Job thought he needed an arbiter. John says we have an Advocate. Job was looking for someone to act as judge between himself and God so he could plead his case. John knew our need for Someone to draw alongside us who could plead our case before God, the judge. Job was looking to defend his righteousness. John knew he needed forgiveness for his sin.
This morning I’m chewing on the contrast between wanting an arbiter and having an Advocate.
For [God] 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.
(Job 9:32-35 ESV)
Not judging Job, but he might have done well to heed wisdom’s warning: “When words are many, transgression is not lacking, but whoever restrains his lips is prudent” (Prov. 10:19). As Job starts free-wheeling with his buddies, debating the why of his suffering, it seems to me he gets to be too free-talking about His God.
You read Job 9 and it feels like Job gets really close to accusing God of being kind of a cosmic bully. That even though “I am in the right,” says Job (9:15, 20), because God is God his right-ness could never stand (9:19). That though he knew himself to be blameless, God would still prove him perverse (9:20). That if he tried to stand before God, God would just crush him and multiply his wounds (9:17). That, though Job thought coming to trial with God would settle the matter, even if Job could somehow summons God to appear, he didn’t believe that God would listen to his arguments (9:16). If God would only let up with the rod, Job reasoned, then he could then speak out with his defense (9:34-35). And an arbiter could settle the matter. One who would judge between Job and God. But alas, “there is no arbiter between us.”
So, though Job considered himself blameless, he loathed his life (9:21). He saw himself in your proverbial no win situation. Better to have never been born, reasoned Job (3:3). For even a right man can’t be in the right before God (9:2).
And all because, thought Job, there is no arbiter. No one to judge between himself and God. No one to rule against God on the basis of Job’s righteousness. Yeah, that really is a no win situation.
My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.
(1John 2:1-2 ESV)
We look not to an arbiter who will judge between us and God as we defend our ways as blameless (or at least better than others). But we have an Advocate with the Father who has paid the price for our sin.
Our hope is not to one day stand before God and make a defense of our good works and noble efforts. But our hope is founded on the One who has already hung before God on a cross and bore the wrath for our filthy rags and polluted garments (Isa. 64:6).
Our confidence not in the expectation of standing before a neutral third-party to debate our righteousness with a holy God. Instead, confident in Jesus the Christ, the Son of God, the One to whom the Father has given the right to judge (Jn. 5:22). But has, instead, imputed to us His own righteousness, and mediates before the Father on our behalf (1Tim. 2:5) on the basis of His perfect and finished work.
We have an Advocate.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
Because of grace. For His glory.