The Book of Job drips with mystery. The sobs of the man and the silence of his God form a strange combination. From the start, there are surprises and anomalies. Job is portrayed for us as "blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil" (1:1) ... and yet the bottom drops out of his world. He loses everything except his life and his wife. How strange of God to permit one of His own to become the victim of a devil-inspired plot to reduce him to putty.
The man's misery knew no bounds, but his integrity remained intact, which amazed his wife - not one of the most helpful mates. To top things off, a handful of frowning fellows gathered around Job to "preach at him," but the truth is, they came to condemn. One after another, time after time, Job's "counselors" pointed long fingers of accusation and cut him down.
Finally ... there was no place to look but up, however, even then he felt shut out. He longed to approach God and pour out his woes, but he couldn't. At least he couldn't do so on his own. Why? Listen to Job's answer to that question: "He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him, that we may go to court together. There is no umpire between us, who may lay his hand upon us both" (9:32-33).
What did he need? What was it Job longed for? An advocate. Job called him "an umpire", someone who could stand in his stead and represent him, a suffering sinner, before God, the Holy One. The Hebrew term from which "umpire" is translated is YAH-KAAK, which in verb form means "to decide, to prove, convince, reason, to argue." Job wished for someone who would understand his predicament, take up his cause, and argue his case.
An advocate is someone who has authority, someone who will be heard and respected, where we would be ignored. The more passionate and complicated the issue, the more vital is our need for a qualified go-between. Someone to carry our torch. Someone who understands the issues and is able to articulate the salient points of the argument.
There is one Advocate we all need - one who represents sinners like us in the highest of all places - the presence of God: "And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous" (1 John 2:1).
What a great promise! We have an advocate. He is there and, like a good "umpire", He is not silent.
The next time you start feeling like Job - alone, accused, deserted by friends, misunderstood, ripped off - turn to Him, your own "Advocate with the Father."