Job 17 Commentary
Human society is organized in units. One arm makes the laws while the other arm enforces them. Yet another arm exists to ensure there is justice. Heaven has rolled up all these functions in one. The Creator God makes all the laws. He is both the enforcer and the judiciary. This simplified system here can help us understand why Job is constantly throwing himself before the Creator God.
Job has questioned the fairness of these laws. His friends have reacted with a weak and distant ‘that is the way it is’ response. But meanwhile, Job’s spirit is broken. His days are cut short. Under these circumstances, let the enforcer of the law, the LORD God, stand in for him. No one will.
These laws without a consistent application have appalled the righteous. They don’t understand Job’s situation. They have rejected the ungodly view that life is just like that. They know the righteousness of the LORD is better than what they have seen. Importantly though is the fact that the righteous will hold their ways. They will grow stronger.
Job invites his friends to the contest again. What arguments do they still have? Yes, his days have passed and his plans are shattered, but the light is near.
When all is said and done, when one’s days have passed and the plans shattered, will there still be hope? The saint is invited to reflect on these important facts.
Job closes the chapter with yet another important question: If my only hope is this side of life, “where then is my hope – who can see any hope for me?” Job has backed up this thought with the facts of the hopelessness of the grave. It is all darkness. Decay follows quickly. Worms become the only good neighbors but their good neighborliness is to quicken the process of corruption and complete erasure of existence as we know it. Can there be any hope in this?
There should be more to life, Job seems to suggest.
I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes—I, and not another. How my heart yearns within me! Job 19 verses 25 to 27.
Job is yet to say it but we know that is the hope beautifully painted for us in these timeless lines above. But in this chapter, we can only see it faintly with Job’s statement: “the desires of my heart turn night into day; in the face of darkness light is near”.
New Testament saints call is resurrection.
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