Job 9:1-24 – How Can a Man be in the Right Before God?

Job patiently makes his case.

Job 9:1-24 (ESV)

Then Job answered and said:

“Truly I know that it is so: But how can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength —who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?— he who removes mountains, and they know it not, when he overturns them in his anger, who shakes the earth out of its place, and its pillars tremble; who commands the sun, and it does not rise; who seals up the stars; who alone stretched out the heavens and trampled the waves of the sea; who made the Bear and Orion, the Pleiades and the chambers of the south; who does great things beyond searching out, and marvelous things beyond number. Behold, he passes by me, and I see him not; he moves on, but I do not perceive him. Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’

“God will not turn back his anger; beneath him bowed the helpers of Rahab. How then can I answer him, choosing my words with him? Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser. If I summoned him and he answered me, I would not believe that he was listening to my voice. For he crushes me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause; he will not let me get my breath, but fills me with bitterness. If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him? Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse. I am blameless; I regard not myself; I loathe my life. It is all one; therefore I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ When disaster brings sudden death, he mocks at the calamity 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, who then is it?

As righteous as Job is, he knows he’s not perfect and therefore God is not wrong to punish him. “But how can a man be in the right before God?If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him?”

But his friends aren’t accusing him of falling short of perfection; they’re accusing him of major sin. Job is calmly reasoning with them, trying to disprove their accusation – which is pretty amazing given that he’s in agony the whole time.

He’s displaying the patience of Job.

Pray for our nation and its leaders. Specifically, pray for our leaders to be more patient. Politics is supposed to be about debate and reaching consensus and compromise. That’s what makes a democratic republic like ours work.

But this is an everlasting challenge. Disagreement is part of the process. Each new disagreement feels special, but it isn’t.

Our country always has been, and always will be, run by sinners. We need our leaders to be more patient.

Then again, what we really need is a revival.

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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.