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The technology of today has made transpiring events available to almost everyone simultaneously. We watch even the most horrendous tragedies unfold in real time. Then again, because we see so many things in the moment – we often lack the full context of what came before (perhaps precipitating the event) or what came after – uncovering facts we couldn’t see, hear or digest in the moment. The result? We draw conclusions – and maybe even act on those conclusions before we get the whole truth, and not just a fraction of it. Then again, that’s really nothing new. In fact, it is central to all that is happening in the book of Job, as today’s reading in 37-42:6 demonstrates.
I’m Reid Ferguson, and we’ll talk a bit more about that today on Through the Word in 2020. Thanks for joining us.
In addition to our Job passage today, we also have 2 Timothy 4:19–22 and Luke 12:54–56. Jesus’ words in that short passage also showing how we can have information right in front of us, and yet still draw wrong or inadequate conclusions. And in the case of Biblical truth, that can have eternal consequences.
Finally, after all of the speeches of Job himself denying that his sufferings are traceable to some specific area of sin in his life; after all 3 of his comforters telling him there absolutely must be a direct correlation between his sins and his suffering; and after the younger Elihu rises up and pronounces Job and his friends wrong – God Himself speaks.
The problem God points out is that all sides were drawing their conclusions about the whole affair, when they needed a whole lot more information than what they had been working with. Job rushed to judgment about God. His 3 friends rushed to judgment about Job. Elihu rushed to judgment about all of them. And God needs to set the record straight.
And while the following is horribly simplistic, it seems to me that what happens in today’s portion comes down to these few things.
1. God begins by challenging Job’s right to question Him. God is never on trial. We are. And whenever we get that upside down, everything else suffers.
2. God goes on to address the reality that He knows all, when they are trying to arrive at ultimate truth with a limited number of facts. “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?” Why have you determined that because you can’t figure this all out, that there is no answer at all – or at least a legitimate one? Our lack of being able to understand something, is no argument that it is unreasonable, irrational or wrong.
3. God addresses the problem of not paying attention to Creation as a whole so as to conclude something critical: It’s as if He says – “I’ve ordered and administrate the entire habitable world for the benefit, safety and blessing of man. And if I’ve designed and operate the entire physical creation – out into the far reaches of the cosmos – then can there possibly be anything in what I have allowed in your case to be any less constructed? And as the whole of creation demonstrates deep complexity and wisdom – then is my wisdom somehow suspended in your case? Why not, from comprehending the frame and operation of it all, obviously created in beauty, form and function – assume that the same remains true in your circumstances even now? Why not give me the benefit of your doubt, that simply because you cannot understand what’s going on doesn’t mean I have in anyway changed? If my beneficence operates on a cosmic scale, doesn’t it make sense to assume that it holds true for you? After all – you are part of the fabric of it all as well.”
How many times I’ve needed to rehearse these very same things in my days of pain and questioning.
Think on that today Christian.
God willing we’ll be back tomorrow.