I will say unto God, Do not condemn me; shew me wherefore thou contendest with me. Is it good unto thee that thou shouldest oppress, that thou shouldest despise the work of thine hands, and shine upon the counsel of the wicked?
In this chapter, Job turns his complaint to God. He has answered Eliphaz and Bildad and asks God why it is that he is being condemned. Notice, he is not asking why he has fallen under trial; rather, he asks God not to condemn him. As we have said before, it is often to complaint of those in trial to assume that has condemned them. Certainly, it is not without merit that men, in this life, may meet temporal judgment for the things they have done. A man who gambles his money away may find himself unable to meet his basic needs and come under many harsh circumstances that accompany those in poverty. Indeed, God has judged that man’s sins in such a way. Calvin comments thusly:
..the Lord smites the ungodly, after they have long indulged themselves in their iniquity. Nor is it a wonder that this terror should be said to be useless and unavailing, for they do not in the meantime repent nor hate their own vices, but are only tormented by a sense of their own punishment. – Calvin’s Commentary on Hebrews 12:17
However, we have a rule from Scripture that our trials are not always condemnation. Rather, they are formed by and built up in their sanctification by the trial. James tells us:
2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. (James 1:2-4)
God uses our trials to sanctify us to himself. Like Job in this chapter, we should persevere in prayer throughout our trials, lest we turn bitter against him. The example of Christ in the garden, pouring himself out to the Father before the greatest affliction ever known – the cross – is where we should turn in our time of struggle. Our readings today in Mark 14 ought to be meditated upon. We see the God-Man, our suffering savior, meeting the trial perfectly.