Job 16: An Advocate on High
November 18, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
Ezekiel 45-47, Job 16, John 12:1-11, 1 John 5:1-5
You sense that Job’s frustration with his so-called “comforters” is only growing. He has heard one lecture after another—one lengthy lecture after another. Over and over again, so far, they have been accusing him of being in the wrong. They have told him in no uncertain terms that his complaints against God are inappropriate. He should not be speaking like that about God! He should instead confess his sins, humble himself before God, and then God would restore him. The end-result of this wrong theology is to leave a man (Job) who is in deep suffering without even the comfort of his friends to encourage him. They should be preaching grace; instead, they are finger-wagging their disapproval at him. Look at what Job says:
“I have heard many things like these; you are miserable comforters, all of you!” (16:2).
Strong words, but you can’t really blame him for saying them! They certainly are “miserable comforters.” Indeed, Job is confident, if the tables were turned, he would find a way to comfort them in their suffering:
“But my mouth would encourage you; comfort from my lips would bring you relief” (16:5).
What they do not or will not or cannot help him with is the strong reality that his suffering has—in some way or other—come from God. Why is that? Why is God allowing Job (a righteous man) to suffer?
“Surely, God, you have worn me out; you have devastated my entire household. You have shriveled me up” (16:7-8).
Perhaps you ask these questions yourself. You wonder where God is when bad things happen to good people. You wonder how on earth God would allow such trauma to occur to those who do not deserve it. Be encouraged that if you wonder those things, you are not the first to do so. Others before you, like Job, have had similar questions. But there are answers too.
Job is only grasping for the answers here; this side of Calvary, the cross, and Jesus’ resurrection, he does not have our vantage point to be able to interpret his suffering through the lens of the suffering of God in Christ for him. But still he is reaching for the answers that are fulfilled in Christ.
He realizes that even if his friends turn a deaf ear to his trouble, God will not:
“Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; (16:19-20).
Let this encourage you, then. If those around you are hardening themselves to your tears, God will hear your prayers and take account of your weeping. He will not be deaf to you, nor blind to your suffering.
What is more, there is in these verses a gospel home that is starting to shine:
“My intercessor is my friend… on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend” (16:20-21).
He senses, by the Spirit of God and in the sensitivity of his suffering, that there is an intercessor for him in the courts of heaven. We, living this side of the cross, know where that intercessor resides, and are familiar with his name: Jesus. You, Christian, have an intercessor in heaven. The Spirit of God prays when you do not know what to pray; Jesus intercedes for you (see Romans 8:26 & Romans 8:34). You are not friendless, rejected, or alienated. You are loved, and nothing—not even suffering—can separate you from the love of God in Christ Jesus.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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