When we talk about Job, believers in God are all familiar with him. He feared God and shunned evil and was a perfect person in the eyes of God. When his property was stolen, his sons and daughters lost their lives, and even when sore boils sprouted upon his whole body, he still could extol and stand witness for God. When we admire Job, we necessarily feel confused about his words “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived” (Job 3:3) spoken when he was agonized. The day of man’s birth and the life of flesh are bestowed by God, but Job didn’t thank God for what He ruled over and bestowed but instead cursed the day he was born. What’s the reason for this? Is it that Job complained against God because he couldn’t bear the pain? If so, why does God evaluate him “there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil” (Job 1:8)? Is it because God’s assessment of Job is wrong? Absolutely not. God searches people’s innermost hearts. God’s assessment of Job being a perfect person who fears God and shuns evil absolutely cannot be wrong. So, why did Job curse the day he was born? Let’s take a look at what the word of God says.
God says, “I often say that God looks within people’s hearts, while people look at people’s exteriors. Because God looks within people’s hearts, He understands their essence, whereas people define other people’s essence based on their exterior. When Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth, this act astonished all the spiritual figures, including the three friends of Job. Man came from God, and should be thankful for the life and flesh, as well as the day of his birth, bestowed upon him by God, and he should not curse them. This is something that ordinary people can understand and conceive. For anyone who follows God, this understanding is sacred and inviolable, and it is a truth that can never change. Job, on the other hand, broke the rules: He cursed the day of his birth. This is an act that ordinary people consider to constitute crossing over into forbidden territory. Not only is Job not entitled to people’s understanding and sympathy, he is also not entitled to God’s forgiveness. At the same time, even more people become doubtful toward Job’s righteousness, for it seemed that God’s favor toward him made Job self-indulgent; it made him so bold and reckless that not only did he not thank God for blessing him and caring for him during his lifetime, but he damned the day of his birth to destruction. What is this, if not opposition to God? Such superficialities provide people with the proof to condemn this act of Job, but who can know what Job was truly thinking at that time? Who can know the reason why Job acted in that way? Only God and Job himself know the inside story and reasons here.
“When Satan stretched forth its hand to afflict the bones of Job, Job fell into its clutches, without the means to escape or the strength to resist. His body and soul suffered enormous pain, and this pain made him deeply aware of the insignificance, frailty, and powerlessness of man living in the flesh. At the same time, he also gained a profound appreciation and understanding of why God is of a mind to care for and look after mankind. In Satan’s clutches, Job realized that man, who is of flesh and blood, is actually so powerless and weak. When he fell to his knees and prayed to God, he felt as if God was covering His face and hiding, for God had completely placed him in the hands of Satan. At the same time, God also wept for him, and, moreover, was aggrieved for him; God was pained by his pain, and hurt by his hurt…. Job did not want to bring any more grief upon God, nor did he want God to weep for him, much less did he want to see God pained by him. At this moment, Job wanted only to divest himself of his flesh, to no longer endure the pain brought upon him by this flesh, for this would stop God being tormented by his pain—yet he could not, and he had to tolerate not only the pain of the flesh, but also the torment of not wishing to make God anxious. These two pains—one from the flesh, and one from the spirit—brought heart-rending, gut-wrenching pain upon Job, and made him feel how the limitations of man who is of flesh and blood can make one feel frustrated and helpless. Under these circumstances, his yearning for God grew fiercer, and his loathing of Satan became more intense. At this time, Job would have preferred to have never been born into the world of man, would rather that he did not exist, than see God cry tears or feel pain for his sake. He began to deeply loathe his flesh, to be sick and tired of himself, of the day of his birth, and even of all that which was connected to him. He did not wish there to be any more mention of his day of birth or anything to do with it, and so he opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth: ‘Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine on it’ (Job 3:3–4). Job’s words bear his loathing for himself, ‘Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived,’ as well as the blame he felt toward himself and his sense of indebtedness for having caused pain to God, ‘Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine on it.’ These two passages are the ultimate expression of how Job felt then, and fully demonstrate his perfection and uprightness to all. At the same time, just as Job had wished, his faith and obedience to God, as well as his fear of God, were truly elevated. Of course, this elevation is precisely the effect that God had expected.”
God’s words reveal the reason why Job cursed the day he was born. When Satan’s temptations came upon Job, he lost a mountain’s worth of sheep and oxen and all of the property in the space of just one night, his sons and daughters were crushed to death by the house, and Satan caused sore boils all over his body, afflicting his flesh and bones to his unbearable limit. When in agony, he didn’t complain against God but prayed to God silently in his heart and sought God’s intention. Therefore, Job felt the ugliness, wickedness and despicableness of Satan and understood that Satan didn’t want man to worship God but tried every means possible to cause man to deny and betray God. At the same time, Job also felt that when Satan afflicted him, God covered His face, His heart was pained and He was unwilling to see that man was tormented by Satan’s affliction. When Job felt that God was aggrieved and pained for him, his heart was filled with self-reproach and indebtedness. He knew full well that he was a small human being and he was unfit for such mercy and concern from the Creator. Meanwhile, he hated that his flesh was weak and vulnerable. He was unwilling to make God distressed, sorrowful and pained because of him. So, he opened his mouth and cursed the day he was born and he would rather that he did not exist, than have God feel pain for his sake. In the agony of flesh and heart, Job said those words “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived” (Job 3:3). It can be seen that Job’s curse of the day he was born in his agony was not the complaint and resistance of God but was the manifestation of his love, obedience and being mindful of God.
After understanding the reason why Job cursed the day he was born, let’s reconsider: Although we don’t encounter such trials like Job’s, when sickness or natural calamities and man-made misfortunes befall, what do we behave? We often give every care to the flesh, defend our own interests, live within negativity to oppose God or pray for God to remove our sufferings. When God doesn’t do what we ask for, we will lose faith in Him, utter great complaints against Him and even develop a heart of betrayal of Him. Before the fact, we can see that we only give thoughts to what we gain or lose but are never mindful of God’s heart, or seek God’s intention or seek what to do to satisfy God. Compared with Job, don’t we fall far too short? Job’s obedience, reverence and being mindful of God are so precious and lie beyond our reach.
So, we should imitate Job. When natural calamities and man-made misfortunes and trials and tribulations come upon us, we should be mindful of God, come before God to pray with an obedient heart, seek God’s intentions and seek what to do to satisfy God’s intention, and have the will that we would rather curse ourselves than not satisfy God. Then, God will lead us and grant us faith and strength. In this way, we can stand witness in trials and receive God’s approval and blessings.
Editor’s Note: After reading this article, you may have understood the reason why Job cursed the day he was born. If you have other confusions and questions, you can get in touch with us through live chat below and we will resolve them at any time.