The Sin Of Self Pity: Job Accuses God
Job 30: 20-21 ESV
“I cry to you for help and you do not answer me; I stand, and you only look at me. You have turned cruel to me; with the might of your hand you persecute me.”
Job 40:6-8 ESV
“Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind and said: Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to me. Will you put me in the wrong? Will you condemn me that you may be in the right?”
Job 30:20-21 is a clear presentation of self pity in action. Job’s pity is acted out in complaints and accusations that are designed to mask his inward rebellion. Job moans that he stands in misery and injustice while God survey’s his circumstance in mockery. The root of these accusations can be summed up in V.21 when Job states that God has, “turned cruel to me.” In that statement alone we have the innermost workings of self pity, which is always a clever attempt to avoid submission to God. Now, I don’t mean to sound harsh or arrogant about this study. I realize the immense pressure and pain Job was under, and I pray that I never have to endure such a trial myself. However, the point of this study isn’t compassion for Job’s lot; it’s more about the pity that drove Job to accuse God of wrongdoing.
In the face of hard providence Job seems to wash down the river of pity. This mighty man of valor, who used to rise early in the morning to worship, was now in the dust accusing God of being unjust. Job knew all the theological doctrines about Gods sovereignty, and mans responsibility, yet self pity was in action, and Job’s spirit had been poisoned by it. Is it not routine of us who struggle with self pity to believe that God is at fault for our problems, and that He is the one who is cruel to us? Is it not true that when times of testing come or the hand of discipline arrives, us self pitians slump our shoulders and rebel in our hearts? I know I’ve been guilty of this numerous times.
The English Standard Version of the Bible titles these verses; (Job 40:6-8) “The Lord challenges Job.” This title is fitting because in self pity Job had challenged God’s righteousness, and in return, God would challenge Job’s. The Lord commanded Job to dress for action like a man because the burden of proof was now on him. He would now be the one receiving the accusations. God asked Job if he was willing to convict the Holy One of injustice in order to vindicate himself. He questioned Job if his pity gave him the right to claim wisdom over Wisdom itself. With these two tiny inquiries the Lord exposed self pity in all its folly. Simply put, once the dust of questioning settled, Job stood corrected and humbled before his Maker, no longer feeling sorry for his lot. The Lord had handled Job’s pity with a delicate mixture of logic through questioning and love through rebuke, not ever giving room for the sin, but always asking Job to prove himself true in his false accusations against His Creator.
What Do I Do?: I believe the application available to us from this lesson is that even when things get tough, we still have no excuse to operate in self pity. God viewed Job’s pity as a prideful attempt to avoid submission to His will and we should too. God also used the logic of His Word to correct Job’s pity; so we should strive to operate on the logic of God’s Word as well. Pity will come to us, as it did to Job, and say “God is unjust; you don’t deserve this unfair treatment!” so we should respond by saying, “God is just, and whatever He does is holy, I will not put my Lord in the wrong, because I will not believe my pity. I will trust in Him no matter what may happen to me. My life is about His glory.” In closing, we must always see pity for the rebellious sin that it is, and take heed the words that God has spoken to Job; will we accuse God of wrong so that we may be in the right?