Pondering Job in a Pandemic – Chapter 16

Job’s reply in chapter 16, though immediately following Eliphaz’s second speech is more a reply to all of his “friends” than only Eliphaz. We see this in how he refers to them as a group in verse 2.

He begins his reply by stating how worthless their words have been thus far. Job could have said as much as they have said and yet he’d still be in the same situation with no relief, no answers.

He then turns to describe not simply the physical aspects of his suffering but the spiritual. His suffering has put him in a place where he sees God as opposed to him. His suffering is all the worse as he reflects on it because it seems to Him as though God has abandoned him and even turned against him.

In many ways, it is here where we see Job as a type of Christ. Job’s words here are not too dissimilar to what we read in Psalm 22 and what we hear from Jesus Himself when he cries, “My God, My God why have you forsaken me?” Just like this cry in Psalm 22 and from Jesus is both a cry of agony and suffering as well as a cry of faith – God is still called “my” God, Job still looks to God in faith.

In verses 18-22, Job looks to God. He trusts that he has a witness in heaven. He pours out his tears to God. He looks to God to supply a mediator to argue his case.

Job simultaneously cries out to God in agony and faith.

John Calvin had this to say when commenting on Psalm 22:

“There is not one of the godly who does not daily experience in himself the same thing. According to the judgment of the flesh, he thinks he is cast off and forsaken by God, while yet he apprehends by faith the grace of God, which is hidden from the eye of sense and reason; and thus it comes to pass, that contrary affections are mingled and interwoven in the prayers of the faithful… Whilst the vehemence of grief, and the infirmity of the flesh, forced from the Psalmist these words, I am forsaken of God; faith, lest he should when so severely tried sink into despair, put into his mouth a correction of this language, so that he boldly called God, of whom he thought he was forsaken, his God.”

The suffering we experience in this world will be real. It will be painful. At these times we will be tempted to think God has abandoned us. Yet, like Job, like David, like our Saviour we must hold fast in faith, trusting in our Heavenly Father and crying to Him for comfort and aid.

Soli Deo Gloria

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