The Book of Job

Can Man Contend with God? The Book of Job

He has kindled his wrath against me and counts me as his adversary.” (Job 19:11 ESV) 

As we continue listening to Job’s lament, we discover that one of the most – perhaps the most – heart-wrenching aspects of his suffering is that he feels that he is God’s enemy.

Job longs for the time when “when the friendship of God was upon my tent” (29:5). The mystery of Job’s suffering is profound: here is a man that feared the Lord, trusting in God, confessed his sins to God, made atonement for his children, acted upon his beliefs by caring for the poor and by refusing to engage in sinful behavior, a man whom God himself called “my servant” and told the Accuser that there is “none like him on the earth.” Job was a friend of God. God’s smiling countenance abundantly shone upon Job and his life.

And then, it all came crashing down. For reasons given to us by the narrator but unknown to Job, intense tragedy and suffering visited Job and his household. And while the pain of losing his children and his reputation and his estate and his health was unbearable enough, the pain of feeling betrayed by his friend was unimaginable. 

Throughout Job’s responses to his friends, we find that he feels he is on the defense against God. God is attacking him unjustly. God’s wrath is pointed in his direction. And all Job can do is wonder, “Why?” 

And yet, there is still a hope that if I can just speak with him and argue my case, he will relent. God himself says, “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it.” (Job 40:2)

This is the question we will consider this Sunday: Can man contend with God? 

Knowing man’s limitations and God’s infinite power makes this question seem absurd. It’s the ultimate mismatch! But it must be grappled with, because at the end of the day, we will find ourselves in one of two positions – friends of God or enemies with God.

Which are you? Are you a friend of God? Or are you his enemy? Are you deceived? Do you think that everything between you and God is “good,” only to fail to realize that the wrath of God abides on you? Or perhaps, opposite that, you feel as though God has abandoned you or targeted you unjustly, and you fail to realize that, in Christ, you are his friend? The most important thing about us is our relationship with our Creator! Let us search the scriptures for clarity on this.

Praise God that, through Christ, those who were God’s enemies can be brought into a right relationship with him! May we treasure our status as friends of God, and become channels of that friendship for others!