Job 23

The Word Made Fresh

1Then Job spoke. 2“I have a bitter complaint to make today,” he said, “because in spite of my suffering God’s hand is still heavy on me. 3I wish I knew where to find God; I wish I knew God’s address. 4I would state my case. I would lay out all my arguments. 5Then I would learn how God would answer me and understand what God is trying to tell me. 6Would God overpower me? No, God would listen to me. 7I could reason with God because I have lived a good life, and God would judge me to be innocent and I would be acquitted.

8“But it’s no use. I can’t find God. God is not in front of me, nor behind me, 9nor to my right nor to my left. 10But God knows how I have lived, and when I have been judged I will come forth as pure gold. 11My feet have followed in God’s footsteps, and I have not turned away from the path. 12I don’t shrink from God’s orders; I treasure God’s words more than my daily bread. 13But God has no equal and can’t be challenged. Whatever God wants to do, God does. 14And whatever has been planned for me, God will see it through. 15This is why God terrifies me so, and the more I ponder it the more frightened I become. 16My courage is undermined because the Almighty scares me. 17But I am not defeated by the darkness; God has protected me from it.”


1-7: Job responds to Eliphaz’ last blast: if he could only stand before God and plead his case God would certainly acquit him.

8-9: But no matter where he turns, he cannot find God (contrast this sentiment with the one found in Psalm 139:7-12).

10-14: In these verses we finally begin to see some sense of optimism in Job. Surely all this suffering will have a golden outcome.

15-17: But God is God, and Job slips back into the terror of being in the hands of the awesome creator of the universe.


The fear of God is strong in Job and is mentioned frequently throughout the Old Testament. In the New Testament the fear of God is rarely encountered; it is replaced by an emphasis on the love of God.