The Arbiter Between God and Man
But 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. (Job 9:2-3 ESV)
In Job 9, Job is struggling with trying to prove his innocence to his friends who all think he is being punished for his sins. They are trying to convince Job to just confess his sins so that God will stop punishing him and restore his family and fortunes. Thus, Job ultimately would like to bring his complaint before God but knows this is a tall order. Thus, he says in v.2, “But 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 will go onto say toward the end of the chapter, “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. For 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” (vv.30-33). Job’s concern is that God is so transcendent, and he is so small. God is so holy that even if Job could wash himself with snow and lye, he would still be filthy before God. In the end, Job knows he is not sinless. He is not perfect. But he is not guilty of all the horrible sins his friends are accusing him of. So what is he to do? He bemoans the fact that “there is no arbiter” between him and God. No one who “might lay his hand on” both Job and God. Job understands that what he needs is someone who can mediate between himself and a holy and just and transcendent God. However, what Job longs to have comes into being in the person of Jesus Christ. First Timothy 2:5 says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” What Job longed to see, we experience in the person of Christ. Jesus is the one who lays his hand on us and on God the Father and restores the broken relationship. Christ is the arbiter who effects peace between God and man.
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