The drama of Job has unrolled to a point where we are now looking for the climax and closure. It is the third round of speeches by Job’s friends and by Job himself. Eliphaz speaks with intensity about the great wickedness of Job in challenging God who is high in the heavens. Eliphaz attributes to Job the kind of arrogance and greed practiced by many of the rich and powerful, then pleads with Job to repent and delight himself in the Lord God so that he will be delivered.
Job’s reply reiterates his pleas to God to meet him face to face. Job seems to have some idea of how incredibly awesome and frightening this could be, saying “I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him.”
Bildad responds (third speech) in a rather short speech, wondering how anyone can declare themselves to be righteous before God.
Job responds in a lengthy speech about God’s holiness and power especially in creation but maintains his integrity before all. He then delivers a speech on God’s wisdom and vast understanding, shown through all creation of bird, animal or precious jewels found in the earth’s mines. In this, his final speech for his own defense, Job pleads with God to be heard directly, calling on him to remember that Job used to be the one who dispensed justice to many other people; now those same young people are mocking and cursing him. Although Job ends his speech, he has not given up—he maintains his innocence.
None of Job’s questions are resolving—we have no answer to the problem of evil. We still do not know why bad things happen to good people. The friends have tried their best to get to the root of the problem—that is, why did Job lose all his goods and his health. His friends all think there is some deep sin in his life and if he acknowledges and repents, God will deliver him.
Job insists on his integrity; he truly believes that he has done nothing to warrant this type of devastation in his life.
In Job’s song of praise for God’s wisdom (ch28), he demonstrates his knowledge regarding the wisdom and understanding of God. Job again protests his righteousness before God, and pleads with God to answer him directly (ch30 &31).
One might wonder at Job’s insistence on his own innocence—that he has done nothing to deserve this judgement from God’s hand. Personally, I would find it impossible to insist on my innocence before God Almighty! I need to confess and hear God’s forgiveness daily; there is always something I have done or have left undone that is not pleasing to God.
What about the question of “what do we do when it seems God has abandoned us? Or has allowed evil and devastation to overwhelm us?” Do we trust that God is still sovereign and will eventually bring about true justice? It seems that God’s mercy and compassion plays a very small part in this massive drama.
How about you? When you ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart, are there things you need to confess? Are you keeping a “clean slate” with God? Are you reassured of God’s forgiveness? Are you able to trust God “in spite of the bad things” happening in your life?
Dear God and Father of all, please help us in our times of questioning and doubt. Keep us away from the temptation of following our own ways of “making the best of things”. Speak to us, show us your path, make clear to us what we are to believe and to do during our hard times. Grant us your mercy, your compassion. Hold us ever closer to you (see Deut33:27). May these difficult times teach me to put my roots down deep into your love (see Eph3:17).
After reading Job, I need to remind myself that God is good:
Goodness of God
In 2023, each week's blog is a follow-up reflection written by the preceding Sunday’s preacher to dig deeper into the sermon topic and explore engaging discussion questions.