|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Wednesday, June 13, 2018, Yujin wrote,
This is Job's one question for God. He can't figure out how he has sinned to deserve such suffering and loss. If God reveals it, Job is ready to repent. Job's complaint is that God is silent. Job is left ignorant and without opportunity for defense or aquittal.
Job's friends' contention is that God is not unjust so as to make him suffer without cause. Therefore, Job must have sinned to deserve God's wrath, and they urge him to repent. One after another they recount God's blessings for the righteous and His punishment of the wicked.
When God ultimately answers, it is not in the way either Job or his friends imagine. God does not enumerate Job's sins. He instead asks Job a series of humanly unanswerable questions, so that Job might understand the gulf between himself and God and that God can do as He pleases even if Job does not understand. God also rebukes Job's friends for presuming to understand God's dealing with Job and for wrongly assuming Job's guilt.
From Job we learn that God is sovereign. He does as He pleases. Justice does not define God as much as God defines justice. Every act of God, whether giving life or taking it, whether punishing the righteous or blessing the wicked, is just. As He gives life, so He has the authority to take it. Sometimes God binds Himself to His promises, but this is God's prerogative, not a divine fait accompli.
So we read from the prophet Isaiah:
Friends, let us today acknowledge that God is sovereign, that He does as He pleases. Rather than trying to "figure God out," let us understand what God's revealed will is. Let us humbly trust in the promises of that will, and let us diligently obey the commands of that will.
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Tuesday, June 13, 2017, Yujin wrote,
Job knew that his suffering and losses were not by accident. They were caused by God. This is never refuted by God in the latter chapters. Yet, many theologians seem unwilling to assign God the responsibility. They blame Satan.
Now, let's consider this for a moment. If Satan is to blame, what does that make of God? Did He not know what Satan would do? Did He not twice bring Job to Satan's attention? Even after Satan afflicted Job by taking his possessions and children, God allowed Satan to afflict him again. What is more, all the affliction Satan brought was with God's permission. What is more, one could not even say that Satan tricked God into afflicting Job, for God cannot be deceived. Therefore, the primary cause for Job's afflictions was not Satan but God.
The harder question may be this. How was God just in afflicting a righteous man? There is no question that Job was righteous, for even God decared it so (cf. Job 1:1,8;2:3). Job's friends could not reconcile Job's suffering with the character of God. How could a holy God bring terrible suffering and loss to a blameless and upright man? Based on their understanding of God, they could only conclude that Job must have sinned. Of course, this is refuted by God's declaration that Job was blamess and upright.
In the end God never defends His actions as to their justice or injustice. He simply reminds Job that He is sovereign, that He is the Creator, and that He sets in motion the order of the universe from the miniscule to the vast.
Friends, I remember debating my former professor, Dr. Norman Geisler, about this very point. He contended that there is such a thing as an absolute, eternal good, which logically precedes and supercedes God. I argued that there is no biblical basis for such a view. I argued that good does not define God, but God defines what is good (Psalm 73:28). Whatever He does is right. I went so far as to say that if God decreed that murder was right, then we ought all to be murderers.
Furthermore, He is not subject to the laws He gives to men. While men cannot murder one another, God can kill and destroy whomever He pleases. Bill Cosby's quip to his children, "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out," would not be true of Cosby, but it would be true of God. God has this authority and right as Creator. We are creatures. He alone is the Creator.
Furthermore, when we say that God does not change, we do not mean that He cannot change the laws by which He governs His creation. He certainly does, as can be seen from the change from the Old to the New Covenant (Hebrews 7:18-19). We simply mean that He is always the source of all that is good, holy, and true. As such, what is good, holy and true cannot be defined apart from what God says and does. In speaking of the consistency and faithfulness of God to keep His promises, we must not go so far as to define Him by these promises. Even in Scripture God does not always immediately fulfill His promises, even delaying His promises for future generations and excluding some from enjoying them altogether. Even though His promises are always trustworthy, God's timing and application are sometimes hard to discern. Yet for these reasons we do not deny God and it would be the height of foolishness to reject Him. To the contrary, this very freedom demonstrates Him to be God all the more.
God does not have to answer for afflicting Job. That God did it makes it good and right. Job's friends were wrong to assume that Job sinned. And Job would be wrong to challenge God's actions, as he begins to do in these present chapters. Thankfully, Job comes to his senses in the latter chapters, when he is allowed to glimpse the sovereignty of God.
Friends, let us never forget that we are creation and creatures, and so we are related to the pebble that we casually toss away and the fly that we gladly squash. Our dignity comes by God's decree alone when He made us in His image and when He redeemed us through the precious blood of His Son. Let us not think too highly of ourselves or make demands of our Creator and Redeemer as if we have some inherent worth or right to do so. If we have any confidence to come before Him, it is only in and through Christ, and we come to Him still with "fear and trembling."
When we consider WHO God is and who we are, we have no place to complain. As John Piper has declared for decades: We were not designed to make much of ourselves. We were designed to make much of HIM. We were made to glorify Him always. We were wired to delight in Him above all things and forever.
Therefore, what is your prayer request? Is your request consistent with your purpose for being? Do you have a desire? Does that desire find its fulfillment in God? Are you worried or hurried or distressed about anything? Do these make sense when you serve a God, who controls everything and has demonstrated His unfailing love for you in Christ? Are you nervous about what people think? Why? Is it for them you are living or for God? Should you not fear Him instead? As the Scriptures teach, if you fear God, you will not fear men (cf. Matthew 10:28; Proverbs 29:25; Psalm 27:3). Therefore, dear friends, let us live boldly before men in the fear of God, undaunted, uncomplaining, and passionately pursuing everything that brings the highest glory to our God and Savior!
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Friday, June 12, 2015, Yujin wrote,
In the midst of Job's dalogue with his friends, he addresses God. He asks God, who knows the secrets of men's hearts, to enumerate Job's sins and to enlighten him as to his rebellion. Job finds no integrity in confessing for confession's sake. He has been very scrupulous about honoring God with his actions, his speech, and his attitude. Rather than admitting to guilt when he is innocent, he humbles himself to receive true rebuke. His conundrum is that no such rebuke is forthcoming. He is simply suffering, and he doesn't know why.
Our trouble is that often when our sins are exposed, we refuse to acknowledge them as sins, or else we turn it against our accusers by pointing out their sins. Taking responsibility for wrongdoing without any defensiveness or bitterness is a rare phenomenon. I have never seen it, even for myself.
Friends, Job was ready to condemn God to prove his own innocence (Job 40:8). And if not this far, he was at least ready to contend with God's untoward treatment of him (Job 40:2).
But ultimately God does reveal Job's sin or at least his wrong perspective and attitude (Job 40-41). Job's response? "I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). True to his word, when his sin is exposed, Job is quick to humble himself and repent.
Friends, I have seen two best friends become like bitter enemies. As an onlooker, perhaps one side holds greater guilt than the other. Even after such a lengthy friendship, I saw no effort to give the "offending" party the benefit of the doubt. Instead, I witnessed much anger, frustration, bitterness, and blindness. The unrestrained emotional outrage of one side fueled a growing impatience, frustration and resignation by the other side. One incident - and not even an incident - instigated this negative transformation from friendship to enmity. And as I reflected, I thought, "How fickle is friendship and loyalty. They can turn on a dime to their polar opposite, friendship to enmity, loyalty to defamation."
Father, help me to be humble, always willing and ready to admit my wrongdoing. Keep bitterness far from me. Let me not turn my private rebukes into public slander. Let me always pursue reconciliation, restoration, and healing. Let me never speak from unrighteous anger or entertain conspiracy theories that arise out of slanted data. Let me give my longstanding friends the benefit of the doubt and be ready to welcome and embrace enemies that want to become friends. Let me never allow my mind to collect negative data to launch against another person's character. If I'm unwilling to confront a wrondoing by another in love at the time, let me forget it forever. Let me be always cognizant of my own deep depravity and never allow apathy or complacency to cloud the infinite worth of God's free grace through Christ Jesus my Lord. As Job declared, so I affirm, "I wll hope in Him" (Job 13:15).
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Friday, June 13, 2014 (Last Updated on 6/12/2015), Yujin wrote,
Then Zophar the Naamathite answered,
Zophar accuses Job of "spiritual pride" and of trying to talk his way out of his guilt. Rather than trying to address Job's primary contention, namely, that God may also bring calamity upon the righteous, Zophar simply digs in by reasserting Eliphaz's declaration that God only brings calamity on the wicked. Beyond this reassertion, he piles on more groundless ad hominem attacks against Job's character.
Friends, let us be careful that we do not become like Zophar to one another.
I remember on one occasion that we had a guest speaker, who preached on a certain passage at Sunday church. I brought this very passage into a Bible Study class for the class to examine. After we all examined it in context, everyone agreed that the speaker had completely misinterpreted the passage by failing to look at the context. One of my students emailed one of the church pastors, letting him know that she thought perhaps the church should be more careful about who it invites to speak. As a result the church pastors invited me into their offices to discuss this matter.
I was more than happy to look at the passage with them and discuss the merits of what was preached. Instead, the pastor indicated that he did not care to discuss the passage. His reasoning was that I was a "debater" in my past, and he did not want to debate me. He simply wanted me not to contradict what he or any of his guests preached. When I tried to defend what I did, rather than trying to discuss the merits of my actions or the passage, he simply accused me of "spiritual pride" and laid down an "ultimatum", namely, to do as he said or to stop teaching in his church.
I remember being intensely disturbed by this confrontation, and it would be the beginning of the end for me at that church. Yet, as I considered what this pastor said, I also reflected on whether I have been this way to others, who disagreed with me? Have I tried to shut people up about their disagreements with me? Have I accused others of "spiritual pride"? Even more, just out of respect for the pastor, I had to prayerfully and honestly do some soul searching. Did I project such a persona that even pastors would not want to talk to me about the Bible? Was I afflicted with spiritual pride?
I am nowhere as confident as Job was about his spiritual innocence. My days are filled with daily confession of sins both known and unknown. Even if I have not directly sinned, I always feel the tug of sin, and this too I confess. Yet, where Job was confident about his unassailable character, I have such confidence in the Word of God, not necessarily in my correct knowledge of it, but my right to interpret, apply and expound upon it in keeping with the leading of God's Spirit within me.
Therefore, friends, let us not be like Zophar and Eliphaz, attacking a person's character when we can't address their arguments from Scripture. Let us, instead, engage their arguments on biblical merits. If we cannot do this, let us honestly ask for the time to reexamine our views in light of the new information. And if it is clear that we are wrong, let us have the wherewithal to admit it, even to celebrate our brother or sister, who has helped us to grow in our knowledge of God and His Word! After all, even Solomon, the wisest man that ever lived, once wrote, "Let the wise listen and add to their learning" (Proverbs 1:5)?
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Wednesday, July 31, 2013, Fernando wrote,
V4) …I, who called to God and he answered me, a just and blameless man,
Job says that he is a blameless man - what a humble man. He stands before his friends and claims an extraordinary statement, “I am a blameless man.” We might hear a man say this and say ‘he is kind of full of himself.’ – y Job he is a humble man.
Humility is an acknowledgment of our true position. Twice God has said that Job is a blameless man (Job 1:8; 2:3). Humility is not necessarily lowering of yourself but acknowledging yourself. Scripture, though, does speak of men humbling themselves with sackcloth, ash, pain, and restraint from pleasures. So how can Job be ‘humble?’
Before God we are worms – Isaiah 41:14
But to rightly say who you are, even great, is humility. To say you are greater than you are is pride, to restrain on your rights and privileges acting and positioning yourself as lower than you are is meekness.
It is pleasing for God to see us humble (Isaiah 38:2-5). We have frequent examples of God’s disdain and opposition for what is not in his order, we frequently see and hear he opposes the proud (James 4:6). Especially through Christ we see his restraint in rights, this example followed by Paul, Peter and the other saints who reflect this godly trait.
When a mighty man pour ash and put on sackcloth, he was in a public and symbolic gesture announcing who he is before God, a worm – this was humbling himself before God.
Christ demonstrated great humility saying he was king, healing and claiming to be the only way to God. He was meek in not crushing his opponents and dying on the cross it was in (Jesus’s) humility and meekness that we can have salvation through faith. For Jesus stated exactly who he was and did not exert himself fully - he could have called 10,000 angels and crushed his opponents; but how would it be seen and understood when justice and mercy, love and disdain, humility and pride, meekness and authority if Jesus would have called 10,000 angels.
My favorite rendition is by the Saddler Sisters, when they were teenagers:
They bound the hands of Jesus in the garden where he prayed
He could have called ten thousand angels
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Thursday, June 13, 2013, Yujin wrote,
[Job says] Who among all these does not know
There is a sense in which God causes all things or else allows all things to happen. As St. Thomas Aquinas asserted in his proofs for God's existence, He is the First Cause, the Uncaused Cause, who set everything else in motion. Now, this may be as far as a Deist might go in acknowledging God's activity in the universe; however, the biblical God is not only the First Cause, but He is actively engaged in the universe to sustain and direct everything in keeping with His great purposes (cf. Ephesians 1:11).
Isn't it interesting that in a book, where Satan is most apparent, he is never once mentioned by Job or any of his friends as a possible culprit for Job's hardships. It seems also clear that Satan does not act without God's permission, whether to harm Job's wealth and family or to take away his health.
This Book of Job may be a kind of corrective to the mistaken philosophy of a dualistic universe governed by equal and opposite forces, God and Satan. It teaches us that God is in control of everything, such that even the evil acts of Satan must be permitted by God. But God is not answerable or accountable to anyone, and Job realizes not only that God does righteous things but that everyhing God does and permits is righteous. Do you see the difference?
If we understand these things, then we dispel any and every uncertainty in life. God is truly in control of everything, whether He is actively directing it or passively permitting it. Nothing escapes His awareness or lies beyond His power.
This should add some oomph! to the Paul's words: "If God is for us, who can be against us" (Romans 8:31). There is no power or force or circumstance in heaven or on earth or anywhere else that can defeat, challenge or harm us when God is protecting us.
It gives perspective to Job's words: "Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him" (Job 13:15). There is no hope apart from God, such that no matter what harm God may choose to bring on us, we have no better recourse than to continue to place our hope in Him.
Yet, don't we live day to day as if we are in control? Don't we worry when things get out of control? Our wellbeing is important to us. Our health is important to us. Our earthly lives are important to us. But I recall Jesus' words, "Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life" (John 12:25).
Friends, how many of you hate your life in this world? How many of you live with the continual longing for the life to come? Let us order our lives, then, as foreigners here, even foreigners with a particular assignment of declaring God's greatness, until we finally reach the goal of our longing, when we breathe our last, whether it happens moments from now or years later.
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Wednesday, June 13, 2012 (Last Updated on 6/13/2014), Matt wrote,
15Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him;
Job's testimony to his faith is found in verse 13:15. It reminds me of the lyrics that Horatio Spafford wrote for the old hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul". The words which Spafford wrote come from 2 Kings 4:26. They echo the response of the Shunammite woman to the sudden death of her only child. Though we are told "her soul is vexed within her", she still maintains that "It is well." And Spafford's song reveals a man whose trust in the Lord is as unwavering as hers
We will face much in this life and I believe it is God's sovereign plan to test and bring us closer in obedience to him. His grace is sufficient for us...for in our weakness his power is made perfect (cf. 2 Cor. 12:9) Today's reading reminds me to be thankful for the blood of Christ but also for the suffering in his name. For "to live is Christ and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21)
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Wednesday, June 13, 2012 (Last Updated on 6/12/2015), Yujin wrote,
“Are you defending God with lies? Do you make your dishonest arguments for his sake? Will you slant your testimony in his favor? Will you argue God’s case for him? What will happen when he finds out what you are doing? Can you fool him as easily as you fool people? No, you will be in trouble with him if you secretly slant your testimony in his favor. (Job 13:7-10 NLT)
Job confronts his friends about their false witness. He says that just because they are invoking God does not mean that they are right. Doing something for God does not make it right when it is contrary to God's moral principles. Trying to defend God with lies, making dishonest arguments for God's sake, and slanting a testimony to make God look more favorable will bring trouble rather than blessing from God.
Today, we have all kinds of people invoking God's Name to justify their aberrant views. Some are clearly outside of orthodox faith; however, others are within evangelical circles, so that every believer must be alert.
How do you "defend God with lies" today?
This happens when a person misinterprets the Scriptures and claims it is God's Word. This happens when someone says something like "God told me..." when it was merely an impression of their own mind rather than a supernatural revelation from God. This happens when someone tries to justify something by the Spirit what is contrary to the Letter of God's Word. For example, when someone tries to deny a literal hell because they cannot accept that a loving God would send anyone to an eternal torment, they are trying to defend God with lies. Those who hold these views invoke God's Name and believe they are upholding His honor. Yet they dishonor Him by not being true to His Word.
Let us be discerning, so that we will not be so easily taken captive through hollow philosophy and the wisdom of men, who through fine-sounding arguments and eloquence, sway some believers, who are shallow in their understanding of God's Word. Therefore, dear friends, be diligent to daily read and study God's Word. Then you will know God in a right way. Then you can truly honor Him. Then you can live in a way that pleases Him.
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Tuesday, June 14, 2011 (Last Updated on 6/12/2015), Yujin wrote,
In the Book of Job, the perplexing question that never really gets answered is this: "Why does God afflict a righteous man?" In fact, this is the fundamental argument of Job's three friends and the reason for their assumption that Job must have sinned. Now, many theologians and preachers are quick to note that it was not God but Satan. But is this a right way of thinking? If a ruler sends out his henchmen to beat someone, who is more culpable, the henchmen or the ruler? And even if the henchmen do their assignment with zeal, does this, therefore, make them more culpable? What is more, we are not talking about any kind of ruler, but God, who "cannot be tempted by evil" (James 1:13). Therefore, even when Satan challenged God about the righteousness of Job, God was not truly enticed to command Job's affliction. After all, doesn't God also know the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). Therefore, God permitting Satan to afflict Job is tantamount to His ordering Satan to do it. And remember, the righteousness of Job was both times brought up by God, not Satan. What is more, throughout the dialogue between Job and his friends, there is no doubt in either party that this affliction was from God. Job, of whom God says that what he says about God is right, declared in Job 12:9-10,
Who among all these does not know
In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
Therefore, let us put out of our minds the notion that it was Satan rather than God who ultimately afflicted Job. Which brings us back to the fundamental question, "Why does God afflict a righteous man?" Some may even wonder, "How is God just in afflicting a righteous man?" Now, we dare not side with Job's friends to conclude that Job is afflicted because God was punishing him for sin. After all, God said that what they said about God is wrong.
In Isaiah 46:10 God says, "My purpose will stand and I will do all that I please." This tells me that God is sovereign, and that sovereignty in part means that He is above the Law. Now, we say that even the most powerful man in the world, the U.S. president, is not above the law. But God is. He is not merely the Ruler of all. He is the Creator of all. More than this, He is the One who makes laws for men. He is the sole Lawgiver, who can, therefore, not only give the law, interpret the law, but also change and abolish the law if He chooses. This is the message of passages like James 4:11-12,
Brothers and sisters, do not slander one another. Anyone who speaks against a brother or sisteror judges them speaks against the law and judges it. When you judge the law, you are not keeping it, but sitting in judgment on it. There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you—who are you to judge your neighbor?
God can judge the law because He is the Lawgiver, but we cannot. For instance, God can indiscriminately kill men, women, and children, even animals, as He did the Amalekites, and He would be entirely in His right to do it; however, people cannot. The Law of Moses was for man and not for God. As the sole Creator, He has that prerogative to save and to destroy. As Bill Cosby joked to his kids, "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out." In truth, he really has no right, but God does.
Therefore, we do not need to find some justification for God's afflicting Job in the laws of God for people. However, perhaps a case can be made that through God's afflicting Job, Job grew in his understanding of God and, though upright, he became even more so after this event. I infer this from Job's final response to God in Job 42:5-6,
My ears had heard of you
As we read Job let us understand that Christians ought to be careful not to spout out all kinds of spiritually-sounding platitudes which may distort Scriptural truths or misrepresent the nature and character of God. I fear that this happens all too often in pulpits and platforms, and people, who don't know the Scriptures, like sheep bleat with emotional approval.
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Tuesday, June 14, 2011, Unmi wrote,
“I have become a laughingstock to my friends, though I called on God and he answered—
a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless! (Job 12:4)
During our last HC, we talked about what things prevent or hinder our ability to share the gospel. We discussed that one of these things is the fear of being ridiculed by our friends, family, and colleagues. Especially in the academic world, any religious belief is considered antiquated and unintelligent...
Although we may not be as righteous and blameless as Job, we do have the same God. As Job said “To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his...To him belong strength and insight; both deceived and deceiver are his." (Job 12:13,16) and this all knowing, all powerful God did not give us the spirit of timidity, but of power to be unashamed of the testimony of our LORD even in suffering.
Paul wrote to Timothy: For this reason I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline. So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. And of this gospel I was appointed a herald and an apostle and a teacher. That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet this is no cause for shame, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him until that day. (2 Timothy 1:6-12)
We have the power of the Holy Spirit to endure all trials and tribulations for the sake of Christ. Let us persevere for the hope that is we have in Christ is greater than the hope that is in this world!
|Passage: Job 11-13|
On Monday, June 13, 2011, Stephen wrote,
Now it's another friend, Zophar, who harasses Job with the wrong accusation that his current affliction came from Job's wickedness before God. His argument is no different from his other friends: If you follow God's decree, you will be blessed with worldly things and if you don't, you'll be punished in such a way that poverty will stricken you and your family, all kinds of diseases will torment you, and of course, short life span will be surely guaranteed. However, Job's argument is that he already knows all that his friend said but that he is innocent. He still searches for the answer from God for his afflictions. I like what he said at the end of chapter 13,
Why do I put myself in jeopardy
He must have been confident that the sufferings came from God but nor necessarily due to his sin. As I meditated on these verses, I remembered Galatians 6:9,
Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.
Doing good does not stop storms from coming on our way! But what is certain is that we have the hiding place that cannot be torn down no matter how severe the storm might be. Godless person may not be permitted to come before God, but we are no longer godless people because Christ paid for our sins and dwells in us. Every suffering that we may have now or will have in the future is going to turn out for our deliverance! We must trust in who He is - His faultless character of faithfulness and enduring love. Job knew and trusted who God is unlike his friends who only knew a god whose action depends on his followers' action. Our walk may falter from time to time, but we will never be crushed just as Apostle Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8,
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair
Let's keep on!