Job 14:1-2 (NIV) 1 “Man born of woman is of few days and full of trouble. 2 He springs up like a flower and withers away; like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.
On verses 1-2: In Job’s pain, anger and frustration, not everything that Job says should be taken as gospel. Just as we had to do with Job’s friends, we need to fact check Job, separating the wheat from the chaff in his words. Here in verses 1-2 Job speaks of how finite and short man’s life on earth is. This is true. It resonates with other verses in Scripture such as Psalm 103:15-16 where it says, “As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.” Part of living humbly before God is recognizing that life is short and that every day is a gift. So make the most of today. Job 14:3 (NIV) 3 Do you fix your eye on such a one? Will you bring him before you for judgment?
On verse 3: Here Job seems to question whether God would bother to judge creatures as small and finite as human beings and if so, why He would bother doing so. Yet Scripture is clear that God indeed watches everything that humans do and will call us to account. As 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NIV) says, “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.”
Job 14:4 (NIV) 4 Who can bring what is pure from the impure? No one!
On verse 4: To paraphrase Job, “How can sinners possibly live a life that is pure and pleasing to God? They can’t.” Job is right. Compared to God, none of us is pure, not even one, says God’s Word (Romans 3:10-12), and none of us deserves to be with God (Romans 3:23-24). Praise God that whereas we have no way in and of ourselves to become pure and holy in God’s sight, God sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross and to exchange our impurity for His purity so that we could be righteous and acceptable in God’s eyes.
Job 14:5 (NIV) 5 Man’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.
On verse 5: Job recognizes that God is sovereign over every person’s life. It is God who has the final say on how long a person will live. As Psalm 139:16 says, “All the days are ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” Job 14:6 (NIV) 6 So look away from him and let him alone, till he has put in his time like a hired man.
On verse 6: Job thinks, “Since man’s days are so few on the earth, I wish God would just look away from us and let us enjoy our days.” Job misunderstands that it is not the presence of God, but the absence of God, that makes us miserable.
Job 14:7-12 (NIV) 7 “At least there is hope for a tree: If it is cut down, it will sprout again, and its new shoots will not fail. 8 Its roots may grow old in the ground and its stump die in the soil, 9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth shoots like a plant. 10 But man dies and is laid low; he breathes his last and is no more. 11 As water disappears from the sea or a riverbed becomes parched and dry, 12 so man lies down and does not rise; till the heavens are no more, men will not awake or be roused from their sleep.
On verses 7-12: Here Job seems to think that when his life on earth ends, that is the end of his existence. This is false. The Bible teaches that when we die all of us will go on to exist for eternity, whether in heaven with God or in hell apart from God (see, for example, Luke 16:19 -31; Matthew 10:28; and Luke 23:43). So don’t be deceived by those who say, “Let us eat and drink and party today for tomorrow we die” (Isaiah 22:13; 1 Corinthians 15:32), for your existence does not end when your life on earth ends. When we die on earth, one way or the other, eternity is waiting.
Heavenly Father, as short and fragile as life on earth is, You made me for eternity. Thank You that by faith in Jesus Christ and what He did on the cross for me, my eternity in heaven is secure. Thank You that through Jesus Christ I have assurance that when my life on earth is done, I get to begin my new eternal life in heaven. I pray that every person around me would know this same assurance. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!