“If I say, 'I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face, and be of good cheer,' I become afraid of all my suffering, for I know you will not hold me innocent. I shall be condemned; why then do I labor in vain?” - Job 9:27-29
Our reading today follows the above, where Job acknowledges his powerlessness before God. Even if Job were to put on a cheerful face, to wash himself clean, he could not escape should God choose to plunge him back into the pit. For “There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both…” he laments. Whatever God wants to do, God will do. Remember how Job responded to his wife in chapter 2: “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?" Keep this question in mind as you listen to Job’s speeches today.
The only other speaker today is Zophar, the final counselor who’s been sitting with Job. His charge of iniquity is similar to that of his partners, but he also challenges Job’s understanding of God Himself. Listen carefully: "Can you find out the deep things of God? Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?... If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear. You will forget your misery; you will remember it as waters that have passed away.
You may have spotted the tension between these two images of God: in Job’s world, who is in charge? How about in Zophar’s? It seems that Job’s lament is the feeling of powerlessness before an all-powerful God. How does Zophar want to resolve that? Job’s response in the next three chapters tells you what he thinks of this advice.
At this point you may be looking for a right-or-wrong type of answer here. If so, this book will continue to disappoint. Remember the pain and grief through which Job is speaking and into which his friends are trying to console. Remember the high opinion that both the author and the LORD held of Job in the first chapters. Listen both to Job’s words and attitude. Where do you sympathize with him, agree with him, or do you yourself want to rebuke him?
Our verse for this week is James 4:7: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Job 10 through 14. Now let’s read it!
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.