He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down:
he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.
Job continues his prayerJob thinks that he will die soon
v1 I am just an ordinary man. My life is short. And my troubles are constant.
v2 I am like a flower that will soon die. Or, like a shadow that cannot last. v3 But, God, you watch me. And you are my judge. v4 I am not holy. So I cannot make myself holy. v5 You have decided the length of my life. I cannot live longer. v6 So, do not watch me! Let me be calm until my time on earth ends.
v7 A tree is better than a man. If someone cuts down a tree, the tree grows again. Its new branches will grow. v8 Its roots may be old. And the tree may seem dead. v9 But when rain starts to fall, new leaves appear. Then, the tree grows like a plant in a garden.
v10 But a man becomes weak and he dies. He breathes for the last time. Then he is dead. v11 A man is like a lake that becomes dry. Or, like a river without water. v12 The man’s body lies in its grave. While heaven remains, a dead man will not wake from sleep.
v13 God, I wish that you would hide me. Bury me in my grave! But when you are not angry with me, select a date. And then, remember me! v14 A man who dies cannot live again. But I will wait until that date, when you will give me relief. v15 Then you will call me. And I will answer you. You will desire me, because you made me. v16 Although you will watch me, you will not record my evil actions. v17 You will remove my evil actions. You will lay my evil actions aside, like something in a bag.
Our lives on earth are short.
Job said that we are like flowers.
Some flowers are very beautiful.
But they may last only for a few hours.
Or, Job said that we are like shadows.
A shadow has a clear shape.
And it moves like a person.
You could almost think that your shadow was alive.
But your shadow disappears in a moment.
So our lives may be beautiful, like the flowers. And they may be active, like shadows. But we shall soon be dead.
God is our judge. He knows all our deeds. And we are not holy.
God decides how long we shall live. Job thought that he would die soon. But in fact, God had a different plan for Job (Job 42:16-17).
When Job thought about flowers and shadows (verse 2), he felt hopeless. But then Job remembered that God also created the trees. And trees seemed mysterious to Job.
You can cut down a tree. Its branches become mere wood. And the tree has no leaves. The tree many seem dead for many months. But that tree can grow again. You might expect such a tree to be very weak. But in fact, the new branches may be very strong.
The thought about the tree gave new hope to Job (verses 13-17).
At first, the tree did not seem like a man to Job. Job thought about the death of a man’s body. That body simply returns to the earth.
Then Job thought about sleep. A person who sleeps will wake. And this thought gave him hope that he would meet God.
Job thought that God caused his troubles. So, Job thought that God was angry. In fact, God was not angry with Job. God was pleased with Job. And God did not cause Job’s troubles. The devil caused Job’s troubles.
The end of a man
v18 But even a mountain can fall. Even a rock can move. v19 And a river can carry stones and soil away. So men have no hope. v20 God overcomes a man. God sends that man away. Even the man’s face changes. v21 That man does not know if his sons receive honour. And that man does not know if his sons suffer.
v22 Such a man feels only his own pain. And only that man’s spirit will know his despair.
Job’s thoughts about a tree gave him hope (verses 7-9). But then he thought about the earth itself. Even mountains do not last always. Job saw how rocks can fall from mountains. The rain takes the soil from the mountains. And the soil goes into the sea.
A dead man would not know what happened to his children (verse 21).
Job felt hopeless again.