Job 10:1-2 (NIV) 1 “I loathe my very life; therefore I will give free rein to my complaint and speak out in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God: Do not condemn me, but tell me what charges you have against me.
On verses 1-2: Because Job hated his life, he had no problems complaining, being bitter and questioning God. When a person is constantly complaining and bitter, you know there is something unhealthy going on in their heart. As Jesus says, “out of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34). What comes out of one’s mouth is a reflection of what’s going on inside their heart. So if you want to change your speech, it starts with letting God change your heart.
Job 10:3-8 (NIV) 3 Does it please you to oppress me, to spurn the work of your hands, while you smile on the schemes of the wicked? 4 Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees? 5 Are your days like those of a mortal or your years like those of a man, 6 that you must search out my faults and probe after my sin– 7 though you know that I am not guilty and that no one can rescue me from your hand? 8 “Your hands shaped me and made me. Will you now turn and destroy me? Job 10:18 (NIV) 18 “Why then did you bring me out of the womb? I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
On verses 3-22: Job questions God in a taunting, complaining and dismissive manner. Here is my paraphrase of Job’s line of questioning in verses 3-22: “God, do you take pleasure in hurting your child who has tried to live blamelessly before You, while blessing those who don’t even try to please You (v3)? Are you so finite like a human being that You need to conduct experiments and treat me like a lab rat to see if there is any sin in my life (v4-6), even though deep down You know that I am innocent (v7)? God, I don’t understand. Why would You make me only to destroy me? (v8-11) What is the point of that? At first I thought You were so kind (v12). Little did I know that if I made a single misstep, You would punish me to no end (v13-17). I wish I had never lived (v18-19). Since my life is almost over anyway, just turn Your wrath away from me for a second and let me have a moment’s peace before I disappear into eternal darkness and gloom (v20-22).”
Notice that while Job was asking God a lot of questions, I’m not sure that Job was really that interested in hearing God’s answer. What can we learn from this? There are at least two ways you can question God: you can question God with a dismissive, complaining, prideful attitude, or you can question God with a humble, teachable attitude. In the former case, because you’re more interested in venting than learning, it is unlikely you will get any answers from God when you ask, “Why God?”. In the latter case, because you are humbling yourself before God and really wanting to learn, it is more likely that you will experience Him, gain wisdom and grow when you ask, “Why God?”
For example, in Psalm 119:73, the Psalmist echoes what Job says in verse 8, “Your hands made me and formed me”. Yet while Job follows this up with an angry and bitter question, “Will you now turn and destroy me?” (Job 10:8), the Psalmist comes to God with a humble request: “give me understanding to learn your commands” (Psalm 119:73). David in Psalm 139:13-16 does something similar. After recognizing that God “created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb,” he prays, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (v23-24)”
In other words, while both Job and the Psalmists believed in God, while they both came to God with questions, the way they questioned God was very different. Job’s line of questioning was angry, dismissive, and hard-hearted. Job was more interested in complaining than consulting God. In contrast, the Psalmist sought to understand. He would say, “God, I really don’t understand, but I want to. Would you please teach me? Why did this happen and what should I do now?”
Sometimes when we are in so much pain, the questions we give God are not so much honest questions as they are closed-hearted complaints. But it’s when we calm down and humbly ask, “Why God?” that we position ourselves to hear from God and grow in wisdom.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You hear my questions, both when I’m just complaining and when I really want to learn. I pray I would complain to You less and inquire of You more, so that I may grow in wisdom. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!