Job 7:17-21 Forgiven.

Job poses an old and oft repeated question, to “the watcher of men” (20): “What is man, that You should exalt him.” (17a cf. Ps. 8:4, 144:3; Heb. 2:6) Job himself will repeat this question, with a twist, closer to the end of his book at 22:2. A man may be profitable to himself, but it is a God centred question: “Can man be profitable to God?” It is certainly not a righteousness or goodness of our own making (35:7; Ps. 16:2; Lk. 17:10). Yet, at the core of God’s being, his heart, he has set it on us (17b). One needs to let this great contrast set in – it is an unconditional love. We know it in the morning, and as his adopted children, we also know it in the tests he sends our way “every moment.” (18)

Knowing the above, Job therefore asks God how long he will turn away from looking upon him in his current state – all alone, drinking his own saliva (19). Job finally asks God what his friends were assuming: “Have I sinned? What have I done to you, O watcher of men?” (20ab) He wonders why he has been made a target, so that he is a burden to himself (20cd). Job knew God as one who forgives, but he wondered at such unmerited favour or grace, such that would also take away his iniquity (21ab). Job felt himself returning to the dust from which we are all made (21c). Soon his human audience will seek for him but not find him, and the consolation in his sorrow was in knowing he would be with his God in a special way.

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