on him? And that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment? How long will You not depart from me, or leave me alone till I swallow down my spittle (quickly, for the last time)? I have sinned. What shall I do to You, O You Preserver of men? Why have You set me up as a mark
against Yourself — so that I am a burden to myself?’
Job 7:17-20.

Job now asks if man is not too insignificant a thing for God to occupy Himself with. Or even to bother persecuting!

True, David would later inspiredly remark that God had from the very beginning put all things under man’s feet, and even stilled the enemy out of the mouth of babes and sucklings (Psalm 8:2-6). There, it is said that God exalts puny man to a kingly position among all His creatures, and distinguished him continually with new tokens of His favour. But here, instead of ignoring man, God makes too much of him — by selecting him as the object of ever new and ceaseless sufferings.

But would God constantly dwell on engaging Himself with such a slight thing as Job, and make him the object of His unceasing correction? Would the Lord really continue to visit Job every day, and test him every second?

‘How long will it be before You look away from me, and ignore me?’ — asked Job. How much longer will You keep looking at me in Your anger? When will You depart from me? How long before You leave me, till I swallow down my spittle quickly, in the twinkling of an eye — till You give me a moment’s respite? How long before I draw my breath (Job 9:18) for the last time?

Yes, I have sinned. But how can such a thing affect You, O God? But even if it does — why don’t You rather take away my sin, than plague me unto death because of it? What shall I ever be able to do to You, O You Watcher of men? And have I really thus sinned against You?

Even if my sin should so affect You — ought that to be reason enough to justify You to load me with such unsparing pains as I am suffering? True, all men are sinners (Job 14:1-4). But then, why pick on me? Especially since I have striven to serve You alone, my whole life? How could I ever harm You? What could I ever do to You, O Preserver of men – or, at least, of all other men?

Why have You set me up as your mark? Am I then your target, against whom you keep on discharging Your arrows? For the arrows of the Almighty stick into me (Job 6:4). Am I really only a stumbling-block You keep on striking against? Am I continually in Your way, as an obstacle constantly impeding Your progress? Am I a burden to You too, and not just to myself?

I am weary of myself, and of my life. Is it only to myself that I am a burden? Or am I a burden also to others — and, above all, to You? How long will it still be, Lord, before You really depart from me?