MDB 30: Gen 45 & Job 12

Stephen Nichols

These two chapters make an interesting juxtaposition. Joseph is well out of the pit, literally and figuratively. He and the reader now have a new perspective on the trials he endured, a perspective that allows him to see God's good hand at work. Joseph can now see God's purpose. 

Job on the other hand is descending further and further into his pit. His friends have not helped at all. His frustration comes through in his sarcasm: "No doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you" (12:2). Job understands God's sovereignty. Throughout the chapter he admits this in quite poetic language. While he understands God's sovereignty, however, he's not at the point where he can accept and submit to God's sovereignty. Eventually, Job will. He will eventually put his hand over his mouth and speak no more. He will get to where Joseph is. But not here, not in chapter 12.

I find it hard to judge Job. When I consider what I complain about, I'm the one who needs to put my hand over my mouth compared to Job, let alone compared to the One who speaks out of the whirlwind.

Job's honesty, in other words, is rather compelling. He sees himself as a groping along in the darkness without any light (Job 12:25). He has no means of making sense of what's happening to him.

We look at what is happening in our lives and wonder sometimes, too. We would like to think we're always at Joseph in Genesis 45 or we're always like Job at chapters 40-42. But many times we're like Job in these earlier chapters, perplexed and discouraged. The story of Joseph and of Job is there to remind us of God's faithfulness and goodness, not just when all makes sense, but even, and maybe especially, when things just aren't adding up.