Front Page
Meditations Contents
Series Theme: The Anguish of Job
Series Contents:

1 to 10

11 to 20

26. A Need for Focus

27. Be Honest!

28. Created & Condemned?

29. You are sinless?

30. Prison means Guilt

61 to 68



1-10 roughly cover Ch.1-4

11-20 roughly cover Ch.4-7

21-30 roughly cover Ch.8-11

31-40 roughly cover Ch.12-15

41-50 roughly cover Ch.16-21

51-60 cover Ch.22-33

61-68 cover Ch.34-42




Meditation No. 24


Meditation Title:  Don't Argue with God


Job 9:3   Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand.

Bildad has come to the end of his first attack and Job speaks in response. As I have commented before, I believe this is one of the most difficult books of the Bible to read and understand. You almost dare not read a chapter in isolation. To find the truth you almost need to read the whole book at one sitting but that is a big task! What we need to do is cheat, and go to the end and see what happens. Look: “After the LORD had said these things to Job, he said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "I am angry with you and your two friends, because you have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has (Job 42:7). The Lord chides the three friends but praises Job. Only Job had spoken of me what is right. That is amazing. But is that the whole picture? No, because earlier we find the Lord speaking to Job, “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge (Job 38:2). In other words, Job has spoken rightly about the Lord but if he was foolish it was trying to speak into a situation where his knowledge was strictly limited. Like the three friends he didn't know about chapters 1 and 2! Now you see why those two chapters were so vital; they explain WHY it was all happening, even though a lot was left unsaid.

So, now we come to Job's next attempt to speak into the dark, from the dark. He's ‘in the dark' in as far as he is in the darkness of anguish and he's also ‘in the dark' in that he doesn't know what it's all about, so when he speaks, he speaks into the dark. Solomon in his wisdom from God knew something of this: “A man of knowledge uses words with restraint (Prov 17:27). Even in the jaded years of his old age he counselled, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few.” (Eccles 5:2). We find a terrible indictment of a dissolute society in Athens in Acts: “All the Athenians and the foreigners who lived there spent their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas (Acts 17:21) Sometimes even speaking is a sign of our folly.

So maybe Job is not being very wise when he launches out again in his defence, “Indeed, I know that this is true. But how can a mortal be righteous before God?” (v.2) yet it is a valid question and he has some good reasons to ask it. His two friends have sought to link sin and suffering and Bildad concluded that if Job repented the Lord would utterly restore him. This Job agrees to, at least as a general principle: when people repent, God forgives and restores, but then comes this key question: in the face of all-mighty, all-powerful, all-wise God, how can any one of us humans ever say we are right. Surely God can see through us and see our every foible and failure and foolish aspects, and surely he can out-think us – so what's the point?

Though one wished to dispute with him, he could not answer him one time out of a thousand. Our natural tendency is to want to speak up to justify ourselves but God is so ‘clever' and all-knowing that he could ask us a thousand questions we'd never be able to answer. Indeed, “His wisdom is profound, his power is vast. Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?” (v.4). Once you are aware of God's greatness you realise that it is just stupid to try to argue with Him. After all, He is the One who created the whole of existence and so His wisdom and knowledge is just mind blowing!

Verses 5 to 9 simply speak of God's incredible power in making and directing His world. It's only when we come to verse 10 that we find job resorting back to statements that reveal our futility: “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” This is what upsets people about Jesus' ministry; it is filled with things that the human mind can't cope with. God does stuff that we just can't understand! You can't understand a miracle apart from stating the obvious – it is something that goes against the flow of nature. Having said that, we're done!

“When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.” (v.11). This is one of our biggest problems – we can't see God, hence the life of faith! God is a mystery because we'll only see Him the other side of death. For the time being we speak into the air and trust He hears. We listen and falter and hope we have heard aright. It is probably the biggest issue in our lives! But it gets worse: “If he snatches away, who can stop him? Who can say to him, `What are you doing?'” (v.12). In other words, not only can I not see Him, but I am also powerless when He acts. Because He is God and is all-powerful, we can do nothing to resist Him if He comes in judgment.

From our perspective it seems terrible at times: “God does not restrain his anger; even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.” (v.13). That is how it seems sometimes. If God decides to act in judgment against the sin of the world, even the greatest of creatures in all creation dives for cover! Don't ever mistake God's anger for caprice. In fact it is exactly the opposite. He never unaccountably changes His mind by whim or fancy, but instead He purposely and slowly works out His purpose against unrestrained and purposeful sin and ungodliness. Unlike us, His anger never makes Him out of control. God's anger is less an emotional outburst but more a distinct determination to act against ungodliness and unrighteousness. Different translations do different things with this verse but ultimately the outcome is the same: when God is angry, the wise get on their knees or prostrate themselves or duck for cover.

Job well describes our utter helplessness before God. Because He knows everything and is all-wise, we would do well not to try to argue with Him. His wisdom and His might and power say here is a Being who is not to be trifled with. We may think we're all right, but if He says we're not, we need to think again. We may wonder at the affairs of life but if we are wise we do not jump to conclusions but seek the One who alone has all the answers. Where does that leave us then as we feel weak and vulnerable? Watch this space for the next meditation.