If there was a line, I think Job may have crossed it. If there was a point where God knew that He would need to have a talk with Job, chapter ten may be it. If there’s any cutting Job’s friends some slack for feeling the need to put Job in his place, despite his immense loss and suffering, I feel it as I hover over this morning’s reading in Job. Seems to me, that while God is big enough to hear whatever we have to say, there’s a right way and a not so right way to talk to the Almighty.
“I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why You contend against me. . . . and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer before I go–and I shall not return–to the land of darkness and deep shadow. . . ” ~ Job
(Job 10:1-2, 20b-21 ESV)
Honestly, I find myself a bit mesmerized by what reads like a rant from Job this morning. I know I can’t really enter into, or fully empathize with, what Job’s going through. Can’t imagine the physical pain and torment from the oozing boils that cover his body. I don’t want to think about the mental torture endured as the faces of each of his ten kids repeatedly flash before his eyes knowing they are gone. And when I think of the anguish of soul Jesus went through when He anticipated being forsaken of the Father, I can’t process all that was going through Job’s mind as he wonders why God has apparently turned His face from him and given Job His back. But even recognizing that I can’t really get in Job’s head, I find myself cringing at some of the stuff coming out of Job’s mouth.
Job lets loose. He gives “free utterance” . . . holds nothing back . . . puts it all on the table. Listen up God, Job seems to say, I have a thing or two to say to You.
There’s sarcasm, “Does it seem good to You to oppress?” (v.3) There’s seeming disdain, that it’s easy for God to be digging up dirt on mere mortals because He doesn’t have to deal with limited time . . . “Have You eyes of flesh? Do You see as man sees? . . . that You seek out my iniquity and search for my sin?” (vv. 4-5) There’s almost accusation: You sneaky God . . . You made me, You granted me life, You cared for me, but You kept from me what you really had “in Your heart” for me . . . “I know that this was Your purpose” (vv. 8-13).
It’s almost like Job unleashes on the Sovereign Creator and says, “You just don’t get it! My days are few so stop it! Leave me alone! Let me enjoy life a bit before it’s all over.” (vv. 20-21).
And while I kind of get it, I kind of find myself wanting to correct Job myself. I don’t think it’s appropriate to talk to the Almighty in that way.
This man who was blameless, upright, feared God, and turned away from evil, in his anguish, it seems to me, loses something of his fear of God.
That God has brought us into relationship with Himself invites open communion. That God knows what we’re thinking bids us to openly share our hearts with Him. But that God is God demands that, while we are encouraged to boldly approach His throne of grace, we should do so humbly and reverently.
Not judging Job . . . I know how that turned out for his friends. But . . . and not that He needs it from me . . . I guess I’m standing up for God who is to be highly esteemed at all times.
Because of unmerited grace . . . all for His eternal glory.