-Job answered Bildad, his friend, in this chapter after some scrutiny had been laid on him. Job recognized the truths in what Bildad was laying out regarding the facets of God; then, he went into his own observations based on his experience. He begins with a deep theological question that each of us need to ponder. This is the age-old question, “How can a man be in the right before God?” As believers in Christ Jesus, that issue is settled. He has become our righteousness (Romans 3:21-24; 5:17, 1 Corithians 1:30, Philippians 3:9). We place our trust in Him, and not ourselves for salvation and redemption. Job was right, no one can dispute with God. We have no answer for Him when He presses us, not even once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart (all-wise, in other words omniscient) and mighty in strength (all-powerful, in other words omnipotent). God is in total charge of everything. Job wanders, “Who has defied Him without harm?” The answer is no one, but the LORD lovingly and sacrificially gave His Son to satisfy that demand of justice. The faithful get set free from the penalty of sin (or missing the mark of God’s perfection). Job ventures on into the might of God. He removes the mountains overturning them in anger if it is His desire, and no one can even know how. He shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble. He commands the sun not to shine, and sets His seal upon the stars. In other words, He controls the weather as well as the universe. He alone stretches out the heavens and tramples down the waves of the sea to fit His purposes. He ordains the constellations, like the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades, even the chambers of the south. He does great things, unfathomable things, working wonders without number. Job concludes this section of awe saying that, “Were He to pass by me, I would not see Him; were He to move past me, I would not perceive Him. Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, ‘What are You doing (Job 9:1-12)?’”
-Job poetically takes the reader now through this intense agony of grief that he is feeling trying to figure out what God is doing in all this calamity. God had yet to turn back from His anger in Job’s mind. The reference to the “helpers of Rahab” would have referred to the name of a legendary sea monster of that period according to Babylonian creation myth. In their story, Murduk (the Babylonian supreme being) defeated Tiamat (otherwise known as Rahab), and then captured all of her helpers (see http://www.mythencyclopedia.com/Le-Me/Marduk.html). Job’s friends were apparently aware of this legend as an artistic allegory. In other words, Job is actually saying that God has power over all demons and demonic activity. Job knows he as human cannot answer to the LORD. Even if he might have felt like he was in the right, his case could not possibly stand up to the Sovereign One. His recourse is rightly pleading for mercy. God is the only judge and has the final say on matters. Again, in the agony of grief and overwhelming feelings of loss, Job wanders at the effectiveness of his prayers. He is wrongly convinced that the LORD was not listening to his voice during this time. He felt bruised by the tempest, and his wounds were multiplied without cause. This statement his friends would definitely take issue with as the discussion escalates. Job felt like God would not even allow him to catch his breath. He was saturated with bitterness at this point. But, he wisely concludes that if it is a matter of power, God is certainly the One with the upper Hand. His justice is the only justice that counts. In the depths of his depression, God’s kindness seemed far, far away. He held to a righteous claim, but he stated that his mouth would condemn him nonetheless. Though he felt he was guiltless, and he was, he just knew that the LORD would declare him guilty. His self-pity party continued, “I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself; I despise my life.” He saw the righteous suffering just as much as the wicked in this scenario of destruction. He poured out his frustration saying, “If the scourge kills suddenly, He mocks the despair of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, then who is it (Job 9:13-24)?”
-Job continues in his disparaging comments through the rest of chapter feeling powerless and lost. His days were now fleeing away with no good in them, faster than a speedy runner, reed boats, and an eagle swooping upon prey. He was trying to forget his complaint and sad countenance, and become cheerful. But, he was afraid of all his pains, and he did not believe that God would acquit him. This was a false assumption caused by his inner turmoil. He felt accounted with the wicked, and that his toil was in vain. He believed that even if he cleaned himself, he would be plunged by God into the pit of despair and have no recourse. Of course, God was not a man like him that he could take Him to court. There was umpire between the two of them who could render a verdict. Job ended up begging the LORD to remove His rod from him and to not let the dread of Him terrify him any longer. However, he basically recants all that he just poured out in the last verse with this repentant statement that God will later take note of, “Then I would speak and not fear Him; but I am not like that in myself (Job 9:25-35).”
-*Application* Job’s vacillations can be ultra-confusing for us unless we have been through extreme situations that have brought us to the end of ourselves. When trauma hits, it has profound effects on our mind and words, which this sequence clearly illustrates. Job was accurate in his theology of sovereignty, but he often misses the goodness of God in the throes of pain. We can empathize with Job and conclude, like him, that some of our complaining is nonsense, and we are not like that in ourselves deep at the core. We should never let the gravity of life weigh us down, but learn to rise above it by keeping the right perspective and a rejoicing spirit (Philippians 4:4). This is the LORD’s true desire for us as His children.
Verses to Memorize: Job 9:2, 32