When I read chapter nine of Job, I think of this hymn:
Do you know my Jesus?
Do you know my friend?
Have you heard that he loves you
And that he will abide ‘till the end?
Job doesn’t seem to know the God who would pay the price for human frailties with His own blood. But then again, how could he? God had not yet sent Jesus.
I do not know what Job’s real understanding of God was. In times of trouble and conflict, we say things we don’t believe, and often don’t mean. But in this chapter, Job views God as a tyrant, one who is too powerful to be summoned, who would not even listen to his pleas, who would knock the wind out of Job with His presence and not give him time to recover.
A God who destroys the blameless and the wicked.
It’s probably why, in chapter ten, Job says: ‘since I have nothing to lose, I’m going to say what’s on my mind’ (see 10:1).
On the one hand, Job’s view of God is correct. God certainly is not one of us, does not have to give account of Himself to any of us, and will be judged by none of us. On the other hand, God did, and does care about what is happening to Job. He was listening. How else would He be able to include Job’s pleas in this book?
From the depths of his depression and despair, and with his lofty view of God, Job doesn’t feel connected. He feels only separation. He prays for an intermediary to span the distance (9:33-34) and bring them together. We read that of course and think of Jesus, and surely this is what Jesus did – and does. But the work is not just that of Jesus. It should have been the work of Job’s friends. As the body of Christ on the earth, holding God’s hand, we must also reach out to those whose hands are slipping until they, like Job, can regain their grip.