John T. Willis

Sunday, September 27, 2009

God Treats Me Unjustly--Job's First Response to Bildad--Job 9-10

In this blog, we continue Job's first response to Bildad, related in Job 9-10. We suggested that this speech falls into four parts, according to an ABAC pattern. In the previous blog, we worked through Parts A in Job 9:1-12 and A in Job 9:25-35. In this blog, we discuss sections B in Job 9:13-24 and C in Job 10:1-22.

I. God is making me [Job] suffering without just cause. Job 9:13-24. [Here we come to one of Job's fundamental arguments. Job claims that God is ARBITRARY. God does not bless the righteous and curse the wicked. Rather, God blesses anyone he wishes, good or bad, and God curses anyone he wishes, good or bad].
a. Job declares that Job is helpless before God. God is all powerful, and thus God can do anything God wishes. Job repeatedly cries out: I AM INNOCENT=blameless [here notice verses 15, 20, 21]. God is so heartless and cold and unwillingness to listen to Job's cries that even if Job "summoned" God and God answered him, Job could not believe God would listen to Job's voice. Verses 13-16.
b. Job clearly asserts: "God multiplies my wounds WITHOUT CAUSE." Verse 17. This hauntingly sounds like Job 2:3.
c. Job proclaims that Job cannot get his breath because God is making him suffer so much. God is much stronger than any human being, so there is no CONTEST between God an any human being. Even though God is innocent and blameless, God can turn things around and make Job APPEAR wicked and guilty. Verses 18-21.
d. Job summarizes Job's view of God: "God destroys both the blameless and the wicked." Verse 22. In other words, God is ARBITRARY. Job's view stands in stark contrast to the view of Job's friends, most recently Bildad in Job 8:20:
"God will not reject a blameless person,
nor take the hand of evildoers."
All righteous people prosper, and all wicked people suffer.
e. Said in a different way, Job declares that God makes a mockery of innocent people by bringing calamity on them, and God exalts the wicked on earth. Who else would make this happen on earth. Verses 23-24.

II. God is Inconsistent. Job 10:1-22. [Throughout Job 9, Job speaks TO his friends ABOUT God. Now, in Job 10, Job turns away from his friends, and speaks TO God directly. "You" throughout this chapter is singular, so God].
a. Job begins by defending his complaints. I am justified in complaining because God has treated me unjustly. Job beseeches God to explain WHY God is CONTENDING AGAINST Job. Verses 1-2.
b. Job tells God that God is inconsistent in the way God treats Job. Job says: Are you happy up there in heaven oppressing me and despising me, the work of your hands. You are divine, but we are human--do you look on us as flesh? Are your days limited like mine are--that you seek out my sins? You must feel very guilty right now, God, because in your heart of hearts, you KNOW that I am NOT GUILTY. By your own hands, you make me like clay. What enjoyment do you have by making me suffering? Verses 3-9.
*Here, I think of a skilled mechanic, who makes the finest automobile every made. He spends several years in hiding in his large garage making this marvelous car. Finally, he finishes the job. He calls all his friends, and at the right moment, he unveils this wonderful automobile. People stand in awe. This is incredible. In the next moment, this skilled mechanic takes a sledge hammer and proceeds to smash the new automobile from top to bottom, front to back. This does not make sense. And Job declares--It does not make sense for God to spend all God's time and energy and concern to bring a human being into existence, and then turn around and annihilate God's creative work.
c. Job says: God, you took great care making me just as you wanted me to be. You took care of me. Yet, whether I am righteous or wicked, you fill me with affliction. You hunt me down like a hunter seeks out a lion. You keep attacking me like an army brings fresh troops against the enemy. Verses 10-17.
d. In this speech, Job returns to his request in his first speech in Job 3. God, why did you not let me die in my mother's womb? The days of my life are very brief. So "LET ME ALONE [GOD], THAT I MAY FIND A LITTLE COMFORT" before I die. Verses 18-22.

*A quick reminder. I am not "taking Job's position." I am REPORTING Job's views at this point in his journey through life. As I suggested earlier, at this point, Job has lost his wisdom=his fear of God. At this point, Job is convinced that God is wrong. Job accuses God of treating Job unjustly. Remember, this is not the end of the story. This is certainly not the end of the Book of Job. So, be patient. Think through what Job is thinking and saying right now in his spiritual journey.

Have YOU every felt like Job is feeling here? Do you know others who are suffering like this? Maybe YOU can emphatize with suffering people like Job. Maybe YOU need a friend, a comforter, in touch times. Share your ideas with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


  • My wife pointed out something profound about Job--this story apparently occurred before God gave the law to Moses. In Romans 7:7-8, Paul explains how "sin" was "dead" before the coming of the law. It wasn't until God said "Thou shalt not covet" that Paul realized he could not make his carnal heart submit to God. Job may well have been "blameless" in a world without the law, even though his heart was just as self-centered as any other human's.

    By Blogger A Future Metaphysician, at 5:00 AM  

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