Year B – Proper 23 – Job 23:1-9, 16-17

Then Job answered and said, “Today also my complaint is bitter; my hand is heavy on account of my groaning.Oh, that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat!  I would lay my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments.I would know what he would answer me and understand what he would say to me.  Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power?  No; he would pay attention to me.There an upright man could argue with him, and I would be acquitted forever by my judge. “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him;on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him. . . . God has made my heart faint; the Almighty has terrified me; yet I am not silenced because of the darkness, nor because thick darkness covers my face.

Summary – Job’s lament here embodies his feeling of solitude in the face of trouble.  He feels that he cannot find God in order to “lay his case” before Him.  He looks “forward” and “backward” but still does not find God in his searching.  Job finally recognizes that his trouble is not outside of God’s almighty providence, “God has made my heart faint,” and even though he feels separated, he recognizes God’s omnipotence and His control.

Insight – I can remember many times in which I wanted an easy answer from God.  Something was going wrong in my life, and I just wanted God to “tell me what to do.”  I wanted, as Job says, to “know what He would answer me and understand what he would say to me.”  That seems like the easiest thing in tough situations, right?  A voice out of the sky, telling us what to do?  Job gets at a truth that puts this thought to rest, however.  You can feel as far away from God as Jonah did at the bottom of the sea, but God is still there.  God has His hand on all things and hears us whether we hear-that-He-hears or not!  Moreover, we may be comforted to know that when we feel separated from God, we are not “silenced,” but God still hears us.

Child Catechism – When does God hear your prayers?  God always hears my prayers.

Discussion – What kind of “seeing” is Job talking about regarding God?  Does he expect to physically see God?

Prayer – God, we thank you for your almighty power.  We praise you for you love for us even though we are small in comparison to your whole creation.  Hear our prayers, we ask, and cause us to know peace in your sovereignty.  Amen.

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