INNOCENT OR GUILTY?
Gracious God, you have captured and enraptured me with your love. Today, continue your transforming work in my life.
Read JOB 10
“I loathe my very life;
therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
2 I say to God: Do not declare me guilty,
but tell me what charges you have against me.
3 Does it please you to oppress me,
to spurn the work of your hands,
while you smile on the plans of the wicked?
4 Do you have eyes of flesh?
Do you see as a mortal sees?
5 Are your days like those of a mortal
or your years like those of a strong man,
6 that you must search out my faults
and probe after my sin—
7 though you know that I am not guilty
and that no one can rescue me from your hand?
8 “Your hands shaped me and made me.
Will you now turn and destroy me?
9 Remember that you molded me like clay.
Will you now turn me to dust again?
10 Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese,
11 clothe me with skin and flesh
and knit me together with bones and sinews?
12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.
13 “But this is what you concealed in your heart,
and I know that this was in your mind:
14 If I sinned, you would be watching me
and would not let my offense go unpunished.
15 If I am guilty—woe to me!
Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head,
for I am full of shame
and drowned in[a] my affliction.
16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion
and again display your awesome power against me.
17 You bring new witnesses against me
and increase your anger toward me;
your forces come against me wave upon wave.
18 “Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
19 If only I had never come into being,
or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!
20 Are not my few days almost over?
Turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy
21 before I go to the place of no return,
to the land of gloom and utter darkness,
22 to the land of deepest night,
of utter darkness and disorder,
where even the light is like darkness.”
- Job 10:15 Or and aware of
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.’1
In chapter 10, Job reveals a universal human fear of being found guilty. We all live in the shadow of guilt, from the small misdemeanors of our childhood to our more serious struggles and failings as adults. Verse 2 tells us of Job’s desire not to be found guilty. He associates guilt with two powerful forces: destruction and darkness.
Verses 8 and 9 show that guilt is linked to destruction. Destruction is the opposite of creation, so sin and guilt are in opposition to the righteous God who created the universe. Job, like all of us, fears death and destruction. This fear of guilt is intensified by its connection to darkness. The chapter concludes with Job lamenting that guilt in the end leads to a land of deepest night, of utter darkness (v 22). The word for ‘utter darkness’ used here is rarely used in the Bible outside the book of Job. You may be familiar with it in Psalm 23:4, when David talks of the ‘darkest valley.’ In Amos 5:8 the same word is used to describe the creative process as God turns ‘midnight’ into dawn. Lastly, it is used in the prophecy in Isaiah 9:2: ‘on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.’
Job is wrestling with his guilt, fearing it will lead to the land of utter darkness. We know that Jesus came to fulfill the prophecy in Isaiah. He came to bring the presence of God into the darkest valley; to usher in a new dawn; and to reach those held by guilt in the land of deepest darkness. Jesus did this by declaring us innocent, not through successfully defending our case but by taking our guilt upon himself on the cross.
Take a moment to think about the things you feel guilty about. Bring them to the cross and hear the verdict that here God proclaims you innocent.
Lord, I acknowledge that life presents me with many challenges. However, I know that you are always with me and will guide me through the storms of life. I love you and praise you.
1 Isa 9:2
Click here to sign up to receive the EXTRAs via email each quarter.
© 2024 Scripture Union U.S.A. All rights reserved. Reproduction of the whole or any part of the contents without written permission is prohibited.
Encounter with God is published in the USA under license from Scripture Union England and Wales, Trinity House, Opal Court, Opal Drive, Fox Milne, Milton Keynes, MK15 0DF.