Lent Devotional: Job 12
by Jonathan Haefs
Job 12 (click here)
The tents of robbers are at peace, and those who provoke God are secure, who bring their god in their hand. 7 But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; 8 or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. 9 Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this? 10 In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind. (Job 12:6-10)
Job bluntly tells his friends that their nice and neat theology does not square with what actually happens in the world. The wicked do not seem to always be punished and the righteous do not seem to always be rewarded.
Just look at robbers who live in peace and luxury or people who provoke God, disregard him, or worship false gods…many of them live in prosperity and relative ease. And lest Job’s friends try to say that God is obviously not involved in these exceptions to their rules…he calls on all of creation to testify concerning the sovereign power of God! In his hand is EVERY living thing!
The very reason Job is confused amidst his suffering is because he knows that God is in control. Is this not the reason we are often confused amidst our suffering? Pain is only problematic to those who believe in a good, loving, all-powerful God. This is what leads us to question the way God is running the universe, namely, the fact that he IS running the universe.
Yet…the most interesting thing about what Job is says in verse 9 is the name he chooses to use for God… “the LORD.” This is God’s covenant name…Yahweh. In all of the many speeches throughout the book, this is the only place God’s covenant name is invoked. The name recalls God’s faithful-never-ending-love for his people.
Job may be confused about how God could be in control of his situation, but he is quick to remind himself that, no matter how confusing, it is a hopeful thing that all is in the hand of the LORD…the faithful, loving one. The events of our lives may often seem confusing in light of God being in control, but that same truth is what brings comfort amidst the confusion for we know that God is good and can be trusted.
*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.