Job: Who Will Be Our Surety?

by Bethany

Today’s Reading: Job 15-17

Unreasonable Evidence

In the second round of conversation between Job and his friends, the tension grows. Eliphaz is even more convinced that Job has done something sinful to deserve his suffering. Since he cannot find any sin that prompted the suffering, however, he points to his response: “Your sin prompts your mouth … Your own mouth condemns you, not mine” [1]. He arrogantly warns Job to avoid the fate of the wicked: “Listen to me and I will explain to you … All his days the wicked man suffers torment … because he shakes his fist at God and vaunts himself against the Almighty” [2].

Special Insight

Eliphaz missteps, however, when he asks Job: “What do you know that we do not know? What insights do you have that we do not have?” [3]. Yet, Job has special insight – since he knows that he has no secret sin, he knows that there must be something missing with their theology about suffering. Thus, prays: “Surely, God, you have worn me out … All was well with me, but he shattered me” [4]. He knew that, although there were intervening causes, God was the proximate cause of his suffering.

Friendly Advocate

In spite of his frustration and confusion, Job knows that the Lord is his only hope: “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend” [5]. He looks up to heaven and begs, “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand. Who else will put up security for me?” [6]. That for which Job longs is Jesus. He is the pledge of the Father’s love for us and our friend. He is our intercessor and advocate: “ … if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father – Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins” [7].

Prayer

Lord, Thank You for correcting our improper view of suffering through the life of Job. Although Your ways are mysterious and we will never fully understand suffering, we know that we have an advocate on high in Jesus when we suffer. We thank You that, though His own suffering, He has taken away the threat of eternal death by putting up His life as a pledge for our hope of eternal life. Amen.

_______________________________________

[1] Job 15:5-6 NIV  |  [2] Job 15:17, 20, 24-26 NIV  |  [3] Job 15:9 NIV  |  [4] Job 16:10, 12 NIV  |  [5] Job 16:18-21 NIV  |  [6] Job 17:3 NIV  |  [7] 1 John 2:1-2 NIV. See also Charles Finney, Christ Our Advocate (16 January 1862).

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