Lord, thank You for enduring our ignorance of Your ways.
Read JOB 9:1–35
9 Then Job replied:
2 “Indeed, I know that this is true.
But how can mere mortals prove their innocence before God?
3 Though they wished to dispute with him,
they could not answer him one time out of a thousand.
4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast.
Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?
5 He moves mountains without their knowing it
and overturns them in his anger.
6 He shakes the earth from its place
and makes its pillars tremble.
7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;
he seals off the light of the stars.
8 He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads on the waves of the sea.
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.
11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;
when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.
12 If he snatches away, who can stop him?
Who can say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
13 God does not restrain his anger;
even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.
14 “How then can I dispute with him?
How can I find words to argue with him?
15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;
I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
16 Even if I summoned him and he responded,
I do not believe he would give me a hearing.
17 He would crush me with a storm
and multiply my wounds for no reason.
18 He would not let me catch my breath
but would overwhelm me with misery.
19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!
And if it is a matter of justice, who can challenge him?
20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me;
if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.
21 “Although I am blameless,
I have no concern for myself;
I despise my own life.
22 It is all the same; that is why I say,
‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When a scourge brings sudden death,
he mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,
he blindfolds its judges.
If it is not he, then who is it?
25 “My days are swifter than a runner;
they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,
like eagles swooping down on their prey.
27 If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint,
I will change my expression, and smile,’
28 I still dread all my sufferings,
for I know you will not hold me innocent.
29 Since I am already found guilty,
why should I struggle in vain?
30 Even if I washed myself with soap
and my hands with cleansing powder,
31 you would plunge me into a slime pit
so that even my clothes would detest me.
32 “He is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him,
that we might confront each other in court.
33 If only there were someone to mediate between us,
someone to bring us together,
34 someone to remove God’s rod from me,
so that his terror would frighten me no more.
35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
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.
“O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear, do not stand aloof, O God” (Psa. 83:1).
The imagery of lawsuits and the theme of God’s power dominate this chapter. Hoping to sue God for treating him so unjustly, Job questions how humans could ever win a lawsuit against God (2–4). However, he finds it impossible to litigate against God because of his overwhelming power (5–13,14–20) and his apparent abuse of it (21–24). Lamenting the brevity of his life (25,26), Job explores other options to resolve his situation (27–35).
Here Job utters a hymn, bracketed by verses 5 and 13, with Job’s comment on God’s anger. At first glance it looks similar to the traditional doxology, praising God’s might: overturning the mountains (5), shaking the earth (6), shutting off the light of the sun and stars (7) and creating the heaven, sea and stars (8–10). However, the context suggests that Job uses this hymn to depict God’s destructive acts with his power: violence without cause (12,17,18), anger (5,13) and perversion of justice (22–24). Interestingly, verse 10 is almost identical to Eliphaz’s praise of God in 5:9. For Eliphaz, God performs “wonders” and “miracles” to transform situations, whereas for Job they elude human comprehension (10,11).
Grieving over the loss of his wife, C.S. Lewis cried out in his book A Grief Observed, “Is it rational to believe in a bad God?… The Cosmic Sadist, the spiteful imbecile?” Without getting an answer, Lewis pondered, “Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable. How many hours are there in a mile? Is yellow square or round? Probably half the questions we ask—half our great theological and metaphorical problems—are like that.” Job’s question “How can a mortal win a lawsuit against God?” is later placed by the Lord in this category.
Have you ever been so put out with God that you almost wished you could hire a lawyer and sue him?
Lord, when our repeated cries deafen us to Your voice, calm us with Your peace.