Did Job Cry Out to God?

by | Jul 13, 2021 | Bible Study | 0 comments

The first words we hear from Job is a lament that God has forgotten him. The first of his two friends to speak to him, Eliphaz and Bildad, advise him to present his case to God. Job has contended for his innocence, if that is so, then the God who rewards the righteous will vindicate him. Did Job cry out to God?

Not at first. Eliphaz’s dialogue prods Job out of the Slough of Despond that he has been in. Job again protests his innocence. Then Bildad also encourages Job to go to God for vindication and prophesies that Job’s “latter days will be greater than his former.”

At this, Job finally does begin to cry out to God, but not before a reflection on the greatness and majesty of God and just how far Job himself was beneath God. But finally here in chapter 10, Job begins to address God directly … to cry out to God for help. Let’s see how it goes.

Job’s Prayer of Desperation

“I loathe my own life;
I will give full vent to my complaint;
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.
2 “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me;
Let me know why You contend with me.
3 ‘Is it right for You indeed to oppress,
To reject the labor of Your hands,
And to look favorably on the schemes of the wicked?

Job is in utter misery and there is no one other than God who can help. He reminds God that he is “the labor of Your hands.” Job reminds God that he belongs to him and to not reject him. David says something similar in Psalm 138, but rather than pleading and reminding God not to forsake him; David confidently declares that he knows God will deliver him for precisely that reason, and he knows that God’s mercy “endures forever.”

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.[1]

In the first verses of Job 10, Job is giving “full vent” vent to his complaint, telling God exactly how he feels. And guess what? God already knows. He knows the situation Job is in. He knows exactly how Job feels. That is part of God’s omniscience and perfect love. He does know. However, God has made us rational free will beings. If we want to handle our own affairs and stew in our misery on our own, he will let us.

It is when we cry out to God in desperation that he steps in with his power and might. It was when the Israelites cried out to God in the heaviness of the bondage of Egypt that God raised up a deliverer. (Exodus 2:23) It was when the Israelites cried out to God when they were at the edge of the Red Sea in danger of imminent destruction by Pharaoh and his men that God parted the sea. (Exodus 14:19) It was when Elijah cried out to God that the widow’s son was brought back to life. (1 Kings 17: 20) David, a man after God’s heart, sings a song of praise to the one who is delivering, saving, and restoring that

6 This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him
And saved him out of all his troubles.
7 The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him,
And rescues them.[2]

But Job isn’t there yet. Job fully understands the greatness and power of God, but he doesn’t have the confidence of the great love of God towards him that David has. Job has spent his life obeying God, making sacrifices for atonement to the God he knows is the greatest of all, but Job hasn’t yet had the personal encounter with the Most High that those on the other side of Sinai, such as David, had. As an Israelite who observed the Feasts of the Lord commemorating God’s deliverance of his people from bondage and oppression, David had continual reminders that he was not only part of a people that God had chosen for his own, but that his God would step in and act on their behalf.

Job did not have that witness … or at least not yet.

Job sees God as far above him, separate and apart.

4 ‘Have You eyes of flesh?
Or do You see as a man sees?
5 ‘Are Your days as the days of a mortal,
Or Your years as man’s years,
6 That You should seek for my guilt
And search after my sin?

Job brings up an interesting point in these verses. God as Creator sets the law and the standard, but this is in a way a challenge, or at least a basis for a plea for mercy. Job ask, “How can you possibly understand what I’m going through? You are Almighty, I am simply human.”

But God does know. Not only does he know because of his omniscience, but he also knows because he did live as man. Jesus, the Word of God, was born and lived as man.[3] Not only was Jesus, as the second Adam, required to live as the sinless, perfect sacrifice to atone for the sin of all mankind, but it also makes him the perfect judge of man. Yes, Jesus did “have eyes of flesh.” He did “see as a man sees.” Jesus did have “years as a man’s years” that were cut short.[4] Jesus suffered as man suffered, but he did not sin[5] . . . Jesus does know, he understands, he can judge, but he has made a way.

7 ‘According to Your knowledge I am indeed not guilty,
Yet there is no deliverance from Your hand.
8 ‘Your hands fashioned and made me altogether,
And would You destroy me?
9 ‘Remember now, that You have made me as clay;
And would You turn me into dust again?
10 ‘Did You not pour me out like milk
And curdle me like cheese;
11 Clothe me with skin and flesh,
And knit me together with bones and sinews?
12 ‘You have granted me life and lovingkindness;
And Your care has preserved my spirit.

Job cries out to God to remember his weakness. Job acknowledges that God has preserved him and cared for him thus far, and he pleads with God not to forget him.

13 ‘Yet these things You have concealed in Your heart;
I know that this is within You:
14 If I sin, then You would take note of me,
And would not acquit me of my guilt.
15 ‘If I am wicked, woe to me!
And if I am righteous, I dare not lift up my head.
I am sated with disgrace and conscious of my misery.
16 ‘Should my head be lifted up, You would hunt me like a lion;
And again You would show Your power against me.
17 ‘You renew Your witnesses against me.
And increase Your anger toward me;
Hardship after hardship is with me.

Here, Job acknowledges that it is inquity that keeps him from both the mercy of God and fellowship with him. Both the righteous and the wicked suffer this same fate. A sinner can not be in communion with a sinless God. Job does not see any way out of this dilemma.

18 ‘Why then have You brought me out of the womb?
Would that I had died and no eye had seen me!
19 ‘I should have been as though I had not been,
Carried from womb to tomb.’
20 “Would He not let my few days alone?

Job is asking if “if there is no way to be right with God, what is the point?” There is no hope at all if the trials in this life are all that there is.

Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer
21 Before I go—and I shall not return—
To the land of darkness and deep shadow,
22 The land of utter gloom as darkness itself,
Of deep shadow without order,
And which shines as the darkness.”

Job has begun to look up to God, but this is as far as he has gotten … “just leave me alone before I go to … the ‘land of utter gloom.’” He is back sunk into his own misery.

How often are we like that? How often do we start to put our focus on the right thing, which is the salvation and deliverance of God .. Who is Jesus, “The perfecter and finisher of our faith[6]” . . . And we stop, throw up our hands, and tell ourselves that it’s no use.

“Be strong and of good courage.” How many times are we told that in the Bible (lots). Faith is not feeling. It’s not even abstract thought. It is the belief in God put in action. Faith is a “trust that commits,” that commits to do.

What God is Job confessing his faith in here? Job believes his God is almighty, all powerful, perfectly righteous and just . . . But Job also thinks that God isn’t interested in what is happening to him personally.

Are you Job?

Do you believe that Jesus might have came and died on the cross for you to have eternal life, but that he isn’t interested in the current circumstances of your life. That you can’t expect anything from him, and that there’s no use even asking, because he doesn’t really care?

If so, that’s not true. You have a misunderstanding of who God is. He does care. He cares about the spat with siblings, the billing issues, the conflict at work. We are to “cast all our cares” upon him because God does care about us, very much.

We are told to consider God our Father, and not just a father, but a good Father, one that knows how to give good gifts.[7]

We may experience what seems to us like delays, and sometimes even blockages, to our prayers, but we are to trust in the goodness of God, and like the persistent widow in Jesus’s parable, we are to pray and never give up.[8]

But Job’s not there yet. We are only in chapter 10 out of 42 and it takes much more prodding and poking from his friends to get Job riled up to persist.

But that’s Job. We already have the evidence and fulfillment of God’s love and care for us. What do you need to persist in prayer about?

Rather than falling back into despair like Job is at this point, let’s look to David, a man after God’s heart, for his example of a prayer and praise and confidence in God when crying to him for help in Psalm 138 (NKJV)

I will praise You with my whole heart;
Before the gods I will sing praises to You.
2 I will worship toward Your holy temple,
And praise Your name

For Your lovingkindness and Your truth;
For You have magnified Your word above all Your name.
3 In the day when I cried out, You answered me,
And made me bold with strength in my soul.

4 All the kings of the earth shall praise You, O Lord,
When they hear the words of Your mouth.
5 Yes, they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
For great is the glory of the Lord.
6 Though the Lord is on high,
Yet He regards the lowly;
But the proud He knows from afar.

7 Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch out Your hand
Against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
8 The Lord will perfect that which concerns me;
Your mercy, O Lord, endures forever;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.


This Bible study is part of A Study of Job (2021)


Endnotes

[1] Psalm 138:7-8 NKJV

[2] Psalm 34:6-7

[3] John 1:1-5 “1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”

[4] Daniel 9:26

[5] 2 Corinthians 5:21, KJV “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”

Hebrews 4:15, KJV “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Hebrews 9:28, KJV “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

1 Peter 2:22, KJV “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth:”

1 John 3:5, KJV “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

[6] Hebrews 12:2

[7] Matthew 7:11  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts. to your children, how much more will your Father who. is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

[8] Luke 18:1-8