John T. Willis

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I Can Prove That God Is Unjust--Job's Third Response to Eliphaz--Job 23-24

The debate continues. Eliphaz has just argued that God is an overt, blatant sinner, as we discussed in the previous blog dealing with Job 22. Now we come to Job's response to this speech, which is Job's third response to Eliphaz, recorded in Job 23-24. Actually, Job does not introduce any new arguments. Rather, Job clings to his position that God is arbitrary, God is unjust because he makes the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper. Hence, Job again challenges God to meet Job in a fair court trial, and then Job will prove that God is making Job suffer without just cause. Job's speech falls into two parts.

I. Job cries out: I want to meet God in a fair court trial. Job 23.
a. Job begins by declaring that his complaint is bitter, since God's hand is heavy on Job in spite of Job's constant groaning. Verses 1-2.
b. Job cries out in desperation: "Oh, that I knew where I might find him [God]." Job claims that God is hiding himself from Job. If God would just come out of the woodwork, Job would lay Job's "case" [law court trial] before God, and "fill Job's mouth with arguments." Job is convinced that Job has ample arguments to prove that Job is right and God is making Job suffer without just cause. Job says Job would certainly be happy to listen to God's position, but in the end God would have to give heed to Job, because Job's position is correct. As a fair court case, Job would be "acquitted forever" by his judge=God. Verses 3-7.
c. Job rushes in every direction: forward, backward, to the left, and to the right, but God is nowhere to be found. But, God's conscience is hurting God severely. How can God live with himself, allowing God to make Job suffer without just cause? "God knows the way that Job takes"--God knows that Job is a blameless and upright man. And if and when God tests Job, Job will come out like GOLD. Job has faithfully served God all his life. Verses 8-12.
d. But God is more powerful than God, SO God can do whatever God desires. Hence, God "terrifies" Job by the terrible way that God behaves toward Job and other people on earth. Verses 13-17.

II. Job suggests a better way for God to conduct human life on earth: Have God bring all people on earth periodically and bless the righteous and curse the wicked. Job 24
a. Job says: Why doesn't God do the right thing, namely, keep times to judge the righteous and the wicked? Verse 1.
b. Then Job gives a description of the terrible things the wicked do against innocent people, especially the orphans, the widows, the needy, and the poor. The wicked remove landmarks and thus seize the property of helpless people, the wicked rob the flocks of their neighbors, drive away the donkey and the ox of the widow and orphan, thrust the needy and poor off the road, reap the fields and vineyards of other people, take away the clothes, food, and drink of orphans and infants, and the victims cry out for help--"YET GOD PAY NO ATTENTION TO THEIR PRAYER." Verses 2-12.
c. Murderers kill the innocent, thieves take possessions from the defenseless, adulterers prosper, wicked people harm the childless woman and do no good to the widow--"YET GOD PROLONGS THE LIFE OF THE MIGHTY BY HIS POWER." God gives the wicked security, and favors the sinful. So, Job concludes:
"If it is no so, who will prove me a liar,
and show that there is nothing in what I say?" Verses 13-25.

Job is obviously in great distraught. Job is in tremendous pain and suffering. And Job is convinced that God has picked Job out to make Job suffer without just cause. And thus, Job launches a tirade against God's injustice.

Again, let me remind YOU that I am not taking Job's position. As a matter of fact, I think Job is incorrect. Wait until the end of the Book of Job. But right now, we are trying to understand Job's position and Job's situation and Job's feelings. How would YOU do better than Job under similar circumstances? I must confess that I would probably do much worse than Job.

How do YOU respond to Job's speech in Job 23-24? Share YOUR thoughts with others. Let me hear from YOU.

John Willis


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