Job’s counselors had long ceased being his friends. They perched themselves in the place of God and became Job’s judge, jury, and executioners. Job, however, had not need or desire for counselors. All he ever wanted was a friend, an encourager, and, perhaps, some prayers amid his heinous pain.
Then Job answered and said:
2 “How long will you torment me
and break me in pieces with words?
3 These ten times you have cast reproach upon me;
are you not ashamed to wrong me?
4 And even if it be true that I have erred,
my error remains with myself.
5 If indeed you magnify yourselves against me
and make my disgrace an argument against me,
6 know then that God has put me in the wrong
and closed his net about me.
7 Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered;
I call for help, but there is no justice. ~Job 19:1-7
On top of Job’s suffering, God has allowed these men to tear Job down again and again without recompense. Job describes their attacks upon him as a repeated beating with words. It was so frequent and so severe that he asks if they are ashamed. He is clearly puzzled by the brazen assaults so often shamelessly flowing and ever unamended. Doubtless they should have been sorely ashamed.
Job pines for provision. He cries louder and louder for help and for justice, and yet, he hears not God. He sits in silence. He watches his hope shred thinner and thinner (19:10). He feels hedged in (19:8-12), desperately alone (19:13-19), and, of course, painfully afflicted (19:20).
Job cries out for mercy from these men. He tells them to recognize how severely God has afflicted him and consider how close to death he already is. He begs to know why they insist on continually bantering and belittling him in light of his helpless condition.
It’s likely Job wondered if a reckoning for these careless words and wounds would ever come. I mean, there’s no condemnation for God-fearing men is there? But what if God-fearing men continually berate and condemn their own brothers and sisters? Does that mean they don’t fear God? Or does it make their sin unimportant? I don’t know about Job, but I do often wonder.
“Oh that my words were written!
Oh that they were inscribed in a book!
24 Oh that with an iron pen and lead
they were engraved in the rock forever!
25 For I know that my Redeemer lives,
and at the last he will stand upon the earth.
26 And after my skin has been thus destroyed,
yet in my flesh I shall see God,
27 whom I shall see for myself,
and my eyes shall behold, and not another.
My heart faints within me!
28 If you say, ‘How we will pursue him!’
and, ‘The root of the matter is found in him,’
29 be afraid of the sword,
for wrath brings the punishment of the sword,
that you may know there is a judgment.” ~Job 19:23-29
Job wanted his hard lot to be remembered. What faith he must have had to maintain both his innocence as well as his hope of a Redeemer even when he’d lost all and every person who had any position to help him only further injured him!
Deep down, Job knew that these heart-wrenching events and attacks were not meaningless. He wanted them written down. He wanted someone else to see; to know; to understand; to remember.
That someone else is you and me. Job suffered that when we suffer we might also say, “For I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been thus destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another.”
Job’s suffering was not in vain. He could not see his silent God, but he believed still. He did not understand why, but he ever held onto who.
Job ended his discourse with a warning to his attackers of impending judgement. Job never stopped believing in a just Father. Neither did Jesus. No matter how unjust and violent this world becomes, let us remember Job’s words and his faith. Let us remember that Jesus, too, asked for the cup of suffering to be taken away. God did not spare Job or Jesus. Instead he used their suffering for his great glory. May we remember that he is using ours, too.
“Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for.”