Job 16

It is a great comfort to a good man who lies under the censures of brethren who do not understand his case, that there is a God in heaven who knows his integrity and sooner or later will clear it up.

1 Then Job answered and said,

2 I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all.

3 Shall vain words have an end? or what emboldeneth thee that thou answerest?

4 I also could speak as ye do: if your soul were in my soul’s stead, I could heap up words against you, and shake mine head at you.

5 But I would strengthen you with my mouth, and the moving of my lips should asswage your grief.

6 Though I speak, my grief is not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?

7 But now he hath made me weary: thou hast made desolate all my company.

8 And thou hast filled me with wrinkles, which is a witness against me: and my leanness rising up in me beareth witness to my face.

9 He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.

10 They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.

11 God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.

12 I was at ease, but he hath broken me asunder: he hath also taken me by my neck, and shaken me to pieces, and set me up for his mark.

13 His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.

14 He breaketh me with breach upon breach, he runneth upon me like a giant.

15 I have sewed sackcloth upon my skin, and defiled my horn in the dust.

16 My face is foul with weeping, and on my eyelids is the shadow of death;

17 Not for any injustice in mine hands: also my prayer is pure.

18 O earth, cover not thou my blood, and let my cry have no place.

19 Also now, behold, my witness is in heaven, and my record is on high.

20 My friends scorn me: but mine eye poureth out tears unto God.

21 O that one might plead for a man with God, as a man pleadeth for his neighbour!

22 When a few years are come, then I shall go the way whence I shall not return.

Job 16 – Turning from “Miserable Comforters” unto God

   With bitterness the sufferer turns from his comforters to God. He says that if he were in their place and they in his, instead of joining words together and evincing the pride of the immaculate, he would set himself to speak strengthening words and to assuage their grief by tender sympathy. 
   He compares his pains to the attack of a wild beast, Job 16:7-14; and from this he proceeds to describe the anguish of his grief, Job 16:15-20. But toward the end of the chapter a new thought begins to shape itself; and from his lowest despair he catches sight of a Vindicator and a vindication that must someday be his. Job 16:21. Job wanted a son of man to plead for him; and his prayer has been more than answered in the Son of man, who pleads for us “not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life,” Hebrews 7:16. “O Lord, thou hast pleaded the causes of my soul”, Lamentations 3:58. —Through the Bible Day by Day

Job 16:12—I was at ease, but He hath broken me asunder.

   The other day, it was the Lord’s Day morning, two sparrows fell from the leads of my church into the vestry, which has a lofty glass skylight. As soon as they had recovered from their astonishment at finding themselves prisoners, they flew up against this skylight as though to break through it to the open heaven, and then round and round the room. They were desperately afraid of myself and the verger, whom I had called, not realizing that we were as anxious as they to get them out again into the air. The only thing we could do to help them was to keep them from alighting to rest; so with long brooms and soft missiles we constantly drove them from every cornice and picture-frame on which they alighted, till they fell exhausted, and with panting breasts, to the ground. Then we captured them and set them free. They might have said many a time, in the course of that encounter, “We were at ease, and they brake us asunder; they also set up for their mark.” But if they could review that episode now, they would doubtless see that it was love which forbade them to rest any where in the vestry, because it desired to give them their fullest liberty.
   So with Job. God would not allow him to rest in anything short of the best, and therefore He broke up his nest. Is not this the key to His dealings with you? Oh, believe that behind the perpetual change and displacement of your life God is leading you into the glorious liberty of His children!
       “Therefore to whom turn I but Thee, the ineffable Name?
       Builder and Maker Thou of houses not made with hands!
       What? have fear of change from Thee who art ever the same?
       Doubt that Thy power can fill the heart that Thy power expands?
       There shall never be one lost good.” —Our Daily Homily