Job’s exasperation with his friends shows. He is getting no help here. All they are doing is condemning him when he believes he is innocent.
Job believes with ALL his heart that he has done nothing to deserve the calamities that have befallen him. And the people he counted on to have his back have taken the same stance everyone else has; you sinned and brought this on yourself. He is feeling this from ALL sides. Even his wife has told him to “curse God and die” (Job 2:9b). No one stands with him and simply offers him comfort or even a shoulder to cry on.
From Job’s description of himself and his “leanness” it sounds like this has been going on for some time. It sounds as though he has lost a lot of weight over the course of his illness. He may have been thin to begin with but I don’t think so. In Eliphaz last rebuke of Job he mentioned the word “fat” twice when describing the wicked man that this all happened to. I’m pretty sure he was describing Job before all the calamity came into his life. It takes time for a man to go from fat to lean, even if he isn’t eating anything.
There has also been plenty of time for his neighbors and former associates to shake their heads at him. “Men have gaped at me with their mouth; they have struck me insolently on the cheek; they mass themselves together against me” (verse 10). He was hoping for something different from his friends.
“Can’t you just sit with me and let me vent? Or maybe offer me words of comfort instead of judgement? I could be just as judgmental to you if our roles were reversed!” And my question would be, has he done this when the roles were reversed with others? Has he ever told someone who was suffering that if they would only repent that God would relent? I wonder how many of those people professed innocence. Or did everyone else simply agree that he was right?
Why is Job protesting his innocence so strongly? He has already admitted that if he were to stand before God that God would surely find SOMETHING in him to find fault with. Why must he be innocent before his friends? We know him to be innocent because of God’s conversations with Satan, but his friends weren’t privy to that. And neither was Job. Is he afraid of losing the respect of his friends? The way they are arguing with him I see no hope of him salvaging that respect. They have already judged him guilty and a liar for the position he is holding onto.
Is he clinging to his innocence before God more than before his friends? “I have diligently searched myself and found no fault. And pay no mind to what others may say for they don’t know my heart. Please relent! Restore Your faithful servant.”
Something that bothers me is the description of what Job says GOD has done to him. “I was at ease, and He broke me apart; He seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; He set me up as His target; His archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare; He pours out my gall on the ground. He breaks me with breach upon breach; He runs upon me like a warrior” (verses 12-14).
In the conversation between God and Satan we see that God did not DO these things to Job Himself but He allowed Satan to do them. God is holding onto Job’s life and preventing Satan from killing him. It hurts my heart to hear Job laying the blame for these actions at God’s feet. YES. God did remove the protection He had around Job but He didn’t strike him; Satan did.
Job holds out hope though that his “witness in heaven” (verse 19b) will continue to testify on his behalf before the Lord. We have such a Witness. It is Jesus Christ. Jesus had not yet made His atoning sacrifice for Job but He too knew of Job’s character. God Himself testified of Job’s character.
For us, Jesus brings us before His Father. Jesus tells His Father of our love for Him and of His for us. God loves us because of Jesus’ work. Jesus cleansed us. It is His righteousness that God sees when He looks at us. Jesus threw His robe over our shoulders. He covers our sin with His blood and washes us white as snow. I am reminded of the scene in Cinderella where her rags were turned into a beautiful gown. This is what the application of Jesus’ robe does to my filthy rags. I can stand before my King in beauty because of what Jesus has done for me. He is my Witness and my Advocate.
My heart continues to break for Job. Those who would support him condemn him. The God he serves faithfully is strangely silent. And the character of God he thought he KNEW doesn’t match up with the circumstances he is going through. He is undone! He is trying to make sense of a senseless world. His lesson is long and hard. I’m interested to see when and how he will finally realize that he has more to learn.
Father God; wow. I cannot imagine the hurt Job is going through. ALL he thought he knew is broken apart in his life. ‘If you do A your will get B’ no longer applies. Those who he thought would support him, no matter what, have turned against him. Even You are silent during his distress. Ouch!
The lessons You have brought me in my life are small when compared to Job’s but they still hurt just as deep. THANK YOU for never abandoning me in the midst of them. There were times when You were silent but You NEVER looked away. You waited patiently for me to get to the place where I was ready for the lesson’s meaning. Ready to listen and understand. The ‘ah-ha’ moment. I sure hope Job gets there soon! I don’t know how many more tears he can shed, or me for him for that matter. I’m glad I wasn’t around to sit with him. I don’t think I could have born his pain. I don’t believe I would have condemned him like his friends did but I probably wouldn’t have been any more benefit to him. Maybe I could have just told his friends to be quiet and let him cry. But would he have reached the point in his lesson without them? I don’t know.