Contending with God

Job Sees The Light - Fifteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 14:1-2 NIV Job, in Chapter 14, strives with God. He will not address his friends at all.

Job reminds God, the Creator, what sort of creature man is. He is mortal, born of a woman, not sprung from the head of God. He is flesh, of few days, days full of difficulties. He starts life in the grandeur of youth only to fade and wither in old age. He dies.

Job 14:3-6 NIV Would God really interact with such a creature? Wouldn't he consider it a waste of his time? Why apply high expectations to a lowly, laughable bag of bones?

Why unleash trial and judgment on a creature who is at God's mercy? Man, by definition, is imperfect. He is wanting. He is a mixture– impure. And no matter how harshly you deal with him, you can never distill from this polluted creation a purified man. It's impossible. Not even you can do it, God!

Job feels that God has been overzealous with his faithful servant and needs to recognize the error of his ways. Stop bearing down on this broken man!

Job 14:7-12 NIV It is possible for a dead tree to revive, but a dead man, no. Not until a different time, a new day when the heavens have disappeared: Then man will be roused from sleep of death. A day of resurrection will come! Commentators agree that the resurrection is in view here; Job envisions it in his extreme misery.

Job 14:13 NIV Yes, this is actually what God will do. As surely as spring follows winter, so will the Lord remember his children, and at a set time.

The resurrection is a good hope, but better still is the wonder of interaction with God and the experience of his lovingkindness in this life. This is greatly to be desired.

Job 14:14-17 NIV Job is looking toward a day of restoration when things will be back to normal, and he will not be under God's magnifying glass.

Job 14:18-22 NIV Job was a mountain of a man, but God’s torrents wore him down. God does not even care whether a man and his sons remain in contact, Job reflects. He reduces a man to inner pain and aloneness. God, you have destroyed my hope! Shame on you! says Job, in effect.

Before we backslide to doubt and fury against God, we must run to him for strength. “We hide from God in God.” Trust in the Lord no matter what appearances are. The one who feels far from God must chose to advance deeper in to Him.

With what shall I come before the LORD?

Job Sees The Light - Fourteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 13:1-2 NIV An important test of faith is whether what one believes conforms his heart to love. This is well expressed by Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (1 Cor 13:1-3). Job and his friends are shown to be clanging cymbals in their dialog. And though they lived before the time of the law and the time of the Lord, man has always known what pleases God, being made in his image and likeness.

In Chapter 12 (our previous post), Job explained that he certainly understood the sovereignty of God. Here, he reaffirms this belief.

Job 13:3-9 NIV Job’s friends tried to convince him of his need for repentance; now, Job turns the tables. They, not him, are in greater need of self searching. If they could only hear themselves and their ignorant preaching then maybe they would come to their senses and shut up.

They think themselves the defenders of God's holiness when in fact they are casting shadows on Truth through their wicked accusations against his true servant. They view themselves as God's advocates but if He were to examine them, they would be found wanting and exposed as shallow and unfit to judge others because they are blind to their own faults.

Satan revels in brawling. If he can incite and encourage accusations, angry words and misunderstandings, he is achieving his ends. As much as God loves us, as tenderly, carefully and faithfully with perfect discipline, so in the opposite extreme does Satan despise us. If we could only realize the great hatred of Satan, perhaps we would refuse to bend to his suggestions. Why should we do his will? Why serve a cruel master? (Rom 6:23)

Job 13:10-11 NIV Job challenges his friends — have they no fear of the true Judge of judges? They ought to be in dread of God rather than putting themselves in his place.

Job 13:12-14 NIV Job's friends believe he is profane because he will not acknowledge sin in his life, and he sees them in the same light. They should just be quiet and give Job the floor, for he has determined that God must reveal his wrongs even though it may not be pleasant to know.

Job 13:15 NIV A famous verse is here.

Job 13:16 NIV We admire Job's trust despite the severity of his ruination. To the best of his knowledge he has been an upright man, but of course, his trust in the Lord is discolored by self-justification. We cannot come before the Lord in our own glory and strength.

Job 13:17-26 NIV For now, though, Job does not consider himself unrighteous in defending himself before God. By speaking up for himself he hopes to achieve some sort of reinstatement or release from his miseries.

Job earnestly, pitifully sets his case before the Lord. He knows he must have some relief. He must hear from the Lord! He cannot go on in his state of confusion and torment. He is open to discovery: Please God, tell me what I have done or am doing wrong! Otherwise, I will die.

Job is in darkness. Why has he lost nearly everything dear and all that he worked for? Confounded! There must be some explanation!

If we seek to know our wrongs, will God not reveal these? Is it not right to judge ourselves by the Lord's standards with his communing assistance? (1 Cor 11:31) Yes.

One thing is lacking here: patience to await God's timing in revealing his mind in this matter. Alas.

Job 13:27-28 NIV How impossible not to feel mistreated and cast out, under the circumstances!

Job knows who God is

Job Sees The Light - Thirteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 12:1-3 NIV How should Job answer his friends? How should we answer when the Adversary accuses us? How can we? It is impossible to converse, to make sense, to defend ourselves. You cannot reason with the Devil to outwit or outtalk him. You can only know and trust that Christ has power to deliver his own, and he will do it in his time. Your answer can only be: Jesus is Lord.

But Job lived B.C. He reprimands his friends and tries to establish himself as deserving of respect.

Job 12:4-5 NIV Job would like for his friends to feel how they are making him feel. If they themselves were suffering, they would not look down on him in his calamity.

In fact, it is only possible for those at ease to identify with those in turmoil if they have experienced a similar or deep circumstance or trial. That is one real value of a trial. (2 Cor 1:4)

Job 12:6 NIV Can't they see that those who robbed him are enjoying luxury while he is suffering an unjust pounding? Yet Job knows the wicked are in plain view of God.

Job 12:7-10 NIV Job agrees with his friends that nothing occurs outside the will of God. God is either sovereign over his creation, or he is not God. Those marauders could not have managed their evil deeds except that God permitted it. Even the animals and fish know this. But why did God permit it? Who is to blame: the Sabeans or the Lord?

The way in which free will meshes with his sovereignty is mysterious. To say that the Sabeans carried off Job's cattle of their own free will is true, despite being urged by Satan to do so, who was permitted by God to urge them.

They did so gladly, but could they have stood against Satan's urging? Yes, if they had been people of God, desiring to do his will, they would have called on God and received courage to overcome the temptation to steal. But since they were serving themselves, Satan easily encouraged them to do his work.

We can still wonder whether God might not have given them power to restrain themselves; after all, he could have as easily strengthened them against Satan as not. Yet in his sovereignty, he chose to let them freely chose. If a sinful act is done voluntarily, that is enough to establish guilt, irrespective of whether the sinner could have avoided the act. [Calvin]

As humans, we puzzle over how freedom and determinism both are true. We know that man has real choices and that God is completely sovereign. The Westminster Confession says:

God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: (Eph 1:11 et al) yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin (Jas 1:13 et al), nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (Acts 2:23 et al) (WC III, Section I)

Applying this to the crucifixion, we can see that God sent his Son to die for our sins, (1Jo 4:10) yet the crucifixion was done by the will of the people; (Mar 15:14, Jhn 19:15). It was necessary for Christ to die (Luk 24:26, Acts 17:3); the liberty (Jhn 10:18) and contingency (1Cor 15:14) of that is well understood.

We can trust that all things work together for good for those who love God. (Rom 8:28) Whatever occurs is useful to the Christian for his growth in Christ, and God can take any circumstance and bring good from it for those whom he has called.

Job 12:11-12 NIV Job is about to “speak wisdom to power.” Though there is only one of him and three of them, he has the intellect and years of experience to prove he is not inferior to them!

Job 12:13-20 NIV Was there a prophecy in that last verse?

Job continues to speak confidently of an omniscient, omnipotent, righteous God who sees all and has the power to punish and to expose the unrighteous. (Job 12:21-25)

Come to think of it, God is the only one whose ends always justify his means. Whatever he does in the lives of good or evil people is for the purpose of achieving good ends. Amazing!

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

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Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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