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Job 2:9-10 – Job's Wife's Pain Is More Than She Can Handle

Job's the one with the abnormal reaction.

Job 2:9-10 (ESV)

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.” But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women would speak. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips.

At first glance, Job’s wife’s response seems incredibly stupid, even evil. But it’s not really all that abnormal. Think for a minute how you’d react. Don’t forget, she just lost all her children.

I can’t imagine how I’d react and I know even less about how a mother would react. Mrs. Job has obviously cracked under the stress, and her faith is failing. It’s easy to sit back reading this and think that we’d be stronger in her situation, but how do we know?

CS Lewis has a beautiful explanation of a similar issue in his discussion of forgiveness in Mere Christianity. He addresses those who challenge the concept of biblical forgiveness in the context of WWII. And half of you already want to ask me, “I wonder how you’d feel about forgiving the Gestapo if you were a Pole or a Jew.”

So do I. I wonder very much. Just as when Christianity tells me that I must not deny my religion even to save myself from death by torture, I wonder what very much what I should do when it came to the point. I am not trying to tell you what I could do—I can do precious little—I am telling you what Christianity is. I did not invent it. And right in the middle of it, I find “Forgive us our sins as we forgive those that sin against us.”

Sometimes the simplest sayings are the most profound – supernatural strength is supernatural. Mrs. Job’s reaction is normal. Job’s reaction isn’t.

Job’s blamelessness and uprightness is a gift.

One of the most important miracles in Christianity isn’t recorded in Scripture. It’s the uniform willingness of the eyewitnesses of the resurrection to die rather than recant. You don’t learn this from the Bible; you learn it in grade school. It’s in the history books.

Just like CS Lewis, I don’t know if I could keep my faith under torture. The fact that the first century Christians did this consistently is a major miracle.

And what the Caesars like Nero did to them makes what happened to Job look like tiddlywinks. God gave them supernatural strength, just as He gave Job supernatural strength. We’re all given spiritual gifts, but it’s not easy to know what’s a gift and what’s just a natural talent. Frankly, the difference isn’t important. Just know that you’re not limited to the talents you had growing up.

Be open to the possibility that you now have a totally unexpected ability. Is God pushing you in a direction that’s puzzling? Meditate on that. Ask Him to show you what he’s up to.

To download a free study guide with this week's Job devotionals, plus some discussion questions, see:

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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