Chapter 9:13-24 (ESV) - God will not turn back his anger;
beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab.
How then can I answer him,
choosing my words with him?
Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him;
I must appeal for mercy to my accuser.
If I summoned him and he answered me,
I would not believe that he was listening to my voice.
For he crushes me with a tempest
and multiplies my wounds without cause;
he will not let me get my breath,
but fills me with bitterness.
If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty!
If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?
Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me;
though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse.
I am blameless; I regard not myself;
I loathe my life.
It is all one; therefore I say,
‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
When disaster brings sudden death,
he mocks at the calamity of the innocent.
The earth is given into the hand of the wicked;
he covers the faces of its judges—
if it is not he, who then is it?
Question to consider: How does having the scriptures help us during times of calamity?
In yesterday’s passage, many of the descriptions Job used of God could be applied to Christ. For He stretched out the heavens in creation. He trampled the waves of the sea as He walked on the water. He did marvelous things beyond measure in healing the sick, casting out demons, and multiplying the bread and fish. While Job described the servants of Rahab stretched out before Him, the Psalms said that God would make His enemies a footstool for His feet.
While Job could make no argument against God, he could appeal to God’s mercy. David wrote of the Lord, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.” (Psalm 103:8) The embodiment of God’s mercy was found in Christ. If only Job had been able to read the Psalms, he would have had the assurance that God was orchestrating a plan that would reconcile people to Himself. We take the scriptures for granted in that they have always been there for our generation and assembled together in one place. Think about the generations of people who existed before any of the books were written. It wasn’t until after the Israelites had been freed from Egypt that Moses was given the first five books on the mountain or had written the first Psalm (Psalm 90). It wasn’t until almost a thousand years after Moses that we had writings from God’s prophets who spoke directly of the coming Messiah.
If only Job had a scrap of a scroll that contained Psalm 103, he would know that even though he could not proclaim his own righteousness before God, the Lord is the One “...who forgives all your iniquity,who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.” (Psalm 103:3-5)
Instead, he could only profess that he thought he was blameless, but he wasn’t able to truly know himself like God. From his perspective though, it would seem that God destroyed both the righteous and the wicked and laughed at the calamity of the innocent. If it wasn’t God who did this, who did? Had the earth been given over to the wicked? I have to wonder if Satan got nervous that Job was starting to figure out that it was not God who did these things to him.
Of course, we may be tempted to say, “Well God allowed it. Does that not make Him wicked to allow evil to occur when He could have stopped it?” God put limits on what Satan could do. If Job had faced calamity for the rest of his days with no hope of eternal life, there would be merit to that question. However, ever since Adam’s rebellion into sin, God has restrained evil in the world and used the hands of wicked creatures to bring about His redemptive plan. Our hope is in a resurrected Christ.
Dear heavenly father, thank You for giving us the reassurance that there is something beyond a world where Satan goes about like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and for the living hope of resurrection from the dead. Amen.