Behold, God will not reject a blameless man, nor take the hand of evildoers.
The Book of Job can lead us to question the difference between mercy and grace.
One definition of mercy that I have used is that God doesn’t give us what we deserve. And one definition of grace is that God does give us what we don’t deserve.
God, in his mercy, doesn’t deal with us as we deserve. He doesn’t destroy us immediately on account of our sins.
God, in his grace, gives us forgiveness and love, even though we don’t deserve it – again because of our sins.
The Book of Job teaches us this, but in a eye-catching way.
Job has be given what he doesn’t deserve. In other words, he’s done nothing specific to warrant losing his wealth, children and health. Certainly no one would characterize this as grace.
But because we have been privy to the dialog between Satan and God in chapter 1, we know why this has happened to Job.
Yet, Job doesn’t. Still, Job will not try to present his case to God. Job knows he’s done nothing specific to warrant losing his wealth, children and health.
It may seem strange. Because Job has been wronged, as most people would agree. For all intents and purposes, Job is innocent.
And while Job seems to be getting closer to actually blaming God for what has happened to him – verse 24 will be the closest Job gets to this – ultimately he will back off from this.
That’s because Job also knows the nature of God and the difference between himself and God. Even though he is blameless, he cannot hope to be able to stand before God Almighty.
This will be the gist of God’s reply to Job at the end of the book, by the way.
Job understands that no man can stand before God as an equal. He understands that there is so much “more” to God that he cannot even fathomed trying to make his case to God.
This is why Job recognizes that he needs a mediator, someone who will talk for him to God. This cannot be a mere human. This mediator must be someone who can stand up to God.
If this sounds like a legal battle, that’s because this is exactly how this is described in the Book of Job.
Satan is the accuser and God is the defender of Job.
Job has figured out that something greater is being played out than what meets the eye when he says, “For he is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both” (Job 9:32-33).
Ah, Job! But there is an arbiter! And that is one of the main lessons of the Book of Job for us!
That arbiter, that mediator, will turn out to be both human and God – Jesus Christ! He can represent humans perfectly because he is human. But he can also stand before God confidently because he is God!
And by God’s grace, Jesus Christ speaks for us to God and declares us innocent of all sin. Jesus takes our sin away through his death on the cross.
Christ takes the punishment we deserve and God, in his mercy, doesn’t dole that punishment on us.
This is what Job is looking for.
This is what we find in Jesus Christ!
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