In this chapter, Job in his exasperation airs his complaint against God as if there were an arbitrator listening.
Job’s first charge is that God lacks a good reason to put him through suffering. “I will say to God, ‘Do not condemn me, let me know why You contend with me,’” says Job in verse two. In chapter one, we covered that there are several very good reasons for God to subject Job to such suffering that he is not aware of. So, Job would be incorrect in this charge, but he does not have the benefit of having the Scripture lay out the whole situation for him as we do.
Job’s second charge is that God is acting contrary to His creative purpose. This is a profound point, and ultimately God points to His creative power to justify His deciding on matters of justice. However, Job’s argument is a thoughtful one and deserves careful consideration.
Is it right for You indeed to oppress, to reject the labor of Your hands?…Your hands fashioned and made me altogether, and would You destroy me? Remember now, that You have made me as clay. And would You turn me into dust again? You have granted me life and lovingkindness and Your care has preserved my spirit. (Job 10:3, 8, 9 12)
In short, why would God carefully create him, bless him materially, and sustain him spiritually only to crush him arbitrarily? Job’s point is thought provoking, but we know for a fact that God does not raise up a righteous man only to sadistically crush him. However, make no mistake, this is how Job interprets the situation.
Let’s imagine Job making his case before God, with the umpire in the middle. It seems that Job is trying not only to tug at the umpire’s heartstrings, but more importantly God’s Himself!
Job’s third charge is that God is acting petty, which is a rather serious charge. He asks rhetorically in Job 10:4-5 whether God is as lowly as a man when it pertains to vision and lifespan. Obviously, the answer is “no.” God is all knowing and He has no beginning or end.
So, after substantiating that God is unlike a man, Job asks earnestly, “[Why do y]ou seek for my guilt and search after my sin” (Job 10:6)? If God is not trigger happy and likely to make wrong judgments due to biological limitations like a man, why does God vindictively look to recompense Job for sins committed so long ago, they were committed in his youth (Job 13:26)? It is as if God is punishing the wrong guy by mistake, for an omniscient God would according to His knowledge know that he is not guilty, according to Job anyway (Job 10:7). Yet, there is no deliverance from God’s hand.
Job then has a very saddening thought: God blessed him knowing all along that He would take note of every sin and punish him later (Job 10:13-14). In some ways it appears strange that Job does not have the understanding that committing just one sin is cosmic treason towards God that requires forgiveness through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. After all, he made a practice of making sacrifices because of the possibility of having a wrong thought about God.
However, Job was a man of faith. He knew that he was in a right standing with God thanks to his faith and God sustaining his spirit (Job 10:12, see also Job 29:3).
There is nothing wrong with having confidence in one’s standing with God. Paul wrote, “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus” (Phil 1:6). Further, “He .. establishes us with you in Christ and anointed us is God…sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge” (2 Cor 1:21-22). A pledge cannot be taken away, it is given in order to receive something, here salvation. A Christian can express confidently, “But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you [the Corinthians]” (2 Cor 4:13-14).
But now, he begins to doubt because his experience is so out of touch with what he thought he knew. It made no sense that God would dredge up past sins, when “as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us” (Psalm 103:12). God promises that He will remember our sins no more (Heb 8:12).
So, Job asks, “What gives? Why am I being punished for sins I have already been forgiven for! I know God promises that He does not work this way. Yet, he is coming after me for my past sin. It’s like my whole world has been turned upside down!”
Because of this, Job shudders in fear and simply reiterates that he cannot oppose God, so he bows his head in shame (Job 10:15-17). It is ironic that in verse 16 he accuses God of hunting him like a lion, when it is indeed Satan that has been pursuing Job and continues to do so to us!
Job concludes his case against God by reiterating things he has already brought up. He again invokes God’s creative purposes and reiterates his wish to die. For, to him, Sheol offers a release from suffering. If his God is not real, then he has nothing to live for and prefers the annihilation of his soul and the chaos of non-existence.
When discussing his desire to leave this life for the nothingness of Sheol, it is not coincidental that the “deep shadow without order” is reminiscent of the “formless void” in which existence was before God slayed Leviathan and made the Earth orderly (Job 10:22). Further, Sheol “shines as the darkness,” the very antithesis of the light which God brought to the world. The true light that is in the world is Jesus Christ (John 8:12), but without forgiveness of previous sins Job believes such light is nowhere to be found.