“In God’s Hand” ( Job 12: 10, NEB ) by Carley Evans

Job argues, “In God’s hand are the souls of all that live, the spirits of all human kind. Wisdom and might are His, with Him are firmness and understanding. If He pulls down, there is no rebuilding; if He imprisons, there is no release.” (Job 12:10-14) “Deceived and deceiver are His to use.” (Job 12:16) “Will you quibble with Him as you quibble with a man?” (Job 13:9)

 

Job warns his friends that God “is not a man as I am, that I can answer Him or that we can confront one another in court. If only there were one to arbitrate between us and impose his authority on us both, so that God might take His rod from my back, and terror of Him might not come on me suddenly. I would then speak without fear of Him; for I know I am not what I am thought to be.” (Job 9:32-35)

 

Job laments that “man born of woman is short-lived and full of disquiet. He blossoms like a flower and then he withers; he slips away like a shadow and does not stay; he is like a wine-skin that perishes or a garment that moths have eaten.” (Job 14:1-2)

 

Job pleads, “I tell you, God Himself has put me in the wrong, He has drawn the net round me. He has walled in my path so that I cannot break away, and He has hedged in the road before me.” (Job 19:6,8) “Pity me, pity me, you that are my friends; for the hand of God has touched me. Why do you pursue me as God pursues me? Have you not had your teeth in me long enough?” (Job 19:21-22)

 

That Job is in deep despair is evident; he knows he is essentially innocent of wrongdoing and yet has lost all  for no good reason he can fathom. He only knows God has set him as His target. He is weary of the disloyalty of his friends; and longs not to have been born. Nevertheless, Job hopes for “one to arbitrate between” himself and God; someone who can “impose His authority on us both, so that God might take His rod from my back.”

 

Job says, God “decides, and who can turn Him from His purpose? He does what He determines, that He carries out; His mind is full of plans like these. Therefore I am fearful of meeting Him; when I think about Him, I am afraid; it is God who makes me faint-hearted and the Almighty who fills me with fear.” (Job 23:13-16)

 

Yet, Job maintains his innocence. He says to his friends,”God forbid that I should allow you to be right; till death I will not abandon my claim to innocence. I will maintain the rightness of my cause, I will never give up; so long as I live, I will not change.” (Job 27:5-6)

 

Then, surprisingly, God Himself speaks to Job. God asks, “Is it for a man who disputes with the Almighty to be stubborn? Should he that argues with God answer back? (Job 40:2) “Dare you deny that I Am just or put Me in the wrong that you may be right?” (Job 40:8)

 

Job finally understands. He answers God, “I know that Thou canst do all things and that no purpose is beyond Thee. But I spoke of great things which I do not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. I knew of Thee then only by report, but now I see Thee with my own eyes. Therefore I melt away; I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6)

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