The Pursuit of Job

Though He slay me,

I will hope in Him

Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.

– Job 13:15

In my devotions, I have been revisiting the life of Job. As I read, I can see more and more of myself in Job. After the first wave of woes hits Job, his initial response is to submit to God and praise His sovereignty (Job 1:20-22). But the hypocrisy of these words quickly sets in by chapter three, and from there he wallows for many pages about how cruel and unfair God is to place such suffering upon his life (ex. Job 10 – “I loathe my own life […]”).

Although I have never had my children, servants, land, livestock, or health swept away from me in a matter of three chapters, I could definitely empathize with the intense anguish, sorrow, lament, and helplessness, that Job felt. Thus I found his actions rather predictable and altogether very natural for a human being. Until this verse.

v. 15a: “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.”

Obviously Job has not been slain by God. God basically allows Satan to perform every harmful thing to Job but slay him. In the original Hebrew and Greek, “slay” has many meanings: to smite, to strike down, to inflict disease upon, to deprive of power/destroy the strength of, to send judgement upon… and this is not an exhaustive list. When Job describes God’s dealings with him, he truly encompasses all those dealings in the single word “slay.” Job is not exaggerating or being dramatic in his lament. He feels the weight of God slaying him in its entirety.

But that conjunction “Though”! Though God sends all this iniquity upon Job, Job concludes, “I will hope in Him”!

Hope: yet another loaded word. To hope in means to expect, to wait for, to look for (the noun form also means trust and having confidence in). This means that, despite all the things that have been inflicted upon Job (in part described by the definition of “slay”), Job expects, waits for, and looks for… for what?

Job does not say “I will hope for deliverance” or “I will hope for an explanation of why I had to suffer all this.” He exclaims, “I will hope in Him.” Do you know what this means? Even though Job has lost virtually everything the world had offered him, in the end he does not desire God’s materialistic blessings, or contentment, or anything else… Job desires God Himself!!!

Finally, the verse ends by saying, “Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.” By no means should we interpret Job arguing his ways as demanding repayment from God for all that He took away or for an explanation of why it happened. Rather, it seems Job wants to tell God,  “You see! You brought me strife upon strife, but in the end, I still sought you above all else. I still love you above all else! You did not pursue me in vain! You are more than enough for me!”

When God slays us in pursuit of our love, can we confidently declare these same words to Him?

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