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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Job

(Return to Old Testament Contents)

 

FRAMEWORKS: Job 9: Job (3): Part 1: The Futility

of Disputing with God

 

v.1-4 God's wisdom & knowledge is infinitely greater than ours

v.5-10 His Power is infinitely greater than ours

v.11-14 Despite the evidence we can't communicate on equal terms

v.15-18 I am so puny in every way, He wouldn't give me the time of day

v.19-24 In respect of Justice, whether guilty or innocent, I just don't have the resources

v.25-32 My anguish implies I'm found guilty so it's hopeless

v.33-35 I really need an advocate if I am to have any hope

 

[Preliminary Comments: Job responds to Bildad in a much less combative way than before. He acknowledges the truth of his situation but perhaps goes too far in condemning himself and failing to understand God care and concern for us. However this latter point is the thing many will struggle with in the face of chapters 1 & 2 where we saw what was happening to Job was by the hand of God.]

 

 

v.1-4 God's wisdom & knowledge is infinitely greater than ours

 

v.1 Then Job replied: 

v.2 “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God? 

v.3 Though they wished to dispute with him, they could not answer him one time out of a thousand. 

v.4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed? 

 

[Notes: Job concedes the truth of what Bildad had been saying. It is folly to pity puny human wisdom against the greatness of knowledge and wisdom of God.]

 

 

v.5-10 His Power is infinitely greater than ours

 

v.5 He moves mountains without their knowing it and overturns them in his anger. 

v.6 He shakes the earth from its place and makes its pillars tremble. 

v.7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine; he seals off the light of the stars. 

v.8 He alone stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea. 

v.9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the constellations of the south. 

v.10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. 

 

[Notes: The power of God is unlimited which (inferred) makes us even smaller and more insignificant.]

 

 

v.11-14 Despite the evidence we can't communicate on equal terms

 

v.11 When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him. 

v.12 If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?' 

v.13 God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet. 

v.14 “How then can I dispute with him? How can I find words to argue with him? 

 

[Notes: The reality is that God is invisible so we can't treat Him like a human being we might accost. It's an unreal contest.]

 

 

v.15-18 I am so puny in every way, He wouldn't give me the time of day

 

v.15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy. 

v.16 Even if I summoned him and he responded, I do not believe he would give me a hearing. 

v.17 He would crush me with a storm and multiply my wounds for no reason. 

v.18 He would not let me catch my breath but would overwhelm me with misery. 

 

[Notes: He is so great and I am so puny He is not going to respond to my petty attempts to get his attention and even if He did respond He could just demolish me.]

 

 

v.19-24 In respect of Justice, whether guilty or innocent, I just don't have the resources

 

v.19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty! And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him? 

v.20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty. 

v.21 “Although I am blameless, I have no concern for myself; I despise my own life. 

v.22 It is all the same; that is why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.' 

v.23 When a scourge brings sudden death, he mocks the despair of the innocent. 

v.24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked, he blindfolds its judges. If it is not he, then who is it? 

 

[Notes: If I try and summon justice there is no way I would contend with Him and (in my despair) I feel He could utterly destroy me regardless of the truth.]

 

 

v.25-32 My anguish implies I'm found guilty so it's hopeless

 

v.25 “My days are swifter than a runner; they fly away without a glimpse of joy. 

v.26 They skim past like boats of papyrus, like eagles swooping down on their prey. 

v.27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will change my expression, and smile,' 

v.28 I still dread all my sufferings, for I know you will not hold me innocent. 

v.29 Since I am already found guilty, why should I struggle in vain? 

v.30 Even if I washed myself with soap and my hands with cleansing powder, 

v.31 you would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me. 

v.32 “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. 

 

[Notes: As the days of my anguish seem to flash by, I can try and put on a bold face but I am still confronted with my pain that implies my guilt so I can never stand pure before Him.]

 

 

v.33-35 I really need an advocate if I am to have any hope

 

v.33 If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, 

v.34 someone to remove God's rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. 

v.35 Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.

 

[Notes: I sense a need - of someone to stand up for me, who can be objective and allow me to speak what I feel.

 

Lessons:

1. Pain, anguish and suffering distort our perspective and we can find our thoughts and words take us off the path of truth.

2. Nevertheless they do make us face the reality of our human limitations to cope and our need of One to be there for us if we are to ‘survive' in any sense of that word.

3. The biggest lesson of all for us perhaps – and it is only seen clearly in the New Testament is that God's love is sacrificial on our behalf [Jn 3:16] and He does empathize and weep with us [Jn 11:33-38], something never to be forgotten.

4. Seeking to maintain perspective in the face of difficult verses, we should always remember the full teaching of scripture that God is perfect, i.e. cannot be improved upon in thought, word or deed. Our difficulty is that we never have the full picture and if, when we get to heaven, the Lord allows us to look back with His total sight, we will never be able to criticize anything He did or did not do. Job, of course, has to struggle without that knowledge.]

  

 

CONTINUE to Chapter 10