Introduction: After Bildad attacked him, Job mostly ignored him and addressed his complaints directly to God. Job saw himself as incapable of defending himself before the Creator of the universe. Thus, he pleaded for a “mediator” who could reconcile him with God in heaven. This was a direct foreshadow of Jesus Christ. While Job’s attacks on God’s fairness were misguided (Job 9:22), God used Job to reveal seven truths about His holy Character. He is a God of: (1) holiness, (2) omniscience, (3) omnipotence, (4) mercy, (5) patience, (6) atonement, and (7) love.
First, Job recognized that there was no way on his own to be right in God’s presence. God’s holiness consumes any sin in His presence. His holiness is also your guiding light, and He burns away the desires of the flesh. Thus, you can praise God because He is holy. Second, Job recognized that there was no way for him to understand God’s all-knowing mind. You can also praise God for His omniscience. You can trust Him for always knowing what is best for you. Third, Job conceded that there was no way that he could argue with the Creator of the universe. You can also praise God for His omnipotence and sovereignty over all. You can trust that there is no problem that is too big or small for Him to handle. Fourth, Job recognized that he needed God’s mercy. You can also praise God for the mercy that He offers through Jesus to those who repent. Fifth, Job incorrectly suggested that God was unfair and rejected his life. He lacked the patience and trust in God the Potter, as He molded Job. You can also praise God that He is patient and long-suffering with you when you sin against Him. Sixth, Job stated that there was no escaping God’s judgement. You can also praise Jesus for taking your judgement at the cross. Finally, Job pleaded for a mediator to advocate for him in heaven. You can praise God that He loved you enough to send Jesus to die for you and become your heavenly mediator and advocate.
Mankind cannot on its own be in God’s holy presence. Without addressing Bildad, Job turned back to God and wondered how he could be made right before His holy God: “1 Then Job responded, 2 ‘In truth I know that this is so; but how can a person be in the right with God?” (Job 9:1-2). While blaming Job for the death of his sons and his own suffering, Bildad bluntly told Job that God does not pervert justice: “3 Does God pervert justice? Or does the Almighty pervert what is right?” (Job 8:3). Job did not agree with Bildad’s attacks. But he conceded that no one could stand before God’s holy presence.
Sin has separated us from God. Although Job was “blameless” before God (Job 1:8; 2:3), he was not without sin. His sins separated him from God. Sin has also separated us from God: “But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God . . .” (Is. 59:2(a)). God has looked down from heaven and observed that not one person is holy and without sin: “[I]t is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.”’ (Rom. 3:10-11). “[T]here is no one who does good.” (Ps. 14:1; 53:1). “Do not bring your servant into judgment, for no one living is righteous before you.” (Ps. 143:2). “LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we have been left an escaped remnant, as it is this day; behold, we are before You in our guilt, for no one can stand before You because of this.” (Ezra 9:15). “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.” (1 Jo. 1:8). Thus, if you say that you are going to heaven because you are good, God’s truth is not within you.
Sin can also “hinder” your prayers to God. In the Old Testament, God warned that as a consequence of the separation caused by sin, He would not hear the prayers of sinners: “So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you; yes, even though you multiply prayers, I will not listen. Your hands are covered with blood.” (Is. 1:15). “And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear. For your hands are defiled with blood and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken falsehood, your tongue mutters wickedness.” (Is. 59:2-3(b)). “We know that God doesn't listen to sinners, but He does listen to anyone who worships Him and does His will.” (Jo. 9:31; Prov. 15:29; 8:9; Ps. 66:18). In the New Testament, He warns that sin can “hinder” a believer’s prayers (1 Pet. 3:7). This is an important reason to let Jesus cleanse you.
Praise God for His holiness. Because God is holy, He expects you to be holy before Him: “because it is written: ‘you shall be holy, for I am holy.”’ (1 Pet. 1:16; Lev. 11:44-45; 19:2; 20:7). You should praise God for His holiness as the source of your righteousness and because His holiness burns away the desires of your flesh.
Mankind cannot on its own fully understand God’s omniscient mind. Although Job accused God of being unfair, he conceded that he could not comprehend God’s mind: “3 If one wished to dispute with Him, He could not answer Him once in a thousand times. 4 Wise in heart and mighty in strength, who has defied Him without harm?” (Job 9:3-4). Job conceded that he could not vindicate himself as Eliphaz (Job 4:17) and Bildad (Job 8:3-6) had charged. One commentator observes that: “Job understood that man could not debate with God or demand answers from him. Sadly, this will become the basic sin of Job in the story, the sin he repented of in Job 42:1-6.” (David Guzik on Job 9).
No sin can be concealed before the omniscient Creator. God is omniscient (all-knowing). This includes the Father (Ps. 147:5), the Son (Jo. 16:30), and the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 2:10). Job knew that God is infinitely wise and knows each person’s sins: “For His eyes are upon the ways of a person, and He sees all his steps.” (Job 34:21). “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, watching the evil and the good.” (Prov. 15:3). “For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.”’ (2 Chr. 16:9(a)). “For My eyes are on all their ways; they are not hidden from My face, nor is their wrongdoing concealed from My eyes.” (Jer. 16:17; Ps. 130:3). “And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him to whom we must answer.” (Heb. 4:13). The fact that God is omniscient should cause every person to both avoid evil and seek to be holy.
You can trust that God’s wisdom is superior to yours. When you reject the wisdom of God’s Word, you have committed the sin of believing that your intellect is greater than God’s. This ultimately leads to disaster. “There is a way which seems right to a person, but its end is the way of death.” (Prov. 14:12). Because God knows everything, you can put your trust in Him: “Trust in the LORD with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5). “Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it.” (Ps. 37:5). “Trust in Him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts before Him; God is a refuge for us. Selah” (Ps. 62:8). “Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid; for the LORD GOD is my strength and song, and He has become my salvation.” (Is. 12:2). Are you trusting in God’s Word or yourself?
Mankind cannot understand the omnipotence of the Creator of the universe. Although Job questioned God, he conceded that he could not question the Creator of the universe: “5 It is God who removes the mountains, and they do not know how, when He overturns them in His anger. 6 It is He who shakes the earth from its place, and its pillars tremble; 7 who commands the sun not to shine, and puts a seal on the stars; 8 who alone stretches out the heavens, and tramples down the waves of the sea; 9 who makes the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, and the constellations of the south. 10 It is He who does great things, the unfathomable, and wondrous works without number. 11 If He were to pass by me, I would not see Him; were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him. 12 If He were to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing?’ 13 ‘God will not turn back His anger; beneath Him the helpers of Rahab cower.”’’ (Job 9:5-13). God created the entire universe (Gen. 1:1; Dt. 10:14; Neh. 9:6; Acts 4:24; Col. 1:16). Thus, Job understood that God was sovereign over everything in his life.
God’s sovereignty over creation. The Bible proclaims that God created the universe in two steps. First, He spoke the universe into existence: “the Universe was formed at God’s command” for “He spoke and it came to be” (Heb. 11:3; Ps. 33:9). The rabbi Nahmanides observed that the universe began in size as a mere “grain of mustard.”1 Second, on 12 separate occasions, five different Old Testament writers revealed that God then “stretched out” the stars from a small starting point to their present locations: (1) “who alone stretches out the heavens” (Job 9:8); (2) “He stretches out the north over empty space and hangs the Earth on nothing” (Job 26:7); (3) “Oh Lord my God, though art very great; . . . stretching out Heaven (the stars and the Universe) like a tent curtain” (Ps. 104:1-2); (4) “[God] stretches out the Heavens (the stars and the Universe) like a curtain. And spreads them out like a tent to dwell in” (Is. 40:22); (5) “Thus says God the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out. . .” (Is. 42:5); (6) “. . . I, the Lord, am the maker of all things, stretching out the heavens by Myself and spreading out the Earth all alone” (Is. 44:24); (7) “It is I who made the Earth, and created man upon it I stretched out the heavens with My hands . . .” (Is. 45:12); (8) “That you have forgotten the Lord your Maker, who stretched out the heavens and laid the foundations of the Earth. . .” (Is. 51:13); (9) “It is He who made the Earth by His power . . . And by His understanding He has stretched out the heavens” (Jer. 10:12); (10) “Oh Lord God, Behold, You have made the heavens and the Earth by your great power and by Your outstretched arm!” (Jer. 32:17); (11) “It is He who hath made the Earth by His power, who established the world by His wisdom, and by His understanding He stretched out the heavens” (Jer. 51:15); and (12) “. . .Thus declares the Lord who stretches out the heavens, lays the foundation of the Earth . . .” (Zech. 12:1). Job, the first of these five authors, wrote about the stretching of the heavens before Moses wrote Genesis. In the 20th Century, astronomers confirmed the claims of the Bible. By studying the starlight, they discovered that the universe began as infinitely small spec of matter and then stretched apart like the surface of space. Astronomer Hugh Ross observes that the analogy to a tent curtain also makes sense in the context of space: “And, like a tent, the physical reality of the universe is its surface. (All space, time, matter and energy, is constrained to the surface of the universe).”2 A tent curtain also conveys a three dimensional structure meant to protect its inhabitants. Ross points out that “Job’s description of continuous cosmic expansion ranks as one of the most far-reaching and dramatic biblical forecasts of later scientific discovery. Job accurately – and uniquely – predicted a monumental scientific breakthrough some four thousand years in advance!”3 How could Job, David, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Zechariah, living centuries ago before telescopes and knowledge of modern physics, have made these claims? Their writings establish that the Bible is God’s Word. No other holy book can make similar claims.
God has the power to rescue you . God’s miracles and control over creation are proof that you can trust in His power to deliver you: “Or has a god tried to go to take for himself a nation from within another nation by trials, by signs and wonders and by war and by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm and by great terrors, as the LORD your God did for you in Egypt before your eyes?” (Dt. 4:34). “Why was there no man when I came? When I called, why was there none to answer? Is My hand so short that it cannot ransom? Or have I no power to deliver? Behold, I dry up the sea with My rebuke, I make the rivers a wilderness; their fish stink for lack of water and die of thirst.” (Is. 50:2). Are you crying out to God to free you when you are in bondage or being attacked?
God is also sovereign over evil. Job also praised God’s power to trample the sea’s waves (Job 9:8). The sea symbolized the wicked people: “But the wicked are like the tossing sea, for it cannot be quiet, and its waters toss up refuse and mud. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’” (Is. 57:20-21). When the sea disappears in heaven, it symbolizes the disappearance of evil people (Rev. 21:1). Even though Satan was attacking Job behind the scenes in heaven, Job trusted that God was sovereign over evil.
Worship the faithful Creator of the universe who is sovereign over everything. The psalmist worshiped God as the creator of all life: “May you be blessed of the LORD, maker of heaven and earth.” (Ps. 115:15). “Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 124:8). “May the LORD bless you from Zion, He who made heaven and earth.” (Ps. 134:3). Do you have the faith to know that that there is no problem that is too big or small in your life for God to deal with?
Mankind is need of mercy in the face of God’s divine justice. Even though Job had led a model life of faith and service, Job knew that he needed mercy under God’s perfect law: “14 How then can I answer Him, and choose my words before Him? 15 For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my Judge. 16 If I called and He answered me, I could not believe that He was listening to my voice. 17 For He bruises me with a storm and multiplies my wounds without cause. 18 He will not allow me to get my breath, but He saturates me with bitterness. 19 If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one! And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him? 20 Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty.” (Job 9:14-20). Job knew that he lacked the words to even mount a legal defense before God. Yet, he still called himself “guiltless”. He further felt that there was nothing that he could do as guiltless man to earn God’s favor.
Repent of your sins. Even Job could not offer a defense before God. We are no different. Thus, Jesus began His ministry with a call to repentance. “From that time Jesus began to preach and say, ‘Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”’ (Matt. 4:17). Jesus came “saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”’ (Mk. 1:15). His disciples also began their ministry with a call to repentance: “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”’ (Acts 2:38). If you say that you are without sin, the Bible says that the truth is not in you (1 Jo. 1:8). Yet, if you confess your sins, Jesus will forgive you: “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 Jo. 1:9). What sins do you need to repent of?
We must wash our sins by reading the Word and confessing our sins. Jesus also makes clear that believers need to be washed even after we have been saved. At the Last Supper, Peter initially refused Jesus’ offer to wash his feet. Jesus responded by rebuking him: “If I do not wash you, you have no part with Me.” (Jo. 13:8). Peter then asked Jesus to wash his feet, hands, and head. Jesus responded: “He who has bathed needs only to wash his feet.” (Jo. 13:10). In other words, Jesus died once for our sins, but our flesh gets dirty each day and must still be washed. Thus, the bull sacrifice directs us to do two things. First, we must cleanse our daily sins. How do we do this? We read God’s Word to first expose our sins: “so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word . . .” (Eph. 5:26). Second, we must confess the sins that the Word reveals to us (1 Jo. 1:9). Are you regularly reading the Word to cleanse yourself? Are you confessing the sins of your daily life?
The Jews also praised God’s mercy and forgiveness. The Jews celebrated that God forgave their sins, despite their stiff-necked and rebellious nature: “You are a God of forgiveness, gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in mercy; and You did not abandon them.” (Neh. 9:17). “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; 33:19; Nu. 19:18). “For the LORD your God is a compassionate God; He will not fail you nor destroy you nor forget the covenant with your fathers which He swore to them.” (Dt. 4:31). Are you praising God for His mercy and grace in your life?
Give thanks that God’s faithfulness is not dependent on your faithfulness. God remained faithful to His promise to never forsake the Jews: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” (Dt. 31:6; 4:31; Heb. 13:5). ‘“I, even I, am the one who wipes out your transgressions for My own sake, and I will not remember your sins.”’ (Is. 43:25). He was faithful even when the Jews rebelled against Him (Neh. 9:18-19). You can also give thanks that His faithfulness is not conditioned upon our faithfulness: “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13). Have you given thanks that God will not use your sins to revoke His promises to you?
Mankind is in need of patience and humility as the Potter molds them. At his low point, Job questioned God’s fairness for allegedly treating both good and evil people the same: “21 I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself; I reject my life. 22 It is all one; therefore I say, ‘He destroys the guiltless and the wicked.’ 23 If the whip kills suddenly, He mocks the despair of the innocent. 24 The earth is handed over to the wicked; He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, then who is it? “25 Now my days are swifter than a runner; they flee away, they see no good. 26 They slip by like reed boats, like an eagle that swoops on its prey. 27 Though I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put my face in order and be cheerful,’” (Job 9:21-27). Job incorrectly concluded that God treated people who acted righteously and sinners the same (Job 9:21-23). Job even accused God of blinding the eyes of human judges, possibly in reference to his three friends (Job 9:24). Thus, Job rejected the life that God had given him. God would later rebuke Job for his misguided beliefs (Job 38-41). Job was in fact the clay who needed to learn 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).
God is just. Job was wrong to question God’s fairness. God is filled with compassion and 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?
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?
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?
Mankind cannot atone on its own for its sins. Job believed that there was nothing that he could do to be found innocent under God’s law: “28 I am afraid of all my pains, I know that You will not acquit me. 29 I am guilty, why then should I struggle in vain? 30 If I washed myself with snow, and cleansed my hands with lye, 31 Then You would plunge me into the pit, and my own clothes would loathe me.” (Job 9:28-31). In fact, everyone is guilty of sin under God’s law. Without Jesus’ death at the cross, it would be impossible to be innocent. Jesus received the punishment that each person deserves.
God is just and will judge evil. Because God is just, His people can count on Him to judge evil: “He does not keep the wicked alive, but gives justice to the afflicted.” (Job 36:6). “But the LORD of hosts will be exalted in judgment, and the holy God will show Himself holy in righteousness.” (Is. 5:16). “He loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of the lovingkindness of the LORD.” (Ps. 33:5). “For the LORD loves justice and does not forsake His godly ones; they are preserved forever, but the descendants of the wicked will be cut off.” (Ps. 37:28). “The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.” (Is. 33:5). Among your many reasons to praise God, you can give thanks that He will avenge any wrong against you.
Jesus will reign with justice and righteousness and one day judge evil. God promised that David’s line would lead to the Messiah, who would reign with eternal justice and righteousness and judge evil (Jer. 23:5-6). “For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore.” (Is. 9:6-7; 16:5). Jesus was born into the line of David (Matt. 1:1). He came to fulfill God’s covenant with David as the eternal King of Kings (Lk. 1:32-33; Rev. 19:16). You can also give thanks that you will one day live under His reign where you will be protected from every kind of evil.
The penalty for our sins is death. “[O]ur God is a consuming fire.” (Heb. 12:29; 10:27; Ex. 24:17; Dt. 4:24; 9:3; Ps. 97:3; Is. 33:14; 2 Thess. 1:7). We also cannot treat sin lightly (Rom. 6:26). “For the wages of sin is death, . .” (Rom. 6:23). Unless we accept that we are destined for judgment, we will feel no pressure to repent. Thus, are we helping others when we stay silent about God’s judgment of sin?
Praise Jesus for taking your penalty at the cross. Jesus died without sin in order to reconcile us with God the Father “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21; 1 Pet. 1:17-19). He also healed us through His suffering. “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1 Pet. 2:24). “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). Are you praising Jesus for His sacrifice for you?
Mankind is in need of a mediator before God. Job then prophetically proclaimed his need for a mediator to advocate for him in heaven: “32 For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him— That we may go to court together! 33 There is no arbitrator between us, who can place his hand upon us both. 34 Let Him remove His rod from me, and let not the dread of Him terrify me. 35 Then I would speak and not fear Him; but I am not like that in myself.” (Job 9:32-35). This was a foreshadow of Jesus, our only mediator before God.
The need for a mediator between mankind and God. Satan has access to God’s Court, and he uses that access to level charges against God’s people. Here, Job pleaded for someone to defend him in God’s court (Job 9:32-33). He later repeated this request: “Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my advocate is on high. . . That one might plead for a man with God as a son of man with his neighbor!” (Job 16:19, 21). “Yet as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last, He will take His stand on the earth.” (Job 19:25). This foreshadowed the need for Jesus Christ. His is your counselor (Is. 9:6) and your only mediator to God the Father (1 Tim. 2:5). Jesus also advocates for you in the same heavenly court: “And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous;” (1 Jo. 2:1b). “Christ Jesus . . . also intercedes for us.” (Ro. 8:34). “Therefore He is also able to save forever those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” (Heb. 7:25). “This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.” (1 Jo. 5:14). “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” (Matt. 7:7-8).
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.