As The Sparks Fly Upward
“Call now, if there be any that will answer thee; and to which of the saints wilt thou turn? For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one. I have seen the foolish taking root: but suddenly I cursed his habitation. His children are far from safety, and they are crushed in the gate, neither is there any to deliver them. Whose harvest the hungry eateth up, and taketh it even out of the thorns, and the robber swalloweth up their substance. Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doeth trouble spring out of the ground; Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.”
In looking at this verse of scripture I want us to note it first in it’s context. I want us to keep in mind that the truth we find in these words is too wonderful even for the man who spoke them to understand. We know and understand that this friend of Job is speaking in an attempt to prove a point and not with proper spiritual discernment. Job’s friends were wrong in their assessment of Job’s situation but still there is some beautiful truth here for us to examine and glean from.
First, notice that there are two major sections to this chapter.
Section one (verses 1-6):
In verse 3 we find that in his own eyes, Eliphaz is above that which he observes, he is wise in his own eyes and he is quick to shoot the wounded.
This is one of the three friends of Job that God rebukes in the latter part of the book of Job. (Job 42:7&8)
Section two (verses 8-26)
Eliphaz, in this section points out to Job that God is able to deliver if Job will just repent of the evil that God is judging him for. Notice verses 21-26, he fancies himself a prophet and in verse 27 he pronounces his judgment upon Job.
“hear it, and know thou it for thy good.”
Now, do a little reading between the lines looking again at verses 3 and 8. You will see that Eliphaz is of the mindset that he can see all that is wrong with Job so he can tell him just how to get right. Do you know anyone like that? I’ll bet you do. To be honest, in these words Eliphaz is living proof that God can still use Balaam’s donkey to speak. As a matter of fact, God can allow a person to convey wisdom to another that they may not even be able to understand themselves. That is the situation that we see here. Look now at Job 5:7.
“Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward.”
In looking at the latter part of this verse let’s notice the language here. “As the sparks flying upward”: the word sparks here is a compound word translated from the Hebrew words “ben”, which means “the son of” and the word “resheph” which means “live coal, lightning, arrow”. The word fly is translated from the Hebrew word “oof” which means to “cover, fly, to faint” and the word “upward” is translated from the Hebrew word “gaw-bah’” which means to “soar, be lofty, to be haughty.”
In looking at these words we see some things that compare very well to the lives that we live here in this world and how things
actually do go for us while we are here. And consider a couple of scriptures that go well alongside this.
Job 14:1 “Man that is born of woman is of few days and full of trouble.”
And James 4:14 “…what’s your life? It is even a little vapor that appeareth for a little while and then vanisheth away.”
Looking at these sparks let’s notice some things that we have in common with them.
I. They had no choice in their coming into the world.
There have been many times that I have heard preachers use the illustration of our births to show that we just don’t have a choice some times. We had no choice as to who our parents were. God did not enquire of us as to what family we would be born into. We were totally left out of this decision. The sparks in this fire were born into this world through the labours of others that they had absolutely no influence over or knowledge of. It was nothing that they had done. Another had gathered the wood, started the fire and cast more wood into the burning.
A. …no choice as to when to be born
B. …no choice as to where to be born
C. … no control as to their own future
If we had had a choice, no doubt, we would have chosen a time and place, as well as circumstances that would have seemed to be ideal to us. There were men during the great depression who would have chosen a better time to be born so that they could have given their families a better life. There are parents who have had to suffer heartbreak at the loss of their children to war that would have chosen a different or a better time. There are those today that are suffering from things that they have absolutely no control over that would have chosen a better place, time, or family circumstance to be born in. No child would choose to be born a heroin addict. No one would choose to be born into the world if they knew that they would lose their parents early in life and live and die as orphans. Anyone would choose a better time and circumstance according to human reasoning. But we have no control over such things. We must accept this fact and learn to praise God that He was willing to come to this earth to live and die for sinners like us where we are and when. Praise His Holy Name!
II. They had nothing to do with what was behind them.
A. These sparks are pushed along by the heat from whence they came
B. They ride upon the energy of their originators
We also have no control over the past. We today suffer many things because of the mistakes of those who have gone before. There are political problems in the world that are not of our making. There are economic problems in this world that are not of our making. There are many social problems in this world that are not of our making. We had nothing to do with the mistakes of the past but we are continuously being confronted with the ramifications of our ancestors’ mistakes.
Look at the moral issues that we face today. If the church had not slacked up on certain issues we would not be facing a lot of the problems that we have today. When prayer was taken out of public schools, our crime rate, teen age pregnancies, divorce rate, suicide rate, all sky rocketed. God help us to learn from the mistakes of our forefathers. Would to God we could push the homosexuals back into the closets and one day have the opportunity to witness to them in such a way that they would begin coming to Christ and leaving that wicked lifestyle behind.
III. Have no idea nor control as to how long they will endure.
This is one fact of life that many of us fail to realize most of the time. We do not consider how short life is and how uncertain. I am reminded of the old saying.
“Life is uncertain, death is sure, sin is the cause, Christ is the cure.”
We have no idea just how long we are going to be here. I was told yesterday of a man who was selling some farm implements. He said, “I am going to sell this bulldozer today if it is the last thing I do.” The man had a buyer, and as he sat on the dozer after it sold, he died on that machine. Little did he know that what he had said moments before would be the last thing he did. We have no garuntee as to how long we are going to be here. Before the day is out we could be dressing ourselves for the last time. We could be drinking our last cup of water, hearing our last song, thinking our last thought.
In looking at the obituaries we see that death is no respecter of persons: rich, poor, young, old, strong, feeble, wise, or foolish, when it comes time for us to die, we will die. We have no control as to how long we will be here in this world. That makes it doubly important to us that we live in such a way as to be a benefit to our families, our church, and society. We should be mindful of the fact that we won’t be here long and we must make the best of the time that we have. As the sparks shine so brightly for the short time that they have, we should want to shine brightly for the Glory of God. We should want to make our lives count for the Honour and Glory of The One Who thought enough of us to save us. IV. They have no control as to their destination.
We need to realize
1. we may not have had anything to do with our being here
2. or the way our ancestors have lived and behaved
3. we do not know how long we will be here
4. and we can’t do anything about it either way
It is so important to let God have our lives to direct and do with as He will. He is the only one that can control our lives, our destinies. There are circumstances and conditions that arise in our lives and we don’t know what to expect from one day to the next. But God knows the end from the beginning. As we live our lives, we are often in confusion and wondering where to turn for fear of what is coming next. God is never at a loss as to what we should do. We must learn to give our lives to Him, for He is always in control. We did not choose to be here, had no control as to the conditions of our being here, don’t know how long we will be here and can’t do anything about it either way, but God can do for us what we stand in need of. He is the only one who has control in the whirlwind. Let us give it all to Him and trust Him. Don’t be of the persuasion that you see on some bumper stickers, “God is my co-pilot” but give God the wheel and let Him be in control. We still won’t know how long we will be here, but God knows the best way for us to go while we are.