Job’s Despair

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Impatience

Based on his own experience, Job concludes that innocent people suffer and wicked people prosper (vv. 21-24). Several times he says he is innocent (6:10; 10:7; 16:17; 27:6) and accused God of unfairness. He asserted that he was innocent, and at the same time recognized that he was disregarding his own welfare because God would react negatively. Yet it no longer seemed to matter to him (v. 21). For the moment it appeared to Job that God would slay the “perfect” with the “wicked” (v. 22). The difference that doing right made didn’t seem to matter any more. In fact Job said, “God mocks at those who have fallen through calamity” (v. 23). From Job’s point of view, it looked as though God had forgotten the righteous and turned them over to judges whose faces were blinded to the difference between right and wrong (v. 24).

Job turned his attention back to his own case (vv. 25-35). He bemoaned the brevity of life. He feels that his case is useless and his days are fleeting. His days flew by with the speed of the swiftest runner, the fastest ship or the eagle after its prey (vv. 25-26). He seems to be guilty no matter what he does (vv. 27-31), and there is no one to mediate his case (vv. 32-35). His cry was, if only there was someone who could put his hand in the hand of God and who could put his other hand in my hand and bring us together.

Job compares his life to a runner, an Egyptian speedboat and an eagle. He thinks that God is so against him that he will toss him into the ditch (v. 3l). After expressing such a pessimistic outlook, Job turned back to the original argument of the chapter. If God were a man, then Job could approach Him and plead his case. But  God is not man, and there is no mediator. This is where Jesus Christ enters the picture, since He is God and became man to reveal the Father (John 14:7-11) and to bring sinners to God (I Peter 3:18).

Application

While Job showed impatience toward God he never rejected or cursed him. In times of extended problems it is easy for me to become very impatient. Lord, help me to show more patience.

Job 9:21-35 (English Standard Version)

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? "My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good. They go by like skiffs of reed, like an eagle swooping on the prey. If I say, 'I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face, and be of good cheer,' I become afraid of all my suffering, for I know you will not hold me innocent. I shall be condemned; why then do I labor in vain? If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me. For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me. Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself."

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