Why Me?

Posted: April 30, 2015 in Job, Route 66
Tags: ,

Route 66: Job, “Why Me?”

It’s the famous question: “Why me?”  Why do bad things happen to good people?  And especially if we consider ourselves the “good people,” why does it happen to us?  That’s the question behind the book of Job.  The theological term is “theodicy,” and the idea deals with the issue of why an all-powerful ever-good God allows the existence of evil.  It’s all rather academic and theoretical when we consider the evil that happens to other people, but the issue becomes quite important when evil and suffering smacks us in the face.  Job got smacked, big time.  The issue of evil and suffering was incredibly personal to him, because that was exactly what he endured.

How do we deal with evil?  How do we deal with suffering?  It’s no surprise that all of us are going to endure times of suffering (some of you might be going through something right now!).  What do you think of God during those times?  For some, they think that perhaps God is punishing them.  For others, they wonder if God is trying to teach them something.  For others, they just don’t know what to think, and they start to slip into despair.  For an ancient book such as Job, the issues it tackles are profoundly relevant, and applies to every person who has faith in God.

Faith really is the crux of the matter, isn’t it?  After all, an atheist has no philosophical problem with evil.  They might not like evil (and even fight against it), but to an atheist, suffering is simply something that comes with life.  Actually, an honest atheist has very little ground to define something as truly “evil,” (because what objective standard of good to they compare it with to make it “evil”?) – but they certainly recognize suffering when they see it.  It’s the theist that needs to account for evil and suffering in some way.  In fact, a common objection posed by atheists to Christians is: “How can you believe in a good God that allows suffering?”  If God is truly real, and this God is truly good and all-powerful, then there’s no reason that God could not simply blink away the existence (or even the possibility) of suffering.  How does a Christian answer that question?

Ultimately, we turn back to Christ.  God DOES deal with evil and suffering, and the evidence of it is the cross.  Jesus’ death and resurrection IS God’s answer to evil.  Sin and death has already been delivered a knock-out punch, and will one day be finally removed and thrown into the lake of fire for all eternity.

Of course, that’s the future.  What about now?  That’s where the book of Job comes in.  Sometimes bad things happen to godly people.  Again, we’re not “good,” – but in Christ, we can be godly.  And the truth is that sometimes bad things happen to godly people.  We live in a fallen world, and thus we deal with those results.  The fallen world has a future resolution in Christ, but in the meantime we have to deal with what we have.

This means doing away with certain forms of false theology that creeps into the church – the same false teachings that infected the people of God during the days of Job.  Turn on Christian TV today, and it’s all too often that preachers will proclaim, “God will bless you if you’re good!”  “If God loves you, He’ll make you rich!”  “God’s will is for you to prosper!”  And the implication is that if you don’t have enough faith, or you don’t do the right things, or (most often) if you don’t give the right amount of money to the preferred ministry, then God won’t bless you.  You’ll get sick & end up in the poorhouse. 

That’s the same sort of theology promoted by the so-called “friends” of Job.  They each assumed that material blessing was a sign of God’s approval, and physical suffering was a sign of God’s disapproval.  That teaching was just as false then as it is today.  All we need do is look around: wicked people are often rich (i.e. Hollywood & Washington DC) – godly people often suffer (i.e. the persecuted church).  That doesn’t make suffering desirable, but it’s simply the truth.  God’s people DO suffer, and they suffer often.  Jesus told His disciples to expect tribulation and hatred from the world (Jn 15:18-20), and that is exactly what came even to the earliest Christians.  One of the godliest examples that ever lived was the apostle Paul, and not even he saw God take all of his sufferings away from him.  In fact, the times he experienced God’s grace the most is when he DID suffer (2 Cor 12:9-10).

That all takes us back to Job.  Job serves as an example through history of a godly man who greatly suffered.  He did not suffer because God was displeased with him; he actually suffered because God was incredibly pleased with him.  God did not cause Job’s sufferings, but God allowed them to come, knowing that Job would never lose his faith nor stop worshipping the Lord…and Job proved God right.  Job had difficulties and questions along the way, but he maintained his faith in spite of his suffering.  In the end, Job understood that God is good all of the time, even when Job didn’t understand what was going on at the time.

God IS good – all of the time.  And we can trust Him, no matter what.

BACKGROUND:
The book of Job is the first of the wisdom books within the Old Testament.  To this point, the Old Testament focused upon the history of God’s people and their relationship with Him.  It showed how God created the world & how sin entered & everything went wrong.  God had planned for this from eternity past, and He instituted His plan to right every wrong in the universe through the promised Messiah.  That began with a man, that grew into a family, that grew into a nation.  That nation was given a land and a covenant relationship with God, but they could not keep their part of the covenant.  No matter how many times God reached out to them in mercy and grace, the nation kept falling back into sin and idolatry.  God allowed them to experience the full consequences of their sin, and the people were taken into captivity – but God’s mercies were great, and He brought them out of captivity again.  The people survived immense trials, and were back in their promised land awaiting the Messiah.

That’s where the historical books leave off and the wisdom books are introduced.  Chronologically, they fall interspersed throughout Hebrew history.  Although we do not know when Job was written, the original events were probably contemporary with Abraham or some of the other Hebrew patriarchs.  The book of Psalms had authors ranging from Moses to David to post-exile writers.  Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Solomon were written mostly by Solomon during the years of the united kingdom.  All of the books have a historical grounding, though they are spread throughout Hebrew history.

With Job, we back up to the patriarchs.  Job is not mentioned in the book of Genesis, but he fits straight into the culture of Abraham.  His wealth was measured by his livestock, and he acted as a priest on behalf of his own family.  We know that Abraham was not the only worshipper of the true God in Genesis, in that Melchizedek was also a priest of the Most High God.  Job seems to be another along these lines (a worshipper; not a formal priest).  Whether or not he even knew Abraham or his family is unknown.  Job lived in the land of Uz (1:1), which some scholars associate with Edom, though there is no real way of knowing.

So we don’t know exactly when this all took place, we don’t know where it all took place, and we don’t really know anything regarding how Job was introduced to the true God or how his story was first communicated to the Hebrew people.  What we DO know is that Job became an example for God’s people early on, as his book was incorporated into the earliest versions of the Hebrew Bible.  We also know that Job served as an example of faith not only for those of the Old Testament, but for those of the New.  James 5:10–11, "(10) My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. (11) Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord—that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful."  What’s so interesting about James’ reference of Job is that he describes the main idea of Job’s story not so much in terms of suffering, but in terms of God’s compassion and mercy.  And that is indeed the theme: God IS good, no matter what!

GENERAL OUTLINE

  • Prelude: Job vs. Satan (1-2)
  • Body: Job vs. his “friends” (3-37)
    • Round 1 (3-14)
    • Round 2 (15-21)
    • Round 3 (22-28)
    • Job’s Summary (29-31)
    • Elihu’s Rant (32-39)
  • Climax: Job vs. God (38-41)
    • Challenge #1 (38-39)
    • Challenge #2 (40-41)
  • Conclusion: Repentance, Rebuke, Restoration (42)

Although the bulk of the book is found in confrontation between Job and his three friends, we’re not going to spend a ton of time pouring over the details of those passages.  Although there are some truths shared there, we need to remember that God rebuked Job’s friends for not speaking rightly about God, and Job ended up repenting of his own words.  That’s not say there was nothing good spoken – but much of it were half-truths.  It’s easy to take Scriptures from the middle of the book of Job and end up with entirely false teaching about God.  We might be quoting something that God specifically rebuked the original speaker for saying!

That brings up a good point about the doctrine of inspiration.  We firmly believe that all the words of the Bible were breathed-out by God the Holy Spirit and is meant to build up and instruct the believer in Christ (2 Tim 3:16-17).  But just because the words were breathed out by the Spirit to be included in the text of the Bible doesn’t mean that those words are recommended for us to hold as if they came from God’s heart.  After all, the Bible quotes Satan (even here in Job).  The Bible quotes all kinds of enemies of God, and quotes them accurately.  But those words aren’t meant as an example for us to follow, but as an example of what NOT to do.  Likewise with much of the teaching in the middle of the book of Job.  Chapters 3-37 are filled with all kinds of half-truths and some outright falsehoods.  Be careful how you quote and hold to some of those passages.  It is inspired & it is accurate, but much of it is a perfect example of what not to do and say.

Prelude: Job vs. Satan (1-2)
Satan’s first attack (1:1-22)
Before we ever see Satan, the reader is introduced to the person of Job.  Pretty much everything we need to know about him is stated right up front. Job 1:1, "There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil."  Notice that Job was “blameless.”  Job’s sufferings cannot be blamed upon his own sin, because he lived as a righteous man.  He cared for his family and his servants – he even offered burnt offerings on behalf of his sons just in case they had sinned in ways that he wasn’t aware of.  This is a man who loved God and served Him.  Right at the beginning, we know that Job hadn’t done anything wrong.  If we can remember that, then we’ll stay away from all kinds of errors that Job’s friends made!

  • Was Job perfect?  Of course not.  By calling him blameless, the Bible isn’t saying that Job was perfectly without sin.  It simply affirms that blame didn’t stick to Job.  He lived in such a way that God was glorified.

Once Job was introduced, so was Satan.  This is something that Job is never once informed of – he knows nothing about the things that went on behind the scenes prior to his suffering.  In fact, we find that he never gets any direct answer regarding the question of “why” he suffered.  What God repeatedly emphasizes is the answer to the question of “Who” Job should trust.  God is the sovereign God in all these things, and because God is in control, we can trust that God will always do what is right.

Even in the case of Satan, God is fully in control.  Satan apparently had the freedom to come up to God along with the other angels, and God engages in conversation with him.  Satan had been busy looking at the people of the earth, seemingly looking for a weakness that he could exploit.  That’s when God (not Satan) introduces the example of Job.  Job 1:8–11, "(8) Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?” (9) So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? (10) Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. (11) But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!”"

Satan threw down the gauntlet: the only reason Job worshipped God was because God had made him prosperous and rich.  Take away those riches, and Job would curse God.  Amazingly, God agrees to have Job tested on Satan’s accusation, and Satan did his worse.  In a single day, Job had his livestock raided and stolen – had lightning kill his sheep and servants – had a windstorm or tornado kill all his children.  The only thing Satan did not do was harm Job’s physical body, as God had restrained him from that.  It was the worst of all possible days for Job, and he rightly grieved.  But as he grieved, he worshipped.  Job 1:21–22, "(21) And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” (22) In all this Job did not sin nor charge God with wrong."

  • Keep in mind that grief was the right response.  Sometimes we get the idea that if we truly trust God then we keep a stiff upper lip & plaster a smile on our face no matter what.  Let’s get something straight: that’s not worship; that’s hypocritical deceit.  God knows when we’re faking it or not, and there’s no reason to fake it.  If Jesus could cry out in despair from the cross, surely we can cry out to God in our own grief.  The psalms are full of songs of lament, with David and the other authors showing extreme honesty while worshipping God.  That’s what God desires from us: sincerity.  When we worship, we worship Him with all that we have, whenever we have it.  If all we can bring to Him is grief, then bring your grief.  That’s OK.  He’s big enough to handle it.
  • It was the mother of all bad days, and yet Job didn’t blame God.  Job trusted God.  Job hadn’t understood all that had happened.  He didn’t know that it was Satan who attacked him, but he knew God could be trusted.  And he was right.  God did allow these things to befall Job, but God could still be trusted in the midst of it.  God still had His eye upon Job, even if Job couldn’t understand it at the time. 
    • Sometimes we just have to make the decision to trust God, no matter what.  That’s what Job did here.

Satan’s second attack (2:1-10)
Satan wasn’t done with his taunting and attacks.  Chapter 2 shows him coming before God once again, and the same events taking place.  God basically brags on Job, noting that Job had maintained his faith even though Satan tried to destroy him (2:3).  Satan once more says that it was God’s fault because God had restrained the devil from attacking his health.  Take that away, and surely Job would fail.

Once more, God allowed the attack (with certain limitations: Satan was restrained from killing Job), and Satan went about his work with glee.  Job was afflicted with painful itchy boils all over his body, and his physical life became miserable.  Satan is a lot of things, but he’s not stupid.  He understands that people can endure much, but when we live day-in and day-out in misery and physical pain, it wears us down.  Many people have become embittered against God when they suffer physically.  What would Job’s experience be?

As before, Job maintained his faith…even in the midst of a nagging wife.  Job 2:9–10, "(9) Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast to your integrity? Curse God and die!” (10) But he said to her, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not accept adversity?” In all this Job did not sin with his lips."  No doubt this was difficult for Job, but he understood that God was still the good God.  God had not changed His character; only the circumstances had changed.  Job never once accused God of evil.  To this point he never sinned.

  • That’s not to say that he wouldn’t later say things he didn’t regret…indeed, he repents at the end of the book.  But everything to this point is a righteous response to suffering.  He acknowledges the pain & hurt, but he also trusts that God is good and in control.  If we can remember that, we will go far!

Job’s friends arrive (2:11-13)
Job had friends far and wide, and when they heard of his troubles, they came to comfort them.  These few verses in Chapter 2 show they only good thing they did: they wept with those who wept, sat down, and shut up.  If that is all they had done, they would have been remembered as true friends & not “miserable comforters,” (16:2).

As an aside, this is often the very best thing we can do as well.  When we have a friend who’s grieving, the last thing we ought to do is heap some Christian platitude upon them and try to sound all “spiritual.”  Too often instead of bringing the balm of Gilead, we pour salt into wounds.  The proverbs say that “a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver,” (Prov 25:11).  That’s the way the Bible CAN be, but it won’t be if we try to force the wrong Scripture at the wrong time.  When a parent loses a child, the worst thing someone can say is that “It was meant to be, because after all God is in control & He causes all things to work for good…”  That’s a total twisting of Scripture.  God grieves with us, as Jesus demonstrated when He wept with Mary and Martha.  The Bible specifically tells us to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Rom 12:15).  Can we use Scripture as we do this?  Yes!  But only as a comfort & not as a cudgel.

Body: Job vs. his “friends” (3-37) – Satan’s 3rd attack?
Round 1 (3-14)
Job’s complaint (3) – Things are going to go back & forth quite a bit, and Job opens things up with his lament.  He doesn’t curse God, but he curses the day he was born (3:3) proclaiming it would have better to have been stillborn, rather than to live to see this day (3:11).  It’s just the beginning of his extreme honesty.

Eliphaz (4-5) – This is the first to respond to Job (he’ll go first in each round), and he starts off with a bang, already assuming Job doesn’t want to hear any counsel or advice (4:2).  He reminds Job of the conventional wisdom that only evildoers are punished, thus if the righteous God allowed this to happen to Job, Job must have deserved it. (4:17)  He tells Job to seek God (as if Job hadn’t done so), and basically tells him to cheer up & enjoy the discipline God gave him (5:17).

Job (6-7) – Job tells Eliphaz that Eliphaz doesn’t have a clue what he has endured (6:2-3), and accuses Eliphaz of acting deceitfully (6:15), which he had.  He maintained his innocence (6:24), and appealed to God to answer (7:21).

Bildad (8) – With each “friend,” the intensity and accusations against Job increase.  Bildad thinks of course Job had sinned, everyone knows that evil only happens to evil people.  God never cast away those who were blameless. (8:20)

Job (9-10) – Job is quick to affirm God’s justice (9:2), but that doesn’t resolve his own complaint.  He understands that he is blameless in this situation (9:21), and doesn’t understand why all this is happening to him.  If God was a man, Job could plead his case in court (9:32), and that’s exactly what he asks God to do in Chapter 10.

Zophar (11) – Zophar takes the false position that to even question God at all is sin, and thus Job proved his own sinfulness.  He rightly claims that no one can search out the deep things of God (11:7), but uses it as a club against Job.  If Job would just repent, then God would bless him once again.

  • Question: how can someone repent from a sin they haven’t committed?  Obviously none of us can claim to be without sin, but that’s not the issue Zophar accused Job of.  Zophar accused Job of sins he hadn’t committed.  That’s so often what Satan does with us when we fall in temptation.  He not only accuses us of the things we have done, but he’ll heap all kinds of condemnation for things over which we have no control.  Remember that you have an Advocate with God the Father: Jesus Chris the righteous! (1 Jn 2:1)  When the devil comes to slanderously attack you, remember to Whom you belong, and with Whose blood you have been bought!

Job (12-14) – He understands well that his so-called “friends” are mocking him (12:3), and he wants nothing to do with it.  He readily affirms God’s wisdom, righteousness, and justice.  Job had not accused God for any evil; he just didn’t know why God allowed all these things to happen to him.  For all the adversity Job had experienced, his faith was still rock-solid in the only God.  Job 13:15, "Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him."  Job could trust God, yet still have questions for Him.  Thus Job asks his questions, and makes his plea in prayer – simply pouring out his honest grief before the Lord.

Round 2 (15-21)
Eliphaz (15) – None of the friends are yet willing to let Job simply air his complaint and grief, so they all start up again.  Eliphaz accuses Job of being unable to be reasoned with.  He rightly says that man is impure (9:14), but ignores the specific situation Job was in.

Job (16-17) – Job rightly concludes his friends were “miserable comforters,” (16:2).  For all the ways they could have encouraged Job, wept with Job, and prayed with Job as they all sought the Lord together, they instead accused him of sin.  All Job wanted was relief, and neither his friends nor his God seemed to grant him any.

Bildad (18) – This one lobs sarcasm at Job basically saying, “When are you going to shut up already?  Some of the rest of us want to talk.” (18:2)  Once more, he blames Job for all of his own suffering – even going so far as to accuse Job of unbelief (18:21).

Job (19) – At this point, Job is losing some of his famous patience with his friends (Job needed more patience with his friends than he did with God!).  If his friends were indeed correct, then Job asserts God would have done wrong against him. (19:6)  If his friends were right, then God had treated Job as an evildoer when Job had done no evil.  It would be a miscarriage of justice.  Yet even in this, Job knew that God had NOT done evil, though Job didn’t understand what God was doing.  He could still trust God.  Job 19:25–27, "(25) For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; (26) And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, (27) Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!"  God may have seemed like an accuser or persecutor, but deep down Job knew that God was still his Redeemer.  He could trust in God’s promise of eternity.

  • Isn’t that the way it is with our own suffering?  As bad as things get here, we can know that it won’t always be bad there (in heaven).  We have a Redeemer who has purchased us with His own blood, and we are assured of seeing Him face to face.  At that time, all these troubles will fade away & we will glory in the presence of God!

Zophar (20) – Some have called Zophar’s remarks a “sermon,” and the title fits.  He doesn’t so much address Job as he does launch into a litany of thinly-veiled remarks about everything the wicked person does.  God always judges the wicked, so (hint-hint) those who are punished are wicked.

Job (21) – Job responds with his own thoughts on the wicked, something that Zophar left out: sometimes the wicked prosper.  Sometimes the wicked become rich & powerful, and they experience all of the “blessings” that Zophar & the others claimed would only come to the righteous.  Is God wrong in allowing prosperity to come to the wicked?  Of course not – God cannot be charged with God.

  • The whole book of Job ought to put to rest the heretical prosperity gospel (though sadly, it hasn’t).  Everything the prosperity preachers proclaim is refuted here (and throughout the pages of the Bible).  Yes, God sometimes bestows great material prosperity upon those who follow Him (such as Abraham) – other times the wicked rule and the righteous suffer (i.e. Herod the Great).  We cannot use riches or health as a measure of God’s blessing; we can only look to His promises & His grace. 

Round 3 (22-28)
Eliphaz (22) – Once more, Eliphaz accuses Job of sin, claiming that Job didn’t really know God at all. (22:21)  If Job only repented, then he would see the prosperity of God.

Job (23-24) – By this point, all Job wants to do is talk to God Himself.  He wants to plead his own case, since his friends were not interceding for him.  Wearing down, he begins to get a little arrogant himself, claiming that not even God would contend with him (23:6).  Still, he affirms that God is God, and He can do whatever He pleases. (23:13).

Bildad (25) – In the shortest address yet, Bildad seems to completely ignore Job by this point and in a seemingly prideful show of piety, tries to exalt God in Job’s presence, inferring that Job is but a maggot in the sight of the far-exalted God.  (Ever have someone preach at you or against you while they prayed?  Seems to be the case here!)

Job (26-28) – Job concludes that his friends were no help whatsoever.  He never once accused God of being anything less than exalted and powerful, but Job saw no reason to admit sin he had not committed.  He held to his own righteousness (which is a bit of a dangerous thing to do).  Even so, the wisdom of God is far better than the wisdom of man, and Job still understood that the fear of the Lord was the beginning of wisdom. (28:28)

Monologues
Job’s Summary (29-31)
Job starts to wrap things up. He understandably longed for the old days in which he and his family were healthy, and when he was respected by others.  He remembered his acts of righteousness, and it all seemed so far away now in his suffering.  He was mocked by men, and it seemed as if he was forgotten and ignored by God.  No matter what he said, God had not answered him (God would!).  Job just wanted to know if he had done anything to deserve it.  He could not see where he had sinned, so why had all this befallen him?

Elihu’s Rant (32-39)
With the end of Chapter 31, Job’s words ended, but a new litany of sermons began from a younger man named Elihu.  He had listened to all of the back & forth between Job and the others, and he was about ready to burst with his own thoughts.  He may have been younger, but he also had something to say.  Whether or not Elihu actually said anything of value is a matter of debate.  He seemed to take a middle-road position, accusing the friends AND Job of speaking wrongly about God.  He rightly asserts God’s justice, but claims that Job isn’t innocent.  He accuses Job of self-righteousness (if nothing else), and that’s the reason God hadn’t answered him. 

Was Elihu right?  On some counts, yes.  On others, it seems that he fell into the same false teaching as the other friends.  There is still the thought that because God always does what is right, then Job’s sufferings were right and deserved.  He does appeal to Job to stop looking to himself and look to God, but overall Elihu seems to dig himself into a bit of a hole the longer he talks.  (1st rule of getting out of holes: stop digging!)  God seems to help him out, in that as Elihu speaks the clouds are rolling in and thunder is sounding, as if God is just going to cut Elihu off and speak for Himself.  And that’s exactly what God does…

Climax: Job vs. God (38-41)
Challenge #1 (38-39)
Job had challenged God to a court ruling, and God obliged him.  If Job wanted to speak with God, then this was his chance. Job 38:1–3, "(1) Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: (2) “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? (3) Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me."  Time to Man-up, and get ready to hear from God! 

  • Question: Was God being unfair to Job to answer him this way?  As if God should have been more gentle with Job, rather than taking him to the woodshed?  No.  Job’s frustration was certainly understandable (and at the end of the book, God still affirms that Job was righteous), but Job did get to the point that he spoke without knowledge.  He just started blathering off without thinking though the things he said.  God loved Job, just as God loves us, but that’s not a relationship that we can think of as casual, or take for granted.  Through Jesus we’ve been made the children of God & we’ve been given the Spirit of adoption, but that doesn’t mean that God stops being God.  We don’t have the right to treat Him flippantly.  We’re still to fear, reverence, and respect Him as God.  Job hadn’t cursed God, but he lost a little bit of his reverence along the way, and that was when God rightly spoke up to rebuke him.  (Just as we are rightly rebuked by the Holy Spirit when we treat God without respect.)

God goes into a whole litany of questions, affirming His own role as the Creator and Sovereign ruler of the universe.  He was the One who laid the foundations of the earth and set the boundaries for the seas.  He was the one who set the galaxy in motion & turned the earth upon its axis for daylight.  He was the one who set the constellations in their place in the vast expanses of the universe, and still provided for the individual animals on Planet Earth.

  • As an aside, there’s much in this section of Scripture that affirms not only God’s role in creation, but His purposeful design of creatures.  It’s a wonderful commentary on Genesis 1-2.

Challenge #2 (40-41)
God takes a brief break to let Job answer, and for everything Job had in mind to say earlier, he now finds himself speechless.  Job 40:3–5, "(3) Then Job answered the Lord and said: (4) “Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. (5) Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.”" What could he say in response to these things?  Once he saw God in His glory, no question could be asked.

  • This is what so many people lose sight of.  It’s so common to hear people lob accusations at the Lord, claiming much of what Job claimed. “If there’s really a God in heaven, then I’m going to ask Him about ____ when I get there, and He’d better have an answer!”  How foolish!  Every single time the Bible records an instance of a human coming in contact with God, they’re falling on their face, repenting for sin, unable to do much of anything.  God is HOLY.  He is SUPREME.  He is Terrible and Awesome (in the old sense of the words).  There is no one like God, and the only thing anyone can do in His presence is fall to their knees.  The only way anyone will be able to say anything to God is through the grace and provision of Jesus Christ.  Questions for God?  We’ll have none.  All we’ll have is praise for His glory.

God goes back to asking His questions, challenging Job once more if Job could do the things that God does.  Job could not judge the world in righteousness – Job could not tame dinosaurs or sea creatures or any of the other massive creatures of the world.  Compared to God, Job had no wisdom, Job had no power, Job had no answer.

Conclusion (42)
Job repents (42:1-6)
That was all Job needed to hear.  Once God was done speaking and revealing Himself to Job, the man had nothing left to say except “I’m sorry.”  Job 42:5–6, "(5) “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. (6) Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.”"  Job had known of God, but once Job saw God, everything changed.  He had an encounter with the Living Lord of Hosts, and he would never be the same.

  • How true that is!  Once we personally know and experience Jesus for ourselves, everything changes!  It’s one thing to hear about the love and power and grace of Christ; it’s another thing to be awash in it.  Taste and see that the Lord is good! (Ps 34:8)
  • Job didn’t have anything in the past to repent of; but he did in the present situation.  He had built himself up in pride & thought he could contend with God – Job knew better now!  He forsook it all, and gave it all to God.  No excuses; just repentance.  (Which is the way it always ought to be.)

God rebukes (42:7-8)
The good news was that God seemed to accept Job’s repentance because the very next words from God was a rebuke of Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar.  They had not spoken rightly of God, though Job had (42:7).  They were the ones in sin; not Job.  So in sheer poetic justice, God commanded them to ask Job to make sacrifices on their behalf.  The one they accused of sin act as their priestly mediator unto God.  Job had been far more righteous than they.

God restores (42:9-17)
Job made the sacrifices, and God restored to Job everything that had been lost – twice above.  He had more wealth, more livestock…even more children.  Job was so wealthy that he even gave his daughters an inheritance of their own, alongside their brothers.  From the perspective of an ancient person of the Near East, one could not have been more prosperous than God made Job.  Truly everything was restored, plus much more.

Conclusion:
Interestingly, not once is Job ever told about the initial encounter between God and Satan.  Not once is Job’s original question ever really answered.  He wanted to plead his case before God, and demonstrate that he maintained his integrity.  To God, that was unnecessary.  God already knew Job’s faithfulness…that was never in doubt.  Yet why wouldn’t God tell Job what had happened with Satan?  Because once Job saw God, that too was unnecessary.  Once Job got a glimpse of God’s glory and person, nothing else mattered.  The answer to Job’s question wasn’t in the “why,” but the “Who.”  If Job’s trust was in the righteous God, that was enough. 

Bad things do sometimes happen to godly people, and it doesn’t make them (us) any less godly.  When we suffer, it doesn’t mean that God loves us less – it doesn’t mean that God is punishing us.  In Job’s case, it meant that God was astoundingly pleased with him!  God knew that Job could endure all of this and still hold on to faith.  We can’t say the reason why God allows some of these things to come into our lives, but we can affirm that God hasn’t let go of us in the process.  He never leaves us, nor forsakes us.  We belong to Him through Jesus Christ, and like Job we also know that our Redeemer lives & though we might be slain, yet will we trust Him.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s