The debate between Job and his friends continues in chapters nine through 10. Here Job responds, in essence; “Yes, I know all this. He’s God, and I’m not. How can I call God to account? I know I’m innocent; however, he’s destroyed me, which makes me look guilty. There is no arbitrator, who could act as a mediator between man and God? Then I could speak freely. I despise my life, and I must be honest with God about my how I feel. God, you know that I am innocent, is it right that you destroy me as if I were evil?
Notice these things.
First, Job doesn’t believe that he can stand before God’s righteous sovereignty. HE knows that he would be overwhelmed if he dared to confront him. He says “How can a man be in the right before God? If one wished to contend with him, one could not answer him once in a thousand times. He is wise in heart and mighty in strength--who has hardened himself against him, and succeeded?”
Second, Job feels boxed in. He doesn’t know what he’s done, and it is tearing him up. He knows that he hasn’t sinned, but he doesn’t have anywhere to go. He has no ability to answer God, and no one to appeal to “How then can I answer him, choosing my words with him? Though I am in the right, I cannot answer him; I must appeal for mercy to my accuser. If I summoned him and he answered me, I would not believe that he was listening to my voice. For He crushes me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause; he will not let me get my breath, but fills me with bitterness. If it is a contest of strength, behold, he is mighty! If it is a matter of justice, who can summon him? Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me; though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse. I am blameless; I regard not myself; I loathe my life. It is all one; therefore I say, He destroys both the blameless and the wicked. When disaster brings sudden death, he mocks at the calamity of the innocent. Job knows he is no more evil than many who have never experienced God’s wrath, but how can he make his case?
Third, Job see’s his friends as part of the problem. I know you will not hold me innocent. I shall be condemned; why then do I labor in vain? If I wash myself with snow and cleanse my hands with lye, yet you will plunge me into a pit, and my own clothes will abhor me. He feels that they are making things worse, because they will not see his innocence.
Fourth, Job knows he needs an arbitrator; someone to solve the problems. “He is not a man, as I am, that I might answer him, that we should come to trial together. There is no arbiter between us, who might lay his hand on us both. Let him take his rod away from me, and let not dread of him terrify me. Then I would speak without fear of him, for I am not so in myself. Jobs problem is, there is none. He has no arbitrator to take away the wrath. But we do, the son of God, seated at the right hand of God the father almighty.
Fifth, ultimately, Job wants answers. He hates himself, “I loathe my life; I will give free utterance to my complaint; I will speak in the bitterness of my soul.” But while he hates himself, he wants to know why? “I will say to God, Do not condemn me; let me know why you contend against me. Does it seem good to you to oppress, to despise the work of your hands and favor the designs of the wicked?
Sixth, Job fully credits God with his life, but at the same time, he says, not only will you punish me for sin, but even if I’m innocent, you will turn my life to misery. “Your hands fashioned and made me, and now you have destroyed me altogether. Remember that you have made me like clay; and will you return me to the dust? Did you not pour me out like milk and curdle me like cheese? You clothed me with skin and flesh, and knit me together with bones and sinews. You have granted me life and steadfast love, and your care has preserved my spirit. Yet these things you hid in your heart; I know that this was your purpose. If I sin, you watch me and do not acquit me of my iniquity. If I am guilty, woe to me! If I am in the right, I cannot lift up my head, for I am filled with disgrace and look on my affliction. And were my head lifted up, you would hunt me like a lion and again work wonders against me.
Finally, in the end all Job can say is “why?” Why am I alive, why is this happening? Let me die. "Why did you bring me out from the womb? Would that I had died before any eye had seen me and were as though I had not been, carried from the womb to the grave. Are not my days few?” He ends by begging for death. “Then cease, and leave me alone, that I may find a little cheer before I go--and I shall not return-- to the land of darkness and deep shadow, the land of gloom like thick darkness, like deep shadow without any order, where light is as thick darkness."