In Job 9-10, Job is in agony. The heart of Job’s pain is that he longs for dialogue with God – – yet, there seems no possible way forward. Commentator Christopher Ash breaks down Job’s struggle in the following way. Job can’t:
- “Will” himself through the suffering (Job 9:27-29) – – he can’t just cheer up and move.
- Job cannot cleanse himself. There is no hope of Job being his own savior (Job 9:30-31).
- Find a mediator (Job 9:32-35) – – Job longs for one to stand between God and him, but there is no one immediately forthcoming.
So Job’s complaints give way to despair. He raises four agonized questions:
- Why are You Against Me God? (Job 10:1-3)
- Why Do You Watch Me? (Job 10:4-7)
- Why Did You Create Me? (Job 10:8-17)
- Why Don’t You Kill Me? (Job 10:18-22)
At this point, much of what Job says is flatly wrong. He is wrong to say that God treats the innocent and the wicked in the same way (Job 9:22-23). We begin to wonder why God does not rebuke Job in a harsher way. Ash explains the way in which Job is right even as he is wrong.
Whatever Job says, the fact that he says it to God and says it with such vehemence suggests that he knows he has not yet reached the end of his quest for meaning. There is in Job the inner energy of faith, the mark of a real believer. Job may be wrong in his perception of God and of the reality of his situation, but he is deeply right in his heart and the direction of his turning and his yearning. Thank God for that. (Ash, 151).
At the beginning of the same chapter, Ash writes:
It is possible to be wrong and right at the same time. God will say that Job has spoken rightly about him (42:7). And yet Job says a great many things about God that are not right. How are we to reconcile this apparent contradiction? When we listen to Job’s speeches, we need to bear in mind the distinction between Job’s perception and Job’s heart. His heart is in the heart of a believer, which is why the Lord commends and affirms him at the end. But his perceptions are partial and flawed. We hear in these speeches the honest grapplings of a real believer with a heart for God as he sees what he thought was a secure worldview crumble around him. This is why we will hear Job say some things that are plain wrong, and yet we hear him say them from a heart that is deeply right (Ash, 139).