It’s Job’s turn to answer Zophar’s argument. Zophar said that Job got off easy for whatever sin he committed. Job points to God’s hand in his suffering.
Job continues to maintain his innocence. He also recognizes that there is merit in the arguments of his friends. But his circumstances don’t fit the normal mold. “What I am experiencing is surely from God, for He is in control of ALL things. But I have NOT sinned so as to earn this distress.”
I can almost hear Job speaking to his friends in frustration. “Oh wise and mighty thinkers! You must be smarter than anyone else, before or after you. Right?” Job sneers at his so called friends as he says this. Then he looks them directly in the eyes as he continues. “NOT SO! I have wisdom too. ‘I am not inferior to you’ (verse 3b). Do you think that I am stupid? I know these same arguments well.”
Job drops his head in shame. “I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called to God and He answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock” (verse 4). He knows what his life looks like from the outside to others. He might be thinking the same thing if the roles were reversed. Even his friends, who know him well, are looking down on him with contempt.
Job throws up his hands. “Everything seems backwards! Robbers have peace. Those with false idols are secure. Yet I, who have done nothing, am in anguish. There is NO doubt that the Lord has done this in His infinite wisdom. He holds the life of EVERYTHING in His hands. ‘With God are wisdom and might; He has counsel and understanding’ (verse 13). So I am certain He is in control of what is transpiring in my life…”
The rest of what Job says comes in our reading over the next two days. The long and short of it though are what I have said on MANY occasions. “I KNOW that God knows what He is doing. I just wish He would let me in on it!” It is hard walking through difficult times when everything seems to be going wrong but you truly believe You are walking in the right. Times when you KNOW deep in your heart that God has called you to do something but everything possible goes wrong along the way. Those are the times I begin to wonder if I really did hear the voice of God.
Another one of my favorite sayings along this line is; “God has perfect timing. I just wish He would wind His watch.” This used to be my ‘go-to’ position when what I was praying for seemed to be taking a LONG TIME to come to pass. These times try my patience. And maybe that is why He is using the ‘hour hand’ instead of the ‘second hand’ when meeting my prayers. He is working on my patience.
People talk about ‘the patience of Job’. I see the conviction of Job instead. The fact that he held fast to his beliefs in God and his estimation of his own conduct are evident throughout this story. Not once (so far) did he change his mind about his innocence or God’s control of the situation. But he does long to ask God ‘why’ and ‘can’t You fix this?’ In our next reading he will do just that. He will continue to build his conviction while also asking if he can have a word with God about how this is all shaping up. “Are we there yet?!”
Father God, THANK YOU that I am not walking in the shoes of Job! His troubles were severe. But You had a purpose in all of them. That part I am glad to share with Job. My life has not been easy but it has been walked with You and within Your grasp. I would not be where I am today if You had ‘wound Your watch’ or ‘let me in on the secrets’ You had for my future. THANK YOU that You ARE in control. And THANK YOU for showing me afterwards ‘what’ and some of the ‘why’ of things You have done in my life.
Thank You for loving me even when I get exasperated with the things You are doing. Thank You for NEVER giving up on me and for holding me still when necessary to accomplish Your work. I surrender myself to You again. Take me where You will. (I’m whispering this Lord because I don’t want a Job experience, please Father.)