Part 11 – Who is Man That You Think So Much About Him?
After hearing Eliphaz criticize Job for not responding to his suffering like the good and moral godly man that he appears to be, Job responds in chapters six and seven with harsh words towards all of his ‘friends’, as well as laments the horrific pain and suffering that he is experiencing, that no one around him seems to understand.
In general, Eliphaz is convinced that because of the Lord God’s justice, if someone is suffering greatly, then that must be the result of a sinner’s great sin. Job continues to ask his friends to prove that he is such a wretched sinner. Job doesn’t deny that he’s a sinner – he even asks the Lord to forgive him at the end of chapter seven – but Job is confused as to the apparent imbalance between his sin and his suffering. He continues to lament his pain, only wishing that the Lord would end his suffering so that he can go the way of the dead.
Job rebukes his friends by saying that they are a dried up riverbed – incapable of bringing the relief that Job so desperately needs. They are a great disappointment to him. And of course, the lesson for all of us once again, is that, although we can’t take away all of someone’s pain and suffering, our love, attention, presence, touch, and encouragement can radically help someone in utter pain.
In the last half of chapter seven Job expresses his utter hopelessness, and his continued desire to be put to death by the hand and justice of God. He’s gotten to the point that he simply asks the Lord to leave him alone.
This brought us to our main point. In Job 7:17 Job asks the questions “What is mankind that You make so much of them, that you give them so much attention?” This is almost identical to what David asks in Psalm 8 and the writer of Hebrews mentions in his second chapter. But the difference between Job’s question and David’s is that:
- Job wants to know why the Lord would spend so much time and energy punishing Job; why does Job warrant the Lord’s undivided attention. In other words, Job doesn't want the Lord to be hovering over him, waiting to crush Job whenever he slips up.
- David is thrilled with the Lord’s omnipresence in his life because He knows that the Lord is always lovingly thinking about Him, and the Lord’s presence in David’s life is a blessing because of the Lord’s continual mercy and grace in David’s life.
The sinner doesn’t want the Lord to be around because of the obvious conviction of sin. The Christian should want the Lord to be around all of the time (which He is!) because of the continual outpouring of God’s love and Spirit upon us.
It is understandable that Job would think this way, but unfortunately, he’s not thinking correctly about his God. The Lord isn’t interested in smiting Job every second of his life, but rather the Lord is full of mercy, and desires to comfort and bless Job, as we will see at the end of the story.
What kind of Lord God is hovering over you? The judgmental God of legalism; for the loving God of grace?