But now they mock me, men younger than I, whose fathers I would have disdained to put with my sheep dogs. Of what use was the strength of their hands to me, since their vigor had gone from them? Haggard from want and hunger, they roamed the parched land in desolate wastelands at night. In the brush they gathered salt herbs, and their food was the root of the broom bush. They were banished from human society, shouted at as if they were thieves. They were forced to live in the dry stream beds, among the rocks and in holes in the ground. They brayed among the bushes and huddled in the undergrowth. A base and nameless brood, they were driven out of the land. – Job 30:1-8
This is a somewhat strange passage. Job is providing a final defense for his actions and his state of being. There seems to be a tension here with the younger generation beginning to react to the position in which Job finds himself. This will become more apparent in subsequent passages as a young upstart named Elihu takes aim at Job before God comes to the rescue. As I have reflected on this section of Job it seems that what Job is lamenting is the loss of respect he feels from those who should be looking up to him as an elder.
Job’s description of this new crowd of critics does not pull any punches. He describes them as vagrants, wandering in the desert, hungry and being shouted at as if they were thieves. They live in “dry stream beds” and huddle in holes. It sounds as if he is describing people whose faith in God has dried up — a people who wander through their lives haggard from want and hunger.
I have encountered people in my life who were dry and bitter…even some who were attempting to follow God as Christians. I explored some of this in a previous post called “guess who moved“. I think we all experience dry spiritual times, but it is our choice whether we dwell in these “dry stream beds” or merely pass through them on the way to another hidden well or spring of living water provided by God.
Job is in the midst of “dry time” spiritually and physically but his roots still reach for the living water in the One River that gives him hope and spiritual nourishment. He refuses to forget where the water that sustains him comes from even in the midst of a drought, while his peers and their offspring wander about searching for water from intermittent streams and dry stream beds.
Prayer: Thanks God for providing living water for us in the midst of spiritually dry times.