Online Bible Commentary
Don’t Box with God
Job 9:14 "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. (NIV)
Job, in the midst of his suffering, has a very human reaction. He is asking the age old question “Why”? His friends have all told him that he is suffering because of sin. Being a faithful man, Job disagrees with their accusations. We know that Job is suffering because God is testing him, but Job does not know this. So he wants to go to God for answers. But Job was a wise man. He knew that the beginning of wisdom is to fear God. So, although he wants to argue with God, he fears the all powerful, the all knowing and the sovereign God (v.14).
Job, in his wisdom, knows that he should not challenge God. He knows this for two reasons: (1) because he knows too much about God; and (2) because he knows too much about himself.
Job knows too much about God to challenge Him. He knows that, even if he is innocent in his own mind, all he can do is throw himself upon the mercy of God (v.15). He knows that God knows him better than himself. God knows that Job has secret sins, sins that even Job is not aware of. He knows that even if he had an audience with God that God would throw his case out immediately (v.16). He knows that God is a just God, even though he does not understand God’s actions. Job, in his wisdom, fears God and knows that, if he challenges him, God’s wrath could become even more severe (v.17). He knows that he could be overwhelmed again with tragedies, one after the other, before he could even catch his breath, just as it was on that dark day when he lost his family and his wealth (v.18). Job knows the strength of the mighty God (v.19a). Job knows better than to question the actions of a just God (v.19b). Job knows too much about God to challenge Him.
Secondly, Job knows too much about himself to challenge God. Job, as any human, knows that he has harbored sin in his heart at times. This is why he was faithful to offer sacrifices on a regular basis. He was not about to challenge God on the basis that he was innocent of any sin. His own mouth would betray him (v.20). Even though he does not believe that his sins deserve such severe punishment, at this time Job is a defeated man and just wants to die (v.21). In order to use us, God must get our attention. For some of us, it takes bringing us to our knees. It means taking away all of our “idols”, those things in life that are keeping us from following Him. When we have nothing left, we have everything, we have God. I have been there, and I’m sure many of you also have been there.
This passage reminds us to respect God. In our country, we see people disparaging God. We see people openly mocking Him. We see people mocking His representatives, those members of clergy who are faithfully serving God. We see disrespect for the things of God. There is no fear of God in our country today. Those who would do these things are reckless and lack wisdom. They will pay a heavy price.
Job was a very wise man. He had the proper response to God. Although he felt that God had wronged him, he still respected God. He knew that he had better not curse God. He knew that he had better not turn his back on God. He knew that he was no match for God. We should have the same respect for God as Job. We are no match for Him. Our arms are too short to box with God.