Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me! Why do you, like God, pursue me? Why are you not satisfied with my flesh?
"Oh that my words were written! Oh that they were inscribed in a book! Oh that with an iron pen and lead they were engraved in the rock forever!
For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. – Job 19:21-25
This lament of Job’s comes at the end of today’s reading, after a second round of “comfort” from Eliphaz and Bildad. At this point, halfway through our story, Job is pleading for mercy from his friends.
To prepare for it, listen to the attitude that runs through the speeches of these two men: “…Your iniquity teaches your mouth, and you choose the tongue of the crafty. Your own mouth condemns you, and not I; your own lips testify against you…” Eliphaz charges. Bildad is more direct: “Why are we counted as cattle? Why are we stupid in your sight?”
Remember that their initial conversation was cordial but accusation was implied: they believed that Job must have sinned, because, in their eyes, suffering was the result of iniquity. Job rejected this, but, of course, only he knows whether he should repent. And this rejection of his friends’ “wisdom” draws a personal rebuke.
I’ve asked you before to place yourself in Job’s position. Today I invite you to sit in the seat of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. Put the first chapter out of your mind – in other words, allow yourself as much knowledge as they have – and imagine what you would say to Job. With these blinders on, how would you attempt to encourage and exhort him? Does Job’s view of God align with what you’ve seen of Him? Is he speaking righteously, or will you charge him, as Eliphaz does, with “windy knowledge and unprofitable talk”?
Our verse for this week is James 4:7: Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
Job 15 through 19. Now let’s read it!
Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.