Monday, July 09, 2007

Job 13:15

"Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him:
but I will maintain mine own ways before him."
- Job 13:15

This is one of my favorite verses. Job declares unconditional trust in God. Though He slay me, says Job, I will trust Him still.

The next part has always troubled me. (I would often just not quote it; I know, shame on me.) What does absolute faith have to do with defending himself, with continuing the argument? What I think Job is saying is this.

  • Everyone back then agreed that some men just deserved to die. They had committed horrible crimes, and justice demanded their execution.
  • Most would allow that since God is so perfect, He might take someone's life if they were bad, but not so bad as those human courts would assign death sentences.
  • Job says here that even though he can prove that he has done "nothing" wrong, God has the right to slay him. Job's life belongs to God, and God can do as He pleases with it.

When I say "nothing" wrong, I mean everyone has sinned. Job knew that. But he had repented, and as best as possible in those days, atoned for his sins. There was nothing of which he could be convicted, nothing the world would see as just cause for God to punish him so.

At the end of Job, the hero had learned that his complaints meant nothing at all. Not only did God have the rights to his life; his life was not central in God's plan for history. Not only was Job an upright man, but compared to God, even perfect humanity would be nothing.

This is how Job finally answers God: "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." - Job 42:5-6

To God be all glory.

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