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Job 29:1-6 – Job Longs for the “Good Old Days”

Summary

In a poignant lament, Job longs for the days when life was good and God was close to him and on his side. There is pain in his remembrance of a relationship that was very important and has now been lost.

Analysis

Job begins his final monologue (chapters 29-31) with this nostalgic look at a past that no longer exists. Perhaps the past begins to look even better than it really was when compared with one's present situation. Job had lost not only property, children, servants, respect, and health. He also lost his personal and supportive relationship with God. At a time of great loss, when one needs God the most, one may be overwhelmed with doubts about what God is doing. What went wrong with the protective umbrella that God had always provided? It is a terrible thing to begin to talk in the past tense about a time when God was my friend and the Almighty was still with me. "Those were the old days. It's not like that anymore."

Throughout chapter 29 Job continues to remember the good life that has been lost forever. Those who have endured times of loss and grief are able to understand his experience and the painful words of yearning for what cannot be retrieved. As we read on in the book, though, we see that there is one thing that can be renewed: his relationship with God. It will not be the same as it was before he faced great tragedy, but he will come to believe once again that God is on his side.

Job 29:1-6

Job Finishes His Defence

29Job again took up his discourse and said:
2 ‘O that I were as in the months of old,
   as in the days when God watched over me;
3 when his lamp shone over my head,
   and by his light I walked through darkness;
4 when I was in my prime,
   when the friendship of God was upon my tent;
5 when the Almighty* was still with me,
   when my children were around me;
6 when my steps were washed with milk,
   and the rock poured out for me streams of oil!

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10 February 2011

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