Much of the book of Job consists of conversations between Job and his three friends- a speech given by a friend, then a response from Job. This pattern is repeated, until chapter 38, when God Himself spoke and silenced them all.
Essentially, Job’s friends were sure that Job was suffering because he had unconfessed sin. Why else would God allow these things to happen? God must be punishing him.
Job defended himself to his friends, and he desired to be able to defend himself to God. But what man can approach God and be found innocent in His presence?
“‘How then can I answer Him, and choose my words before Him? For though I were right, I could not answer; I would have to implore the mercy of my judge. If I called and He answered me, I could not believe that He was listening to my voice…
If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one! And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him? Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty…
For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, that we may go to court together. There is no umpire between us, who may lay his hand upon us both.'” ~ Job 9:14-16, 19-20, 32-33
There is no way we can stand before the righteous, just, and holy God and be found innocent, in ourselves. We have to “implore the mercy” of the judge. Thankfully, God is not only righteous, just, and holy, but He is also full of mercy, compassion, grace, and love.
We may think we are good enough, but the Bible tells us otherwise.
“But we are all as an unclean [thing], and all our righteousnesses [are] as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” ~ Isaiah 64:6 (KJV)
“As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:” ~ Romans 3:10 (KJV)
Job lamented that there was no “umpire between us”. In the King James, the word used is “daysman”. God Almighty is not approachable in our unrighteous, sinful state. Job recognized his need for a go-between, an arbitrator, someone who could see both sides and bring them together.
Thank God for sending Jesus as our umpire, our arbitrator! He is our go-between. He is fully God, and He also became fully man, to pay for our unrighteousness and sin with His death on the cross two thousand years ago. When we accept this gift, this payment for our sins, we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus and can then approach God, through Jesus. We are saved by grace through faith alone.
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life…
For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.” ~ Romans 5:8-10, 17-18 (KJV)
Though Job did not yet have this hope offered through Jesus, when Jesus died on the cross, He paid for all sins, past, present and future. Job believed in and followed the One True God, and his umpire, Jesus, paid for his sins. Job could not see as many of the pieces of the “big picture” as we can, yet he still chose to trust in God and believe, even while walking through the valley of the shadow of death. We also should choose to trust in God and believe, no matter what.