Job 10, Exegetical Notes from Abner Chou

Job, in chapter 9, is yelling at Bildad (aka Bill Nye the Science Guy) who argued for cause-and-effect, saying Bildad doesn’t understand the Causer very well. God is so complex, His rule and existence goes way beyond Bildad’s eyes, so if you can’t get your arms around the entire cause, you can’t define the effect. This is a huge critique on science as well, because you, as a human, are limited in your ability to observe and understand.

(An example of this is in the theory of spontaneous generation, the theory that flies can spontaneously generate out of a hunk of raw meat. The hypothesis is that inanimate things can produce animate things. The problem was they couldn’t understand the exact mechanism of the cause well enough, so they couldn’t understand the cause-and-effect relationship which was there, but beyond their sight.)

If God is so complex, Job has no chance of getting a fair hearing, because he knows God will always outsmart him. The solution he needs is a guy who can bridge the gap; an umpire to plead his case; someone in heaven to help him. Job wants a mediator. This is a huge concept throughout the book.

Ironically, in Job 5, Eliphaz argued there is no mediator. But That’s why Christ is so foundational to suffering because in Him we always have a fair hearing—above and beyond actually because God, in His compassion, chooses to save.

Job 10

Job is going to build on what he just said about the mediator, and he will clarify what he thinks the problems really are.

Job 10:1-7, The Bitterness of Job’s Soul

“Make me understand what is being contended with me” He wants to know why God is doing this. He wants to know there is a purpose behind everything and that God is a nice God. He is questioning whether or not God has a good nature.

Job 10:4ff: Job asks if God is like a man. He wonders if God sees Job as a human would, as his crummy friends do. They see Job as evil and use his pain for their personal gain. Job wonders if God is like them.

Job 10:8-17

In 10:8-12 God has formed Job, he remembered him, the point is, God has carefully cultivated him. His life is blessed. But, Job 10:13, God has hid something from Job: his great suffering. Job wonders why God took great care to set him up for this fall. Job has no anchor point; he feels clueless. (The difference between Job and us is that we have anchor points.)

Job has vertigo of the divine. He has no bearings. But what you have to do in counseling is set the bearings which we have. You have to shepherd people away from that chaos and toward the truth revealed to us in Christ and the Word of God.

This disorientation follows in Job 10:14-17. Job says that if he does evil, he gets recognition and punishment from God, but if he does good, he still gets punishment.

Shame carries the notion of failure because he feels the entire system has failed. He can’t win. He’s dead either way, sinning or obeying. God can do what he wants. All of this makes God look like a maniac—because Job is stuck in the box of the DR Principle which leaves no room for God to be God.

In theodicies, the whole reason God looks bad is that you presume God must judge the wicked and uphold the righteous: that’s the DR Principle at work in your worldview. The system is much more complicated than that. Theodicy is thus based on the DR Principle, and is nonexistent in Truth.

Side-note: DR Principle vs The System

If we call God’s Truth (the way the universe really works) “The System,” then what the DR Principle does is take one part of that System and run with it, to the exclusion of the rest of the System. The DR Principle is based on Truth (justice, equity, etc.), but it is applied in a wrong way (across the board without exception in regard to God’s dealings with fallen man). It excludes redemption, grace, Jesus, and other parts of God’s System which are vital. Job doesn’t know this System, so he’s stuck in the DR Principle, asking paradoxical questions, paradoxical because they can’t be answered within the confines of that worldview. This example shows the proper use of Truth in forming wisdom. “Wisdom isn’t just Truth, it’s the proper application of Truth to the whole picture. Wisdom is using the truth rightly. That is the issue. It's not just about the ideas but in putting it all together in right ways.” The DR Principle is a (if not THE) prime example of that error.

(Example: the Gospel. Does God always punish the wicked? No, because you and I are wicked but saved from punishment. Ok, then, does God always reward the righteous? Yes…but not exactly. You begin to see the complexity of the system. God operates on a much more robust scale. It’s not a cookie-cutter problem. The cause is a lot more complicated than what you can plug into a cause-and-effect formula.)

That highlights the main issue of the DR Principle. It’s just too narrow and simplistic to make sense of the complexity of life. Theology and life is a lot more complicated than what meets the eye. We have to keep that in mind.

(Another example: the circumcision of the heart was a Promise God gave Israel in 1400 BC. But you have like 900 years before Israel’s final exile came which brought about the circumcision of the heart. God is faithful and patient, and He takes His times to make a point. So, for example, the national judgment of Israel came 900 years after their original breaking of the Covenant. There were generations upon generations who received comparative blessing from God, so why was it Daniel and Jeremiah and such got the short end of the stick?)

Job 10:18-22, “I just want to die.”

Job can’t put God in a box; he has no rules of engagement, if you will. But if he dies then he is free from pain and he doesn’t have to deal with these issues.

Devotional Implications of Job

We can learn how deep, profound, and awesome God is. We can learn how not to use our Bibles—how our minds can trick us into thinking we know the truth when we are only seeing part of the equation. Which can all make us humble by destroying our arrogance. We can learn what questions we should be asking, and how God provides the answers in His Word. We can learn how God is right all through history, and allow that to comfort and sustain us and our personal lives even now.