The Maddening Force of Suffering
Job 3:1-26
After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.…

A man's language must be construed according to the mood of his soul. Here we have sufferings forcing a human soul —


1. Great sufferings generate great passions in the soul. Hope, fear, love, anger, and other sentiments may remain in the mind during the period of ease and comfort, so latent and quiescent as to crave no expression. But let suffering come, and they will rush into passions that shake and convulse the whole man. There are elements in every human heart, now latent, that suffering can develop into terrific force.

2. Great passions often become irrepressible. Some men have a wonderful power of restraining their feelings. But passion sometimes rises to such a pitch in the soul that no man, however great his self-control, is able to repress. Like the volcanic fires, it will break through all the mountains that lie upon it, and flame up to the heavens.

3. When great passions become irrepressible they express themselves extravagantly. The flood that has broken through its obstructions does not roll on at once in calm and silent flow, but rushes and foams. He speaks not in calm prose, but in tumultuous poetry.


1. The fact that he existed at all.

2. That, having existed, he did not die at the very dawn of his being. Incidentally, I cannot but remark how good is God in making provision for our support before we enter on the stage of life. The fact that suffering can thus make existence intolerable suggests the following truths —

(1) Annihilation is not the worst of evils. Better not to be at all than to be in misery; better to be quenched than to burn. Another truth suggested is —

(2) Desire for death is no proof of genuine religion. Another truth suggested is —

(3) Hell must be an overwhelmingly terrible condition of existence. Hell, the Bible tells us, is a condition of excruciating and hopeless suffering. There death is sought, but cannot be found.

III. Here is suffering urging a man TO HAIL THE CONDITION OF THE DEAD.

1. As a real rest. Lying still in unconscious sleep, beyond the reach of any disturbing power. How profound is the rest of the grave! The loudest thunders cannot penetrate the ear of the dead. He looked at death —

2. As a common rest. "Kings and counsellors," princes and paupers, tyrants and their victims, the illustrious and obscure — all are there together. The state of the dead, as here described, suggests two practical thoughts.

(1) The transitoriness of all worldly distinctions. The flowers that appear in our fields at this season of the year vary greatly in form, size, hues. Some are far more imposing and beautiful than others; but in a few weeks all the distinctions will be utterly destroyed. It is so in society. Great are the secular distinctions in this generation, but a century hence and the whole will be common dust. How egregiously absurd to be proud of mere secular distinctions.

(2) The folly of making corporeal interests supreme.

IV. HERE IS SUFFERING URGING A MAN TO PRY INTO THE REASONS OF A MISERABLE LIFE. Has the great Author of existence any pleasure in the sufferings of His creatures? There are, no doubt, good reasons, reasons that we shall understand and appreciate ere long.

1. Great sufferings are often spiritually useful to the sufferer. They are storms to purify the dark atmosphere of his heart; they are bitter ingredients to make spiritually curative his cup of life. Suffering teaches man the evil of sin; for sin is the root of all anguish. Suffering develops the virtues — patience, forbearance, resignation. Suffering tests the character; it is fire that tries the moral metal of the soul.

2. Great sufferings are often spiritually useful to the spectator. The view of a suffering human creature tends to awaken compassion, stimulate benevolence, and excite gratitude. From this subject we learn —

(1) The utmost power that the devil is capable of exerting on man.

(2) The strength of genuine religion.


Parallel Verses
KJV: After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day.

WEB: After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed the day of his birth.

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