When we left off in our study last week, Job was answering Zophar's assertions about God's judgment and Job's afflictions. Job began hypothesizing about presenting his case to God, the righteous judge. He admitted that although he had an airtight case, no one can stand up to God, because God is sovereign.
We left off with Job making the statement,
Job 13:15-16 "Though He slay me, I will hope in Him. Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him. "This also will be my salvation, for a godless man may not come before His presence.
Job's summation is that although he has been careful to walk right before God and man, God still has every right to kill him. But that doesn't make Job lose his hope in God. He continues in verse 17...
Job tells his three friends that they need to listen, because he is going to prove his innocence, that his terrible affliction is not the result of sin.
Job begins his appeal to God with two requests. If he is going to be able to stand before God and give answers, if there are to be any kind of courtroom proceedings, he needs these two things granted:
First, he asks for a reprieve of his suffering during the testimony.
Second, he asks that the terror of the Lord would be taken away. After all, who can stand before the Lord to give Him answers or ask Him questions?
Job's first question of the Lord would be, "I am not aware of any sin against you, certainly nothing that would warrant punishment to such a degree of affliction as this. Would you please let me know what sins, if any, have caused such suffering?"
Job continues, "A person's life isn't very long, and will be ultimately judged by You, Lord. Everyone is a sinner, but what more can someone do regarding righteousness than I have done? If this affliction is for my sin, I ask that you give me a break."
"If you cut down a tree," Job says, "It is possible that it will sprout again. But a man doesn't have that chance. Once he's dead, he's dead. I'm begging to be hidden from this torment in death. But until that day, I'll wait, because I've been blameless - not sinless, mind You - and don't believe that this has happened because You're holding my sins against me."
Eliphaz tells Job that he is full of hot air. "Job, your words are useless, irreverent, and sinful. Not to mention that you're keeping me from silently meditating on the Lord. Everything that you've said proves your sinfulness."
"You don't know as much about God as you think you do. Don't you understand that we have come, gently telling you that you simply need to repent for your healing? But no, you reject us, the messengers of God! You're rebelling against God by claiming purity. There's no way that you're blameless before Him!
"I've seen it, and old people have seen it, Job. The fact is that it is the wicked who suffer in pain like you are, because they are arrogant towards God. The wicked become poor, like you have, because you have turned away from God. You're deceiving yourself."
Job responds, "I've already heard all of this. Gentle consolation? Ha! All three of you are the sorriest comforters I've ever seen! Will you never be quiet? If our roles were reversed, it'd be really easy to judge you in your suffering. Or, I could offer comfort and solace, strengthening you with words of encouragement.
"You have the ability to assist me with your words. But instead, you 'messengers from God' tell me that this is deserved punishment from God. You might as well assault me, or slap me in the face. I'm suffering more now than before you came."
"Would someone please hear me? These guys certainly aren't. They claim to offer comfort from God, but I believe God is my advocate, not my accuser, as these guys claim."
Job prays, "Lord, these guys claim to be my friends, and speak for You. But they're mocking me, accusing me. They tell me that if I repent, I'll be healed. But I don't know what to repent of. I've tried to live righteous in every area of my life, and depend on You for everything. So what can I change?"
"You don't get it, Job," Bildad chimes in. "You're such an angry man. It's the wicked who dies, like you're dying, and who loses strength as you have. You've brought this on yourself. God has even made sure that your offspring are dead, so that your name will be forgotten once you're dead. You don't know God."
"You have insulted me, tormented me, wronged me, and crushed me. How long are you going to keep this up?" Even if I was completely guilty, isn't that between me and God?
When Job says, "wronged," he is using the Hebrew verb "aw-VATH." It means "to make crooked." It later became synonymous with dealing in a crooked manner, cheating or wronging someone. But Job is not saying, "God wronged me." He is saying, "It is God who has bent me in half, Who has allowed this affliction to come upon me - not you three."
Job is emphasizing that God is the judge, not them. God has done this, not them. God alone. "Why, then, are you three persecuting me even more? Isn't my physical state enough, that you feel the need to crush my spirit as well?"
Job wishes that someone would write this down, so that someone, someday would understand without prejudice what he is saying. Fortunately, God will make sure that Job's words will be written for later generations to learn from. Jesus' own brother James would later read Job and remind the church about his endurance (James 5:11).
Job makes one of the most memorable statements in the entire Bible right here. Having no written Bible to read, having such a limited knowledge base, he is able to make these amazing proclamations. In these early days of man's history, the truth about God was known - even the gospel was being proclaimed.
1) First, he asserted that God lives. There is no more basic and essential proclamation of faith than this.
Heb. 11:6 ...without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Job knew that God is.
But his understanding of the Lord extended far beyond the concept of "Someone out there." Look at the title Job gives Him: "My Redeemer." A redeemer is one who buys back or pays ransom.
Job knew that there was a price to pay. Though he was blameless, he knew he wasn't sinless, and someone had to pay that price. He believed - he knew - that without God to pay it, he would be lost. He was convinced that God would be his Redeemer.
Job also believed that God would come to the earth physically in the end. Ever since Enoch,
Jude 1:14 ...in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, "Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones
Every generation of believers since then has proclaimed an expectation of the return of the Lord. The Bible itself ends with the statement,
Rev. 22:20-21 He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.
Job also believed in a bodily resurrection. He said that even after his skin was destroyed, he would from his flesh see God with his eyes. Believers can expect to see God in their bodies, even after their bodies are destroyed.
2Cor. 5:1 For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.
When Paul talked about the bodies we're expecting, he said that the resurrection of the dead is...
1Cor. 15:42-44 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body...
Job knew this truth long before Paul was born.
Lastly, Job knew that the judgment was a reality for all people.
Heb. 9:27 ...it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment
The Bible says that every person will be judged by God. In a vision of the future, John saw this happen. He writes,
Rev. 20:11-15 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
Job knew that God lives, that He will one day return to earth, and that he will judge every sinner. Job also knew that if God was his Redeemer, he would not be judged, but have a resurrection body.