Day 3 - Job 12:4, 13-16; 13:1-3

Pleading A Case

The pain of hard times can be magnified when friends and acquaintances assume that it is our fault - that not only our circumstance but our character is crumbling. Job lived a righteous life and yet, he continually experienced his world falling apart. Even his friends had all but abandoned him. He puts it like this:

12:4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered - a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! 

Job was stuck. Those closest to him demanded that he confess whatever secret sin he was being punished for. The problem was, he knew that he was living a righteous life. There was no secret sin or divine punishment. Job didn’t know why this was happening. Why the pain? Why the loss? Why the shame of judgment?

In moments of suffering, we often find ourselves saying, “This isn’t fair.” We follow God faithfully, yearn to please Him, and fight for His glory to be known by others, only to feel like our reward is deep suffering. Maybe you’ve even reached the point where you question God’s goodness or His ability to be truly just in your life because of this. Job’s frustration reminds us we are not alone in that feeling.

Have you ever felt that your suffering was unfair or unjust? How has your view of God, for better or worse, changed because of personal suffering?

Later in the chapter, Job chooses to express the greatness and power of God compared to our human efforts, abilities, and wisdom.

13 “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. 14 What he tears down cannot be rebuilt; those he imprisons cannot be released. 15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought; if he lets them loose, they devastate the land. 16 To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his.

Don’t miss what you just read. Job is affirming the sovereignty and wisdom of God in the middle of his pain and suffering. He affirms that all things reside under the authority of God. That to Him alone belongs the fullness of “wisdom and power.” Only He is able to use both sides of every situation (the deceived and the deceiver) for His glory and His people’s good. Sitting in this truth, Job further responds to his friends in chapter 13:

13:1 “My eyes have seen all this, my ears have heard and understood it. 2 What you know, I also know; I am not inferior to you. 3 But I desire to speak to the Almighty and to argue my case with God.

Job isn’t satisfied with his friend's advice anymore. In blunt language, Job explains that he isn’t dumb and wishes to take his suffering to the highest authority.  This isn’t Job being prideful and standoffish, but rather him recognizing that his primary way of moving forward needed to be pleading his case with God. In other words, the place he wants to plead his case is before the only one worthy of answering life's toughest question: God himself.

What Job chose to do is what many of us have put on the back burner. Sometimes the last person we want to speak to is the one we think is punishing us, but Job shows us a different path. When everything falls apart, there is a God waiting to hear our plea. We must fight against the lies that our suffering is too small, our voice is unheard, and that God isn’t listening. He wants us to come to him with our deepest hurts because He is willing to show that He truly is just and worthy of worship! Ask yourself this question:

What “case” do I need to bring before God today?

We can spend our time trying to distract ourselves from our pain or seek counsel from those who are unable to provide an answer, but Job shows us that even when suffering seems to be unjust, we follow a God who is worthy of pursuing.

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