The DEEP

Job Cracks

He wants to question God.

Job 23:1-17 (ESV)

Then Job answered and said:

“Today also my complaint is bitter; my hand is heavy on account of my groaning. Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat! I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know what he would answer me and understand what he would say to me. Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No; he would pay attention to me. There an upright man could argue with him, and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold. My foot has held fast to his steps; I have kept his way and have not turned aside. I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food. But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does. For he will complete what he appoints for me, and many such things are in his mind. Therefore I am terrified at his presence; when I consider, I am in dread of him. God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me; yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face.”

At last, Job cracks. Now he wants to question God.

I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would know what he would answer me and understand what he would say to me. Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No; he would pay attention to me. There an upright man could argue with him, and I would be acquitted forever by my judge.

Sure Job, that’s exactly how this will play out. Not.

But you are right when you say that God will pay attention to me. Enjoy the attention!

Note that this is the necessary next step – and it wouldn’t have happened without Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. By arguing that Job’s afflictions must be due to some sin of his, they got Job to detail how life is unfair. This got him all worked up and his deep-seated concerns about why things work the way they do bubbled to the surface.

That’s why God sent these three yahoos to “comfort” Job. This needs to come out.


Job is hitting bottom. He is reduced to questioning God – a sorry state of affairs if there ever was one.

We normally associate hitting bottom with people who have major problems (such as addiction) and need to turn their lives around. Job seems about as far from that profile as you can get.

But here is one of the great lessons of this book. No one is above needing to hit bottom.

Sin is just an amazing condition. Every one of us could use a personal revival.


The weekly study guides, which include discussion questions, are available for download here:

https://www.ailbe.org/resources/itemlist/category/91-deep-studies

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.