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Passage: Job 8-10

On Tuesday, June 12, 2018, Yujin wrote,

Bildad just argued that when a man is upright, God will bless him. Job answers that he knows this, but asks, "How can a man be in the right before God?" In other words, how can Job prove his uprightness before an invisible, untouchable, all powerful God? Job was not admitting guilt in view of God's perfect holiness. He was only confessing his powerlessness to make his case before God. 

A variation of Job's question was spoken by Eliphaz, who received it by a spirit (Satan?): 

Can a mortal be more righteous than God?
    Can even a strong man be more pure than his Maker? (Job 4:17).

It is but a slight deviation from Job's question, but this deviation makes Job appear guilty from the start because it suggests that Job considers himself "more righteous" than God rather than one simply desirous to prove his innocence before God. Job does not say he is more righteous than God, nor that God is unjust, only that Job has no way of making a case for his innocence before God. All the while, Job is distressed by God's silence in his affliction: "Let me know why You contend with me" (Job 10:2).

God eventually comes to reassure and restore Job, but this does not explain Job's initial loss and suffering. From Job we learn that God's sovereignty dictates God's justice rather than the other way around. There is not some universal ideal of justice to which even God must submit. It is the age-old question, "Does good define God or does God define good?" God defines what is good! God determines justice. There is no rule that says that God cannot punish the just, nor one that says that He cannot bless the unjust. The Sovereign God does as He pleases. 

Now, this does not mean that God is inconsistent or capricious. It simply means that He is God. If He does one thing and then another, one may say He is inconsistent. But on whose authority and based on what standard? If we admit that God is His own authority and sets His own standard, which may include the one as well as the other, who can accuse Him of being inconsistent? And capricious? Again, who has the understanding, perspective, experience, not to mention boldness, to say that God is being capricious? This was the crux of Job's argument and dilemma. 

In the end Job's error was in trying to contend with God out of the frustration and pain of his suffering. But God did not punish him and instead blessed him and gave him authority over the fate of his friends. While Job "repented," he had not sinned. He was simply given a larger vision of God. 

Therefore, dear friends, let us not be quick to judge the reason for our suffering and difficulties. Let us pray for perseverence and faithfulness. Rather than trying to contend with God or being distressed that God does not seem to hear us or care about us, let us recount God's faithfulness in the past and patiently wait on His deliverance in the future. We may not always understsand why, but we know that He is God; therefore, we can still pray and praise Him, and there is nothing better than to trust and hope in Him.


Passage: Job 8-10

On Monday, June 12, 2017, Yujin wrote,

“If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one!
And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him?
“Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me;
Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty (Job 9:19-20).

God is always strongest. There is no one higher for Him to be accountable. What claim can a creature make against His Creator. There is no such thing as innocence when God declares guilty. 

Job here speaks of the absolute sovereignty of God. He recognizes that there is nothing and no one higher; therefore, what God decrees is uncontestable. This is Job's predicament. He cannot in good conscience admit to guilt he does not perceive in himself; yet, he cannot explain the suffering God is bringing upon him. There is no doubt in the mind of Job or his friends that God is the instigator; however, where Job is uncertain, the friends wrongly conclude that God is bringing these calamties upon Job because of some unconfessed sin. 

In the heavenlies God has assigned Satan the task of testing Job's integrity, but on earth Job and his friends remain in the dark as to God's purpose. This is by design. This is the Garden of Eden all over again. Yet, instead of Satan speaking through a serpent. He speaks through Job's friends, posing the question, "Can mankind be just before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker?" (cf. Job 4:12-17). To answer "yes" would seem presumptuous. To answer "no" would suggest hopelessness. God's integrity is without question. Job's integrity is recognized by heaven and earth. Satan pits one against the other through the medium of what appears to be "unjust" suffering. 

In Satan's first attempt, where he took away Job's possessions and children, Job refused to fall for Satan's ploy by assigning wrongdoing to God (Job 1:22). He acknowledged that God had the right to both give and take away as He pleased (Job 1:21).

In Satan's second attempt, where he afflicted Job's person with painful boils, Job initially held fast to his integrity (Job 2:10). Job would not be felled by physical loss and suffering alone.

Therefore, Satan had to resort to deception, even as he did with Eve. He would repeatedly assault Job with baseless accusations against his integrity, arguing that this can be the only reason for his suffering since God's integrity must not be questioned. Yet, the latter was Satan's strategy all along: to entice Job to question and challenge God's integrity. Job gets perilously close to doing just that.

Friends, let us admit that we are not that strong. We are always susceptible to Satan's wiles. Our ancestors, Adam and Eve, cannot be faulted beyond what might be leveled against any one of us. We would have done the same. Our adversary is smarter and stronger than we are. 

Yet, as in the case of Job, our adversary is himself subject to God. Was not God watching and listening to the conversation between the serpent and Eve? Was He not also regarding and patiently allowing Satan's assault on Job? Yet, He does not share His full omniscience with men or angels. He plays along with His creation, all-knowing yet feigning ignorance: He says to Adam, "Where are you?" (Genesis 3:9).

Friends, our hope is in Christ alone because He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Our hope is in His power alone because by His death He has broken the power of him who holds the power of death (Hebrews 2:14). Our hope is in God's grace alone, for He both began and will complete the good work of salvation in us (Philippians 1:6).

Therefore, Job's words above is not our complaint but our praise. God is strongest. There is no justice apart from Him. And as He can declare the innocent guilty, He can also declare the guilty, of which we all are, innocent. There is no inherent human logic to Christ being our substitute on the cross for sin, but a sovereign God has made it so. What justice allows the innocent to suffer for the guilty? Yet God has so designed our redemption that this is the only way for men to be saved. Our place is not to question but to praise God for giving us hope. Let us learn from Job's final response to God:

I know that You can do all things,
And that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.
‘Who is this that hides counsel without knowledge?’
Therefore I have declared that which I did not understand,
Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know.”
‘Hear, now, and I will speak;
I will ask You, and You instruct me.’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear;
But now my eye sees You;
Therefore I retract,
And I repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6).

Therefore, let us always praise God in everything. Let us not give in to Satan's enticements to question God's authority or integrity. Instead, let us always give Him thanks for His amazing grace to us through Jesus Christ our Lord!


Passage: Job 8-10

On Thursday, June 11, 2015, Yujin wrote,

Does God pervert justice?
Or does the Almighty pervert what is right?...
Lo, God will not reject a man of integrity,
Nor will He support the evildoers (Job 8:3,20)

Bildad the Shuhite responds to Job's declaration of innocence. His logic is the same as that of Eliphaz the Temanite before him:

  1. Justice requires that evil be punished and good be blessed.
  2. God is just.
  3. Therefore, God is punishing Job because he has done something evil. If Job confesses his evil and does good, he will be blessed. 

This all sounds good, but there is one flaw in this logic. Job exposes this flaw.

“If it is a matter of power, behold, He is the strong one!
And if it is a matter of justice, who can summon Him? (Job 9:19).

Job asserts that what his friends' are saying may generally be true, but God is greater than their ideal of justice and there is no one strong enough to compel Him to do their bidding. Job would rewrite their syllogism this way:

  1. God does as He pleases.
  2. He can curse the wicked and bless the upright. He can also curse the upright and bless the wicked. 
  3. Therefore, God is judging Job even though he is upright.

Even if God were guilty of an injustice, Job argues that there would be no court with the authority to summon Him to try and convict Him. Since there is none more powerful than God, who could overpower His decrees, whether they be just or fair or right?

For though I were right, I could not answer;
I would have to implore the mercy of my judge (Job 9:15).

Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me;
Though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty (Job 9:20).

For He is not a man as I am that I may answer Him,
That we may go to court together (Job 9:32).

 

I believe the key is in Job's expression, "He is not a man." God is, therefore, not subject to human covenants and laws and limitations and weaknesses.

Near the end of Job's dialogue with his friends, he too begins to forget God's sovereign ways, which are beyond human discovery. His words move from general complaints about his misery to bold challenges to God's justice. The initial hint of it can be observed in his words here:

Let Him remove His rod from me,
And let not dread of Him terrify me.
Then I would speak and not fear Him (Job 9:34-35).

Later on, God would confront Job with a stream of challenging questions, not a one of which Job could answer. God would correct Job's flawed thinking: 

Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him?
    Let him who accuses God answer him!” (Job 40:2)

Would you discredit my justice?
    Would you condemn me to justify yourself? (Job 40:8)

After this, Job repents (Job 42:6), for while he rightly recognized God's ucontestable power to do as He pleases, he failed to see that by virtue of God's unfathomable power and knowledge and presence, God's ways are also completely just, even when they do not figure into the categories imagined by Job and his friends. 

Friends, how aware are we of God's awesome power? How cognizant are we of His knowledge, understanding and wisdom? I fear that we have a way too low view of God and correspondingly a way too high view of ourselves? Scripture says, 

If God is for us, who can be against us?! (Romans 8:31).

There is no circumstance we can face that He has not already seen it and incorporated it into His eternal plan. There is no trouble or troubler God does not know about, nor secret scheme nor grand conspiracy God has not already figured out. We don't have to worry about some triumph of injustice, for God's justice will inevitably prevail.

Why do we worry? Is it not because we don't trust God? Why do we pray for worldly matters? Is it not because we have such a small view of God? Or perhaps it would seem too monotonous to always pray that God's sovereign will be done. At least if we are praying, we are not worrying. Doesn't Paul write that we should pray about everything (Philippians 4:6-7), not because it's necessarily good to pray about everything, but because it's better than us worrying about everything. 

I'm not preaching that we should all be fatalists but only that we should truly believe what we confess we believe: God is in control. God is completely just. And He has declared that in Christ He is for us and not against us. In this very biblical conviction, let us find our peace, a peace that surpasses all understanding because it rests in God, who surpasses all understanding.


Passage: Job 8-10

On Wednesday, June 12, 2013, Yujin wrote,

‘Why then have You brought me out of the womb?
Would that I had died and no eye had seen me!
‘I should have been as though I had not been,
Carried from womb to tomb.’
“Would He not let my few days alone?
Withdraw from me that I may have a little cheer
Before I go—and I shall not return—
To the land of darkness and deep shadow,
The land of utter gloom as darkness itself,
Of deep shadow without order,
And which shines as the darkness.” (Job 10:18-22).

How terrible must have been Job's experience that he so longed for death, even to never experience the joys of life, going from the womb to the tomb. He had experienced the loss of his wealth and his children. He was left with a foolish wife and unhelpful friends. He was suffering from unceasing, painful boils from the crown of his head to the sole of his feet. And all these things happened suddenly and certainly from God, without any explanation or consolation. Job's longing for death was certainly understandable. But even he was unwilling to curse God or take his own life.

Many people today despair of living after a breakup, a betrayal, a failure, or even bankruptcy. But unlike Job, they follow through on their feelings and commit suicide. A couple of days ago, two hosts of a radio program called "Pursuit of Happiness," apparently committed suicide in their apartment (see article). How ironic. They helped people to help themselves, but it appears that they themselves were unable to help themselves.

I remember investing a large amount of money in a stock, only to see the money wiped out by the end of the day. It was not a happy feeling, but it was not the end of the world. 

I have been betrayed and lied to by friends. I have known my heroes exposed in moral failure. While I mention these things, I am not making myself out to be a saint either. 

Yet, in all these things, I do not become cynical in life and wanting to give up on everything. No, I recognize human depravity, even my own, and understand even more the need for God's grace.

Suicide is a person's final attempt to control what they ultimately cannot control. It is a person's last-ditch effort at playing God, who alone controls matters of life and death, and thus, it is a kind of idolatry of self. 

Job suffered enough to want to die, yet he still acknowledged that God was in control and that he was beholden to Him, even to trust and obey Him to the bitter end. Even as he despaired of life, Job still had hope:

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me! (Job 19:25-27)

Friends, the hope that Job looked forward to is even more sure for us, who look back to it. For Jesus has come and has paid for our sins, giving us also His righteousness, so that our eternal future in heaven is sure. We are sealed with the Holy Spirit, who permanently lives within us as a guarantee of the completion of our salvation:

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory (Ephesians 1:13-14).

Therefore, friends, I know that some of you are suffering. Perhaps you are wondering why God has blessed others and not you. Some of you struggle so much. You wake every morning distressed and you sleep every night afraid of the day to come. You wonder why life is so hard. 

But remember this, how ever many days that God gives us to live, they are few and inconsequential in light of eternity. Instead of thinking of the days you have left to live, consider the days you are given. Every day can be a new experience of His grace, which gives you this infinite privilege to testify of God's grace, which transcends the glory of anything this world has to offer. Have this attitude in you, which was in Paul, who wrote,

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us (Romans 8:18).

Do you understand what he is saying here?! Can you perceive it and take it to heart? You cannot even compare the deepest, sharpest, longest pain in this life with the kind of glory that awaits us in heaven. Our sufferings in this life are not even worthy to put on the scale with the glorious inheritance that awaits us. 

Therefore, friends, stop listening to your "friends," who tell you how good it is to have money. Don't pay much attention to their luxuriuous houses and cars. In fact, don't pay attention to anything that will pass away with this life. Instead, live every day, even every moment, with eternity in view. When these friends of yours come near their end of days, they too will be scambling to be more spiritual. They may finally come to their senses and understand how they have wasted their vigor and resources on things that will soon pass away. 

God levels the playing field but elevates our pursuit. Let us no longer live for what will please us in this life but what will exalt God, who rewards us for all eternity. Let us stop storing up treasures on this earth, which are subject to theft and decay, but instead let us more and more focus our attention and efforts and resources on what will honor our eternal God and serve His eternal purposes.


Passage: Job 8-10

On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, Yujin wrote,

Innocent or wicked, it is all the same to God. That’s why I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’ When a plague sweeps through, he laughs at the death of the innocent. The whole earth is in the hands of the wicked, and God blinds the eyes of the judges. If he’s not the one who does it, who is? (Job 9:22-24 NLT)

Job recognizes that God often does not discriminate between the innocent and the guilty. He destroys them both. He allows the wicked to prosper and the righteous to suffer. This is not a matter of justice or mercy but God's sovereignty. Let us remember that God says at the end that what Job says about God is true; therefore, we can begin with a presumption that what Job says here is also true. 

Job's generalization about God's indiscriminate judgment has a specific application to Job, because he believes that he is innocent and yet is being judged by God. This should cause all prosperity theologians pause, for Job is before the giving of the Mosaic Law, and God is not bound to bless the righteous nor to punish the wicked. Instead, even as Jesus said, "He gives his sunlight to both the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust alike."

Why does prosperity theology work under the Law but not in Christ? It is because of the nature of the Old Covenant vs. the nature of the New Covenant. The Old Covenant Mosaic Law was conditional, so that obedience brought blessings and disobedience brought cursings. However, in Christ the Old Covenant was made obsolete and has been cancelled (Hebrews 8:13; Colossians 2:14), so that none of its provisions are binding on Christians. Under the Old Covenant God bound Himself to bless and curse according to the provisions of the Law; however, in Christ God is no longer bound and we are no longer bound, and everything is of grace. So once again, He can bless and curse in keeping with His sovereign will. Therefore, what Job writes about God is more applicable to Christians today than what Moses wrote.


Passage: Job 8-10

On Monday, June 13, 2011, Unmi wrote,
 
If only there were someone to mediate between us, someone to bring us together, someone to remove God’s rod from me, so that his terror would frighten me no more. Then I would speak up without fear of him, but as it now stands with me, I cannot. (Job 9:33-35)

Wow, Job understood that he needed a mediator between God and himself, someone who would be able to remove God's rod from him. He realized that on his own merits, he would not be able to stand before God without fear.

Paul tells us that Jesus is this mediator. For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all people. (1 Timothy 2:5:6)

Peter tells us "For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits...not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a clear conscience toward God." (1 Peter 3:18-21)

 Job shows us that no matter how "good" we are, we still need mediator to go before a holy God.


Passage: Job 8-10

On Sunday, June 12, 2011, Fernando wrote,
Job9
2"Truly I know that it is so:
   But how can a man be in the right before God?
3If one wished to contend with him,
   one could not answer him once in a thousand times.
20Though I am in the right, my own mouth would condemn me;
   though I am blameless, he would prove me perverse

God is the Sustainer, of our goodness, of our 'good standing' in his court.... it sounds like there is a contradiction, how can one be innocent yet be found guilty. This can be better understood looking at the final judgment. I will be innocent yet God could find me guilty. Because God will count me righteous, finding me innocent, he will sustain that for me, by Jesus. Just as all the good things I do and are done to me are from Him.
You are innocent when you are with him, but apart from him you are condemnable. He is your innocence, he is your justice.

Passage: Job 8-10

On Friday, June 11, 2010 (Last Updated on 6/12/2012), Fernando wrote,

When I hear a debate or someone express their point I try and put myself in their shoes. The problem with that is I can get stuck in their position for a while. As I read Job's depressed cry I empathized, especially because I have thought the same thing. At times it does seem unfair that the 'not so bad' get hurt the same or worse than the 'bad ones'. Its as is God were blind between his children and his adversaries. But even if this were true how do you argue with perfection?
So I read curious what the answer could be. Until Job got to where he said in chapter 9, "If only there were a mediator.
And while it doesn't perfectly solve the 'unfairness' idea, through Christ's story we see even The Son endures what is 'unfair.' God has to endure his own ways even though it hurts him and is hard (I am thinking of god praying to god in the garden of gethsemene)