This is posted by Nathan Hershberger for Joy.
Job 14:1-2 A mortal, born of woman, few of days and full of trouble, comes up like a flower and withers, flees like a shadow and does not last.”
Confession first: I’ve not spent much time in the book of Job. I wonder if you are anything like me? It makes me uncomfortable. In all honestly, so much of the Old Testament can be challenging to me in this way. However, if I look at the Bible comprehensively, I see that the Old Testament is pointing us to the New, to Christ! So, although I am no expert in Job, I am a follower of Christ, and I think even Job’s words in this passage are giving us a full glimpse at God’s story and the Good News for those who have “ears to hear” it.
As mortals, “born of woman” it feels like Job is taking us back to the beginning, to Eve, the mother of all living (Genesis 3:20). However, this birth does not bring us eternal life. Just as Adam and Eve fell from God’s eternal paradise, we are destined to do the same, unless. Unless we are born of water and the Spirit. Jesus gives this clear instruction to Nicodemus and to us in John 3:5, “Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Two categories, a very important distinction.
This distinction is important as we continue in the passage. Life is “few of days and full of trouble”. Whether we live to one or one hundred, our days in this life are short and with each passing year seem to go by faster and faster. Short and hard. Job certainly new this. We know this. For those who are born of the spirit, it is good for us to acknowledge and give thanks to God for His many ways of helping us through His provision and presence. We also have the gift of life eternal, that begins now as we walk with God, and continues into the next life.
That mortal life “withers like a flower” again is a distinction between life in the flesh and life in the spirit. While life in the flesh may allure us, it’s attrativeness will not last. Life in the flesh will wither. It is only life in the spirit that will sustain us. If we connect this to 1 Peter 1 24-25, “’For all flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass. The grass withers, and the flower falls, but the word of the Lord endures forever.’ That word is the good news that was announced to you.” Only Christ’s redemptive work on our behalf will remain when all of the flesh has withered away.
While shadows obstruct light, just as sin obstructs our communion with God, Christ is the source of light, and He is everlasting. Job again is pointing us to Christ and to life everlasting that is found in Him. Christ is our connection to communion with God, now and forever.