Job has aired his frustrations saying there is no one to mediate between he and his very sovereign God. He is feeling much like the victim of a cruel and distant Creator. Next, he cried out to God in confusion.
“I loathe my life;
I will give free utterance to my complaint;
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. ~Job 10:1
Job is quite hopeless in his suffering, but not completely. Notice that this guy is still having lengthy conversations with God. People who have no faith don’t do things like that. People who cling to God – even by their toenails – especially in great darkness, have infinitely more hope than those who walk in darkness without him.
I will say to God, Do not condemn me;
let me know why you contend against me.
3 Does it seem good to you to oppress,
to despise the work of your hands
and favor the designs of the wicked?
4 Have you eyes of flesh?
Do you see as man sees?
5 Are your days as the days of man,
or your years as a man’s years,
6 that you seek out my iniquity
and search for my sin,
7 although you know that I am not guilty,
and there is none to deliver out of your hand?
8 Your hands fashioned and made me,
and now you have destroyed me altogether.
9 Remember that you have made me like clay;
and will you return me to the dust?
10 Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese?
11 You clothed me with skin and flesh,
and knit me together with bones and sinews.
12 You have granted me life and steadfast love,
and your care has preserved my spirit.
13 Yet these things you hid in your heart;
I know that this was your purpose.
14 If I sin, you watch me
and do not acquit me of my iniquity.
15 If I am guilty, woe to me!
If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head,
for I am filled with disgrace
and look on my affliction.
16 And were my head lifted up, you would hunt me like a lion
and again work wonders against me.
17 You renew your witnesses against me
and increase your vexation toward me;
you bring fresh troops against me. ~Job 10:2-17
Job has not thrown off his faith. He insists both that God is, and that God is in control. Job is merely confused about why he seems to be utterly forsaken and who God really is. He just wants to understand.
But how can Job say he’s not guilty (Job 10:7)? Does he not believe in total depravity? Doesn’t he know all men deserve nothing but death and hell?
In as much as all men are guilty, he understands that he is certainly no exception. Time and again he owns his guilt as a flawed sinner. His guiltlessness is not based on a superiority complex. Job’s guiltlessness is based on his obvious lifelong response to the God whom he believed, served, and obeyed. Did his obedience make him blameless? No. His faith made him obedient. Therefore, knowing his sins were no more counted against him and that he had full-heartedly followed the God who had saved him and removed his guilt, Job pulls out his propitiation card. He can honestly say, “I am not guilty” without excusing or denying his sin. That’s precisely what he is doing.
Even still, Job is confused. He begins to question God’s character (Job 10:3, 4-7.) He is perplexed by a life of tremendous blessing followed by a life of tremendous affliction. Because he likely, at least partially, believed his good work had brought about the one, he assumes there must be some evil work that has brought about the other. The truth is, his faithful service had partly brought about both. But he does not understand and he begins to believe his counselors’ lies (Job 10:2, 13-15.) Job believes God is punishing him.
To that end, Job asks why he was ever born. He pleads for God to stop his torment for even a moment before he dies (Job 10:18-22.) He sees nothing but darkness ahead of him. To boot, his next “friend,” Zophar, can’t wait to tell him how much worse suffering he actually deserves – as if Job needed that thoughtless dig of presumption right now. Good thing Job was held by the right hand of a God who would not let him fall.
Whether he knew it or not, Job had a mediator. There is only one who had no mediator, our mediator, Jesus Christ.
When suffering continues long and friends condemn, compound, and confuse us with lies (aka misapplied truths, self-righteous presumption, and ungodly supposition), let us continue our conversation with Christ as Job did. Let us ever remember that suffering is not always punishment, rather, a pedestal for God’s glory in his perfected prodigies (Hebrews 10:14.)