Job Wants to Argue His Case with God
Here Job shows himself to be a more honest observer, a more exuberant thinker, than the friends. The mind reels at the immensity of his conception of God. The little deity in the theology of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar is easily thought and easily believed. But a faith like Job’s puts the human spirit to strenuous work.
Job’s strong rebuke to his friends:
“Look, I have seen all this with my own eyes
and heard it with my own ears, and now I understand.
2 I know as much as you do.
You are no better than I am.
3 As for me, I would speak directly to the Almighty.
I want to argue my case with God himself.
Job here develops a theme that will end with a virtual demand that God make sense of his suffering. God’s response to Job’s demand (and Job’s response to God’s response) makes up the last few chapters of the book.
4 As for you, you smear me with lies.
As physicians, you are worthless quacks.
5 If only you could be silent!
That’s the wisest thing you could do.
6 Listen to my charge;
pay attention to my arguments.
7 “Are you defending God with lies?
Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake?
8 Will you slant your testimony in his favor?
Will you argue God’s case for him?
9 What will happen when he finds out what you are doing?
Can you fool him as easily as you fool people?
10 No, you will be in trouble with him
if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor.
11 Doesn’t his majesty terrify you?
Doesn’t your fear of him overwhelm you?
12 Your platitudes are as valuable as ashes.
Your defense is as fragile as a clay pot.
Job’s confidence in God and his own integrity:
13 “Be silent now and leave me alone.
Let me speak, and I will face the consequences.
14 Yes, I will take my life in my hands
and say what I really think.
Job enriches our language.
Here is a quotation which has become a part of our everyday speech: take my life in my hands.
15 God might kill me, but I have no other hope.
Job 13:15 (KJV)
Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.
Writing fictionally in the voice of a senior demon instructing a junior demon in his popular book The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis stated – from a demon’s perspective – this dynamic of trial in the life of the believer: “He wants them to learn to walk and must therefore take away His hand; and if only the will to walk is really there He is pleased even with their stumbles. Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger than when a human, no longer desiring, but still intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
John 6:68 (KJV)
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
I am going to argue my case with him.
16 But this is what will save me—I am not godless.
If I were, I could not stand before him.
17 “Listen closely to what I am about to say.
Hear me out.
18 I have prepared my case;
I will be proved innocent.
19 Who can argue with me over this?
And if you prove me wrong, I will remain silent and die.
Job Asks How He Has Sinned
Job asks God to tell him if sin is indeed the cause of his suffering:
20 “O God, grant me these two things,
and then I will be able to face you.
21 Remove your heavy hand from me,
and don’t terrify me with your awesome presence.
22 Now summon me, and I will answer!
Or let me speak to you, and you reply.
23 Tell me, what have I done wrong?
Show me my rebellion and my sin.
26 “You write bitter accusations against me
and bring up all the sins of my youth.
27 You put my feet in stocks.
You examine all my paths.
You trace all my footprints.
Job laments the frailty of man:
28 I waste away like rotting wood,
like a moth-eaten coat.
Verse 15 — “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him” — the ultimate expression of faith. HERE is MercyMe and “Bring the Rain.” “Forever singing,” the song says, which means I can be joyfully singing today, with its sunshine and rain . . .
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.