The Joy of Glory

Discovering endless joy in the boundless glory of God…

Tag: theology

Lent Devotional: Job 25

Job 25 (click here)
How then can man be in the right before God? How can he who is born of woman be pure? 5 Behold, even the moon is not bright, and the stars are not pure in his eyes; 6 how much less man, who is a maggot, and the son of man, who is a worm! (Job 25:4-6)

There is some truth in Bildad’s words. No person can be considered 100% in the right before God on the basis of their own merits. However, the point Bildad (and all Job’s friends) have been driving home is that either Job is in the wrong or God is in the wrong. The one thing Bildad has not considered is that he may be in the wrong.

His understanding of God is so tightly put together that he has no room to bring his own theology  under scrutiny. He cannot fathom a situation in which Job is not in the wrong and neither is God… but that is precisely the reality!

We must be willing to allow God to constantly teach us more about himself and more about who he is. We often form a “solid” image of God. We build this image from many things… such as… things we were taught growing up, our favorite Scriptures, things we’ve heard preachers say, etc. But, what happens when we encounter a Scripture that says something we don’t like… perhaps it corrects a belief we hold about God? What do we do then?

We dare not hold onto an image of God we have made… that is the very definition of idolatry! We must hold onto to the image of God as he has revealed himself to us. Often we take even things that are true, like Bildad, and distort them to our own understanding or purposes. We must be careful not to put ourselves in a position where we are attempting to teach God what he is like… no… he is the teacher and we are always the learner.

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

Lent Devotional: Job 4-5

Job 4-5 (click here)
Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off? 8 As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. (Job 4:7-8)

Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. 18 For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal. (Job 5:17-18)

Flat, overly-simplified theology is dangerous. The world is complex, we are complex, situations are complex…things are not as simple as they seem. All too often we take something that is true and apply it in a very flat/rigid manner that Scripture simply will not allow.

This is the fault of Eliphaz (and the rest of Job’s friends). The basic truth he latches onto is that God punishes the wicked and upholds the righteous. We know that to be true, but the way in which that truth plays out in life is very complex. Eliphaz attempts to apply it in a very flat, overly-simplified way. Job is suffering…God punishes the wicked…therefore Job must have done something wrong and is being punished as a result.

Eliphaz offers an equally simple solution. Job needs to repent and God will bind up his wounds and heal him…restore him. The situation seems very cut and dry. Yet, we know that Job is not suffering as a result of sin. There is no punishment present. This is innocent suffering. Eliphaz has no category for that.

Innocent suffering does not undo the truth that God punishes the wicked and upholds the righteous…for God will uphold his justice, but in his time and his way. He works from an eternal perspective that we simply cannot see.

This is why we, like Job, must walk by faith…trusting God. When it comes to our pain and the pain of others…we must avoid simple diagnoses and prescriptions.  Job knows that he does not “deserve” his present suffering. God must be doing something other than “punishing” him. God must have a deeper purpose, for he does not allow any of our pain to be meaningless no matter how senseless it feels to us (2 Cor 4:17).

*The complete SVCC Lenten reading guide is available here.

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