"Sorry, Job, for the way I wandered on the last thought. I had just mentioned Job 7:11, where you go from the third to the second person in speaking of God, and then, right at this crucial juncture, I ended up making dumb remarks about "7-11" stores in American culture. I suppose I was just trying to "relate" various fields of knowledge--a sign of an educated person. But it sure didn't come out that way, did it? Forgive me. Let's get back to you.
So, I am wondering, Job, why it took you so long to get to a second person address to God when you knew in the previous chapter that God had done this to you? Well, I think I have it. Just before you address God directly you say, "Remember that my life is a breath; my eye will never again see good (7:7)." Wow. It is almost as if you have concluded, very early in your words, that your life is over, that your condition is so irreversible that nothing can be done to change things. If you are convinced of this, why do you go on speaking for 25 more chapters? Why, if things are "over," do you keep talking about them? Ah, do you seek appropriate words to declare things over, sort of like a fitting eulogy at the memorial service of a person? Then it then would take a while to work out the words. Or, an alternative explanation, are you maybe not convinced in your heart of hearts that things are indeed over, Job?
You know, Job, I have a woman friend who keeps telling me that she is "finished" with men. She has had a series of unsuccessful relationships with men and she thinks (probably with good reason) that we men are lesser creatures than women. So she tells me that it is just too much bother to try to connect with a man. It is over. But then, what do you know? Next month she has a guy who she is convinced is Mr. Right. Is that what it is like for you in a way, Job? Are you saying "life is over," but you really hope that it isn't? Or are you convinced that it is?
Well, while you are thinking about that one, I want to say that I understand the sentiment behind "my eye will never again see good." Sometimes things happen that you just know cannot be reversed or are so bad that you know they will leave an ineffaceable scar in your life. I hear you on that one.
But that is why you say "I will not restrain my mouth (7:11)." Now I understand it. It is because you have nothing to lose now, do you Job? Since you will never see good again and since life is as bad as it could be, what do you have to lose? Therefore, go after God! He can't do anything worse to you than has already happened? Why, what is he going to do if you scream at him? Send you to Sheol? Why, at least if you were there, you wouldn't have to put up with his constant torment. That is what you are thinking, isn't it Job? So, you have nothing to lose and you just go for it against God now.
It is like when you do the same thing a few chapters later. You come up with this really cute proverb that no one really understands today, even though we get the gist of it. In 13:14, before you address God again in the second person you say, "I will take my flesh in my teeth, and put my life in my hand," and then you go on to attack God again. I really like these words in 13:14. I see you biting your arm or something like that and saying, "OK, God, see me biting my arm. I am not afraid of you!" Sort of like G. Gordon Liddy holding his hand over a candle and burning it to show how much of a tough guy he was. Is that a good analogy, Job? Anyway, you get my picture, and I hope I get yours.
Oh, no. Oh, no. It just dawned on me, Job. It takes you so long to get to the second person address to God in 7:11 and it seems like such a great step to do so ("Therefore, I will not restrain my mouth") because of who you believe God to be. You would never have thought of approaching God like this in your "pre-disaster" condition. Never in a million years. You possibly didn't even speak to God in the second person. You just did your job in the community, loved your family, sacrificed loyally on their behalf and handed out justice to the poor and weak. But you believe, Job, that God is just such an awesome God (as Evangelicals say today), that God is so overwhelming and powerful, so numinous (as Rudolf Otto would have it), showing forth the mysterium tremendum et fascinans, that it is more awe-inspiring for you to approach God than for Dorothy and her friends in their initial audience with the Wizard of Oz. You know you are dealing with THE power source of the universe, the pac man par excellence. You REALLY believe in God, don't you, Job? You believe that God is so real and so powerful and so controlling of human destinies, and your destiny in particular, that you NEVER in a million years could have imagined yourself approaching God in this way. And, you believe one additional thing, don't you? You believe, no you KNOW, that God is a just God, a God who has created a universe with moral order in it, and that God is a God who can be TRUSTED with everything. All of this rushes over you, doesn't it, in 7:11 or 13:14, as you will be so bold to address God in the second person?
I must confess, Job, that I am impressed, even overwhelmed by your integrity. The text is right when it says you are "blameless." That is the first word used to describe you in 1:1. Now I know what that means. You don't just casually approach God. You do so with deep sadness and anger, to be sure, but you do so with such a deep sense of reverence, of "awestruckness" (if I can use the word), as well as a sense of the painful dissonance between your beliefs and your reality. I can hardly wait to hear what you have to say.
But my time is up with you for now. I look forward to our next chat.