can mortal man be in the right before God?

“Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?” Job 4:17 (ESV)

Another good question. But this one appears rhetorical.

Eliphaz, Job’s so-called friend, may be well-meaning but he’s sadly inept. He thinks he knows it all. Yet he is quite wrong in his understanding and assessment of God (Job 42:7).

Instead of offering Job comfort and care, he blunders through a diatribe about Job’s failings.

It’s an easy thing to do. Our inclination is all too often to speak first. Dispense advice. Extol platitudes.

And it’s not like this specific question is necessarily wrong. We know that “they have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one” (Psalm 14:3).

Why? “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Yet blaming Job and his sinfulness for all these calamities misunderstands God and His motives.

“For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45).

Job’s emotions are raw and tangible (Job 6:1-4).

Eliphaz would do better to use his two ears to listen. His too arms to hold. And keep his one big mouth shut (Job 16:1-2).

Ultimately we all need to better understand God. And that’s best done by listening to Him: by reading His word, the Bible.


prayer : that I would be quick to listen and slow to speak

action : work through the Don Carson Bible daily reading plan

why is light given to him who is in misery?

“Why is light given to him who is in misery, and life to the bitter in soul, who long for death, but it comes not, and dig for it more than for hidden treasures, who rejoice exceedingly and are glad when they find the grave?” Job 3:20-22 (ESV)

Job’s pain is so palpable, his misery so melancholic, it hurts just to read this passage.

His loss, his anguish, his sorrow, his torment.

As humans we often dwell on our suffering; throwing curses at God and at Life and at family & friends.

Questioning why?

Why me? Why now? Why this?

Finding a path through suffering is an incredibly hard task when we have no answers.

Full of frustration and anger our emotions threaten to overwhelm us. And our impotence to fix the situation can lead us into despair.

Where there is no rest, no peace.

Our torture continues, only numbed by endless tears and a voice made hoarse by our stream of invectives.

Yet God is sovereign. He is in control. Total control.

And whilst we may not understand the why of our suffering. We can accept God’s care for us.

“It is for discipline that you have to endure.” (Hebrews 12:7)

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

These are reassuring words during times of turmoil.

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with lamenting.

Jesus did it in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:36) and again on the cross (Psalm 22).

Yet He displayed His complete trust in God. Showing obedience even unto death (Philippians 2:8).

A lamentation is a heart-felt testimony to the world that evil does not belong.


prayer : thank you God that you listen to our laments and care for us as your children

action : don’t be afraid to lament, learning from the example of Jesus