Job Bible Study

Utterly Helpless

Have you ever tried to wrap your head around who God is?  He is forgiving, yet just.  Loving, yet he has a righteous anger.  Gentle, yet he is powerful enough to part seas.  Kind, yet jealous.  He provides all we need but can take it all away. He is in control, yet life looks chaotic.  God is so much more than I can even imagine.  Aaah! It boggles my mind!

He is almighty and sovereign.  God sees all, hears all, knows all, and is in all things.

This understanding (or lack of) produces fear and amazement of God.  He has the power to destroy nations in a single move, yet he loves each of us individually and is patient, “not wanting anyone to perish (2 Peter 3:9).” He can move mountains, yet cares about my heart and gives me purpose.

Job understood that too.  In this section of scripture, Job shows us true vulnerability and honesty in his anguish.  Let’s see how his story unfolds.

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S – Scripture: Job 6-9

  • 6:12-13 – “Do I have the strength of a stone?  Is my body made of bronze? No, I am utterly helpless, without any chance of success.”
  • 6:29-30 – “Stop assuming my guilt, for I have done no wrong.  Do you think I am lying?  Don’t I know the difference between right and wrong?”
  • 7:11 – “I cannot keep from speaking.  I must express my anguish. My bitter soul must complain.”
  • 7:17-19 – “Why won’t you leave me alone, at least long enough to swallow?”
  • 9:2 – “But how can a person be declared innocent in God’s sight?”
  • 9:10 – “He does great things too marvelous to understand.  He performs countless miracles.”
  • 9:14-15 “So who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with him?  Even if I were right, I would have no defense.  I could only plead mercy.”
  • 9:19-20 – “If it’s a question of strength, he’s the strong one. If it’s a matter of justice, who dares to summon him to court? Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty. Though I am blameless, it would prove me wicked.”
  • 9:33-35 – “If only there were a mediator between us, someone who could bring us together. The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment. Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength.”

O – Observation:

  • Job responds to Eliphaz by asking why he shouldn’t be allowed to complain; that he is innocent.  He wishes to just die, feels weak, and his friends are no help.
  • Job cries out to God.  He hates his life and doesn’t want to go on living.  He questions what he has done to deserve this.
  • Bildad chimes in, claiming that Job’s children and their sin are the cause of this tragedy.  If Job would just ask for forgiveness, then God would restore him.  Job must have forgotten about God.
  • Job replies with questioning why God would even listen to him.  God is in control, all-powerful, and the almighty judge.  He petitions his innocence again but feels it doesn’t matter.  Job desires a mediator.
  • We are all bent towards sin; none are innocent (Genesis 8:21 and Romans 3:23).  In this case, we know that God wasn’t punishing Job for his sin.  However, it is an easier explanation to grasp  than God just allowing it to test Job.
  • We don’t understand God and all his ways.  He was revealed certain promises, some conditional, but how he and the world work is still a mystery sometimes.

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A – Application:

When I read this, I picture Job, the defendant, in a courtroom, huddled on the floor in a pained and pitiful heap.  God is the judge, Job’s friends are the witnesses, Satan is the prosecutor, and I am in the crowd watching this unfold.  There is an palpable tension in the room.

God, the Judge, is silent and observing. Satan is sitting back in his chair, relaxed, legs crossed, with a victorious grin on his face. We have heard Eliphaz and Bildad, Job’s friends, speak that he must be guilty of something, or why else would something like this happen. Job cries out that he is innocent, but that it doesn’t matter anymore.  Life is pointless and he has no strength or will to go on.  His anguish penetrates the audiences heart.  He pleads with the Judge to just let him die.  Satan’s grin grows wider.

Job realizes that he has no defense.  If he speaks, he will be found guilty.  His words would betray him.  The Judge is too powerful and too sovereign to care about his insignificant life. Then he looks to the crowd and asks for a mediator, someone to speak truth about him in order to bring reconciliation between the Judge and himself.

Have you ever felt this way? Trapped in the box of your situation or tragedy, seeing no way out.  Wanting to just leave it all behind, or even die to escape the sorrow and suffering?  You see God as a mighty hand that only crushes and condemns despite you trying to live a righteous life?

Job knew he would be found guilty of something when brought before God the Judge.  But we know that’s not why his life was confiscated from him.  Do believe that’s true today in your life?

darkI used to believe that if I didn’t do anything wrong, then nothing bad would or should happen to me.  If I stayed on the safe “straight and narrow,” I wouldn’t suffer pain. I feared doing wrong, because I didn’t want to be punished by God. Don’t get me wrong, there are consequences to certain choices we make.  I am not perfect and I understand the shame and guilt and hurt caused by making bad decisions.  But there are some tough things that have happened in my life that were completely unexpected.  I thought I was doing everything right, and then BAM! the rug was pulled out from under me.  I was left in shambles on the floor.

I’ve spent nights wracking my brain as to what I did wrong and how I could have maybe done some things differently.  What I learned was that some things just happen and that God may have allowed them to. I had to come to terms with that and decide how to view God and my faith.

The argument of whether it’s just to test our faith, I don’t think I can answer.  Trying to tackle why certain things happen and why others don’t is beyond what I can imagine.  The sure thing that I know, and that I have to hold on to is Romans 8:28 –

“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”

Our loving, all-powerful, and mighty God can take the good and the bad, the dark and the light, and transform it into a beautiful masterpiece.  I used to think that those low points, or trials in my life, would look like blemishes and scars on my life’s painting.  Black ink drops that ruined the end product.  What I’ve found, because of God’s redeeming grace, is that those splotches have been worked into the painting, swirled in and composed around, making them part of the story and not and accident.

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One of my art teachers in high school once challenged us to not use an eraser.  They weren’t even allowed in class.  You had to work the mistakes and blemishes into the drawing.  There was a creativity that bloomed because of it.  The art became perfect with all of it’s imperfections.

God is our masterful Creator.  Just look outside at the flowers, trees, sky, water, the sun, moon, and stars and see how majestic it all is. The lines aren’t straight and there may be petals that are torn, but it is still stunning. That same God who created all of those things, in their natural beauty, can do the same with your life.

What Job asked for at the end of Chapter 9 was a mediator.  God has given us that in Jesus Christ and in the Holy Spirit:

“For there is only one God and one Mediator who can reconcile God and humanity—the man Christ Jesus.” 1 Timothy 2:5

Jesus cleansed us from sin, once, and for all on the cross.  He has taken those blemishes away and given us new life.  Christ reconciled the gap between us and God that was due to sin.  We can now come to God freely, without shame, because we have been redeemed.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has comeThe old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Holy Spirit has opened the communication barrier in our weakness as well.  He speaks for us when we don’t have the words to pray to God. He mediates on our behalf.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26

Your masterpiece isn’t finished yet.  God is working now to take those ugly parts of your life and make them into something beautiful. You might still see a lot of black splotches on your canvas right now, but the piece isn’t done. I can’t explain why bad things happen, and there are no erasers in life, but I can hold on to the truth of Romans 8:28.  Can you do that today too, friend?  Can you allow God to build something magnificent out of the shambles?  It takes trust, patience, and surrendering your heart and life to God everyday. Somedays it’s harder than others, but give that to God too.  It’s normal to feel weak and hopeless.  But let the Holy Spirit speak for you in your weakness. Hold tight to his promises.

DD5814E0-P – Prayer:

Thank you for Job’s example of trusting in you through his grief.  God, you have power to great to understand.  I can only trust that it is all working together for good.  Keep working on my heart and spirit.  Give me a glimpse of hope today.  I am feeling low and weak.  Show me your goodness and that you can make a masterpiece out of the light and dark in my life. Amen

 

 

Link to a Bible Study Blog Post #5 - Utterly Helpless
Finding life and grace through God’s Word.
Bible Verse Image
He does great things too marvelous to understand. He performs countless miracles.

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