Lesson Four. Job and God: "If it is not He, then who is it?"

Key Notes: Job needs a mediator, a witness and a redeemer.

When Job talks to his three friends about God, he discusses four large topics:

God's sovereignty.
God's treatment of the wicked, which seems lenient.
God's treatment of Job, which seems harsh.
Job's faith in God. In the process of his discourses, Job reveals a puzzle, which we will uncover and try to solve.

The following passages summarize the bulk of the information.

*God is sovereign over the universe. (Job 9:1–17). God's sovereignty over nature is "but a whisper of His power". (Job 26:1–14). God is sovereign over leaders and nations. Job 12:13–25

*God is lenient with the wicked. God puts no rod to the wicked. (21:7–16). Eventually, however, Job realizes the true destiny of the wicked. Job 27:13–23

* God treats Job harshly. "He crushes me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause; he will not let me get my breath, but fills me with bitterness." (Job 9:17–18)

He has "torn me in his wrath and hated me; he has gnashed his teeth at me; my adversary sharpens his eyes against me."...."He broke me asunder; he seized me by the neck and dashed me to pieces; he set me up as his target; his archers surround me. He slashes open my kidneys and does not spare; he pours out my gall on the ground. He breaks me with breach upon breach; he runs upon me like a warrior." (Job 16:9,12–14)

"There is no umpire between us, who might lay his hand upon us both." (Job.9:34)

*Job's faith. "Though he slay me, yet will I trust Him." (13:15). After death, an accounting will be made.
"I know that my Redeemer lives...whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold...." (Job’:25,27). Job's faith leads him to search harder for God. "Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, that I might come even to His seat! I would lay my case before Him and fill my mouth with arguments." (Job 23:3–4)

As we see Job move back and forth among these themes, we note God's aapparent harshness, even cruelty, and yet Job's belief that there is help for him in Heaven. How can God be both cruel to Job and also his helper? It appears that Job is trying to play God off against Himself.

The question "If it is not He, who then is it?" (9:24) is not answered by Job because he does not know the answer, but we know that it is Satan who is plaguing Job (2:7) although God has permitted him to do so. So when Job describes the violence of the attack on him (16:6-), we do not attribute these actions to God. God is not cruel. God does not hate Job or gnash His teeth at him, does not seize him by the neck or tear him to pieces. It is Satan, the adversary of souls, who is trying to destroy Job physically and spiritually.

Job envisions, on the other hand, three persons or functions that someone in Heaven would or should provide for him:

*An umpire or mediator. Job says: "There is no umpire between us, who might lay his hand upon us both." (9:33). The mediator is a peacemaker, a bondsman who makes bail, one who holds an object disputed between parties, who arbitrates in legal transactions or guarantees the execution of an agreement. The mediator is there, but Job cannot perceive His presence because he believes it is God who attacks him. We know the Mediator well. "...He is the mediator of a new covenant so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance...." (Heb.9:15)

*A witness in Heaven to vouch for him. "Even now, behold, my witness is in heaven and he that vouches for me is on high." (16:19). A witness in a trial tells what he knows. The truth is that Job was not being punished, and was not receiving the just reward for his deeds. Jesus is the "faithful Witness" who testifies to the truth. Rev.1:5; Jn.8:17

*A redeemer. "I know that my redeemer lives and at last he will stand upon the earth; and after my skin has been thus destroyed, then from my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see on my side, and my eyes shall behold, and not another." (19:25–27). The redeemer is one who gives money to ransom a prisoner.
"In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses...." (Eph.1:7)

We recognize that these three functions are served by the Lord Jesus, and all three functions are found in ITim.2:5–6. "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, the testimony to which was borne at the proper time." {The word ransom (lutron) is closely connected to the word for redeemer (lutrotes) in Greek.} Job sounds like a prophet, anticipating the person and work of Christ, while wrestling with God, whom he cannot understand.

In summary, I believe that Job incorrectly describes God as his tormentor because he does not know anything about Satan's part. We, the observers, are enabled to see what Job cannot see. Yet his faith remains firm, even to death. In addition to blind faith, he sees God paradoxically helping him. His faith leads to a prophetic vision of God clearly fulfilled in the New Testament in the person of Christ as mediator, witness and redeemer.

42:1–6. Job's final statement to God is his surrender to a new understanding of himself and a clearer vision of God. "...I uttered what I did not understand."
"...I had heard of Thee with the hearing of the ear but now my eye sees Thee...."
"...wherefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes."

42:10 God's grace was enough and more than enough for Job. After a few months of illness, he was given twice as much as before--family, friends, children, wealth, and long life.

God allowed Satan to strike at Job. Why?

A. 1.Satan thought he has everything and everyone under his control. God refuted him.

2.Satan said everyone has his price, slandering Job. God said his children cannot be bought.

3.God defeated Satan and demonstrate his failure: "greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world." (IJn.4:4)

B. Job learned more about God in his downfall than he ever could have in his prosperity.

C. Job's friends also learned about God, and we also learned, we who listened in to the conversations.

D. Did God do something to his servant that He would not do to Himself? The same question is asked regarding Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac. Christ was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. (Matt.4:1). He endured the agony of the Garden, the torture of the crucifixion and descent to Hell. In this sense, Job is a picture of Christ, suffering innocently and under God's will at the hands of Satan, for the good of all of us.