Measuring Up

Job 9:1-13

February 20, 2019

The Bible teaches that there is a great difference between knowing about God, and actually knowing the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Creator of the heavens and the earth. The problem is that we are of two contrary natures. God is light and there is no darkness in Him. We as people are conceived with a heart of darkness that desires to oppose and dispute God’s glory. God is holy and righteous. We as people are corrupt, decaying, and unable to do right in the eyes of God. God knows everything, sees everything, and hears everything, and He alone is wise. The Bible explains that as people, we are spiritually blind, deaf, and dumb. And there is the chief issue. God dwells in a spiritual plane of reality while we dwell in the physical world filled with flaws, deception, and confusion. God is able to know us, and does indeed intimately know and understand every person He’s ever created. We are extremely limited in how we are able to know God. Unless God works profound miracles to reveal Himself to us, we would never know God at all.
This doesn’t mean that it is impossible to know God. The Bible shows that God made Himself known to people in miraculous ways throughout history in very intimate ways. For example, the Bible calls Abraham “a friend of God.” The scriptures also state that Moses met with God “face-to-face.” Still, it was not as if these men could explain the details of all of God’s workings. It was not as if these men were suddenly better than everyone. It was not as if these men were testaments of perfection, standing high above all others, freely hanging out with the Creator of all things. The Bible is candid to show that these men continued to make mistakes, fail in faith, and remain confused about God’s work and the purposes of His work. No matter how well we might know God in this earth, His ways continue to be incomprehensive and past finding out because God’s greatness and glory is incomprehensive and past finding out.
Though Job didn’t understand what God was doing, he at least understood this fundamental truth about God. Job knew that God’s glory and majesty was unapproachable, incomprehensive, and immeasurable. When Bildad accused Job of being a hypocrite, citing several examples of different types of hypocrites and the ways that God deals with them, Job had a compelling rebuttal. In Job 9:1-13 Job simply asked, how can anyone stand righteous before God? If we boil it down enough, we’ll come to find out that the Bible describes ALL people as hypocrites! Who isn’t a failure in front of God? Who is able to stand as equal and approved with God? How is it possible for a person to stand as “righteous” before God? Who can measure up to God and freely stand in His glory, in the midst of His holiness and righteousness? Though Job was not a hypocrite in the manner that his friends accused him of, he was not denying the truth that he was worthy of the punishment that a hypocrite receives, because in the end, none are righteous before God.
Job made the point that no one can contend with God. When God makes decisions, who changes His mind? Was Noah able to convince God to keep from flooding the earth? Was Peter able to convince Jesus to avoid the cross? Job explained that if a person had one thousand opportunities to speak to God, he would not be right even one time. In other words, we can’t contend with God because God is always right. We as people wouldn’t even know what “right” is if it were not for God revealing His righteousness. Thus, when God makes a declaration about our corrupted character and nature, He is right, and no matter how we try to dice things up, we do not have an excuse. In this way, Job was right – all people are deserving of the judgment of hypocrites. Since God is wise to know the hearts of all people and strong enough to do what He knows is right, we would be wise to humble ourselves before the mighty hand of God, seeking His mercy for our own forgiveness rather than criticizing the issues and causes of other people’s lives. It might be true that they are guilty of offending God in some sense, but according to the truth that Job spoke, so are we all!
The problem is that this fate is unavoidable. Job made the point that no one has opposed God and won. No one has rebelled against God and prospered. While some hypocrites might seem to flourish here for a season, their end shows that hypocrisy does not have a glorious end. Bildad explained that those who stand prideful and self-righteous always have a season in life where things seem to be fruitful and prosperous. However, history proves that those seasons always come to an end, even more so in judgment when each and every person will have to face God to give an account for their lives. At that time, it will be certainly clear that self-righteous people who refuse to humble themselves before God, will not prosper. That truth was known even as long ago as the days of Job.
Job compared the strength and power of God’s judgment to the sovereign control and authority He has over His creation. Since God is Creator, He is supreme in authority and control over all things that He created. Since God is supreme in authority and control over all things, He is powerful and strong to deliver harsh punishments to those who oppose Him. Job reminded his friends that God is able to “remove mountains” and the mountains don’t even realize it. Here, Job wasn’t only referring to literal mountains, but those who prop themselves up and boast of their authority and accomplishments. God humbles the proud, and often times, it happens without them even realizing that they have been humbled. They often realize that the superior position they thought they had, is suddenly gone. God is able to smash mountains and overturn them in His anger in a literal sense, and is able to humble the proud that exalt themselves highly like mountains in a figurative sense. He will do both in the day of judgment.
Job explained that God is able to shake the earth out of its place so that the pillars of the earth tremble. This reference also has two-fold meaning. God will literally shake the foundations of the earth when He judges the sin of the world in the end, before the return of the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Since God has the supreme power to do this work, He is also able to do more personal work in the lives of the proud and self-righteous. Those “hypocrites” will have their world shaken by God so that the foundations they put their trust in are disrupted. God has continually disrupted and destroyed the world systems that people develop because they are the place where people put their trust. People put their trust in governing systems, financial systems, and cultural practices. God has shaken “the world” of many civilizations throughout history so that the foundation of their culture was put out of place, and the place of their trust was shown to be brittle and weak. God exposes the world for what it is, showing that those who place value and trust in worldliness based on the proud workings of the flesh, will end up confused and miserable when their system comes crumbling down.
Job then compared the power of God’s judgment to His control over the sun, moon, and stars. Job reminded his friends that God commands the sun. God seals the stars. God spread out the heavens, and even referred to constellations in space long before other figures of ancient history knew of them. Job knew about Orion and Pleiades because he knew the God who formed them. God was not only the Creator of those things, but also maintained charge and possession of them. This is important to recognize because many of the ancient religious systems were based on the sun, moon, and stars. Many ancient civilizations took God’s creation and created other gods and idols as representatives of those things. Most ancient civilizations created chief gods based on the sun because they believed it was the cause and center of life. The Bible teaches contrary. God is the cause of the sun. Therefore, while proud and self-righteous people place their trust in the gods and idols formed with their own hands, their gods and idols are merely the bi-product of God’s work. God did not make these idols, but Job acknowledged that Yahweh Elohim is the One True Living God. Though people have made false gods and idols out to be superior creatures, God has charge over all of those things.
Job confessed that these things are true, but hard to understand. When we study the Bible, we know these things about God, but that doesn’t necessarily mean we have a full understanding of who God is. Job proved convincingly that God is past finding out. God’s miracles are countless. We can’t even understand how He spoke the worlds into existence, let alone how He has kept them going. Job remarked that, if God were to go by him, he wouldn’t even know. God is invisible. If God moved past Job, would he know? If God wanted to move Job, could he hinder God? Who can question God by saying, “What are you doing?” as if we have greater authority to explain a better way? This is the truth of who God is. Who can compare to such a God? Who can stand as equal with Him? In this regard, who is right in the sight of God?
When we compare one to another, it is easy to try and see that we are better than another person in our own eyes, but God’s judgment will not be His comparisons of us, one to another. In essence, God will compare us to Him by His Son – Jesus Christ! Who else has fulfilled every jot and tittle of the Law? Who else has commanded the seas, multiplied food, and raised the dead? Who else has raised themselves from the dead? Job stated that God will not withdraw His anger from those who are proud and self-righteous; as Bildad and Eliphaz put it, hypocrites. Those who boast in themselves are far beneath God, and in their end, God will ensure they end up there. Knowing this, who can boast to be righteous before God? Who is not a proud, self-righteous, hypocrite? Since none are righteous, no not one, we should all fall down before God, seeking to know the extent our faults in humility, seeking God’s mercy and forgiveness, working out our own salvation with fear and trembling.

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