Job 40:8 – Will you even put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?
This verse, spoken by God directly to Job, is a powerful pair of questions that expose for us one of our greatest weaknesses. Job suffered greatly under the attack of Satan, and he believed his suffering to be unfair. As Job’s friends attempted to comfort him, they all tried to get him to confess and repent of whatever sin he had committed to cause his suffering. Job, however, had not committed any sin for which he was being punished.
The dialogue between Job and his friends began to wear him down. He began to feel more and more unfairly treated. He began to accuse God of doing him wrong. He wanted to question God, to take him to court, and to plead his case.
For the last several chapters of Job, God has been answering Job. He did not answer Job’s question of why this was happening to him. Instead, God asked Job a series of questions to prove to him that God’s ways are far beyond our human understanding.
In this verse in chapter 40, God asks job if he would honestly dare accuse him of being in the wrong. Would Job, a mere mortal man, ever, under any circumstances, be so foolish as to accuse God of wrongdoing? That is what God asks, and then he will go on for two more chapters pointing out to Job how much greater God is than Job.
This dilemma of Jobs is an evidence of the Bible getting right down in the pain of our human lives. How often, when tragedies strike, do we hear people ask the question, “What kind of a God would let something like this happen?” People actually are saying that, if God really exists, he must be either evil or impotent to allow such a terrible thing to occur. They assume that they know better than God what should have happened, because what happened caused great pain and loss.
God’s response to such angry and arrogant accusations is not to explain his reasoning. God does not sit us down and say to us, “Now, I know that hurt, but if you will just look at what I am doing, you will see that it will all work out well in the end.” Instead, God lets us know that he is God, and we are not. He is good, and we are not. He is holy, and we are not. He knows all things, and we do not. He is perfect, and we are not. He is the very definition of righteousness, and we have no righteousness of our own that he did not give us.
No human being, under any circumstances, has the right to question God. Sure, we may ask God, in his mercy, to help us to understand what is unclear. But never, under any circumstances, do we have the right to demand an answer of God. Nor do we have the right to be angry with God. To be angry with God is to be angry or opposed to righteousness, and that is sin.
Job teaches us that it is not OK to be angry with God, nor is it OK to demand answers from him. God is God, and he is holy. We dare not impugn that holiness. Job also teaches us not to foolishly, as Job’s friends did, assume we know and can explain why God allows anything to happen or not to happen. We are to rest in the fact that God is sovereign and that he will do what is right.
Let me add this as a warning: the lesson here taught is not for a hospital room or funeral parlor. The time to learn that God is God, and we dare not question him is when we are not suffering. We need to know of God’s character and our place before him long before the time of tragedy strikes our own lives. Then, we can suffer tragedy and mourn with the right knowledge of our position before God. But when someone is suffering greatly is not the time to try to teach them such a hard lesson. If you have waited to teach your family and friends the truth of God’s sovereignty in our suffering until after they are suffering, you have not taught them well or kindly. Teach them the truth before they need it, then you can comfort them, hold their hand, and weep with them in the midst of the pain, knowing that they already know that God is good and his will is best.
Lord, I pray that you will help me to prepare others to suffer long before they have to suffer. Help me to show them that you are righteous, perfect, and sovereign. Help me to truly be a comfort to those who are suffering, because I have already taught them the truth of your goodness. Help me never to question your will. Help me never to accuse you of wrong. Help me always to trust you, and to lead others to trust you. I pray that you will keep me and my family from harm. But I also know that, should we suffer, you are still God. Help me to remember that truth for your glory all the days of my life.