Can you imagine what it would have been like to be Job?
One minute he had been one of the wealthiest men of his area and the next he had lost everything. Then his friends showed up (at least they were friends enough to show up) to try to offer some comfort. Initially it seems they did not know what to say – after all, what do you say to someone who has lost everything he owned, his family and even his health. They sat with him for a week without saying anything (Job 2:13).
When they began to speak to Job, they tried to convict him of some great sin. In their way of thinking, if bad things happened to someone they must have done something bad. If they lost everything, then Job must have been the worst of sinners. Yet Job knew (and we know from chapter 1) that he was a man of integrity, one of the most faithful men alive. How do you defend yourself against accusations of things that you did not do? How can you prove you didn’t do something?
As he reached the end of his defending himself, Job began to think of all the things he could have done that would have been terrible sins – sins which would have deserved the punishment he was enduring. He had not lusted after young women, walked in falsehood, committed any shameful act, disregarded other people, refused to help those in need, even placed his confidence in his wealth, or worshipped the sun and moon (see Job 31:1-34).
But even though Job was not guilty of any of those terrible sins, he was still being accused of doing something like that. Although there was not even any evidence against him, because he was suffering his friends thought that he must be guilty.
No wonder Job cried out, “If only I had someone to hear me!” (Job 31:35 NET).
And isn’t this what we all want (and need!)? Someone to listen. Someone to investigate. Someone to take your side. Someone who will stand up for you. Someone who believes in you.
For Christians, this is what we have in Jesus. Yes, he died and paid the price for our sins. But there is more: he is willing to be the one who stands up for us as well! “(My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin. ) But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1-2).
We have an advocate. The Greek word is paracletos. Although this is the word used to describe the Holy Spirit, here it applies to Jesus himself. The word means, “one who pleads another’s cause before a judge” (Strong’s Dictionary of Greek Words). Our friends may accuse us (as Job’s did), Satan himself may accuse us, but we have Jesus standing up for us, saying to God, “This person is one of mine. My blood has washed away his sins. He is not guilty.”
That which Job longed for we have in Jesus. May we never take Jesus and his sacrifice for us for granted.
Readings for next week:
26 October – Job 35
27 October – Job 36
28 October – Job 37
29 October – Job 38
30 October – Job 39