Job 19:2 (Job said to his three friends) “How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words? 3 These ten times you have cast reproach upon me; are you not ashamed to wrong me? 4 And even if it is true that I have erred, my error remains with me. 5 If indeed you magnify yourselves against me, and make my humiliation an argument against me, 6 know then that God has put me in the wrong, and closed his net around me. 7 Even when I cry out, ‘Violence!’ I am not answered; I call aloud, but there is no justice. 8 He has walled up my way so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths. 9 He has stripped my glory from me, and taken the crown from my head. 10 He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, he has uprooted my hope like a tree. 11 He has kindled his wrath against me, and counts me as his adversary.
You’ll remember that Job was a man who had experienced horrific tragedy at the hands of Satan. His three friends went to visit with him in his anguish – but had not been particularly helpful to Job. They continued to point out that, the only way these awful things could have happened, is if Job had greatly sinned against God. Job continued to deny this, but his friends didn’t believe him. This passage shows Job’s frustration.
I’m struck this morning by the picture these words paint of a life whose sin has not been forgiven by God. In Job’s words, God has:
- closed his net around me
- walled up my way so I cannot pass
- set darkness upon my paths
- stripped my glory from me
- taken the crown from my head
- broken me down on every side
- uprooted my hope like a tree
- kindled his wrath against me
- counts me as his adversary (enemy)
Of all of these things, it’s the last one that is most frightening to me. It’s hard to imagine what it would be like to have almighty God, creator of heaven and earth, as my enemy. My life would be like that of Job – or worse, if that’s possible. And here’s the truth of the matter:
Without the mercy, grace, forgiveness, and restoration of life through Jesus Christ, we would all be adversaries and/or enemies of God.
Why is that? We would be enemies of God because of our sin which, apart from Jesus, is always with us. A holy God cannot – will not – have fellowship with sin. Not. Gonna. Happen. And, if I’m honest, I know that I have sin upon me at all times. I am continually falling short of God’s righteousness in my thoughts and deeds. And, I know that I am incapable of freeing myself of this sin, which is part my human nature. In my sin, I am condemned to life as an enemy of God.
But thanks be to God that he so desperately wanted to have fellowship with me, and with you, that he sent his own son Jesus into the world. As the apostle John puts it, “For God so loved the world (that’s you and me) that he gave his one and only son – so that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
What does it mean to “perish”? Read that list again. That’s what life looks like without Jesus. That’s a life that is “perishing”. So grateful that is not my life today.
Heavenly Father, you know that we humans are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves. Thank you again today for the incredible gift of your grace in Christ Jesus. Thank you for the presence of your Spirit in us that empowers us to overcome sin and death – forever. For we offer this prayer in Jesus’ name. Amen.