Job Takes His Case to God

Robert A. Cook, former president of King’s College in New York, told a true story from the early years of his ministry. He had been receiving some rather pointed criticism, and he sought the counsel of a friend, pastor Harry A. Ironside. Pouring out his heart, Dr. Cook ask … More

Criticism

At the beginning of this chapter Job turns his attention to the criticism of his friends. He begins by claiming that he knows all the things they have shared with him, and states that they have not shed any new light on his problems (vv. 1-2). Job portrays how deeply he resents the attitude and accusation of his friends. He says, “I am not inferior unto you” (v. 2). He states that he would rather debate the issues with God than with them (v. 3). He accuses them of being liars who pretend to be physicians of the soul who have failed miserably to diagnose his case (v. 4). Job suggests that the wisest role for them would be silence (v. 5). He further states that they are lawyers who have misrepresented God and will have to answer for it (vv. 6-10). He charges them with being partial to God to the point of making false claims about Him (vv. 7-8).

Job believes that God will see through their deception, and rather than reward them He will reprove them (vv. 9-11). He states, by way of conclusion, that the arguments of his friends are as useless as “ashes” or soft clay in the building of a defensive wall (v. 12). With these strong words of criticism Job turns from his friends, and fixes his attention upon God once again. Next he asks for silence on their part, and insists that he is innocent and does so in spite of the consequences (v. 13). He is willing to take his own “flesh” in his teeth, as an animal would its prey, and at the same time knowing the risk of his losing (v. 14). He insists on defending himself, even though he realizes there is little hope outside of death (v. 15). Yet the fact that he had the audacity to “come before” God must certainly suggest the possibility that he might be delivered (v. 16). The minute we go into the presence of God to start defending our self we will lose our case. When we stand before Him we can  only plead guilty because He knows us.

Application

Job’s friends were wrong to assume that Job’s suffering was a just punishment for his sins. They took a true principle and applied it wrongly, ignoring the differences in human circumstances. I must be careful in how I judge others with quick assumptions and misinformation.

Job 13:1-16 (English Standard Version)

"Behold, my eye has seen all this, my ear has heard and understood it. What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God. As for you, you whitewash with lies; worthless physicians are you all. Oh that you would keep silent, and it would be your wisdom! Hear now my argument and listen to the pleadings of my lips. Will you speak falsely for God and speak deceitfully for him? Will you show partiality toward him? Will you plead the case for God? Will it be well with you when he searches you out? Or can you deceive him, as one deceives a man? He will surely rebuke you if in secret you show partiality. Will not his majesty terrify you, and the dread of him fall upon you? Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay. "Let me have silence, and I will speak, and let come on me what may. Why should I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in my hand? Though he slay me, I will hope in him; yet I will argue my ways to his face. This will be my salvation, that the godless shall not come before him."

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