Then Job spoke again:
"Yes, I know this is all true in principle. But how can a person be declared innocent in the eyes of God?
If someone wanted to take God to court, a would it be possible to answer him even once in a thousand times?
For God is so wise and so mighty. Who has ever challenged him successfully?
"Without warning, he moves the mountains, overturning them in his anger.
He shakes the earth from its place, and its foundations tremble.
If he commands it, the sun won't rise and the stars won't shine.
He alone has spread out the heavens and marches on the waves of the sea.
He made all the stars -- the Bear, Orion, the Pleiades, and the constellations of the southern sky.
His great works are too marvelous to understand. He performs miracles without number.
"Yet when he comes near, I cannot see him. When he moves on, I do not see him go.
If he sends death to snatch someone away, who can stop him? Who dares to ask him, 'What are you doing?'
And God does not restrain his anger. The mightiest forces against him b are crushed beneath his feet.
"And who am I, that I should try to answer God or even reason with him?
Even if I were innocent, I would have no defense. I could only plead for mercy.
And even if I summoned him and he responded, he would never listen to me.
For he attacks me without reason, c and he multiplies my wounds without cause.
He will not let me catch my breath, but fills me instead with bitter sorrows.
As for strength, he has it. As for justice, who can challenge him?
Though I am innocent, my own mouth would pronounce me guilty. Though I am blameless, it d would prove me wicked.
"I am innocent, but it makes no difference to me -- I despise my life.
Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to him. That is why I say, 'He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.'
He laughs when a plague suddenly kills the innocent.
The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked, and God blinds the eyes of the judges and lets them be unfair. If not he, then who?
"My life passes more swiftly than a runner. It flees away, filled with tragedy.
It disappears like a swift boat, like an eagle that swoops down on its prey.
If I decided to forget my complaints, if I decided to end my sadness and be cheerful,
I would dread all the pain he would send. For I know you will not hold me innocent, O God.
Whatever happens, I will be found guilty. So what's the use of trying?
Even if I were to wash myself with soap and cleanse my hands with lye to make them absolutely clean,
you would plunge me into a muddy ditch, and I would be so filthy my own clothing would hate me.
"God is not a mortal like me, so I cannot argue with him or take him to trial.
If only there were a mediator who could bring us together, but there is none.
The mediator could make God stop beating me, and I would no longer live in terror of his punishment.
Then I could speak to him without fear, but I cannot do that in my own strength.
Scripture quotations marked NLT are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved. (New Living Translation - The Bible Online)