The Need For A Mediator
A daily devotional for December 8th
1 Then Job replied:
2 "Indeed, I know that this is true.
But how can a mortal be righteous before God?
3 Though one wished to dispute with him,
he could not answer him one time out of a thousand.
4 His wisdom is profound, his power is vast.
Who has resisted him and come out unscathed?
5 He moves mountains without their knowing it
and overturns them in his anger.
6 He shakes the earth from its place
and makes its pillars tremble.
7 He speaks to the sun and it does not shine;
he seals off the light of the stars.
8 He alone stretches out the heavens
and treads on the waves of the sea.
9 He is the Maker of the Bear and Orion,
the Pleiades and the constellations of the south.
10 He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed,
miracles that cannot be counted.
11 When he passes me, I cannot see him;
when he goes by, I cannot perceive him.
12 If he snatches away, who can stop him?
Who can say to him, 'What are you doing?'
13 God does not restrain his anger;
even the cohorts of Rahab cowered at his feet.
14 "How then can I dispute with him?
How can I find words to argue with him?
15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer him;
I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
16 Even if I summoned him and he responded,
I do not believe he would give me a hearing.
17 He would crush me with a storm
and multiply my wounds for no reason.
18 He would not let me regain my breath
but would overwhelm me with misery.
19 If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!
And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him
20 Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me;
if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.
21 "Although I am blameless,
I have no concern for myself;
I despise my own life.
22 It is all the same; that is why I say,
'He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.'
23 When a scourge brings sudden death,
he mocks the despair of the innocent.
24 When a land falls into the hands of the wicked,
he blindfolds its judges.
If it is not he, then who is it?
25 "My days are swifter than a runner;
they fly away without a glimpse of joy.
26 They skim past like boats of papyrus,
like eagles swooping down on their prey.
27 If I say, 'I will forget my complaint,
I will change my expression, and smile,'
28 I still dread all my sufferings,
for I know you will not hold me innocent.
29 Since I am already found guilty,
why should I struggle in vain?
30 Even if I washed myself with soap
and my hands with washing soda,
31 you would plunge me into a slime pit
so that even my clothes would detest me.
32 "He is not a man like me that I might answer him,
that we might confront each other in court.
33 If only there were someone to arbitrate between us,
to lay his hand upon us both,
34 someone to remove God's rod from me,
so that his terror would frighten me no more.
35 Then I would speak up without fear of him,
but as it now stands with me, I cannot.
1 "I loathe my very life;
therefore I will give free rein to my complaint
and speak out in the bitterness of my soul.
2 I will say to God: Do not condemn me,
but tell me what charges you have against me.
3 Does it please you to oppress me,
to spurn the work of your hands,
while you smile on the schemes of the wicked?
4 Do you have eyes of flesh?
Do you see as a mortal sees?
5 Are your days like those of a mortal
or your years like those of a man,
6 that you must search out my faults
and probe after my sin-
7 though you know that I am not guilty
and that no one can rescue me from your hand?
8 "Your hands shaped me and made me.
Will you now turn and destroy me?
9 Remember that you molded me like clay.
Will you now turn me to dust again?
10 Did you not pour me out like milk
and curdle me like cheese,
11 clothe me with skin and flesh
and knit me together with bones and sinews?
12 You gave me life and showed me kindness,
and in your providence watched over my spirit.
13 "But this is what you concealed in your heart,
and I know that this was in your mind:
14 If I sinned, you would be watching me
and would not let my offense go unpunished.
15 If I am guilty—woe to me!
Even if I am innocent, I cannot lift my head,
for I am full of shame
and drowned in my affliction.
16 If I hold my head high, you stalk me like a lion
and again display your awesome power against me.
17 You bring new witnesses against me
and increase your anger toward me;
your forces come against me wave upon wave.
18 "Why then did you bring me out of the womb?
I wish I had died before any eye saw me.
19 If only I had never come into being,
or had been carried straight from the womb to the grave!
20 Are not my few days almost over?
Turn away from me so I can have a moment's joy
21 before I go to the place of no return,
to the land of gloom and deep shadow,
22 to the land of deepest night,
of deep shadow and disorder,
where even the light is like darkness."
If only there were someone to arbitrate between us, to lay his hand upon us both (Job 9:33).
Job's problem is that he has no way to examine God, and that is what he goes on to state in very eloquent terms. He says that God's wisdom is beyond man:
How can you get hold of a God like that to debate with Him the issues that are causing the pain of life? What can I do? How can I get at this whole problem? Job asks.
Out of the deep darkness that surrounds this suffering saint, a ray of light breaks through. It is the first break in Job's gloom.
What is needed is a mediator, an arbitrator who can come between us, who understands us both and brings us together, Job says. For the first time in this book we begin to see what God is producing in this man, why he is putting him through this protracted trial. For now Job begins to feel, deep in his bones, the nature of reality: the terrible gulf between man and God that must be bridged by another party.
We who live in the full light of the New Testament know that he is crying out and feeling deep within the need for just such a mediator as Jesus himself. Job is laying the foundation here in his own understanding for the tremendous revelation that comes in the New Testament when God becomes man. God takes our place, lives as we live, feels as we feel, solves the great problem between us and God, and brings the two—God and man—together. For the first time in Job, we begin to sense what God is driving at.
Psalm 119:71 says,
It was good for me to be afflicted so that I might learn your decrees. You can learn theology from a book, and you can study it and get it clear in your mind, but until you go through the hurts and difficulties and trials of life, you never really understand what the truth is. It takes suffering to get a clear vision of what God is saying to us, and that is what the book of Job is all about.
Lord, I am so grateful that You sent Your Son as a mediator. Thank You that He understands us both and brings us together through His own sacrifice on the cross.
Life Application: Job's suffering helped His understanding of God. The New Testament reveals far more of who God is. Do we see pain as opportunity to experience what we know?
From your friends at www.RayStedman.org
Copyright © 2007 by Elaine Stedman — This daily devotional is from the book The Power of His Presence: a year of devotions from the writings of Ray Stedman; compiled by Mark Mitchell. It may be copied for personal non-commercial use only in its entirety free of charge. All copies must contain this copyright notice and a hyperlink to www.RayStedman.org if the copy is posted on the Internet. Please direct any questions you may have to webmaster@RayStedman.org.