Job 8-10: Have You Ever Wondered Whether God is Really Just?

Have you ever been frustrated with God?  Have you ever gone through times of loss and began to wonder if He really loved you at all?  Have things become so bad and so out of whack that you began to wonder, perhaps in the inner recesses of your soul, whether God was really just?  If you have ever gone there in your thought life, this book was written for you.

Who do you think Job was?  Perhaps you think that he was a man who was very, very righteous.  Perhaps you were led to believe that Job was a man with incredible (almost superhuman) patience who after losing it all, refused to give into the temptation to call God into question. Perhaps you perceived him to be a man who sat through countless hours of mockery and accusations from those who would be called his friends and raised no deep questions of his own.  Maybe you think that he was a man who just didn’t let himself get frustrated with God and he was able to keep it all in perspective?  While much of this is correct about Job, you may be surprised to find out that this popular perspective on Job isn’t all that accurate.

In many peoples’ lives, it is not the initial pain of loss that makes them doubt God’s goodness (though some situations do immediately draw this response from some people).  Rather, it is the long term pain of loss that will grind us down and lead us to the breaking point when no relief seems to be in sight. Job withstood the loss of his family, his wealth and his health as well as anyone might deal with circumstances so terrible.  Yet, as the days turned into weeks, his resolve and his sense of  who God’s character which had been developed and reinforced throughout his years of  prosperity began to dramatically weaken as the rolling tide of his collective sorrows  started to take their long-term toll.

Job 9 is one of the most significant chapters in the book of Job, if not the most important section.  In this chapter, during Job’s discussion with his friend Bildad, the direction of Job’s words quickly begin to take a more cynical turn.  No longer is he simply mourning the losses and the pain he feels.  No longer does he focus on the abandonment of his friends, as he did in the last section; now he turns his attention toward God.  God becomes, for Job, the focus of his frustrations.  In fact, many might be surprised to read at this point that Job is so angry that he begins to make the incredible case that God has treated him unjustly.  The shocking part we see from this incredibly pious man is that he begins to doubt that God has been just in his dealing with him and so he even goes to the place of wishing that there could be someone who could serve as a mediator between him and the God of the universe.  Read again Job’s words from chapter 9 with this understanding of the text in mind:

 

14   “How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? 15Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. 16Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. 17He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. 18He would not let me regain my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. 19If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!

And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him? 20Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty . . . 22It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ 23 When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. 24When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it?  . . . 28I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent. 29Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? 30  . . . 32  “He is not a man like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. 33If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both, 34 someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. 35Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

 

As you may remember from many of the Psalms, God is not threatened by the honest, despairing and angry “soul cry” of his people when they happen to be suffering.  As we reflect and meditate on Scripture, one great thought about God’s character is everywhere to be found: God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love. 

 

So we have the question again before us.  Have you ever wondered whether God is really just?  If you have, you are in good company as the main character in this book wondered this same thing.  Now, throughout the rest of this book, we will notice a build up to the day when Job will receive his long anticipated court date and what he will do when he has the opportunity to speak.  There will be much for all of us to learn through the many chapters of dialogue leading up to that momentous day Job is given in court. 

 

Finally, there may be many readers who happen upon this blog who can identify with heartbreak of Job and who share the sense of injustice and frustration in your relationship with Christ that Job experienced. Take time to share your complaints with Him in prayer. He will hear you and just as He did with Job — He can bring healing to your life.

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