Monday, October 30, 2023

Contending with God (Job 9-10)

“Though I were righteous, my own mouth would condemn me” (Job 9:20).

Like his friends, Job seems to have believed that extraordinary calamities fall upon those who have committed terrible crimes. But Job had not committed any grievous sins. Why, then, was God allowing him to suffer?

With this complaint in hand, Job struggles against his Maker. He begins by affirming his total inability to contend with God. He is unable to dispute with God because He knows all things whereas Job knows nothing. God is righteous and true in His judgments, and Job admits that he is a sinner. This admission can cause some confusion when first reading Job’s discourse. On the one hand, he admits that he cannot stand before God because no one is righteous. Then on the other hand, he maintains that he is “blameless” and “innocent.” A distinction must be made in how Job is using the word righteous. He is “righteous” because he is a follower of the true God. Sin is not the ruling principle in his life as it is among the wicked. He is “blameless” because he has not committed any grievous sin and because he trusts God. He is trying to find some connection between a specific sin and his particular suffering. When he cannot find one, he complains that God is being unfair.

Job despairs of being reconciled with God because he admits that creatures cannot oppose their Maker. God is all-powerful and is sovereign over all things, so Job says it is fruitless to try to change what He has ordained. Finally, Job finds it impossible to bring his case before God because he is a sinner. He admits that man must be pure to stand before the righteous judgment of God. How can a man, who is sinful, be found righteous in God’s sight? This question haunts Job, and his only conclusion is to cry out for a mediator. Because of the vast differences between God and man, and because man is sinful and God is righteous, Job recognizes his need for an arbiter.

Job’s request is met in the person of Jesus Christ. He is our Mediator, the one who intercedes on our behalf in God’s court. In Him, we can stand before God and find reconciliation because we are clothed in Christ’s righteousness. When we sin, we can go to Christ, who is our advocate at the right hand of God. In Him, there is no condemnation.

Using Romans 3:9–31 and 5:1–11, respond to Job’s complaint. What are some key points that Job did not understand? In what ways did Job honor God in his discourse? How did he dishonor Him? Do we always suffer on account of sin? What does the Romans 5 passage say about suffering? Apply this to Job’s situation.