July 27, 2020 – Monday
Job 9:14-16 NIV
14 “How then can I dispute with Him? How can I find words to argue with Him?
15 Though I were innocent, I could not answer Him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.
16 Even if I summoned Him and He responded, I do not believe He would give me a hearing.
In chapter eight Bilbad, a friend of Job’s, rebuked Job for defending himself against the accusations from another friend, Eliphaz. Job’s defense against Eliphaz’s charges is found in chapters six and seven. Bilbad was dismissive of Job’s protestations.
In this chapter Job replies to Bilbad and largely agrees with his statements about God. But he is discouraged because he does not understand what is now going on in his life. Job believes it is outside his capacity to know and comprehend.
Wanting to understand, he would like to talk with God, but wonders how (v14) he could even bring himself to argue with Him for God is without sin. Acknowledging God is God, even if he (Job) were basically innocent (not without sin) the separation between them is so vast (v15) he could only plead for mercy in his suffering. Then in the next verse (v16) Job states even if he called upon (prayed) God and God answered him, he would not believe it was his prayer that made the difference. No, it would be as if God decided for God’s own reasons to change things, not Job’s supplication.
Why is this so? We know from earlier reading Job was a praying man. He prayed privately to God often, for himself, his children, his friends, and those he saw in need. He must have known God to both hear and answer prayers. So why not now? Perhaps it was because his suffering was so great, the mercy would also be very great, so great as to be almost unbelievable. Oh, he would accept the change, the end to his suffering, and he would rejoice, but could his small prayers have caused such immense change.
We know such is possible, but Job, a praying man had his moment or time of doubt as we are all subject to have. Yet in the New Testament it is made clear time and time again God hears and answers our prayer. One example, a favorite of mine is when a Gentile, a Roman soldier no less, is acknowledged by God in the book of Acts 10:1-4 – At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion in what was known as the Italian Regiment. He and all his family were devout and God-fearing; he gave generously to those in need and prayed to God regularly. One day at about three in the afternoon he had a vision. He distinctly saw an angel of God, who came to him and said, “Cornelius!” Cornelius stared at him in fear. “What is it, Lord?” he asked. The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.
While we may have times of doubting whether or not God hears or even answers prayers, there are plenty of examples in the both the Old and the New Testaments where He does hear and answer prayers. We can be confident that He does, even in the worst of times. Thus we should never give up lifting our voices up to Him in prayer, asking that His will be done in our lives.
He wants to know us and He wants us to know Him. Prayer is one of the best ways to accomplish both. The more time we spend in prayer, the more aligned with Him we become. Another way is the study of His word, it is there for us, all we have to do is open His Book, read it, and then think on it. The third way is to act on His word and your prayers. His Book, the Bible, is replete with examples of individuals acting on what He has shown them. Let us find a way to be like them in our own day and age. All it takes is acting on our faith.