Job 9 (NLT)
Job’s Third Speech: A Response to Bildad
Job praises the wisdom and strength of God, though it means that God is beyond his ability to know:
Then Job spoke again:
2 “Yes, I know all this is true in principle.
But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight?
3 If someone wanted to take God to court,
would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?
4 For God is so wise and so mighty.
Who has ever challenged him successfully?
Romans 3:19-20 (New Century Version)
We know that the law’s commands are for those who have the law. This stops all excuses and brings the whole world under God’s judgment, because no one can be made right with God by following the law. The law only shows us our sin.
So Job begins to describe the powerful God he is up against:
5 “Without warning, he moves the mountains,
overturning them in his anger.
6 He shakes the earth from its place,
and its foundations tremble.
7 If he commands it, the sun won’t rise
and the stars won’t shine.
8 He alone has spread out the heavens
and marches on the waves of the sea.
9 He made all the stars—the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the southern sky.
10 He does great things too marvelous to understand.
He performs countless miracles.
11 “Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him.
When he moves by, I do not see him go.
12 If he snatches someone in death, who can stop him?
Who dares to ask, ‘What are you doing?’
13 And God does not restrain his anger.
Even the monsters of the sea are crushed beneath his feet.
There are many thoughts in this passage that connect with Jesus.
- We read that God treads on the waves of the sea; Jesus walks on the water.
- We read that God made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and star was made to announce the birth of Jesus.
- We read that God does great things past finding out, yes wonders without number and Jesus did uncountable miracles and great things.
- We read that God moves past, and I do not perceive Him, and Jesus could pass through an angry crowd as if He were invisible (John 8:59).
- We read that no one can say to God, “What are You doing?” and in the life of Jesus it would come to pass that no one dared ask Him any more questions (Mark 12:34).
- We read that God will not withdraw His anger, so we are not surprised that sometimes Jesus showed anger.
- We read it is said of God, the allies of the proud lie prostrate beneath him, and so also evil spirits fell prostrate at the feet of Jesus (Mark 3:11).
“What wonderful irony there is in seeing Job set out to describe the immortal and invisible God, and in the process paint a stunningly accurate portrayal of the earthly Jesus!” (Mason)
Job wonders how to answer such a mighty God:
14 “So who am I, that I should try to answer God
or even reason with him?
15 Even if I were right, I would have no defense.
I could only plead for mercy.
16 And even if I summoned him and he responded,
I’m not sure he would listen to me.
17 For he attacks me with a storm
and repeatedly wounds me without cause.
18 He will not let me catch my breath,
but fills me instead with bitter sorrows.
19 If it’s a question of strength, he’s the strong one.
If it’s a matter of justice, who dares to summon him to court?
20 Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty.
Though I am blameless, it would prove me wicked.
Why does a good God let bad things happen to good people? Eliphaz had one explanation: Job is not good. We know that isn’t right because in chapter 1 both the author and God affirm Job as a good man. So here in chapter 9 Job is flirting with a different opinion — that God is not so good because he is not fair, overwhelming mere mortals, sending punishment on both the righteous and the wicked. But the resurrection of Jesus Christ proves irrevocably that power and goodness are united forever. As the old saying goes: God is good, all the time. All the time, God is good.
He explains his own inability to defend himself before God:
21 “I am innocent,
but it makes no difference to me—
I despise my life.
22 Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to God.
That’s why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When a plague sweeps through,
he laughs at the death of the innocent.
24 The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked,
and God blinds the eyes of the judges.
If he’s not the one who does it, who is?
25 “My life passes more swiftly than a runner.
It flees away without a glimpse of happiness.
26 It disappears like a swift papyrus boat,
like an eagle swooping down on its prey.
27 If I decided to forget my complaints,
to put away my sad face and be cheerful,
28 I would still dread all the pain,
for I know you will not find me innocent, O God.
29 Whatever happens, I will be found guilty.
So what’s the use of trying?
30 Even if I were to wash myself with soap
and clean my hands with lye,
31 you would plunge me into a muddy ditch,
and my own filthy clothing would hate me.
Psalm 51:7 (New International Version)
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Job longs for a mediator to help:
32 “God is not a mortal like me,
so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial.
33 If only there were a mediator between us,
someone who could bring us together.
1 Timothy 2:5-6 (New Living Translation)
For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus. He gave his life to purchase freedom for everyone.
34 The mediator could make God stop beating me,
and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment.
35 Then I could speak to him without fear,
but I cannot do that in my own strength.”
“If only!” Such lovely pictures of Jesus in this Old Testament chapter! “You are my all-in-all,” sung HERE by Nicole Nordeman. I hear it anew in the context of Job and his struggles.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.