Job’s Defense

I’m Completely in the Dark

23 1-7 Job replied:

“I’m not letting up—I’m standing my ground.
    My complaint is legitimate.
God has no right to treat me like this—
    it isn’t fair!
If I knew where on earth to find him,
    I’d go straight to him.
I’d lay my case before him face-to-face,
    give him all my arguments firsthand.
I’d find out exactly what he’s thinking,
    discover what’s going on in his head.
Do you think he’d dismiss me or bully me?
    No, he’d take me seriously.
He’d see a straight-living man standing before him;
    my Judge would acquit me for good of all charges.

8-9 “I travel East looking for him—I find no one;
    then West, but not a trace;
I go North, but he’s hidden his tracks;
    then South, but not even a glimpse.

10-12 “But he knows where I am and what I’ve done.
    He can cross-examine me all he wants, and I’ll pass the test
        with honors.
I’ve followed him closely, my feet in his footprints,
    not once swerving from his way.
I’ve obeyed every word he’s spoken,
    and not just obeyed his advice—I’ve treasured it.

13-17 “But he is singular and sovereign. Who can argue with him?
    He does what he wants, when he wants to.
He’ll complete in detail what he’s decided about me,
    and whatever else he determines to do.
Is it any wonder that I dread meeting him?
    Whenever I think about it, I get scared all over again.
God makes my heart sink!
    God Almighty gives me the shudders!
I’m completely in the dark,
    I can’t see my hand in front of my face.”

An Illusion of Security

24 1-12 “But if Judgment Day isn’t hidden from the Almighty,
    why are we kept in the dark?
There are people out there getting by with murder—
    stealing and lying and cheating.
They rip off the poor
    and exploit the unfortunate,
Push the helpless into the ditch,
    bully the weak so that they fear for their lives.
The poor, like stray dogs and cats,
    scavenge for food in back alleys.
They sort through the garbage of the rich,
    eke out survival on handouts.
Homeless, they shiver through cold nights on the street;
    they’ve no place to lay their heads.
Exposed to the weather, wet and frozen,
    they huddle in makeshift shelters.
Nursing mothers have their babies snatched from them;
    the infants of the poor are kidnapped and sold.
They go about patched and threadbare;
    even the hard workers go hungry.
No matter how backbreaking their labor,
    they can never make ends meet.
People are dying right and left, groaning in torment.
    The wretched cry out for help
    and God does nothing, acts like nothing’s wrong!

13-17 “Then there are those who avoid light at all costs,
    who scorn the light-filled path.
When the sun goes down, the murderer gets up—
    kills the poor and robs the defenseless.
Sexual predators can’t wait for nightfall,
    thinking, ‘No one can see us now.’
Burglars do their work at night,
    but keep well out of sight through the day.
    They want nothing to do with light.
Deep darkness is morning for that bunch;
    they make the terrors of darkness their companions in crime.

18-25 “They are scraps of wood floating on the water—
    useless, cursed junk, good for nothing.
As surely as snow melts under the hot, summer sun,
    sinners disappear in the grave.
The womb has forgotten them, worms have relished them—
    nothing that is evil lasts.
Unscrupulous,
    they prey on those less fortunate.
However much they strut and flex their muscles,
    there’s nothing to them. They’re hollow.
They may have an illusion of security,
    but God has his eye on them.
They may get their brief successes,
    but then it’s over, nothing to show for it.
Like yesterday’s newspaper,
    they’re used to wrap up the garbage.
You’re free to try to prove me a liar,
    but you won’t be able to do it.”

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