Honest To God
A daily devotion for December 12th
1 Then Job replied:
2 "I have heard many things like these;
miserable comforters are you all!
3 Will your long-winded speeches never end?
What ails you that you keep on arguing?
4 I also could speak like you,
if you were in my place;
I could make fine speeches against you
and shake my head at you.
5 But my mouth would encourage you;
comfort from my lips would bring you relief.
6 "Yet if I speak, my pain is not relieved;
and if I refrain, it does not go away.
7 Surely, O God, you have worn me out;
you have devastated my entire household.
8 You have bound me—and it has become a witness;
my gauntness rises up and testifies against me.
9 God assails me and tears me in his anger
and gnashes his teeth at me;
my opponent fastens on me his piercing eyes.
10 Men open their mouths to jeer at me;
they strike my cheek in scorn
and unite together against me.
11 God has turned me over to evil men
and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked.
12 All was well with me, but he shattered me;
he seized me by the neck and crushed me.
He has made me his target;
13 his archers surround me.
Without pity, he pierces my kidneys
and spills my gall on the ground.
14 Again and again he bursts upon me;
he rushes at me like a warrior.
15 "I have sewed sackcloth over my skin
and buried my brow in the dust.
16 My face is red with weeping,
deep shadows ring my eyes;
17 yet my hands have been free of violence
and my prayer is pure.
18 "O earth, do not cover my blood;
may my cry never be laid to rest!
19 Even now my witness is in heaven;
my advocate is on high.
20 My intercessor is my friend
as my eyes pour out tears to God;
21 on behalf of a man he pleads with God
as a man pleads for his friend.
22 "Only a few years will pass
before I go on the journey of no return.
1 My spirit is broken,
my days are cut short,
the grave awaits me.
2 Surely mockers surround me;
my eyes must dwell on their hostility.
3 "Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.
Who else will put up security for me?
4 You have closed their minds to understanding;
therefore you will not let them triumph.
5 If a man denounces his friends for reward,
the eyes of his children will fail.
6 "God has made me a byword to everyone,
a man in whose face people spit.
7 My eyes have grown dim with grief;
my whole frame is but a shadow.
8 Upright men are appalled at this;
the innocent are aroused against the ungodly.
9 Nevertheless, the righteous will hold to their ways,
and those with clean hands will grow stronger.
10 "But come on, all of you, try again!
I will not find a wise man among you.
11 My days have passed, my plans are shattered,
and so are the desires of my heart.
12 These men turn night into day;
in the face of darkness they say, 'Light is near.'
13 If the only home I hope for is the grave,
if I spread out my bed in darkness,
14 if I say to corruption, 'You are my father,'
and to the worm, 'My mother' or 'My sister,'
15 where then is my hope?
Who can see any hope for me?
16 Will it go down to the gates of death
Will we descend together into the dust?"
Then Job replied:I have heard many things like these; miserable comforters are you all! Will your long-winded speeches never end? What ails you that you keep on arguing? I also could speak like you, if you were in my place; I could make fine speeches against you and shake my head at you(Job 16:1-4).
In chapters 16 and 17, Job answers his friends. He does not know what to say, but he is trying to be honest. The great thing about Job is that he is no hypocrite; he never tries to cover over or set his case in a better light--he simply blurts out all the hurt and anguish of his heart as best he can. These are sarcastic words coming from a man who is tortured. You can see from this that Satan, though he has faded from the scene, is still there in the background using these friends as channels for what the apostle Paul calls
the flaming arrows of the evil one (Ephesians 6:16). These
flaming arrows are the accusations of the accuser against believers. Let us beware of becoming a channel for Satan's accusations against someone who is suffering as Job is suffering here.
Then Job goes on to state the facts, as he understands them. First he says,
All I can conclude from what I am suffering is that God must hate me.
God assails me and tears me in his anger (Job 16:9a). Job sees that even the people around him have rejected him and ascribes responsibility for those circumstances to God:
God has turned me over to evil men and thrown me into the clutches of the wicked (Job 16:11).
Job charges God with all that is wrong in his life. Yet God is wonderfully patient. He does not reply against Job, nor does He strike him down in anger. Job is certainly not the finest example of faith in the Scriptures. Men like Paul suffered extremely, as did Job. We think of that Silent Sufferer in the Garden of Gethsemane, who,
when they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:23). How much higher is that level of response than what we see in the book of Job? But Job is an example for us of how we must break through our natural view of life so that we begin to see things in a different light. This book is here to teach us that God sometimes has to translate theology into painful experience before we really begin to grasp what He is trying to say to us.
Father, thank You that You have sent Your Son, who has endured more suffering than I. Grant me the strength to endure whatever You allow into my life.
Life Application: When we are confronted with unaccountable pain or seemingly unearned trials, do we see Jesus as our model of redemptive suffering?
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Daily Devotion © 2006 by Ray Stedman Ministries. For permission to use this content, please review www.RayStedman.org/permissions. Subject to permission policy, all rights reserved.