“But He Is Not There” (Job 23: 10 – 11, ESV) by Carley Evans

Job confesses that God “knows the way that I take;” and that he is unable to hide from God’s sight. Job recognizes that of whatever he may be guilty, God is already aware. For God sees and knows all.

But for Job, it is the opposite. He looks for God. “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive Him.” (Job 23: 8) Job knows God is at work on both the left and right, but as for himself, he can “not see Him.” (Job 23: 9) He laments, “Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even to His seat!” (Job 23: 3)

Job knows that God “is unchangeable, and who can turn Him back? What He desires, that He does.” (Job 23: 13) Job desires to “lay [his] case before [God];” but since he can not find Him, he is at a loss as to how to present his arguments. And though Job states that he “keeps [God’s] way and does not turn aside;” he equally admits, “I am terrified at His presence; when I consider, I am in dread of Him. God makes my heart faint; the Almighty terrifies me.” (Job 23: 11, 15 – 16)

Job “knows that [God] can do all things, and that no purpose of [His] can be thwarted.” (Job 42: 2) God is unchangeable. God is terrifying. Only Job’s Redeemer is able to turn God’s wrath from his soul. So, Job stops his questioning and complaining.

Finally, he says, “I heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42: 5 – 6)