"1 A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, 2 comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last. 3 Do you fix your eyes on such a one? Do you bring me into judgment with you? 4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? No one can. 5 Since their days are determined, and the number of their months is known to you, and you have appointed the bounds that they cannot pass, 6 look away from them, and desist, that they may enjoy, like laborers, their days."
A. Compare vv. 1-2 to Ps. 90: 9-12. Is the sentiment the same or different? Do you agree with the thought of vv. 1-2? The last word of the Book of Job is that Job will die "full of days (42:17)." What is the psychological difference between "few of days" and "full of days?" Toward which do you tend?
B. The thought of v. 3 seems to be, "Since I am around for such a short time, why are you making such a big deal of me by focusing all your judgmental energy on me (see also 7:12-20)?" Does Job's view of faith (that God is personally interested in him) match yours? What is your view of how God intervenes in or cares for individual human life?
C. Are you shocked by Job's request in v. 6, that God would "look away" from him/them (i.e., people)? Most of the Scripture looks at life's satisfaction as relationship with God and not separation from God. Why would Job be saying what he does here (compare 10:20; 7:16; Ps. 39:13)?
D. I was taken aback by the last few words of v. 6. How do laborers "enjoy" their days? If life is just "hard service" (7:1) for the "laborer," what enjoyment is there?
Job 14: 7-12
"7 For there is hope for a tree, if it is cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease. 8 Though its root grows old in the earth, and its stump dies in the ground, 9 yet at the scent of water it will bud and put forth branches like a young plant. 10 But mortals die, and are laid low; humans expire, and where are they? 11 As waters fail from a lake, and a river wastes away and dries up, 12 so mortals lie down and do not rise again; until the heavens are no more, they will not awake or be roused out of their sleep."
A. Have you ever heard anyone say "there is hope for a tree"? What is a tree's "hope"?
B. Why is he thinking about hope here, when just the previous verse he seemed to be sunk into his distress when asking God to "look away" from him? That is, what gets him thinking about hope?
C. He doesn't just say that there is hope for a tree. He spends three long verses detailing this hope, with detailed portraits of nature. Why does he develop this image in so much detail?
D. How hard does the contrast in v. 10 hit you? Why or why not?
E. How does nature teach both hope and hopelessness?
F. Notice the appearance of the word "waste" that seems to sandwich these thoughts in 14:1-12. "Waste" appears in 13:28 and in 14:11. If words may be a window into the heart, why the twofold use of "waste" here?