Job 40:6-14 – PLEADING THE FIFTH
Job has argued his case with his so-called friends and called on God to hear his defence. Now, when he has his opportunity to put his case before God, he pleads the Fifth!! (The US Fifth Amendment and it’s many forms around the world protects a person from being forced to incriminate themselves). All Job can say is “I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say” (Job 40:4-5 NLT).
If the truth shall set you free, what is it with the Fifth Amendment?
Job is probably thinking, “I have the right to remain silent because whatever I say will probably be stupid.” But in Job 40:6-8 (NLT) “…the Lord answers Job from the whirlwind: “Brace yourself like a man, because I have some questions for you, and YOU MUST ANSWER THEM. “Will you discredit My justice and condemn Me just to prove you are right?”
Job is pleading the Fifth, but God, in His grace, gives Job the opportunity to come to a point where he can admit that he is wrong. God’s law doesn’t include the Fifth. It would be meaningless to an omniscient Judge. As God continues to speak to Job I wonder what Job is thinking. God’s words to him suggest it is something like this…
Job: Why is God mistreating me? It is unfair to single me out in this way. The wicked seem to go unpunished but I am being judged. I have served God faithfully throughout my life. I don’t deserve this. If I were you God… How could a loving God… But Lord, surely somebody should speak up and do something!
God: Are you as strong as Me? Can you thunder with a voice like Mine? (Job 40:9 NLT).
Job: OK Lord. I am weak. I admit it. And in Your presence I can barely speak let alone bellow. I know I have said too much already, let alone thunder out my demands. If I speak, anything I say might be used against me. And when I speak, things don’t simply come into being as they do when You speak. But that’s the point. If I were You I would change a few things in this world. Surely someone with some authority has to act.
God: All right, put on your glory and splendour, your honour and majesty. Give vent to your anger. Let it overflow against the proud. Humiliate the proud with a glance; walk on the wicked where they stand. Bury them in the dust. Imprison them in the world of the dead. Then even I would praise you, for your own strength would save you (Job 40:10-14 NLT).
Job: Not me, Lord. I didn’t mean me! Don’t put me in charge! Lord, I am dressed in my circumstances, clothed in the condition of despair. I have no glory, only grievances; no splendour, only scoured sores; no honour, only agony; no majesty only a lack of power to really cope with my world, let alone explain it or change it. When I look at all the wickedness in the world I cannot judge impartially. I have no strength to save anyone, not even me.
Paul, sitting in a Roman prison feels like Job, weak and helpless. He suffers insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles. The difference is that he realises that God doesn’t always take our pain away, obliterate the wicked, or give us fame and fortune in exchange for believing. In 2 Corinthians 12:9 (NLT) God speaks to us in our weakness… “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness….”
Isaiah 40:28-31 (NLT) says “Have you never heard? Have you never understood? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth. He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of His understanding. He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.”
The invitation is to be part of the solution rather than rail against God as if He were the problem. When I am faced with the character of God I am prompted towards more than simply pleading the Fifth. So I admit it. I’m wrong.
God knows what He is doing. I don’t always understand it but I can trust Him. I can make a difference because of Him. I can declare with confidence that He loves me and respond to that unconditional love. I can affirm that He is absolutely fair, that He knows more than I do, is more powerful than I can imagine, and He will never leave me or forsake me. He is eternal and my understanding is temporal. He is absolutely righteous and in grace He allows people the opportunity to discover who He is and to get their lives right with Him. He is the way, the truth and the life. His Word is truth. He is the unchangeable, unwavering, sovereign God and I can trust Him.
Romans 5:6 (NLT) says “When we were UTTERLY HELPLESS, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners.” He is the only One who has come for us and who is able to save us. I plead an amendment to the Fifth. I have the right to SPEAK UP, admit that I am wrong and believe in Christ. Anything I say will be used in evidence FOR me because God is for me not against me. There is therefore no incrimination for those who believe in Jesus Christ.