Job 6 & Romans 10

Job 6

    Then Job answered and said:

    “Oh that my vexation were weighed,
        and all my calamity laid in the balances!
    For then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea;
        therefore my words have been rash.
    For the arrows of the Almighty are in me;
        my spirit drinks their poison;
        the terrors of God are arrayed against me.
    Does the wild donkey bray when he has grass,
        or the ox low over his fodder?
    Can that which is tasteless be eaten without salt,
        or is there any taste in the juice of the mallow?
    My appetite refuses to touch them;
        they are as food that is loathsome to me.
    “Oh that I might have my request,
        and that God would fulfill my hope,
    that it would please God to crush me,
        that he would let loose his hand and cut me off!
    This would be my comfort;
        I would even exult in pain unsparing,
        for I have not denied the words of the Holy One.
    What is my strength, that I should wait?
        And what is my end, that I should be patient?
    Is my strength the strength of stones, or is my flesh bronze?
    Have I any help in me,
        when resource is driven from me?
    “He who withholds kindness from a friend
        forsakes the fear of the Almighty.
    My brothers are treacherous as a torrent-bed,
        as torrential streams that pass away,
    which are dark with ice,
        and where the snow hides itself.
    When they melt, they disappear;
        when it is hot, they vanish from their place.
    The caravans turn aside from their course;
        they go up into the waste and perish.
    The caravans of Tema look,
        the travelers of Sheba hope.
    They are ashamed because they were confident;
        they come there and are disappointed.
    For you have now become nothing;
        you see my calamity and are afraid.
    Have I said, ‘Make me a gift’?
        Or, ‘From your wealth offer a bribe for me’?
    Or, ‘Deliver me from the adversary's hand’?
        Or, ‘Redeem me from the hand of the ruthless’?
    “Teach me, and I will be silent;
        make me understand how I have gone astray.
    How forceful are upright words!
        But what does reproof from you reprove?
    Do you think that you can reprove words,
        when the speech of a despairing man is wind?
    You would even cast lots over the fatherless,
        and bargain over your friend.
    “But now, be pleased to look at me,
        for I will not lie to your face.
    Please turn; let no injustice be done.
        Turn now; my vindication is at stake.
    Is there any injustice on my tongue?
        Cannot my palate discern the cause of calamity?

(Job 6 ESV)

Romans 10

    Brothers, my heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.

    For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them. But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down) “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

    How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!” But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?” So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

    But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for

    “Their voice has gone out to all the earth,
        and their words to the ends of the world.”
        But I ask, did Israel not understand? First Moses says,

    “I will make you jealous of those who are not a nation;
        with a foolish nation I will make you angry.”
        Then Isaiah is so bold as to say,

    “I have been found by those who did not seek me;
        I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me.”
        But of Israel he says, “All day long I have held out my hands to a disobedient and contrary people.”

(Romans 10 ESV)

Romans 10: As the apostle Paul pointed out at the end of chapter nine, Israel has stumbled in unbelief over the “stumbling stone” which is the gospel concerning the cross of Christ. To begin chapter ten, Paul states his concern for Israel. He understands their sincerity and zeal for God but hurts for them because they are sincerely mistaken concerning the way of salvation. As those who have devoted their whole lives to achieving and obtaining righteousness through their own striving and effort, they have rejected the terms of salvation offered in the gospel of Christ.

The great tragedy of the Israelites is that they recognize the necessity of righteousness in order to stand in the presence of God, but they are mistaken on how to obtain that righteousness. It should be stated that this is not an error exclusive to the Israelites. People of all religions and even professing Christians tragically have fallen into this temptation as well. When we trust our ability to obtain righteousness, it is an outright rejection of what Christ has accomplished through the cross. Sincerity in religious practice doesn’t grant anyone salvation. Christ is the end of any pursuit for righteousness. Justification comes only through faith in what He has accomplished. 

In chapter nine, the apostle communicates how salvation is entirely accomplished by God and comes according to God's plan. This plan is the plan to save ‘some’ out of all His creation that have fallen and stand condemned. God has planned to save ‘some’.  Here in chapter ten, the apostle communicates how man is saved and why the Israelites are held responsible for their condemnation. Paul takes time here to revisit the doctrine of justification through faith alone.

Why would Paul take the time to explain again the doctrine of justification through faith alone in his argument concerning Israel? He’s already provided a theological exposition of this doctrine throughout the first four chapters of his letter so why bring it up again?

Well, here he brings up this crucial doctrine with more of a pastoral purpose than a theological one. The apostle has a great burden and concern for Israel. He cares for them like a loving shepherd cares for his sheep or like a loving parent cares for his children. Justification by God’s grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone is the hinge on which everything turns. It needs to be emphasized and revisited. The righteousness that Israel has so desperately pursued is being offered on the table right in front of them, and they’re missing it. Paul has to bring it up again.     

It should not be overlooked at this point that the apostle understood God’s sovereign plan to only choose ‘some’ for salvation, and yet he continued to pray and desire for Israel to be saved. It’s not our role to reconcile God’s sovereign election and the power of prayer. We are to pray because we’ve been told and taught by God through Scripture to pray. We are to believe in His sovereign election and at the same time pray for the salvation of others even without full understanding as to how they are reconciled in God’s plan and purposes.