1 Then Job replied: 2 “Even today my complaint is bitter; his hand is heavy in spite of my groaning. 3 If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! 4 I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say. 6 Would he oppose me with great power? No, he would not press charges against me. 7 There an upright man could present his case before him, and I would be delivered forever from my judge. 8 “But if I go to the east, he is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find him. 9 When he is at work in the north, I do not see him; when he turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of him.
On verses 1-9: Job wants to have a word with God. Job thinks that if he could argue his case before God, plead his innocence, and convince God that he is upright, God would come to His senses and see that Job is not deserving of such suffering. Job’s only problem, in his mind at least, is that he can’t find God.
What can we learn from this? When we take an adversarial approach toward God and treat Him like He is an enemy to defeat or an opponent to out argue, we experience something frustrating: we can’t find God. That is, we have no idea where He is, can’t feel His presence and can’t hear His voice. That’s because God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. If you want the grace of knowing where God is, feeling His presence and hearing His voice, it’s about laying down your arguments and complaints and humbling yourself before Him.
Job 23:10-12 (NIV) 10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11 My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside. 12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
On verses 10-12: Back around high school, I used to read verse 10 as an inspirational verse for myself, as a reminder that God sees my situation and as an inspiration for me to pass whatever test He has placed in front of me. But that’s probably not the way Job meant verse 10. Job’s point in verses 10-12 is that he believes he is blameless before God.
Can anyone of us really say that? Can I, like Job, honestly say that “I have kept to His way without turning aside” (v11) and never departed from His commands (v12)? None of us can, except one: Jesus Christ. It is only when my life is by faith hidden in Christ that I can say what Job says in verses 10-12, because on my own I don’t stand a chance before God.
Job 23:13-17 (NIV) 13 “But he stands alone, and who can oppose him? He does whatever he pleases. 14 He carries out his decree against me, and many such plans he still has in store. 15 That is why I am terrified before him; when I think of all this, I fear him. 16 God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me. 17 Yet I am not silenced by the darkness, by the thick darkness that covers my face.
On verses 13-17: Job is afraid of God after all the suffering God has allowed him to endure. But Job remains defiantly unquiet. He is set on voicing his complaint to God and pleading his innocence, even if it scares him to death and even though all around him is darkness.
What can we learn from this? When we are set on opposing God and doing nothing but complain to Him, not only do we fail to see God, but we fail to see much at all. All around us becomes dark. Bitterness and pride cloud our judgment, darken our insight and distort our perspective. Yet when we humble ourselves before God, that’s when we experience “enlightenment” – our burdens are lightened, our perspective is brightened, and our judgment about God and about other things generally becomes more accurate.
Heavenly Father, thank You for showing me today the importance of staying humble before You. Pride causes me to miss you and to misjudge everything around me. Humility lightens my load, brightens my perspective and opens the door to really hearing from You. May I walk humbly before You today. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!