While picking at the sores that oozed on his body, Job came up with some tough questions for God and wonders what he has done that has caused all this punishment to fall on him.
What strikes me the most about these passages is Job’s honesty before God. He asks intimate questions of him, as if God were standing right there next to him. I don’t know that I’d have the guts to stand toe to toe with God and ask him:
11-16 “And so I’m not keeping one bit of this quiet,
I’m laying it all out on the table;
my complaining to high heaven is bitter, but honest.
Are you going to put a muzzle on me,
the way you quiet the sea and still the storm?
Let up on me, will you?
Can’t you even let me spit in peace?
Even suppose I’d sinned—how would that hurt you?
You’re responsible for every human being.
Don’t you have better things to do than pick on me?
Why make a federal case out of me?
Wow. I have never talked to God in that manner. But Job did, and I know that later on in Job we’ll read that God is pleased with Job.
What does this tell me about my relationship with my Creator?
He is bigger than any question I could possibly pose. Even though I have a tendency to censor my prayers to him (because they aren’t “good enough” or because I think they aren’t respectful and obedient), I have to remember that He knows my every thought whether I speak it aloud to him or not. So I might as well just lay it all out there on the table, as Job says. I might as well bring it ALL to him. Even the selfish, self-pitying stuff…without censoring them to what I think He wants to hear. As I suspect we’ll see later on in Job, God knows just exactly what we need to hear to set us straight.
One more passage jumped out at me in today’s reading…it could be a form of prophesy. What do you think?
The question is, ‘How can mere mortals get right with God?’
If we wanted to bring our case before him,
what chance would we have? Not one in a thousand!
God’s wisdom is so deep, God’s power so immense,
who could take him on and come out in one piece?
“So how could I ever argue with him,
construct a defense that would influence God?
Even though I’m innocent I could never prove it;
I can only throw myself on the Judge’s mercy.
If I called on God and he himself answered me,
then, and only then, would I believe that he’d heard me.
32-35 “God and I are not equals; I can’t bring a case against him.
We’ll never enter a courtroom as peers.
How I wish we had an arbitrator
to step in and let me get on with life—
To break God’s death grip on me,
to free me from this terror so I could breathe again.
Then I’d speak up and state my case boldly.
As things stand, there is no way I can do it.”
Could it be that the arbitrator…the advocate that Job’s soul longs for is later fulfilled in the person of Jesus Christ? The One who broke death’s grip?
The next time I find myself censoring my prayers to make them more “phariseeish,” I will remember Job’s honest and raw emotion. Why not go ahead and confess these thoughts and get them right out there on the table?