Job 13:20-28 (NIV) 20 “Only grant me these two things, O God, and then I will not hide from you: 21 Withdraw your hand far from me, and stop frightening me with your terrors. 22 Then summon me and I will answer, or let me speak, and you reply. 23 How many wrongs and sins have I committed? Show me my offense and my sin. 24 Why do you hide your face and consider me your enemy? 25 Will you torment a windblown leaf? Will you chase after dry chaff? 26 For you write down bitter things against me and make me inherit the sins of my youth. 27 You fasten my feet in shackles; you keep close watch on all my paths by putting marks on the soles of my feet. 28 “So man wastes away like something rotten, like a garment eaten by moths.
On verses 20-28: Here Job asks God to withdraw His hand from him and to stop frightening him so that he can have a conversation with Him (v21-22). Job invites God to show him in what way he has sinned (v23). Job goes on to describe God as a mysterious attacker who torments and chases a weak and helpless person (v25), who considers Job his enemy (v24) and who has judgment and bitter things in store for Job (v26). Job sees God as a prison warden and himself as His prisoner (v27), whose life is wasting away for as long as God is focusing on him (v28).
What can we learn from this? Because Job saw God as someone who wanted to judge, torment and destroy him, Job was afraid to approach God. This “Darth Vader” perception of God was commonly held by people in the Old Testament. They assumed that they would die if ever they got close to God (for example, see Judges13:22 and Isaiah 6:5). As a result, much of their religious activity was fear-based.
However, in the Gospels, Jesus shows us what our Heavenly Father is really like. Rather than the “Darth Vader” kind of God that Job feared, Jesus showed that God is loving, merciful, and compassionate.
Whereas Job thought of God as a ruthless prison warden who would “fasten my feet in shackles” and mark them with wounds (v27), Jesus showed that God would rather be the prisoner in our place and bear nail marks on His own feet to save us.
Whereas Job thought God’s hand brought punishment and pain (“Withdraw your hand from me” (v21)), Jesus showed that God’s hand brings blessing, healing and protection. Whereas Job prayed that God would withdraw His hand from him, Jesus showed that it is the removal, not the presence, of God’s hand that brings misery (see Psalm 104:29).
Whereas Job thought God’s agenda was to punish Job and let his life rot away (v28), Jesus showed that God’s agenda is to save lives while it is Satan’s agenda to destroy them (John 10:10).
Whereas Job was afraid of God, Jesus showed that we can approach Him as our loving Heavenly Father. Whereas on our own we do not stand a chance before God and have much to fear, with Jesus in our lives we can approach God without fear, knowing that our sins are covered, that we are clean and acceptable in God’s sight, and that He loves us. Jesus, who is perfect love personified, drives out all fear so that we can approach God with faith and confidence (1 John 4:18).
Heavenly Father, thank You for showing us through Your Son Jesus that we don’t have to be afraid of You. Because You love us and because Jesus paid the price for our sins, we can come to You with faith and confidence. Thank You for Your perfect love that drives out all fear. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!