February 5, 2015.
Daily Reading: Job 9-10.
Background: Job 8.
Concepts and Connections.
The difference between God and man: This chapter and the next are closely related (besides the fact that they are one speech made by Job) in that they show an evolution in Job’s response to Bildad, and ultimate his response to God. It would seem Job agreed at least in part with the reply Bildad had spoken about how God doesn’t punish the righteous, but the wicked (see Job 8), as he starts out “I know it is so.” But the reply did nothing to answer his question, because he knew that he was innocent of transgression. Job was a very righteous man (see Job 1-2). In this first part of his monolog, Job expresses his wisdom on the difference between God and man, as it seems it is the only way he can reconcile what is happening to him. He says that God is above man in every way; who is man to challenge Him? What is man to ask God “What are you doing?” The Lord Almighty, creator of the universe and all that is therein, had no obligation to answer the whims of man. Man had no right to approach God and call out for fairness. Job says that even if he could proclaim his innocence before God, his very own mouth would condemn him. In this first part of his speech, Job is very humbled in relation to God. Had he stopped here, he probably would have been in good shape. This concept is echoed by many biblical characters including Abraham, David and Paul (see Genesis 18:27, Psalm 8:4, and Romans 9:19-24). There is a difference between God and man, and we need to be mindful of this distance. To often in our culture do we elevate man to the place of God, even proposing arguments with God and changing His word to fit our opinions. These things ought not to be so, for His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways (see Isaiah 55:6-9).
Job grows bold: As Job continues his monolog, he starts to grow bolder and directs his question towards God, even if it is in the hypothetical sense. Job finally asks the question that has probably been on his mind for a long time: Why? Why has the Lord done this to him? Why has the Lord chosen to crush him, though he has done nothing wrong? Why is all of this continuing with no end in sight? Why is God, who is much above man, even concerned with making Job’s life miserable? This chapter reveals Job’s fundamental flaw in his perception, as was the flaw of his friends as well. Their perception of God was this: if you are righteous, God will cause good things in your life; if you are not righteous, God will cause bad things to happen in your life. The difference between Job and his friends was that Job knew he had not done something wrong, whereas his friends would not accept this concession. It is important to note here that Job is not rebuking God, but rather questioning Him, and questioning Him in a way that maintains God’s sovereignty. Job’s friends, on the other hand, were speaking for God, telling Job what God did or didn’t do. Job would get rebuked in the end when God came down to him in a whirlwind (and he would repent in dust and ashes), but in the end he stood justified by God whereas his friends were not in the right with God, and Job had to make atonement for them (see Job 38-42). But God never answered Job’s question here. He came to Job and confirmed what Job had said in the previous chapter about the differences between God and man and deemed that sufficient. Though He does often give us answers, it is important to remember that God does not owe us an answer. God did not tell Job the full story. He just showed Job His glory. When we question God, we need to remember that He doesn’t owe us an answer. And just because He doesn’t give us the answer, doesn’t mean there isn’t one. It is okay to be bold, but we must remember our place in relation to God so as to not elevate ourselves to His level.
Tomorrow’s Reading: Isaiah 23-28.
“Blessed is the man who remains stead fast under trial.”