Job 3:20-26 ESV

“Why is light given to him who is in misery,

and life to the bitter in soul,

who long for death, but it comes not,

and dig for it more than for hidden treasures,

who rejoice exceedingly

and are glad when they find the grave?

Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden,

whom God has hedged in?

For my sighing comes instead of my bread,

and my groanings are poured out like water.

For the thing that I fear comes upon me,

and what I dread befalls me.

I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;

I have no rest, but trouble comes.”


We serve a God who gives light to the miserable, and life to the bitter in soul.

Job wanted to know, “Why?” He wanted to die so the pain would end, but God had bigger plans for Job. Job couldn’t see past his pain, but God was leading him to victory over Satan.

And now I want to address a doctrine that people derive from this passage that is amiss. Some people read verse 25, …the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me, and interpret to mean that Job’s fear gave Satan some kind of legal right to attack him.

Let me be perfectly clear: Satan attacked Job because he was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. Satan did not obtain a legal right to harm Job when Job slipped up; he got permission from God to attack Job.

This is not to say there are no people who open themselves up to calamity through sin. Neither is it to say that fear is not harmful. However, there is no indication in the text that, prior to Satan’s attack, Job was guilty of anything. Nor is their anything written to suggest that he had any dread of imminent disaster before he was afflicted. Even after Job lost his children and His livestock, the Lord still bragged to Satan …that there [was] none like him on the earth… and that he still [held] fast his integrity.

Perhaps we shouldn’t base a doctrine on the words of a man half out of his mind with pain.

As hard as it is for some to understand, not every affliction or evil is a reaping of the fruit of seeds sown by personal sin. Bad things happen to good people all the time. And good things happen to bad people too.

It’s not fair!–But it’s a good thing. If God decided to treat everyone as they deserved, He might start with you or me. Sometimes bad things happen to me and it’s not my fault. However, because of God’s grace and mercy a lot of good things happen to me that I don’t deserve either. He makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45, ESV).

He isn’t out to smite us, and He isn’t watching and waiting for us to sin so He can spank us. He is just and holy, and will punish the wicked, but He would rather pour out His grace on us. We must receive His grace by faith. God believed in Job because Job believed in God.

Job put his trust in the God who gives light to the miserable, and life to the bitter in soul.