I get what Job wanted. It’s how he goes about it that kind of makes me cringe. I think I understand his frustration. But it’s his impertinence that becomes cause for warning.
Oh, that I had one to hear me! (Here is my signature! Let the Almighty answer me!) Oh, that I had the indictment written by my Adversary! Surely I would carry it on my shoulder; I would bind it on me as a crown; I would give Him an account of all my steps; like a prince I would approach Him.
(Job 31:35-37 ESV)
Job just wanted to know he had been heard. He thought he knew how the world worked, and it wasn’t working that way. He thought He understood the justice of God, but it didn’t seem to be playing out according to Job’s scorecard. So, he wanted some answers. He wanted to be heard.
And Job is ready to put his case into writing, the case he presents in Job 31. He knows God sees His ways and numbers His steps (31:4). He also believes that calamity is for the unrighteous and disaster for the workers of iniquity (31:3). So, he recounts his ways and makes note of his steps. Ready to write out them out as his defense and sign it, confident that in it lies his vindication. And with that in hand he demands to know, “What unrighteousness have I committed that I should know such calamity? What iniquity have I worked to deserve such disaster? Would someone explain it to me? . . . Please!”
I get it. But that someone Job calls out is THE SOMEONE. The One who sees Job’s ways. The One Job demands an audience with — insisting He too, as his adversary (cringe!), put into writing His charges against Job — is the Almighty. Who is Job to demand that the Almighty come to him on his terms and answer him? Give your head a shake, Job!
Like I said, I think I get the confusion and frustration amidst the loss and pain, but there are some lines you just don’t cross. And that line was way behind Job at this point.
For the fact of the matter is this, there is One who hears us. One who really does know our ways and number our steps.
But, while in the perfect world to come there is the expectation of blessing and bliss for those who are blameless and upright, for those who fear God and turn away from evil (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3), we’re not there yet. In this fallen world, there is suffering without apparent reason, trial apart from direct cause-and-effect. Though the victory is sure, the battle is still being fought. A battle not with flesh and blood. Satan still chirping at God, I imagine, challenging the authenticity and durability of faith, as well as the power of the gospel. And for God’s purposes, and our growth, stuff happens that we don’t totally understand.
So, if we learn anything from Job, it’s that the right response isn’t to demand our day in court so that we can present our defence before God as a our prosecutor. Instead, it’s to humble ourselves in fear of the Almighty and plead only the finished work of Christ on our behalf. The only true source of righteousness. The ultimate assurance of a strength we can count on in our weakness, able to sustain us in our trials, temptations, and sufferings.
I get wanting answers. I need to rest in the fact that God knows the why. And that He is good. And that He can be trusted even in my frustration and confusion.
And I get wanting to be heard. I just need to remember I am.
I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life. And this is the confidence that we have toward Him, that if we ask anything according to His will He hears us.
(1John 5:13-14 ESV)
He hears us. We can trust Him.
By His grace. For His glory.