February 17, 2023
Today’s Reading: Job 13:1-12
Daily Lectionary: Job 13:1-12
“But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God.” (Job 13:3)
In the Name + of Jesus. Amen. Martin Luther said, “Oh, faith is a living, busy, active, mighty thing” But can faith be active even in arguing with God? It would seem so. Job is ready to speak and argue with the Almighty, but he’s not the only one. Remember the patriarch Jacob? He wrestled with God (Genesis 32:22-32) and insisted that God bless him. How could he be so presumptuous? It’s because God had already promised him, “I will surely do you good, and make your offspring as the sand of the sea” (v. 12). Jacob was on his way to meet his bloodthirsty brother, and insisted that God’s blessing was essential for that trip.
Arguing with God is a proper exercise of faith, when that argumentation is built on the foundation of confidence in what God has promised. Job’s friends were arguing for a god who is incredibly shallow: obey and I will do good for you; disobey and I will make your life miserable. This sounds a lot more like the Muslim Allah than the true God in whom we believe. The true God speaks and, by the Holy Spirit, faith works in us and clings to that Word. So, when it looks like that Word is being trampled, or that God isn’t living up to His revealed character, it’s time to argue with Him (think also of the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15).
The Psalms give us wonderful examples of arguing your case with God (see Psalm 56 and 79 for example). Not that we ourselves have a leg to stand on (and that’s where Job began to err), but we hold fast to the covenant God made with us in Baptism, and that He made with His Church by the shedding of His blood. On the ground of His promises, we hold Him to it. We know Him as He has revealed His heart to us. This is a true exercise of faith because it holds to God, even when our eyes and experience seem to show the opposite.
This faith-filled arguing is more than complaining, “What’s happening to me isn’t fair.” Taking an honest look at our situation and the state of God’s people in this shattered world, we go where God tells us. You, Lord, promise to come to our aid—“Call on me in the day of trouble. I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me.” (Psalm 50:15). We rest in the assurance, that such prayer—such argumentation—is pleasing in His sight, “because He has commanded us to pray and promised to hear us.” In the Name + of Jesus. Amen.
O God, save me by your name, and vindicate me by your might. O God, hear my prayer; give ear to the words of my mouth. (Psalm 54:1-2)
-Pastor Michael A. Miller is Pastor at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, Lebanon, OR.,
Audio Reflections Speaker: Patrick Sturdivant, Development and Marketing Executive at Higher Things.
Study Christ’s words on the cross to see how you can show more Christlike grace in your life. Perfect for group or individual study, each chapter has a Q&A at the end, and the back of the book includes a leader guide. Available now from Concordia Publishing House.