Job 9:25-10:7 (ESV)
“My days are swifter than a runner; they flee away; they see no good. They go by like skiffs of reed, like an eagle swooping on the prey. If I say, ‘I will forget my complaint, I will put off my sad face, and be of good cheer,’ I become afraid of all my suffering, for I know you will not hold me innocent. I shall be condemned; why then do I labor in vain? If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me. For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me. Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself.
“I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me. Does it seem good to you to oppress, to despise the work of your hands and favor the designs of the wicked? Have you eyes of flesh? Do you see as man sees? Are your days as the days of man, or your years as a man's years, that you seek out my iniquity and search for my sin, although you know that I am not guilty, and there is none to deliver out of your hand?”
Job is starting to slip. He got trapped in an argument over whether he committed a sin worthy of this terrible punishment. Now he’s let himself get sucked into accepting the premise of the argument – that this must be God’s response to some specific sin he committed.
This leads Job to consider what he knows is impossible – that God has it wrong. Have you eyes of flesh? Do you see as man sees?
Of course not. Job knows that God sees all and so, in his rising confusion, he adds, “although you know that I am not guilty.”
Job’s friends are wearing him down. It’s like they’re beating on a coconut with a hammer, knowing that it’ll crack eventually.
Of course, Job’s friends have no idea that they’re doing this. They think they’re being helpful. They’re giving him the best advice they have to offer.
But notice what they’re not doing – praying. Now, at this point in history, prayer may not have been the typical way of talking to God, but something was. Job has been talking to God a lot here. His friends have done none of that.
Christians sometimes make a similar mistake. Prayer requests are requests for prayer, not advice. Advice in response to a prayer request can offend people.
It sounds condescending.
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