Introduction: In response to Bildad’s attacks, Job complained directly to God. He believed that God was being unfair to him. He saw no hope, and he wanted God to end his life. Through the revelation of God’s Word, Jesus reveals His answers to Job’s seven complaints. Jesus promises you: (1) fairness, (2) advocacy, (3) purpose, (4) honor, (5) restoration, (6) love, and (7) hope.
First, Job complained that God was treating him unfairly by allegedly treating him like a sinner. Jesus wants you to have faith that He will treat you with fairness and justice. Second, Job complained to God that he had no advocate to defend him in heaven. Jesus wants you to have faith that He will be your advocate and mediator in heaven. Third, Job saw his life as meaningless. Jesus wants you to have faith that He created you for a great purpose to serve Him. Fourth, Job believed that God had made him an object of shame amongst his friends and others. Jesus promises to lift you up and honor you either on Earth or in heaven. Fifth, Job saw no hope in his misery and pleaded for God to let him die. Jesus wants you to have faith that He can heal and restore you. Sixth, Job assumed that God had turned against him and therefore wanted to die. Jesus wants you to have faith that He loves you and has compassion for you during your times of grief. Finally, Job assumed that he was going to a place of eternal darkness and saw no point in delaying the inevitable. Jesus wants you to have hope in an eternal life of joy in heaven.
Job questioned God’s fairness. Out of frustration, Job question why God allowed him to suffer while the wicked went unpunished: “I am disgusted with my own life; I will express my complaint freely; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me; let me know why You contend with me. 3 Is it right for You indeed to oppress, to reject the work of Your hands, and to look favorably on the plan of the wicked?” (Job 10:1-3). Job previously expressed his misery to God. “Therefore I will not restrain my mouth; I will speak in the anguish of my spirit, I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.” (Job 7:11). Despite his faith, he never asked for God to heal him. His bitterness instead caused him to give up hope and any desire to continue living.
Always trust that God has a greater purpose in your trials. Job lacked the benefit of the New Testament to guide him in his suffering. God always has a greater plan in your suffering: “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Ro. 8:28). Commentator David Guzik summarizes in modern terms several possible answers to Job’s questions from the late English pastor Charles Spurgeon (1834 –1892): “- It may be that God is contending with you to show you His power to uphold you. - It may be that God is contending with you go develop your graces. - It may be that God is contending with you because you have some secret sin that is doing you great damage. - It may be that God is contending with you because He wants you to enter the fellowship of His sufferings. - It may be that God is contending with you to humble you. - It may be that God is contending with you because you are not yet thoroughly awakened to your lost condition. - It may be that God is contending with you in order to test your earnestness. - It may be that God is contending with you because you are harboring one sin that you will not turn over to Him. - It may be that God is contending with you because you do not yet thoroughly understand the plan of salvation.” (David Guzik on Job 10).1 We will sometimes never know the answers. But we must still trust Him.
Job struggled in believing that God had treated him fairly2
God is just and fair with everyone. Job was wrong to question God’s fairness. “That was Job’s problem with God. It appeared to him that the Almighty was giving him what a wicked person deserved when He knew Job was not a wicked man. . .” (Frank Gaebelein, Elmer Smick, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 4, 1, 2 Kings, 1, 2 Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Job (Zondervan Publishing House 1988) p. 915). God is in fact filled with compassion and divine justice: “Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him.” (Is. 30:18). “Thus says the LORD, ‘Let not a wise man boast of his wisdom, and let not the mighty man boast of his might, let not a rich man boast of his riches; but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises lovingkindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,’ declares the LORD.” (Jer. 9:23-24). Are you praising God for His just and righteous character?
Seek spiritual growth when you are tested, not vindication. Although Job was righteous, he was not without sin. His hidden sin was presuming to know God’s will (Job 32:1-2). Throughout his trials, Job sought to vindicate himself before God against the charges of hidden sins that his friends (acting on Satan’s behalf) had leveled against: “But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue with God.” (Job 13:3). “Even today my complaint is rebellion; His hand is heavy despite my groaning. Oh that I knew how to find Him, that I might come to His home! I would present my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments.” (Job 23:2-4). “Far be it from me that I should declare you right; until I die, I will not give up my integrity.” (Job 37:5). Job failed to ask if God was seeking to use these trials for spiritual growth or for some other reason. After seeing his sins, Job finally repented: “Therefore I retract, and I repent, sitting on dust and ashes.” (Job 42:6). When you face a trial for an unknown reason, God wants you to pray for His wisdom (Jam. 1:5). Are you using your trials to draw closer to God?
Job questioned if anyone could defend him. Job believed that God was acting unfairly like a human. Thus, he questioned whether there was anyone who could defend him in heaven: “4 Do You have eyes of flesh? Or do You see as mankind sees? 5 Are Your days like the days of a mortal, or Your years like a man’s year, 6 that You should search for my guilt and carefully seek my sin? 7 According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty, yet there is no one to save me from Your hand.” (Job 10:4-7). Job knew that God is omnipotent. “For His eyes are upon the ways of a person, and He sees all his steps.” (Job 34:21; Prov. 15:3; 2 Chr. 16:9(a); Jer. 16:17; Ps. 130:3; Heb. 4:13). God sees inside a person to see what others cannot: “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God does not see as man sees, since man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.” (1 Sam. 16:7). Yet, despite knowing the truth, he suggested that God was acting with the same myopic understanding of Job’s three misguided friends. Job appealed to God to see him as the blameless man, something God in fact agreed with (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3). He previously pleaded with God to reveal any hidden sin within him: “Have I sinned? What have I done to You, Watcher of mankind? Why have You made me Your target, so that I am a burden to myself?” (Job 7:20). Now, without an answer to his question, he lamented his perceived lack of a Savior to protect him from God’s wrath.
Jesus became a man and suffered to become your advocate. Job lamented: “there is no one to save me from Your hand.” (Job 10:7). As one commentator observes: “Job had no ‘rescuer,” a participle from nasal, elsewhere called a ‘defender’ (5:4, cf. 5:19). Job also used other terms to describe is need for someone to come to his aid: ‘arbitrator’ (9:33), ‘witness,’ ‘advocate’ (16:19), ‘intercessor,’ ‘friend’ (16:20), and ‘redeemer’ (19:25). The Christian reader of these passages cannot help but think that one Job sought for has come to us in Jesus Christ (cf., Luke 1:74; Rom 7:24; Gal. 1:4; 2 Tim 4:18; 2 Pet. 2:9).” (Robert Alden, The New American Commentary, Vol. 11, Job (B&H Publishing Group 1993) p. 136). Jesus became human and died at the cross to become your only mediator and advocate in heaven. “For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus,” (1 Tim. 2:5). “My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” (1 Jo. 2:1). Because of Jesus, you can boldly approach the throne of grace to pray for others: “Therefore let’s approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help at the time of our need.” (Heb. 4:16). How are you praising Jesus for what He does for you daily?
Jesus can forgive your sins and then advocate for you when you are attacked3
Job questioned the reason why God created him. Although Job understood that God created him, he questioned the reason for his existence in light of his intense suffering: “8 ‘Your hands fashioned and made me altogether, yet would You destroy me? 9 Remember that You have made me as clay; yet would You turn me into dust again? 10 Did You not pour me out like milk, and curdle me like cheese, 11 Clothe me with skin and flesh, and intertwine me with bones and tendons? 12 You have granted me life and goodness; and Your care has guarded my spirit.” (Job 10:8-12). Job questioned why God would want to destroy him after carefully creating him from the dust.
Jesus loves you, and He made you out of love for a greater purpose4
God made you in His image in the womb out of love for you. Job knew that God created him from the dust of the Earth (Gen. 2:7). The psalms are filled with similar praises for God: “I will give thanks to You, because I am awesomely and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it very well.” (Ps. 139:14; 40:5). “Your hands made me and fashioned me; give me understanding, so that I may learn Your commandments.” (Ps. 119:73). While some believers claim to struggle with the question of when life begins, God made explicit His role in creating each person from the time of conception in the womb: “This is what the LORD says, He who is your Redeemer, and the one who formed you from the womb: “I, the LORD, am the maker of all things, . . .,” (Is. 44:24). Job further proclaimed that God made a unique spirit for each person that he created (Job 10:12). Job also knew that God made mankind in His image (Job 7:17). The book of Hebrews quotes from Job to draw the conclusion that God loves mankind and exalts it, making it greater than the angels: “For He did not subject to angels the world to come, about which we are speaking. But someone has testified somewhere, saying, ‘What is man, that you think of him? Or a son of man, that you are concerned about him?”’ (Heb. 2:5-6). Thus, God made you out of love for an anointed purpose.
Jesus loved you before the creation of time and elected you to serve Him. When you feel that your life is meaningless, remember that Jesus loved you and elected you to serve Him before He even created the Earth: “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love.” (Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9). “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters;” (Ro. 8:29). Jesus also loved you and called you while you were still a sinner: “For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. . . . But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Ro. 5:6, 8). You are also called upon to accept and confirm God’s higher calling and purpose in your life: “Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you; for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;” (2 Pet. 1:10). “knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you;” (1 Thess. 1:4). If you feel your life is meaningless, you have not fully accepted His calling in your life. Have you responded in faith to Jesus’ calling?
Jesus created you for a purpose. You also never need to wonder if your life has a purpose. Jesus created you to fellowship with Him and serve others in need: “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.” (Eph. 2:10). “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called,” (Eph. 4:1). If you are feeling depressed, the best cure is to serve others in need.
Trust God to finish what He started and mold you for His purpose. Job was correct to call people clay and God the Potter (Job 10:9). His error was failing to trust the Potter. “Woe to the one who quarrels with his Maker— A piece of pottery among the other earthenware pottery pieces! Will the clay say to the potter, ‘What are you doing?’ Or the thing you are making say, ‘He has no hands’?” (Is. 45:9). When God molds you to transform you for His intended use, do you complain or accept His work?
Job questioned why God had allegedly made him an object of shame. Job struggled because his friends made him the subject of intense shame for his alleged sins: “13 Yet You have concealed these things in Your heart; I know that this is within You: 14 If I have sinned, You will take note of me, and will not acquit me of my guilt. 15 If I am wicked, woe to me! But if I am righteous, I dare not lift up my head. I am full of shame, and conscious of my misery.” (Job 10:13-15). Because Job knew that God was omnipotent (Job 34:21), he correctly observed that God knew the reasons for his suffering and any sins. He also correctly knew that God knew each person’s future before each person was born. But he presumed that God owed him an explanation.
Turn to Jesus and let Him transform your shame into honor5
Job became the object of public scorn and abandonment. Job’s friends had all turned on him, assuming that he was hiding terrible sins. “My friends are my scoffers; . . .” (Job 16:20a). Children feared him with his open sores across his body: “Even young children despise me; I stand up and they speak against me.” (Job 19:18). His brothers and acquaintances had abandoned him: “He has removed my brothers far from me, and my acquaintances have completely turned away from me.” (Job 19:13). Even his wife found him to be repulsive: “My breath is offensive to my wife, and I am loathsome to my own brothers.” (Job 19:17). Job did not realize that God would never abandoned him: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or in dread of them, for the LORD your God is the One who is going with you. He will not desert you or abandon you.” (Dt. 31:6).
God will uplift you when you put your complete trust in Him. To hold your head high is a sign of honor (cf., Gen. 40:20; 2 Kgs. 25:27; Ps. 27:6). Because he believed that he was being punished, Job claimed that he “dare not lift up [his] head.” (Job 10:15). This was a mistake. It was God who allowed him to lift his head with confidence if he would put his trust in God: “But You, LORD, are a shield around me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.” (Ps. 3:3). “A Psalm; a song at the dedication of the House. A Psalm of David. I will exalt You, LORD, for You have lifted me up, and have not let my enemies rejoice over me.” (Ps. 30:1). “But when these things begin to take place, straighten up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.” (Lk. 21:28). If he does not honor you here, Jesus will honor you in heaven: “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time,” (1 Pet. 5:6).
Job made the same mistake as his friends in assuming that trials only come through sin. Job knew that he had been singled out without knowing the reasons for his torment. His demand to know the reasons for his alleged sins was a request that he would continue to make: “How many are my guilty deeds and sins? Make known to me my wrongdoing and my sin.” (Job 13:23). God would teach Job that many reasons can exist for suffering. When you suffer, God wants you to consider the possibility of sin in your life. But He may have many other reasons for allowing hardships in your life to exist.
Job questioned why God was punishing him. Because Job knew that God is sovereign, he assumed that all of his suffering was the result of God’s alleged punishment: “16 And should my head be high, You would hunt me like a lion; and You would show Your power against me again. 17 You renew Your witnesses against me and increase Your anger toward me; hardship after hardship is with me.” (Job 10:16-17). Job felt insecure in his faith and his past service. He felt as though God was hunting like a powerful lion and allowing His “witnesses” (Job’s friends) to express God’s perceived anger against him.
With faith, Jesus can restore you, including your lost health. Instead of seeing God as hunting him and bring him down, he should have looked to God to restore him, including his health. Satan could only touch Job’s health with God’s permission (Job 2:6). Depending upon His greater plans for good (Ro. 8:28), God can either place a hedge of protection around your health, remove it, or restore it. Unless an exception applies, God promises to pour out His blessings on those who live in faith-led obedience (Dt. 28:1-2). This can include His promise to protect you from diseases and poor health: “And He said, ‘If you will give earnest heed to the voice of the LORD your God, and do what is right in His sight, and give ear to His commandments, and keep all His statutes, I will put none of the diseases on you which I have put on the Egyptians; for I, the LORD, am your healer.’” (Ex. 15:26; Dt. 7:15). ‘“See now that I, I am He, and there is no god besides Me; it is I who put to death and give life. I have wounded and it is I who heal, and there is no one who can deliver from My hand.”’ (Dt. 32:39). “ . . . the LORD binds up the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted.” (Is. 30:26). “For He inflicts pain, and gives relief; He wounds, and His hands also heal.” (Job 5:8). “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Ps. 147:3). “He sent His word and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.” (Ps. 107:20). Unless an exception applies (as was the case with Job), God is faithful to bless those who live with faith-led obedience. This can include His restoration of your health and family.
Jesus is ready to restore when you turn Him6
You cannot earn God’s healing through your works. Although good health is a blessing, you cannot demand it from God as a quid pro quo for your obedience. By faith alone in Jesus’ stripes, you can be healed or protected from any infirmity: “But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed.” (Is. 53:5; 1 Pet. 2:24). He is so powerful that He healed a leper merely with His touch and command (Matt. 8:3). Yet, if your obedience alone allowed you to earn a blessing of good healing, this would undermine the need for Jesus’ sacrifice. God illustrated this principle through His healing of the leper Naaman. Naaman wanted to earn his healing through a dramatic test of his strength in the raging mountainous rivers in Syria. He did not want to dunk himself seven times in the calm Jordan River (2 Kgs. 5:9-12). God never wants you to serve Him with the wrong motives. But He also wants you to know that His offer to bless and restore your health is real. Serve Him in obedience and let Him bless you. If an exception applies (as was the case with Job), celebrate His plan for you (Ro. 8:28).
Job questioned why he was allowed to continue living. In his state of intense grief, Job could see no reason for God to allow his life to continue: “18 ‘Why then did You bring me out of the womb? If only I had died and no eye had seen me! 19 I should have been as though I had not been, brought from womb to tomb.’” (Job 10:18-19). Here, Job returned to his theme that it would have been better if he had never been born: “Why did I not die at birth, come out of the womb and pass away?” (Job 3:11). Job was not prepared to take his own life. Instead, he wanted God to put him out of his misery.
Job prayed for a mercy death. Because Job saw his life as a meaningless “breath” (Job 7:7) - - a life whose meaning would disappear as quickly after a person exhales, he prayed for mercy so that his suffering could end quickly. He would then never see his tormenting friends again (Job 7:9-10). Job made his statements as a person with no hope. He believed that his only hope was to hide in the afterlife until God’s presumed anger against him had passed: “Oh that You would hide me in Sheol, that You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You, that You would set a limit for me and remember me!” (Job 14:13). Job failed to see that God loved him and had a plan for him.
When you feel unloved, remember that Jesus loves you7
Praise God that He loves you. God loved you enough to send His only son to die for your sins (Jo. 3:16). Thus, you can praise God as well because He loves you: “The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. . . We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him (1 Jo. 4:8, 16). Thus, you should never feel abandoned by God. You should also feel comfortable asking to have your prayers heard.
In your worship, give thanks for God’s compassion. Unlike Job, your worship should also give thanks for God’s compassion: “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth;”’ (Ex. 34:6). “For You, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon You.” (Ps. 86:5). “The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness.” (Ps. 103:8). “Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; yes, our God is compassionate.” (Ps. 116:5). How are you thanking God for His compassion?
Job questioned why God monitored him. Because Job believed that God’s observation and attention only led to Job’s suffering, he pleaded for God to withdraw from him and allow him to die. “20 Would He not leave my few days alone? Withdraw from me so that I may have a little cheerfulness 21 before I go—and I shall not return— to the land of darkness and deep shadow, 22 the land of utter gloom like darkness itself, of deep shadow without order, and it shines like darkness.” (Job 10:20-22). Job believed that he was headed to a place of outer darkness. He sadly saw no reason to delay the inevitable.
Job pleaded for God to end His observations and scrutiny. Although Job correctly understood that God is omnipresent, he sadly saw God’s watchful eyes as a curse: “17 What is man that You exalt him, and that You are concerned about him, 18 that You examine him every morning and put him to the test every moment? 19 Will You never turn Your gaze away from me, nor leave me alone until I swallow my spittle?” (Job 7:17-19). Job believed that if only God would look away for a moment, he could rest: “He will not allow me to get my breath, but He saturates me with bitterness.” (Job 9:8).
Jesus offers you the hope of eternal life. While Job saw himself as headed to a place of darkness, Jesus offers the hope of eternal life in heaven: “but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” (2 Tim. 1:10). “to those who by perseverance in doing good seek glory, honor, and immortality, He will give eternal life;” (Ro. 2:7). “rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer,” (Ro. 12:12). “For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.” (Heb. 10:36). Thus, you have many reasons to praise Jesus.
When you feel all is lost like Job, put your hope in Jesus8
Let God use your trials to build up your faith. God tested Job so that he would have a deeper understanding and trust in Him. He would learn that not all suffering was a punishment. Your trials should also produce perseverance and endurance (Ro. 5:3; Jam. 1:2-3; 2 Cor. 1:8-10). Are you turning to Jesus to build up your faith during your trials?