Job 9:34-35, “Let him take his rod away from me, and let not his fear terrify me: Then would I speak, and not fear him; but it is not so with me.”
This morning, God receives less respect from the world at large than perhaps any other time in recent history. While the wicked, ungodly, unregenerate populace are just as disrespectful as at any other time, today’s world also drives up the disrespect factor through the behaviour of many professing Christians. They view God as their “pal,” “friend,” “daddy,” etc. while Jesus is our “buddy,” “boy,” “JC and crew,” etc. These monikers mark clear disrespect to the God who deserves more honour in our address with him than that. At my workplace, my superior laments a marked decline in professional respect from when he first became a business professional. The former days could be characterized by professional addresses of “Mr. So-and-so” and “Ms. So-and-so” with the last name being the preferred designation. Nowadays, people speak without the “Mr.” or Ms.” and use the first rather than the last name.
Considering aspects of God from the pages of Scripture, we should be able to glean many necessary points that lead us to the highest plane of respect and awe for and to God. Upon reaching that plane of respect, we will find no place for the popular addresses of and to God today. Our study verses above follow Job’s declaration of inferior position to God. At this point in Job’s conversation with his three miserable comforters, he cannot see something that he later recalls in Job 19:25-27. In chapter 19, Job recalls to mind and realigns his sight upon the coming Redeemer who not only would come into this world, but would also ultimately raise up Job’s body to be with Him in heaven. In chapter 9, Job cannot see this like he does 10 chapters later.
To start the chapter, Job declares some knowledge and lack of knowledge. Verse 2 shows what he does and does not know. Knows: man is just with God. Knows not: how that is possible. It is indeed a Biblical truth that an innumerable company of men from Adam’s race are just with God, but Scripture is also just as abundantly clear how that is possible. Matthew 1:21 gives as succinct an answer as there is: His people were saved from their sins by the efforts of the Saviour Jesus Christ. How are we just with God? His work plus nothing. However, Job continues speaking through chapter 9 by contrasting his inferior position with God’s superior position. In doing so, Job correctly articulates and expounds upon man’s inability to please God and honour Him acceptably by his own efforts. The reason is that man is too puny and small in and of himself to be able to meet with and sit with God – he is far too filthy to do so as well.
The verse before ours (Verse 33) employs a word that is quite necessary for us to understand Job’s mindset in our verses. The word daysman from that verse speaks of one that is able to sit as a mediator between two parties. Now, from chapter 9’s language, the two parties are God and man. If sitting as a mediatorial judge between those parties is necessary, then there must be a problem between them and a wedge that prevents reconciliation. Job’s problem is that he cannot see any daysman to sit with (or between) him and God. Without this one, Job cannot come unto God nor reason with Him in judgment or other matters. (Verse 32) While Job’s sight did find the daysman later, understand that without knowledge of our Daysman or His character, we would have every reason to look at God the way that Job does in our study verses.
The last phrase of verse 35 “it is not so with me” shows that without an understanding of the Daysman, we would have His rod forever upon us, His fear forever terrifying us, and never able to speak without fear unto and with Him. There are countless reasons why this is so, but let us investigate a few of them this morning for a two-fold purpose. As we research what characteristics of God (as compared to us) should strike fear into the heart of man, let us also discover how those characteristics of God – while true – should not give us fear today but also keep us cognizant of the respect that He deserves.
God is perfect. Everything He does is just, without iniquity (Deuteronomy 32:4), and no blight or blemish could possibly be attributed to Him. Due to this impeccable nature, He is purer than to even behold sin itself. (Habakkuk 1:13) This means that anything with the impurity that sin brings does not have the right to speak with Him or approach unto Him – which includes us. His presence demands spotless perfection. Imperfect, spotted things have not the right to stand in His presence. Seeing then that we fail on this count, man has every right to be nothing less than terrified in His presence and afraid of His speech.
God is infinite. Since His mind and understanding have no bounds (Psalm 147:5), He comprehends everything both seen and unseen. Just looking at the finite realm of this created universe for a moment, what percentage of it do we mortals understand? Excepting everything in the universe save the earth for a moment, just how much of the earth do we understand? These are just things seen of a natural order. The Bible speaks of things unseen and of a spiritual order. How much of that do we understand? Now, take that minimal amount of knowledge and understanding and compare it with the boundless and ceaseless concept of eternity and God’s eternal existence. Without beginning and without end, compared to a mere fraction of understanding in the finite world and universe. Do we have any reason to expect audience with Him? On those grounds, no. Do we have every reason to cower in fear before Him. On those grounds, yes.
God is unequaled. With no one like Him (Isaiah 46:10-13), who can talk with Him or be counted worthy of audience with Him? Everything both seen and unseen – save God – has a beginning. On that point alone, He is unequaled. He knows not only what has happened, but what will happen, and what could have happened. (Hebrews 4:12-13) He is without peer on this as well. None can match His power, glory, majesty, or countless other qualities and traits. Therefore, with no equal, terror by His inferiors is the logical end.
These three concepts should suffice us to understand that God is worthy of our terror when considering His person compared to ours. As inferior, finite, and imperfect beings, what reason would there be – using this comparison – for us to have anything less than abject dread when considering Him? Yet, the Bible also abundantly teaches us that we should not live in fear, but that our fear or respect of God should abound with thanksgiving, praise, and joy. (Philippians 4:4, Hebrews 13:11) So, the question ultimately becomes, how can we do that when simple observation of God and man’s characters demands otherwise?
For us to be able to approach unto God, we have to be perfect. Of ourselves we are not. However, our Daysman did come and show forth perfection in character, coupled with perfection in action. Jesus Christ – no less God than the Father or Holy Ghost – is no less perfect than God, for He is God. (John 1:1-3) Furthermore, after His work on this earth was fulfilled, He ascended to intercede (as our Daysman) at the right hand of the Father for us. (Hebrews 9:24) Therefore, as God the Father looks at us today, He looks through the perfection that is His Son and sees the ultimate complete perfection that will embody us in the resurrection. Are we perfect? Of ourselves no! Through Him and in Him, yes! Should we live in fear as imperfect people? No; we should rather live in joy at being made perfect and complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10), and seek to emulate that in our lives. (Matthew 5:48, I Peter 1:16)
To be able to talk and fellowship with God, requires His equal and fellow. Considering that He is without equal, how is a fellow (equal) with God found? Since Jesus Christ (as shown above) is no less God, He is God’s fellow. (Zechariah 13:7) However, since that same One is a man, He is our fellow as well. Consider the awesome mystery of such a thing! (I Timothy 3:16) The One who is God’s fellow as God is man’s fellow as man. We have the right to sit and speak with Him, and He has the right to sit and speak with God. Truly, God is still without equal, but He has made Himself in the Person of His Son our equal as well by taking part of the same flesh and blood – sin excepted – that we have. (Hebrews 2:14, 16) Should we fear talking with another man? We should not, nor do we on a regular, daily basis. Therefore, we should have no fear talking with God, for He is also a man – yea even still today – for us to be able to approach Him and converse with Him.
Finally, and the hardest to comprehend is that we have the right to talk with God being made without spot and perfect. To think of us in that regard is hard to imagine and comprehend. Yet, what does the Bible say about it? Indeed, this old man is still corrupt and the body of death still plagues us. However, something inside of God’s regenerate children is perfectly suited for heaven, as the change of soul and spirit is forever and effectual. Upon the death of the body, soul and spirit immediately fly back to God ready at this time for that moment to be with Him forever. Is that just? Absolutely, for the change worked in our inward parts is perfect and perfect forever. (I John 3:9) Even though the body is still corrupt, yet one day it will stand before God in perfection as well. Legally, we are wholly perfect already in the Person of Christ. Vitally, we are already wholly perfect in the new man. One sweet day, we will be wholly perfect in body, soul, and spirit in heaven and immortal glory. (I Thessalonians 5:23)
Looking at God’s character and nature, we have been made fit recipients of those same things by His power. (II Peter 1:4) Being made a partaker of His nature shows that we have the right to approach unto Him, talk with Him, and walk with Him without fear. We have been made just with God, and the reason is by and through the Daysman Jesus Christ. Now, as we come to the close of this writing, let us go back to where we began: respect. Seeing where we were and where we are now, what has not changed and what has? What has changed through that whole ordeal is us, and we even yet await the final installment of the change. Something else that changed is that God took upon Himself something that He was not before: human manhood. What has not changed is the righteous character of God and His divine qualities.
Therefore, if we have changed and still yet change and He was willing to become something that He was not before for our required change yet without ever harming or rendering His character guilty, how should we view His unchangeableness? How should we view His righteous character even with the knowledge of undergoing human suffering for us? How should we view our standing with Him with the knowledge of what it took to get us there? All of these questions are answered with Him deserving the highest of respect from us. He is not worthy of our chipper and trite monikers. He is not worthy of our casual thoughts towards Him. Christ is God’s fellow and equal, and Christ respected His Father in all things. Truly, as a man, He is still yet above us. So, we are without excuse to render unto our God the highest of respect, even though it can and should be done without fear and full of thanksgiving unto Him for all of His benefits toward us.