Job's Third Speech (Part 1)
The great patriarch Job replies to Bildad in chapters 9 and 10. Job begins by agreeing that man suffers from sin, but he believes that there must be something more to it than this since no one is absolutely without sin. Job doesn't believe that suffering and sin are always related in a clear cut, one-to-one fashion.

"God is wise in heart and mighty in strength. Who has hardened himself against Him and prospered?" (Job 9:4). Here Job begins to praise some virtues of God. There are four predominate characteristics mentioned in this section: God is wise, strong, invisible, and unconquerable. Who can hinder Him with these characteristics? When God decides to do something, no one can stop Him--period. God is simply too strong and powerful to be stopped. Man cannot even begin to fathom God's ways and abilities - "He does great things past finding out" (Job 9:10). Job does not question God's sovereignty. He believes the Almighty has the right to do what He wants, but he does want to understand the ways of God in His dealings with him.

"How then can I answer Him, and choose my words to reason with Him? For though I were righteous, I could not answer Him; I would beg mercy of my Judge" (Job 9:14,15). Job seems to be saying: "Let us suppose that I was righteous and God's anger was still being poured out on me. What would be the only thing I could do? Implore the mercy of God!" Job's friends want him to repent, but Job is asserting: "If there is nothing for me to repent of, what else is left to do? I am begging for mercy and God has still not responded to me!"

"If I called and He answered me, I would not believe that He was listening to My voice" (Job 9:16). It is difficult for Job to believe at this point that God is even listening to him. He feels that he has lost his communication with God. Perhaps this implies that prior to the calamity Job enjoyed oral communication with God (as did other patriarchs). Now, for reasons unknown to Job, God is painfully silent.

"For He crushes me with a tempest, and multiplies my wounds without a cause" (Job 9:17). Job seems to be slipping back into a mood of depression here. It is difficult for the patriarch to reconcile God's justice with what has happened to him. He believes God to be holy and pure, and therefore struggles with the reasons why this holy God would suddenly turn against him when he has tried to be holy. Job knows he is innocent but is struggling with how to prove it. His wounds are "without a cause" so far as he understands. He does not believe his sins to be the "cause" of his sufferings.

"He will not allow me to catch my breath, but fills me with bitterness" (Job 9:18). Job appeals to God for a little relief, but there does not seem to be any. Job is not bitter toward God, but he sees no value in his own life.

"I am blameless, yet I do not know myself; I despise my life. It is all one thing; therefore I say, 'He destroys the blameless and the wicked.' If the scourge slays suddenly, He laughs at the plight of the innocent. The earth is given into the hand of the wicked. He covers the faces of its judges. If it is not He, who else could it be?" (Job 9:21-24). Job knows both the good and evil share the same physical end. Job knows that one cannot ascertain the guilt or innocence of a person on the basis of his physical circumstances. He struggles to portray God here as one who despises the innocent, but "who else could it be?" he wonders. Ultimately, Job believes God is just but it doesn't always appear that way from a purely physical perspective.

The swiftness of Job's life is again stated in 9:25ff. Job is very depressed and feels it is vain to pretend to be happy because his suffering continues constantly. Job, like most who are seriously ill, wishes for recovery or death, where either is preferred over languishing in a perpetual state of agony.

"For He is not a man, as I am, that I may answer Him, and that we should go to court together. Nor is there any mediator between us, who may lay his hand on us both. Let Him take His rod away from me. And do not let dread of Him terrify me. Then I would speak and not fear Him, but it is not so with me" (Job 9:32-35). One of Job's main arguments was to have an audience with God. Job realizes that this is not possible since He is not a man and since there is no mediator between them (there is some intriguing foreshadowing here; cf. I Tim. 2:5; I John 2:1,2). God could not be forced to talk. Job wants to speak to God without fear of further suffering. He wants to return to a favorable, friendly relationship with His Maker. Job does get this opportunity in chapter 42. But, by then, God has spoken and Job wisely chooses to cover his mouth and say nothing.