Job 9:16 If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice.
17 For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause.
18 He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness.
19 If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead?
20 If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.
21 Though I were perfect, yet would I not know my soul: I would despise my life.
In verse 16 Job showed that he doubted whether God would even listen to him, if he would call out to him. Some have suggested that this was a picture of Job’s humility. Biblically speaking, it is not a sign of humility when a child of God doubts that God would hear them. We cannot demand an audience with God, but He cares about His children. God is always willing to hear His child. He encourages His saints to pray to Him. He knows we need Him. He wants to help His children. If a person regards iniquity in their heart, the Bible declares that the Lord will not hear them.
Psalm 66:18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Job was not guilty of harbouring sin in his heart. He had some things he needed to learn about God and about his relationship to the Lord, but God did not accuse him of sinning against Him.
Psalm 34:4 I sought the LORD, and he heard me, and delivered me from all my fears.
Job did not need to fear that the Lord would not hear him. Job needed to call upon the Lord and he needed to learn to wait on the Lord for His answer. This is the same thing any true saint needs to do. The devil would like to fill our minds with lies. He would like the true saint to believe that God is too busy to hear and respond to one of His children. The devil would like to have a true saint believe that God has more important things to do than to answer one of His children.
However, this is not true. God knows that we need Him and He is there to help His child at any time. As we noted, when a true child of God is harbouring sin, they need to first of all be ready to confess that sin and be forgiven, and then they can know that God will hear their other requests.
Job was in a difficult place in that he did not have the benefit of Godly friends who could encourage him in the truths of God’s Word. He was not alone, but he believed that he was.
In verse 17 Job stated that he believed that God was punishing him without cause. He was beginning to assume that God was not being fair with him. Job did not know what was going on in the spiritual realm. He assumed things that were not true. His friends were of no help to him. His children were all gone and his wife was of no help to him.
Those who are saved today can learn some important lessons from the book of Job. We can know that there is a spiritual realm that is very active. We can know that the devil desires to attack God any way he can. We can know that the devil hates all people. There is no love in his heart or being. He desires to inflict pain. Those who are saved can know that we can always draw nigh to God and find comfort in Him even when life seems very dark. We can also see again how important it is to be a part of a true local church family where we can find help in time of need.
Sometimes Christians can bring discouragement upon themselves because they refuse to listen to God. They can desire pity when they need some straight talk. They can assume they are being treated unfairly when they have chosen a path of disobedience. That was not Job’s situation. His affliction was not due to his sin. He simply needed to trust God even though he did not see a way out of his current situation.
According to God’s Word in chapters 1&2, Job had been a faithful servant of God. He assumed that he was not being treated fairly even though he had been faithful to God. He would learn differently. We can be thankful that God has given us this book so that we can see the blessing of being faithful. We can understand that being faithful does not guarantee a trouble free life. However, being faithful does guarantee God’s presence is with His child at all times.
In verse 18 Job was struggling with breathing. His boils must have been affecting his health in other ways. Possibly the dust from the ashes he was sitting in, were also causing trouble for him. He accused God of filling him with bitterness. God does not fill His children with bitterness. Bitterness is caused by wrong assumptions.
Job understood that God is strong. He wondered how he could get an opportunity to plead his cause before God. He did not realize that he was pleading before God and that God knew all about what he was facing. God was there and God was willing to be the comfort that Job needed at that present moment.
In verses 20-21, Job knew that he had no grounds to boast about his goodness. He knew that He could not argue against God’s judgment. He knew that he could not claim to be perfect. He was not aware of any sin in his life, but he was not going to claim sinless perfection. Job knew that even if he were perfect, he would not know his own soul. Man looks at life with his own biases. It is common for man to overlook what he needs to address. It is possible for a person to assume they are better than they actually are. It is easy for a person to get on a pity trip without justification.
We need to know the Lord and we need to walk humbly with him. Again, we cannot sit in judgment of Job and suggest we would never take the attitude he had. We can know that because we have the book of Job and the rest of the Bible, we have no reason to get on a pity party or assume that God is unjust. When we head in that direction we need to listen to God and understand we are off course. We need the fellowship of other saints who will love us enough to come alongside and help us to keep a right perspective of Who God is and how we can trust Him even when we do not have answers for what is happening.