Job just finished giving a defense for how he used authority as a chief-leader in righteousness to the benefit of the people under his care. His position of influence is now gone. First, in verses 1-15 Job talks about how senseless men who weren’t even worthy for hire have afflicted him. These men have made songs to mock Job (v. 9). They spit at the sight of Job (v. 10). Job’s relational suffering extended well beyond Elliphaz, Bildad and Zophar. Job exclaims, “Terrors are turned upon me; my honor is pursued as by the wind, and my prosperity has passed away like a cloud” (Job 30:15). Second, in verses 16-25 Job reflects on what God has done to him. Third, in verses 26-31 Job briefly compares himself to the helpless and then wonders why God has afflicted him since he grieved for and sought to help the needy in his former prosperity and authority.
In this chapter Job’s defense turns to lament. Job recognizes that his suffering is under the sovereign providence of God, “God has cast me into the mire, and I have become like dust and ashes” (v. 19). He accuses God of not listening to his cries, of only looking at him, that God has turned cruel to him persecuting Job with the might of his hand (vv. 20-22), and that God is sovereign over death (v. 23). Job is struggling to understand why God would allow all of this to happen. And then he describes his confusion for why God would bring evil upon him when he grieved for and helped the needy (vv. 24-26). Formerly, he had a similar view of God to that of his friends: Do good things; Serve God; Bless others and God will bless you with prosperity. Job’s theological mathematics are sorely wrong. And in the midst of his sorrow he asks God why this is happening. God doesn’t respond explaining to Job that Satan made the accusation that Job only loves God because God blessed him. Job doesn’t realize that God is proving that His people will hold firm in their faith to Him even when they are afflicted. Job doesn’t know that God is proving a point to Satan and to the principalities and powers through his suffering. Job’s suffering is a visible display of a spiritual war for the souls of men. God is giving Job a greater capacity to be able to understand that not everything in this world is explainable by human action. God is giving Job a greater capacity to understand that we don’t always need to know why things are happening. God’s actions do not always fit clean and tidy categories that we try to box Him into. We don’t know everything all the time, and we don’t need to. This is humbling, but good for us. We have encyclopedias and internet search engines and it seems we are on a constant quest to know everything about what is happening all the time. God is humbling Job, and us, to grow us in our trust of His sovereign wisdom to do what is right, even when we don’t understand “why”. All we need to know is that God is working all things according to the counsel of His will for the sake of His glory and for the good of His people. Pray that God would help us to comprehend the height, depth and breadth of His love for us in Christ, even when we feel our circumstances contradict it.