Hovering over Job 23 this morning. And it occurs to me that Job’s issue wasn’t that he didn’t know who God was. I actually think Job had a pretty accurate understanding of the nature of God. He acknowledges God as “my judge” (v7). He knows that He is all-knowing (v10), unchanging (v13a), and all-powerful (v13b). He knows that whatever God wants for Job, Job will receive (v14). “Therefore,” says Job, “I am terrified at His presence; when I consider, I am in dread of Him” (v14).
I don’t think Job had too low a view of God. I think he had too high a view of himself.
Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even to His seat! I would lay my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know what He would answer me and understand what He would say to me. Would He contend with me in the greatness of His power? No; He would pay attention to me.
(Job 23:3-6 ESV)
Job’s ready to bring it. Like, literally ready to bring it.
Show me where God’s at and I’ll bust down His door. And when I get to the throne, then He’ll get an earful. It’s time for some answers, and if I knew how to get to Him, I’d get those answers. And is He going to refuse me? No way! He would pay attention to me!
Good thing for Job (and for us) that the God who evokes dread within Job — He who is the all-knowing, unchanging, all-powerful, Sovereign Judge of the earth — is also a God of infinite patience and limitless grace toward Job.
Pay attention to me? Come on, Job. Really? Who do you think you are?
Who do you think you are? Isn’t that a question we all would do well to ask ourselves periodically? I’m thinkin’. Especially those who have been “inside the camp” for a long time.
Easy, I think, having walked by faith for awhile to become a bit complacent in the faith. Easy, having stood firm in the faith, to somehow start to think it’s because of our strength in the faith. Having known His presence and power over our long pilgrim journey, to maybe start presuming it’s our perseverance and power that has got us this far. Having been clothed in His robe of righteousness for decades, perhaps easy to start thinking we somehow now merit the robe.
Fact is, Job was a righteous man. Job was a sincere follower of the Almighty God. Job was, by God’s own repeated testimony, “blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil.” Yet, in his suffering, though not diminishing His God, Job seems to succumb to elevating himself. Faith in God above being supplanted by an almost manic focus on his situation below. An unchecked quest for answers leading to confusion as to who is the creator of who.
Not judging Job. Relating. Not wondering how Job could get to where he got. Instead, a warning that I could get there too.
A reminder that, especially in hard times, a humble posture is probably a good posture. That when things are overwhelming I need to find refuge under the shadow of the Sovereign rather than demand answers for the situation.
No need to demand He pay attention to me. Because I know He always has.
Because of His grace. Eventually for my good. Ultimately for His glory.