Summary: This is a study into Job chapter tewnty three.
Job 23 -
Job Can Not Find God (verses 1-9)
Job Asserts His Integrity (verses 10-12)
Job Stands in Awe of God (verses 13-17)
1 Then Job answered and said: 2 "Even today my complaint is bitter; My hand is listless because of my groaning. 3 Oh, that I knew where I might find Him, That I might come to His seat! 4 I would present my case before Him, And fill my mouth with arguments. 5 I would know the words which He would answer me, And understand what He would say to me. 6 Would He contend with me in His great power? No! But He would take note of me. 7 There the upright could reason with Him, And I would be delivered forever from my Judge. 8 "Look, I go forward, but He is not there, And backward, but I cannot perceive Him; 9 When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him; When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him. Job 23:1-9 (NKJV)
JOB CAN NOT FIND GOD
Job speaks again.
Job has a complaint. His spirit is bitter. His hand has no strength. His desire is to find God and present himself before Him. If he could find God he would present an argument to Him. He would present his case. But up to this point God has not spoken to Job. God has not opened His mouth when Job asks the question, “What is going on?” We need to remember that God does not have to give us an answer – He does not have to answer our questions. He does not report to us. God speaks when He – in His infinite wisdom – finds it appropriate it speak.
In verse five Job believes that if God would open His mouth he would come to an understanding as to what is going on. God would speak nothing but what was true, He would decree nothing that was not righteous, nor utter any thing that could not be comprehended. It matters little what man may say of me – for it is God alone who judges me. What God would say to me would be of immense importance. Barnes says this:
“Why should “we” not desire to know exactly what God thinks of us, and what estimate he has formed of our character? There is no information so valuable to us as that would be; for on “his” estimate hangs our eternal doom, and yet there is nothing which people more instinctively dread than to know what God thinks of their character. It would be well for each one to ask himself, “Why is it so?” (Barnes)
In verse six Job understands that he can not contend with God. Who can fight against God and win? There is no one. Anyone who fights with God will loose. But Job believes that if he were allowed to contend with God – at least God would notice him.
God does not contend against his people – but for them. He does not use His power to run them down, crush, and oppress them. He is a great God with great power. He is mighty in strength, and there is no contending with Him.
In verse seven Job believes that if he could make his case known before God that he would be acquitted before the judge. Job has a clear conscience and even calls himself “upright”.
In verses eight and nine Job explains his frustration of not being able to find God. He has looked in front of him, but He is not there. He has looked behind him, but He is not there. When he turns to the right and to the left Job can not find Him. God will make Himself know in His own time.
Barnes makes this interesting note of verse eight:
“The Oriental geographers considered themselves as facing the East, instead of the North, as we do. Of course, the West was behind them, the South on the right hand, and on the left the North. This was a more natural position than ours, as day begins in the East, and it is natural to turn the face in that direction. There is no reason why our maps should be made so as to require us to face the “North,” except that such is the custom.” (Barnes)
Verses eight and nine paint in vivid colors the distress and anxiety of a soul in search of the favor of God. No means are left untried, no place unexplored in order to find the object of his search.
10 But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. 11 My foot has held fast to His steps; I have kept His way and not turned aside. 12 I have not departed from the commandment of His lips; I have treasured the words of His mouth More than my necessary food. Job 23:10-12 (NKJV)