“Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.”
Job 19: 7
We have made our way to a pivotal chapter in Job – chapter 19 – and we’re going to stay here for a while and mine this chapter quite a bit, as there are nuggets of pure God-gold in here!
I received a phone call in my car the other day.
I had my phone hooked up via blue-tooth in the car. That means that I could take calls, listen to music, and get directions, all from phone through the car’s speakers wirelessly.
The phone rang and it was my friend and sister-in-Christ Penny. I said, “hello” but she didn’t respond. She started asking if I could hear her. I could and said so, but again she didn’t respond.
What had happened was that I had inadvertently hit the “privacy” button on the console that allowed me to hear the call but the caller couldn’t hear me.
I could talk to her but she wouldn’t respond because she couldn’t hear me.
She was talking to me and I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me.
It was frustrating until I figured out what the problem was. But by this time she had hung up.
So I called her back and I made sure that my car was not in “privacy” mode. We could then have our conversation.
Job has been calling out to God after being afflicted with disease, losing all his material possessions, and enduring the death of his ten children.
This must frustrate Job to no end! He calls out, cries out, and receives no answer. I don’t know if Job expected to receive a literal answer from God. We do know that God did have actual conversations with people in that time period – he talked directly to Abraham and Jacob, so it is possible!
But now that Job needs desperately to hear from God, he gets no answer!
I’ve been there. I’ve cried out to God and it seemed as if heaven was turning a deaf ear to me!
But no answer can be an actual answer. And this appears to be what Job is experiencing.
God doesn’t answer Job because God wants Job to cry out to him, to seek him, and to never turn his back on him!
This is sometimes called the “alien work of God.”
The “alien” or “strange” work of God is “when he terrifies, because to make alive and comfort is God’s own proper work. But he terrifies … for this reason—that there may be a place for comfort and making alive. For hearts that are secure and do not feel God’s wrath hate consolation” (Apology of the Augsburg Confession, taken from The Reader’s Edition of the Book of Concord, ©2005, 2006 Concordia Publishing House, page 164).
God is silent to Job so that Job will continue to cry out to him!
This will not go on indefinitely – as we see God finally speaking to Job in chapter 38.
And the same is true for us! One of the reasons we may go through rough times and devastating periods in life is so that we will seek out God. He may be preparing us for the incredible blessings that he will give us!
As we continue through this set of Job devotions from chapter 19, we will see that God’s plan is working well! Job will continue to seek God, cry out to him, and will give an incredible confession of faith in God!
We can do this, too! That’s why we read and study the Book of Job! Let’s continue on together!
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