Job is a man of righteousness, and yet he is suffering! His life has fallen to shreds. He has lost everything.
Have you ever gone through “hell?”
Pain, raw, intense.
Job is caught in the middle of grief and depression and sorrow.
It is one of the reasons I find Job to be such an important book, because it is so real and raw, and life is real and raw.
Have you ever felt alone?
Job feels alone. He has these friends that have come to comfort him, but they have brought very little comfort. Instead of solace they have brought blame and accusation.
In a way, Bildad, Zophar and Eliphaz try to solve Job’s problems. They are actually trying to help, but their aid is rather useless.
Because they are trusting in the wrong place.
You see clues of it as they speak, hints among all their many words.
If you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your prosperous state. Job 8:6
It’s Bildad speaking, and his words give away his worldview.
I’ve already mentioned that they think the reason Job suffers is because of his sin, and so the answer, in their minds, is for Job to be righteous.
They call for repentance, but if you are really paying attention you’ll notice something:
Their trust isn’t in God’s grace.
In their minds the argument is rather simple: If something bad has happened to you, you must have sinned. Good people prosper, bad people don’t.
But anyone who has lived long on this planet knows that isn’t always the case.
In John we find another story of a man who has suffered, a man born blind, and Christ’s disciples come to a similar conclusion as Job’s friends:
As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. John 9:1-3
It’s pretty common, judging a person’s character by their trial. How often do we look at someone and think about how their choices must have brought them to where they are now. How often are we on the receiving end of such a judgment. I know I have been.
Oh but how much does our judgment cost us!
Since they did not know the righteousness of God and sought to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. Romans 10:3
All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away. Isaiah 64:6
Our own righteousness gets us nowhere, our own goodness gets us nothing. It is only a figment of control that we dress our life with.
Like Bildad, Zophar, and Eliphaz, we build ourselves a kingdom of our own goodness, a kingdom that will crumble at the first sign of storm.
Our faith cannot be in our own righteousness.
If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot. Job 9:33-35
Job IS a righteous man, I’m not saying he is without sin, but this guy really hasn’t done anything to deserve his current suffering, yet even he understands that he can’t come before God by himself.
He needs a mediator, and there is only One.
God brought a mediator and a hope to us, He understood that of ourselves we could not be righteous enough to stand before Him, and it is in THAT mediator that our hope lies.
For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Timothy 2:5
What then shall we say? That the Gentiles, who did not pursue righteousness, have obtained it, a righteousness that is by faith; Romans 9:30
I pray that as you read through Job you are reminded that Christ is steadfast in every storm. We can’t stand before God of ourselves but we can in Him. We can’t be “good enough” but through Him we can have Hope. Our righteousness is not enough, but He IS.
Joy Aletheia Stevens
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