18 October 2023 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
“Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die. 10But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” (Job 2:9-10; all scripture quoted is from the KJV)
At first reading of the above passage, I was immediately convinced that Job’s wife was heartless and evil; however, on further consideration, I do not consider her response to Job’s trials and tribulations to be that much different to our own wives in the modern setting under similar circumstances. Wives are much more anchored to hearth and home than the husbands. The security of a good home, peaceful living, loving children, and a faithful husband who can provide for the family – all these loom large in the eyes of a wife.
We all have questioned God’s providence at times of hardship and trouble. This is normal and understood by a beneficent Lord. When troubles beset us continually, we often struggle to understand God’s intentions in allowing them. We have served Him to the utmost of our ability, yet, He allows tremendous burdens to confront us. Even the Lord preferred to allow “this cup to pass” from Him; nevertheless, the Lord’s Will and not His would prevail. He was totally innocent of any sin, filled with righteousness, and merciful to all; yet, He suffered the most brutal torture and death that we might be spared eternal death. Nothing was ‘fair’ about our Lord’s sacrifice. Where have we the room to complain?
The text we have concerning Job’s wife tells us only limited facts about her. Why did she utter such unkind words to her husband who had heretofore provided her every need and was now an invalid?
- Job’s wife emphasized the present life. She could not understand why God had taken all things, not only from Job, but from her as well. She had lost ten children – a devastating loss for any mother, and now her husband, Job, was stricken with debilitating afflictions. How would we, or our wives, respond at such a loss? How would we feel if suddenly we lost our loved ones, our jobs, and our health?
- Job was the head of his household and bore greater responsibility to adhere to that faith that he had exemplified to his wife and family during days of plenty “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord. 22In all this Job sinned not, nor charged God foolishly.” (Job 1:21-22) Job’s attitude was one of future promise and not of present troubles. The wife was perhaps even more miserable than Job due to a weakness of faith – not an absence thereof.
- Job’s wife (whom the ancient Hebrew scholars named Dinah) ridiculed her husband. That would not be an unheard of experience for me from my own wife – especially when driving endlessly in search of the destination and not stopping to ask directions! Her treatment of her husband was not seasoned with grace and compassion, but she, too, was suffering miserably from the terrible predicament in which she found herself. Job did not level a stinging rebuke to his wife, but simply accused her of speaking foolishly. It is true that the wife, if very strong in faith, would have comforted Job and spoken sweetly to him in accordance with the counsel of Scripture. (see Prov 16:24 & 25:11). She was obviously stressed out at this condition of her family and lost children and spoke irrationally.
- Job’s wife was egregiously wrong to blame God for Job’s (and her) troubles. Hundreds of parents, weak in faith (but not devoid thereof) blame God daily for the loss of a beloved child. God knows were are weak and does not hang a label of reprobation about our necks for our moments of lapses in faith and unreasonable accusations. But God is not the cause of our misfortunes. At bottom line, we, as the general makeup of the human race, are collectively responsible since the Fall of Adam. Even in the case of Job, it was the Devil who was the antagonist and not God. God only allowed the afflictions of Job as a burning lesson for all of us. Just because a brother or sister in Christ falls on hard times does not mean they are out of favor with God (unlike the false teachings of modern name-it-and-claim-it fake gospelers).
We can learn much, not only from Job, but from Job’s wife. First, not to be overly judgmental when another acts out of pain and hurt, even if irrationally. Secondly, to emulate the strong faith of Job and not the weak faith of Job’s wife. Even with nails driven though His hands, the Lord asked the Father to forgive us for we knew not what we were doing. Neither, presumedly did Job’s wife.