Job 23: Despair & Faith

But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. Job 23:10

Job Desires to Plead His Case before God

Job moans in deepening despair. If only he could contact God and get an answer (23:1-9). God knows that Job has been righteous (vv. 10-12). What terrifies Job is that God is acting out of the character which Job, as well as Eliphaz, confidently believed as His (vv. 13-17). In fact Job’s suffering has forced him to pose a theological problem he and his friends have not only ignored, but denied could even exist. Why is there poverty and oppression? Why are the wicked permitted to prey on the powerless?

1  Then Job answered and said: 2  “Even today my complaint is bitter; My hand is listless because of my groaning. 3  Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat! 4  I would present my case before Him, And fill my mouth with arguments 5  I would know the words which He would answer me, And understand what He would say to me. 6  Would He contend with me in His great power? No! But He would take note of me. 7  There the upright could reason with Him, And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.

Job’s spiritual progress (23:1-7). Earlier, Job seems to have demanded a trial to show God’s injustice. Here, he simply yearns to “find out what He would answer me and consider what He would say” (v. 5). In his heart of hearts, Job does not believe God is unjust, even though He seems to be acting unjustly.

In this, as in earlier affirmations of his faith, Job is an example to us. We may well cry out “why” as Job does. We may also be honest in facing the apparent inconsistencies between human experiences and the nature of God. But we must also be humble enough to believe God does have an answer, even though we do not know what it is. It truly is spiritual progress when we can affirm, “I do not understand how this can be, but I trust God absolutely.”

10  But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. 11  My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside.

— Job’s use of the metaphor about gold to express his assurance of being found pure from guilt may be a rebuttal to Eliphaz’s brazen words of 22:24, 25. When Job asserts that he has kept God’s way, he rejects Eliphaz’s accusation that he has kept the way of the wicked (see 22:15).

13  “But He is unique, and who can make Him change? And whatever His soul desires, that He does. 14  For He performs what is appointed for me, And many such things are with Him 15  Therefore I am terrified at His presence; When I consider this, I am afraid of Him. 16  For God made my heart weak, And the Almighty terrifies me;

23:13-16 When Job contemplates the unique power and sovereign freedom of God, he is terrified. To him, God seems to be a capricious despot who does as He pleases.

17  Because I was not cut off from the presence of darkness, And He did not hide deep darkness from my face.

23:17 This verse likely describes Job’s deep depression, not only because of his losses, but also because of his failure to understand God purpose.

→  God is providing us with the Q & A to teach us.  He knows the questions we humans would have for him.  He does not ignore us.  He provides the answer as much as we need to know.  The answer may seem incomplete. But it is. Let God be God and trust Him even when we do not understand everything about Him. He is not equal to us. Do not attempt to explain Him away.

Remain firm in your conviction that God will right every wrong, but in His own time and in His own way.

→ Job didn’t get stuck in 1 place in his thinking process like his friends who had only one formula to apply.  They already made up their minds regarding the answer.  Job, an honest man, was able to say “I don’t understand.”  He starts with despair but was able to progress to faith.  




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