Job responds once again to his friends by sarcastically saying that God rewards evil and punishes good. He then points to nature as an example of how God works, and declares that God has done this thing to him. God is wise and strong, and if he destroys something, it cannot be rebuilt. He is the ultimate strength and judgement of the earth. He confounds the wisdom of men and overthrows the mighty. He even makes nations great and destroys nations. He insists that he is not inferior to his friends, and desires to speak to and reason with God. He rebukes his friends for speaking for God and contending for Him, pointing out His awesomeness, and the dread that will fall on them when He appears. He challenges them to hold their peace while he speaks, and let God respond. Then he utters the famous statement: “15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him.
16 Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him. He shall be my salvation, For a hypocrite could not come before Him.” Job contends that he will be vindicated once he states his case.
Job is in anguish, deep and painful. He is speaking from that pain, and is somewhat harsh toward his critical friends. How often do we lash out at those around us when we are in pain? In this case, for sure, the combination of sympathy (a week of silent mourning) followed by criticism and accusation led to a harsh reponse. Two people need instruction here. First, when you are in a position to comfort someone, comfort them. Do not take the opportunity to throw a jab or drop an “I told you so.” Just comfort, weeping with those who weep. Mourners are not immediately looking for someone to fix them or their situation. Secondly, if you are attacked, try to curb the sarcasm and recoil. Be gracious, even in your pain, with those who irk you. And when either one fails, learn how to apologize, forgive, and continue to love. In the end, just like Job said, we can trust God. Just don’t blow up your relationships along the way. You may need them later.