Really, he wasn’t asking for a lot. He wasn’t pleading for things to somehow go back to the way they were. Wasn’t demanding to have his wealth or health back. Wasn’t seeking a Lazarus type of miracle that his family might surround him again. All Job wanted was some answers. How come?
His friends said it must have been something he did. Job knew it wasn’t. In his heart he knew what God knew, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” (Job 1:8)
Not that Job was perfect. But he kept short accounts, rising early and offering burnt offerings. He sought righteousness. He shunned evil. Living all of life under a holy and reverent awe of the Almighty. By God’s own testimony, “None like him on the earth.” So, all Job wanted was some answers, “What on earth is happening?!?”
The sores on his body were a constant source of irritation. As were the miserable comforters around him. And it was becoming obvious that talking to them would get him nowhere. And so, all he wanted was to speak directly to God.
But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God.
(Job 13:3 ESV)
Job wanted a divine appointment . . . literally! He wanted an audience with the Almighty. He wanted a courtroom set before the throne of heaven were he could plead his case and prove God had made a mistake. But first he needed some hindrances removed in order to take full advantage of such an encounter of the divine kind.
Only grant me two things, then I will not hide myself from Your face: withdraw Your hand far from me, and let not dread of You terrify me. Then call, and I will answer; or let me speak, and You reply to me.
(Job 13:20-22 ESV)
Job wanted just a couple of things. Only two things that would level the playing field. First, Job asks of God, stop the suffering. Remove my affliction, restore a measure of well-being, and then I’ll be able to vindicate myself. Take away the oppression and brokenness that clouds my thinking and restore my vigor, then get ready to deal with my compelling arguments.
Second, Almighty Creator of the universe, don’t overawe me. Shield Your glory and majesty such that my instinctive and reflexive reaction isn’t to go facedown in Your presence. After all, it’s hard to argue one’s case when you’re kissing the ground. If You could somehow not overwhelm all my senses with Your unapproachable presence, then, says Job, I will answer Your call. Or, if You prefer, I can lead the discussion and You can answer me.
As I chew on Job’s plea, it’s almost comical. Not judging Job. But his physical and emotional suffering are severely compromising his mental reasoning. It’s not so easy to speak directly to God.
Or, is it?
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And He who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.
(Romans 8:26-27 ESV)
Consequently, [Jesus] is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them
(Hebrews 7:25 ESV)
I’m thinking we might be prone to take for granted the amazing provision of prayer. To let fade the wonder of the divine work that enables us to speak directly to God.
Though having a reverent fear of His majestic character, we are encouraged to enter the holy of holies and confidently approach His throne of grace where Jesus lives to make intercession for us. Far from being forced facedown, we are welcomed into His very presence as sons and daughters. Not entering in through our own merit, but approaching as we are in Christ, robed in His righteousness through His finished work on the cross and His glorious exit from the tomb.
Not requiring our suffering to be removed in order to clearly articulate our need, but offering up our feeble and often unclear petitions knowing the Spirit intercedes on our behalf. Our confused and muddled thinking no barrier to Him who searches hearts and knows the mind of the Spirit as the Spirit knows our inner most thoughts and desires.
No need to make demands of the Almighty. Behold, through His Son He stands at the door and knocks, wanting to commune with us even as He invites us to abide with Him.
Not that we necessarily find clear answers and a clean resolution to life’s circumstance. But that we are promised an audience with the Almighty and a peace that passes all understanding that will guard our hearts and minds in Christ Jesus (Php. 4:6-7).
Speaking directly to God. Oh, what privilege.
Because of grace. For His glory.