Job was hit with a one-two-three punch. He lost all his livestock, which was his wealth and livelihood; his children; and his health in a swift streak of misfortunes. Job could not have known the dialog between the Lord and the Devil that preceded his suffering, but he instinctively felt that he had been wronged by the calamity that befell him. Though he initially showed submission to God’s sovereignty over his circumstances, he soon thereafter began to voice his complaints.
In the ninth chapter of of the book, Job, daunted by the infinite imbalance of power between he and God Almighty, raised the following cry:
He [God] is not a mere mortal like me that I might answer him, that we might confront each other in court. If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot.Job 9:32–35
Job is right: God is no mere mortal, so that we have either the power or the standing to talk back to him or to defend ourselves when he brings the rod against us. God is holy, and we are not. As Job later says, “I am unworthy—how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth” (40:4). If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from us, so that his terror would no longer be a threat to us! But there is someone!
God knows where we stand. He understands our predicament. And he, God himself, provided a Mediator, a mediator who stands in the gap between us and God and deflects the punishment of God which we had coming. We do have such a mediator. Job seemed to come to this realization later, as in chapter 16, after again lamenting God’s harsh dealings, he said:
Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high. My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of a man he pleads with God as one pleads for a friend.
Job did not know the precise identity of this friend and advocate as we do. But his faith rested on this person, this intercessor. And in any case, whatever Job may have been thinking when he said this, these words anticipate the true Advocate we have on high (1Jo 2:1). We know him. We know that it is Jesus! He is the only mediator between God and mankind, and he ever lives to intercede for we who come to God through him (1Ti 2:5, He 7:25). God has not left us to face his holiness and his power in our frailty and in the sin which estranges us from him. He has given us one who brings us together, just as Job hoped for so long ago.