We’ve just finished going through the book of Job as a family. As we were moving along day by day I realized I was a bit vague on how the story ended. I knew God put an end to the arguments of all involved, but really, didn’t Job end up repenting and being forgiven (42:6) while his friends, who argued that Job needed to repent, get rebuked?
At the same time, what did Job need to be forgiven of? Doesn’t the first chapter clearly state that Job was blameless, upright, God-fearing, and one that shunned evil? He even made sure to offer an individual burnt offering for each of his children that he thought perhaps had sinned.
As we finished the last chapter I looked back over the arguments. How was God’s argument different from what Job’s friends had been saying? Wasn’t it essentially the same main point?
Elihu: “Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable;… Hear this, O Job; stop and consider the wondrous works of God. Do you know...? The Almighty-we can not find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate.”
God: “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding… Declare, if you know all this.… Can you...?, Is it by your understanding...? Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?”
The difference is that Job’s friends, while agreeing with God’s unfathomable superiority, pronounce judgment out of their supposed understanding of Him.
God on the other hand, agrees that He is too great to be understood by mere men and thus asks us merely to agree with Him instead of having to understand.
Job was not wrong in continually stating his innocence and uprightness to his friends. Rather Job was quite correct in arguing for, and trusting wholeheartedly in God’s total and complete forgiveness of his sins.
God did not convict him of a list of wrongs that he was being punished for. No, God merely convicted him of inferring that God was wrongly punishing him and thus unjust. God wasn’t punishing him and therefore was not unjust.
Job’s right response: “Behold, I am of small account; what shall I answer you? I lay my hand on my mouth…. I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”
Job now understands that he doesn’t understand, but one thing he does understand is that God understands. He now knows that he doesn’t know, but one thing he does know is that God knows.
God is trust-able, infinitely more so than myself or any of my friends. What He says is the way it is, no questions asked. But I must not put words in His mouth.
Lord, let me acknowledge you in the spirit of Job.
I See Jesus
By: Annie Johnson Flint
I don't look back: God knows the fruitless efforts,
The wasted hours, the sinning, the regrets;
I leave them all with Him Who blots the record,
And mercifully forgives, and then forgets.
I don't look forward, God sees all the future,
The road that, short or long, will lead me home,
And He will face with me its every trial,
And bear for me the burdens that may come.
I don't look round me: then would fears assail me,
So wild the tumult of earth's restless seas;
So dark the world, so filled with woe and evil,
So vain the hope of comfort or of ease.
I don't look in; for then am I most wretched;
Myself has naught on which to stay my trust;
Nothing I see save failures and short-comings,
And weak endeavors crumbling into dust.
But I look up -- into the face of Jesus,
For there my heart can rest, my fears are stilled.
And there is joy, and love, and light for darkness,
And perfect peace, and every hope fulfilled.