Job Continues to Defend His Innocence
17 “My spirit is crushed,
and my life is nearly snuffed out.
The grave is ready to receive me.
2 I am surrounded by mockers.
I watch how bitterly they taunt me.
3 “You must defend my innocence, O God,
since no one else will stand up for me.
4 You have closed their minds to understanding,
but do not let them triumph.
5 They betray their friends for their own advantage,
so let their children faint with hunger.
6 “God has made a mockery of me among the people;
they spit in my face.
7 My eyes are swollen with weeping,
and I am but a shadow of my former self.
8 The virtuous are horrified when they see me.
The innocent rise up against the ungodly.
9 The righteous keep moving forward,
and those with clean hands become stronger and stronger.
10 “As for all of you, come back with a better argument,
though I still won’t find a wise man among you.
11 My days are over.
My hopes have disappeared.
My heart’s desires are broken.
12 These men say that night is day;
they claim that the darkness is light.
13 What if I go to the grave
and make my bed in darkness?
14 What if I call the grave my father,
and the maggot my mother or my sister?
15 Where then is my hope?
Can anyone find it?
16 No, my hope will go down with me to the grave.
We will rest together in the dust!”
You know why I love the Bible? Because it’s so real. There’s a lot of fog rolling into Job’s life, just as in our lives. On this earth nobody “lives happily ever after.” That line is a huge fairy tale. You’re living in a dream world if you’re waiting for things to be “happy ever after.” That’s why we need grace. Marriage doesn’t get easier, it gets harder. So we need grace to keep it together. Work doesn’t get easier, it gets more complicated, so we need grace to stay on the job. Childrearing doesn’t get easier. You who have babies one, two, three years old—you think you’ve got it tough. Wait until they’re fourteen. Or eighteen. Talk about needing grace!
I’ll be painfully honest here. If I called the shots, I would have relieved Job five minutes after he lost everything. I’d have brought all his kids back to life the very next day. I would have immediately re-created everything he lost, and I would really deal with those sorry comforters! I’d have cut the lips off of Eliphaz after about three sentences. And if that didn’t stop him, I’d take the neck. I mean, who needs that clod? But you know what? You would never mature under my kind of treatment. You’d just enjoy the comfort. We’d all go to picnics then on a motorcycle ride and have tons of fun. That’s my style. Which explains why Cynthia says to me, “Honey, if everybody handled things like you wanted, all we’d bring to the party is balloons. Nobody would think to bring the food.” As usual, she’s right.
So, the fog’s rolled in. As all hell breaks loose, grace takes a hike. Welcome to the human race, Job. But the wonderful old song says,
Thru many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
‘Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
That’s the ticket. Even in the fog, grace will lead us home.
“Happily ever after” exists only in a dream world. That’s why we need God’s grace.
— Charles R. Swindoll