“Have mercy on me, my friends, have mercy, for the hand of God has struck me. Must you also persecute me, like God does? Haven’t you chewed me up enough? “Oh, that my words could be recorded. Oh, that they could be inscribed on a monument, carved with an iron chisel and filled with lead, engraved forever in the rock. “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and he will stand upon the earth at last. And after my body has decayed, yet in my body I will see God! I will see him for myself. Yes, I will see him with my own eyes. I am overwhelmed at the thought! “How dare you go on persecuting me, saying, ‘It’s his own fault’? You should fear punishment yourselves, for your attitude deserves punishment. Then you will know that there is indeed a judgment.”
Dear God, I have had so much difficulty interpreting Job in the past. I tried reading it on my own and my attention span was too short to make it all of the way through the book and get a bird’s eye view of it all at once. I would read a chapter here and a chapter there, and my problem was that it all sounded pretty reasonable to me. I couldn’t parse through what was good theology and what was bad theology. So I finally used a biblical commentary to go through it, and that’s when I learned a basic truth. Job and his friends were still looking at you as a God who punishes and rewards. They saw good things and assumed your blessing and they saw bad things and assumed your curse.
So in the case of this passage, Job recognizes you as his redeemer and has not yet turned his back on you, but he also makes one critical error in verse 21: “…for the hand of God has struck me.” He was wrong. Your hand had not struck him. If anything, Satan’s had had struck him. You might have allowed it, but you didn’t cause it. In fact, what Satan didn’t realize through all of his glee at Job’s misfortune and torment is that you were using the crises to mold Job into something he never would have become otherwise. Not only that, but you used it to teach us thousands of years later.
Father, I have friends who are going through trials. Use them for your glory. I have trials of my own. Use them for your glory. Job’s ultimate lesson was that his life was not about him, but it was all about you. This is something that Paul figured out remarkably fast as he suffered for your kingdom’s sake without complaint. Give me the insight and courage to do the same. I’m sorry for the times I’ve questioned you. I’m sorry for complaining about the lot in life you’ve given to me. I’m sorry for being disappointed that you didn’t give me something I thought I deserved. I bring it all to you and simply say thank you for being such a glorious God and for loving me. What else could I possibly want?
In Jesus’s name I pray,