Job was battling for his life. He was battling the doubts and denunciations of his friends. He was battling the disease of his flesh. Death was imminent in his opinion. Job was engaged in a war that would never end in a truce, or know of a triumph in his days. His battle with these men called friends was over his personal honor and righteousness and that he was on the receiving end of his own just deserts for personal sin in his life. His battle was a spiritual warfare fomented by ignorance of the knowledge of God.
Historical Christianity is under a spiritual attack by the same hostile environments from which Job’s friends came with the same antagonistic spirit that assaults the core beliefs and teachings of Scripture. It is two fronted assault: the issue of life; that is, does life begin at conception? And, secondly, is the termination of life.
Job was instructing Zophar in his rebuttal that life is divinely planned. Job was reminding this friend to look at nature, the birds, the animals, the fish of the sea, and understand that inexplicable calamities occur in the creature world. And, when they do, what do we say? It was an act of nature. It is God who gives life, however, and the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind is in His hands. It is only God that can take away the soul and breath from the living. Life is the gift of God that He alone disposes. “In Him was life,” John said, “and the life was the light of men” (Jn. 1:4). Jesus said of Himself, “I am the resurrection, and the life,” (Jn. 11:25), and “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn. 14:6). The Apostle Paul proclaimed a similar truth in his sermon on Mars Hill, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.”
A husband and wife come to together with the hope and dream of beginning a family. Then to their dismay, the wife cannot conceive for some reason, or the husband has a medical issue. We have a niece that desires so much to mother a baby and cannot. She has spent thousands of dollars for medical help to conceive but to no avail. On the opposite side are those women who have no medical issues and conceives but does not want the children they bear. Some go to the extreme of aborting a life that has been divinely planned of God. This brings in to consideration many other issues that can’t be dealt with now, but my point is that of Job, it is God that divinely plans life.
Why was Job battling for his life? Why was Job under such severe attack by those men that had known him and his beliefs on life for so long? If Job teaches us anything it is that the value of life is decidedly prized. Job’s wife was so grieved over his condition that she preferred to see him dead rather than suffer. “Curse God and die,” she begged her husband. His three friends were convinced that there was no hope for Job. They had witnessed death many times, and Job’s condition suggested that death was imminent. Job thought the same. There was, however, a spirit of fight left in this man of God. He treasured life. It was a gift of God, and he wasn’t ready just yet to give up the ghost. He would fight the disease. He would trust in the Lord. He would battle misunderstanding. Job prized life.
Job reminded these men that life is divinely preserved: “In whose hand is the soul of every living thing, and the breath of all mankind.” This was an acknowledgement and an expression of faith that his life (and all life) is the divine protection of God. Job queried his friends earlier, “Is there not an appointed time to man upon the earth” (7:1)? He would later proclaim the same truth, “If a man die, shall he live again? All the days of mine appointed time will I wait, till my change come” (14:14).
It has been the firm belief that the days of man are appointed, or that we have a determined number of days. Our birth and death is in the hands of an all-knowing, all-wise, all-loving God. The birth of a baby in according to the will of God, and the taking of the breath of life from the living is also according to the same Divine Will. There are unexplained mysteries about early death, premature death, unexplained death, that is true. But the Biblical truth is that the Lord gives and takes life. This we are reminded of in Hebrews 9:27, “It is appointed unto men once to die.” Before that unwanted death, however, is life; the gift of life, that only the great God of heaven and earth gives and preserves for us. May we decidedly prize, cherish, and treasure the life the Lord has given to us.