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?
In this chapter, Job shifted his thinking from himself and started to focus on God and why God had done such a thing.
He begins this by saying that he really did not want to live in the pain and suffering. His worst pain was that of his heart feeling that he might have displeased God. He was sick in his soul with bitterness toward his hopeless life.
He could not explain God’s attitudes. God carefully designed Job’s body. But now God seemed to be punishing him without any reason. He was struggling to find meaning and purpose in his suffering.
He did not know what to say to God (Job 9:14). He was afraid of God’s great power (Job 9:17). But he was not afraid that God might kill him. is suffering was so great that he wanted to die.
Why was God opposing Job and why were those who had no regard for God doing okay? It just didn’t make sense.
Job wanted to know what God had condemned him for that he might repent. He loved God and wanted to be back in fellowship with him.
In verses 4-7 it is very evident that he believed he was innocent. He now quite facetiously, and somewhat sarcastically, asked if God was as limited in His ability to discern Job’s spiritual condition as were Job’s friends. He concluded by affirming that God did know he was innocent and that there was no higher court of appeal (verse 7).
He tried to wrestle with another explanation. Perhaps God had a plan that people could not see. He knew that God could see beyond the physical and into a man’s heart and soul. The judgment of men is always on the outward.
He asserts that the conduct of man in strictly marking faults, and in being unwilling to forgive. He wrestles with the idea of whether it is possible that God could be governed by such feelings as these.
He wrestled with the idea that God’s judgment was as harsh and flawed as man’s judgment. I think this is something we all wrestle with from time to time when things don’t go the way we want them to go or expect them to go.
“God is punishing me” we might say when actually every act of God is an act of love. Even a so called punishment is an act of discipline rather than an act of condemnation.
Yesterday, as I walked to the corner shop and back early in the morning after having my quiet time I thought about how free and at peace I feel. I thanked God for it and thought about how much pressure I have put upon myself since my early 20’s.
Pressure of being a certain way or in a certain mold, trying to prove myself at work, in music, to family, in the church … trying to be somebody and through all that time I never really felt that I was anybody but today I do. I actually do feel fully alive and fully authentic. Far from perfect, far from even good. I am a dark minded, melancholic, fearful, self focused man with a huge ego and an obsession for sex that if I allow it to run loose can take me into very dark places.
I don’t feel guilty about that, I don’t feel any condemnation or shame. It’s just who I am and what I have to contend with in my life. Other people have to contend with different things but these are the things that I have to contend with. I’m okay with that. It’s not a case of “I used to be this and now I am better” … no, I will always be this but at the same time “I am clothed with Christ” because these things are no longer my identity. They have a place in my story and I don’t wish to live in those spaces anymore but they are still present and I am always just a decision away from allowing them to reign in me again.
Today, however it is Christ that reigns. Peace and freedom are in this space that was once occupied by turmoil and condemnation. There is no condemnation in Christ (Romans 8:1)
8 “Your hands shaped me and made me.
Will you now turn and destroy me?
9 Remember that you moulded 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.
Job knew that his being was a complex creation. He was fearfully and wonderfully made. He knew that his body was a miraculous wonder as was all life. He knew that God did not cause Job to live by accident. He knew that God had blessed his existence but could not fathom why God had given him life, cared for his well being only to destroy him in what seemed to be very cruel. He compared it to the idea of a cheese maker pouring out milk only to allow it to curdle and having to discard it as useless.
These facts made Job’s problem seem even stranger. Surely, God would not cruelly destroy the person that he made so carefully. Job was wrestling with this but could not find meaning in it.
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 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.
Job continued to wrestle with the meaning of what had happened and was happening to him.
Perhaps God had a secret plan. Perhaps God was using him to prove that all people were evil. So God made Job. He was much better than other people; but everybody does wrong. So God punished Job in public to warn everyone about their evil deeds.
Is this a foreshadowing of the need for a messiah?
In verse 16 we read that God is compared to a lion who savagely pursues his prey. In the NT the devil is given the same comparison by Peter as he writes to the churches in Asia Minor (1 Peter 5:8)
It seemed to Job that everything was happening to him at once. His animals and servants were lost in a war of sorts. His own friends had spoken against him. The indignation of God seemed to be upon him, things just seemed to be escalating from bad to worse.
He was struggling to make sense of this and all the time God was silent!
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 returned to the question of why God allowed him to be born. This time he was not just lamenting the day of his birth, but he was asking God for the reason He allowed it to occur.
Job realised that he could not explain his troubles. His pain was intense. He wanted to die.
A short existence would have been the next thing to no existence at all, and would have equally satisfied his wishes.
Job’s big question to God was “Why was I ever born”?
I remember saying the same thing to,my mum as a teenager in a rage about something. I don’t remember the subject of the rage except that I am sure it was something about the fairness of life. I do remember mum being very offended at the question and tearing a strip off me for it.
Job knew that all life comes from God. Without God, Job would die. So Job prayed that God would leave him. Then, Job’s troubles would end at least for a brief moment. And so Job would die.
Job had some erroneous ideas about death. He thought only about the death of the body. He saw how dead bodies slowly disappear into the earth. Nobody can disturb a person who has died.
He may not have grasped the full eternal implications of what happens to our spirit at death but his talk of darkness and chaos was one of despair and his words to God were words of “why delay it? Just let me go on and get this over with.”