The True Judge
Have you ever had to stand before the American legal system? Based on your answer, how much do you feel that influences the faith you have in the justice it delivers? Regardless of the country, or whether a person is standing in front of an elected judge, or is being tried by their peers, the problem with any man-made legal system is people are not perfect. Throughout human history, the falsely accused have been harassed, sentenced to prison, and sometimes even killed for crimes they did not commit. Biblically, Job is one of the unfortunate few to have been misjudged by his peers.
In the beginning of the book of Job, the Accuser—Satan—is judging the true reason behind the faith of God’s children. The devil says in Job 9-11, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” God allows Satan to kill Jobs servants, animals, and children—but Job still remains faithful. Satan then says to God in Job 2:4-5, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” God replies by telling him that he can do anything he wants to Job, as long as he spares his life. Satan then made Job miserable by giving him boils all across his body. After the calamities strike Job, his 3 friends enter the story to support him.
At first, Job’s friends seem very supportive, comforting, and caring. Job 2:12-13 records, “And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven. And they sat with him on the ground seven days and seven nights, and no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.” Everything changes, however, as Job begins to share his disheartened feelings with them. In Job 3:25-26, he shares with his friends, “For the thing that I fear comes upon me, and what I dread befalls me. I am not at ease, nor am I quiet; I have no rest, but trouble comes.” In Job chapter 4, Job’s friend Eliphaz sets the tone for the three friends by responding with two themes:
- Job’s calamities are proof that he has sinned because innocent men are not punished by God because His justice doesn’t work that way.
- Facing divine punishment is the way of all men because God even accuses His own angel of wrong doing.
Needless to say, Job was pretty taken aback by the attitude of His friends. Throughout chapters 4-31 of the book of Job, he and his friends go back and forth regarding his troubles. Job, insisting on his innocence and pleading for his friends to listen to him. Meanwhile, one by one the friends demand that Job admit his guilt and repent. By the beginning of chapter 32, they all realize that they will not back down from their own positions or be able to sway the other. Thus, Job 32:1 says, “So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.”
Job’s friends assumed they knew God’s justice correctly and judged that they had full understanding of Job’s situation. God told the prophet Isaiah in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” The Lord is the only being in existence that is capable of full understanding, especially when it comes to others. He is the true judge and Job was in fact blameless before Him. (Job 1:8) When God is looking upon a person or situation, He sees the heart, not just the outer appearances because he is above mankind.
Before we speak as children of God, we should truly reflect on if their thoughts are a true representation of Him and His ways. Isaiah 5:20 says, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and shrewd in their own sight!” God’s children are not meant to take His place on being judge. We are supposed to live and act with righteous compassion as Jesus Christ had done.