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JOB 23: “Job Will Pursue the Lord”

Job 23- Study Sheet


Job 23:1-7


Then Job answered and said:


“Even today my complaint is bitter;


My hand is listless because of my groaning.


Oh, that I knew where I might find Him,


That I might come to His seat!


I would present my case before Him,


And fill my mouth with arguments.


I would know the words which He would answer me,


And understand what He would say to me.


Would He contend with me in His great power?


No! But He would take note of me.


There the upright could reason with Him,


And I would be delivered forever from my Judge.”


We see Job is bitter and his chief complaint is his inability to connect with God. Job is feeling he has failed before the Lord. Job continues to feel desperate, and his friends made him feel worse both mentally and spiritually, Job is full of agony at this point. And with all the catastrophic event happening to Job, he could not find any comfort in the Lord.


According to the commentary of the Orthodox Study Bible on vv. 1-3: In the midst of affliction, the righteous know God by faith, but long all the more to see His form. Christ will take the form of fallen men and fulfill Job's desires (GrgGt).


Spurgeon makes three points.

i. In a way almost infinitely less, yet nevertheless real, Job experienced what Jesus experienced on the cross: A man who had previously been in the fellowship and favor of God, now felt utterly forsaken. This was the greatest source of torment in Job’s life.


ii. This not only tells us of Job’s sense of the loss of the presence of God, but of his longing to have it back. “Good men are washed towards God even by the rough waves of their grief; and when their sorrows are deepest, their highest desire is not to escape from them, but to get at their God.” (Spurgeon)


iii. “In Job’s uttermost extremity he cried after the Lord. The longing desire of an afflicted child of God is once more to see his Father’s face. His first prayer is not, ‘Oh that I might be healed of the disease which now festers in every part of my body!’ nor even, ‘Oh that I might see my children restored from the jaws of the grave, and my property once more brought from the hand of the spoiler!’ but the first and uppermost cry is, ‘Oh that I knew where I might find HIM — who is my God! that I might come even to his seat!’” (Spurgeon)


Job himself makes two points

  1. Not only did Job want the presence of God for spiritual sake

  2. Job also wanted to be vindicated in the court of God, because of the accusations of his dearest friends.


Mason & Andersen


i. “So impatient is Job for the process to begin that he dares to arraign the Lord in court. In effect, he wants to sue God for defamation of character!” (Mason)

ii. “Here Job’s courageous honesty is seen at its best. His consuming desire is to come face to face with God, not by a contrived penance, as Eliphaz recommends, but in fair trial.” (Andersen)


Job's friends were obviously against him, but Job's conscience was assuring him that he would indeed find both mercy and favor before the throne of God.


Romans 2:15

who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and between themselves their thoughts accusing or else excusing them)


WRITTEN IN THEIR HEARTS-(v. 15): refers to a person's conscience: Because man's conscience is God-given, it has the same power to lead a person to God as the law does: According to St. John Chrysostom, those who are able to follow their conscience to God are more virtuous than those with the law, for they do have the advantage of concrete instructions yet still desire to please God-(however, see Romans 3:1-2):


Spurgeon's Point

i. “He has confidence in the Lord that, if he could have an audience with him, God would not use his power against him; but, on the contrary, would strengthen him in order that he might state his case.” (Spurgeon)


Job 23:8-9

“Look, I go forward, but He is not there,


And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;


When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;


When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.


Job is saying he was indeed seek the Lord in all these terrible afflictions, meaning he looked in all directions for his Creator.


i. “This is one of the marks of a true child of God, — that, even when God smites him, he still longs for his presence.” (Spurgeon)

ii. “An old Puritan writer quaintly observed, in commenting on this, ‘Job, you have gone forward and backward, and you have looked to the left and you have looked to the right. Why don’t you try looking up?’” (Morgan)

iii. “These two verses paint in vivid colours the distress and anxiety of a soul in search of the favour of God. No means are left untried, no place unexplored, in order to find the object of his research. This is a true description of the conduct of a genuine penitent.” (Clarke)


Job 23:10-12

But He knows the way that I take;


When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.


My foot has held fast to His steps;


I have kept His way and not turned aside.


I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;


I have treasured the words of His mouth


More than my necessary food.”


Job is showing confidence, and similarly, the Virgin Mary has also hidden many things in her heart ❤️- (see Luke 2:19)


Luke 2:19

 But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.


Job 23:13-17

“But He is unique, and who can make Him change?


And whatever His soul desires, that He does.


For He performs what is appointed for me,


And many such things are with Him.


Therefore I am terrified at His presence;


When I consider this, I am afraid of Him.


For God made my heart weak,


And the Almighty terrifies me;


Because I was not cut off from the presence of darkness,


And He did not hide deep darkness from my face.”


Ending Quote from "MASON"


i. “Job’s strongest assertions of faith seem always to be coupled with equally strong assertions of fear and pain. In this chapter his confidence in his own righteousness is more unassailable than ever, yet at the same time ‘thick darkness covers’ his face and he is filled with dread. Somehow Job’s faith is elastic enough to embrace simultaneously both terror and confidence.” (Mason)



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