Saturday, December 2, 2023

Bitter Complaints (Job 30)

“But You have become cruel to me …” (Job 30:21).

The root of Job’s spiritual and emotional anguish in chapter 30 is that he thinks God had become his enemy. While he always recognized that God is in control of everything, even his suffering, Job accuses God of using His sovereignty to be cruel to him. Such an accusation of a merciful and gracious God is unacceptable even for a man as sorely tried as Job. Despite Job’s many losses and his unparalleled trials, he had no right to harbor such hard thoughts of God.

Job complained that God did not appear in his defense. He expected the Lord to intercede on his behalf, to show him mercy and comfort in the midst of his affliction. When that comfort failed to come quickly, Job accused God of being cruel. He had suffered so greatly that there was only one more thing left for God to do and that was Job’s death. Surprisingly, in that consideration came his only comfort. He maintains the hope that God will “stretch forth His hand to the grave” and deliver him.

Despite Job’s former proclamations of God’s justice and right to afflict sinners such as himself, he now questions God’s justice. He wants God to defend him and bring him comfort, but what Job does not know is that God has already defended him. The Lord had already spoken on his behalf when Satan accused him of being a hypocrite. God’s purposes, therefore, in Job’s trials were not punitive but instructional not only for Job to learn more about humility and faith, but for those who would read this account of his suffering. God had not been cruel to him because even at Job’s lowest point, God sustained him by His grace. And unknown to Job, God would restore him to his former position of authority, give him back his wealth, and once again surround him with the love and warmth of a family.

God is merciful, and we must never think otherwise even when suffering pierces our hearts. Those who are the children of God have the comfort of knowing that He never abandons those He loves, He never forsakes His chosen ones. The only person ever to endure God’s wrath and abandonment was Jesus Christ as He hung on the cross, bearing the punishment of our sins. He took our place that we might know the mercy and compassion of God.

Do you harbor hard thoughts of God about something that happened to you in your past or is happening to you right now? If so, confess it to God and ask forgiveness of Him. Such bitterness can also be directed toward people who might have hurt you. Confess that bitterness today and forgive them that you might have peace.