The debate continues, stagnant. The friends are immovable. They have but one way of understanding themselves, God and justice. Job's suffering is retribution from an all powerful but distant God. For Job, it is not so simple. He knows that the wicked may flourish, and that the righteous may suffer. The latter story is played out in his own skin. The God of Job is terrifyingly imminent, mighty yet intimate. Job is confident that God who is just will declare him righteous, and judge him accordingly. The friends must marvel at Job's audacious demand for an audience with God, a legal contest. Who could possibly risk such provocation? Only the youngest contributer to the debate dares to call Job arrogant for such a position, and subsequently proffers closing 'evidence' of Job's sin.
Even in the privileged place of living this side of the cross, it is not always easy to come before God with the assurance of Job. As an observer I would have been torn between great compassion and amazement at his gumption. Job's declarations demonstrate dangerous honesty.
God, help me not to hide behind piety, but to grow in relationship with You with honesty and sincerity.