Monday, April 23, 2012

Pain and Providence- Job 12

I'm sure we are familiar enough with the story of Job to jump right into this chapter.

Job Replies: The Lord Has Done This

Then Job answered and said:“No doubt you are the people,
and wisdom will die with you.
But I have bunderstanding as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know csuch things as these?
We live in a world of 'talking head' opinions. Even in the world of faith, there seems to be an overload of 'how to' and 'you should'. Job is suffering the misguided and uninformed opinion of his friends and he does not back down. He gives proper pushback.

4 I am a laughingstock to my friends; I, who called to God and he answered me, a just and blameless man, am a laughingstock.
 But WHEN we do the right things and the circumstances of life turn harsh.. it is hard. And when God seems to delay in our prayers to remedy a situation, it is harder. And when people mock us in the midst of those struggles or misunderstand us, it seems unbearable.

5 In the thought of one who is fat ease there is contempt for misfortune; it is ready for those whose feet slip. gThe tents of robbers are at peace,
and those who provoke God are secure,
who bring their god in their hand.
This is a very similar though pattern to Psalm 73. There are times that it looks like the wicked are living lives of ease and the righteous struggle. And there is a truth contained in here as well in that most people do not want to see the suffering of others. When you are hurting, it can seem to be a lonely place. Sometimes, even our own family does not seem to really sympathize.

“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you;the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you;or the bushes of the earth,2 and they will teach you;and the fish of the sea will declare to you.Who among all these does not knowthat hthe hand of the Lord has done this?10 In ihis hand is the life of every living thingand the breath of all mankind.
No man can ever escape the reality of His creation to proclaim his existence. Our greatest shame will be when we see the Creator and recognize that we continually ignore His presence and existence. I had this thought recently looking at Leo and Una, the two lions on display at the University of North Alabama. 

11 Does not jthe ear test words
as the palate tastes food?12 Wisdom is with kthe aged,
and understanding in length of days.
Another big problem. We have no clue how to really discern truth from fiction in arguments. I heard recently about a debate where a Christian debated a skeptic at a local university. When the debate was over, the professional critics all agreed that the Christian apologist had won the debate. His points were logical and his evidence was impressive. The department chair, who was not a christian, was not happy with the performance of the skeptic.

But when the organizers looked at the student responses, the skeptic was listed as a slam dunk winner by an almost 4-1 margin. I'm afraid that we are quickly losing the ability to discern truth from error. The justification of knowledge is quietly dying away.
Young people will hardly listen to anyone who seems 'old fashioned' and most people who seem to be 'hip' are given the winning edge in the arena of opinion.

13 l“With God3 are wisdom and might;
he has counsel and understanding.14 If he tears down, none can rebuild;
if he mshuts a man in, none can open.15 If he nwithholds the waters, they dry up;
if he osends them out, they overwhelm the land.

God is KING. He is in charge. NOTHING happens outside of His allowance and permission. And we cannot do anything about that. To stop Him is as easy as jumping into the ocean to stop the waves or tide.

16  With him are strength and psound wisdom;
the deceived and the deceiver are his.
17 He leads qcounselors away stripped,
and rjudges he makes fools.
18 He slooses the bonds of kings
and binds a waistcloth on their hips.
19 He leads priests away stripped
and overthrows the mighty.
20 He deprives of speech those who are trusted
tand takes away the discernment of the elders.
21 He upours contempt on princes
and loosens the belt of the strong.

He seems to be a God of great irony. In His providence, He proves the ability to turn upside things right. No one escapes His will.

22 He vuncovers the deeps out of darkness
and brings wdeep darkness to light.

I can't help to think of Jesus- "What is whispered in secret will be shouted on roof tops". When light shines on the darkness, it retreats. Sin left unexposed, grows. I think light is one of God's great gifts!

23 He xmakes nations great, and he destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and yleads them away.24 He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth
and zmakes them wander in a trackless waste.25 They agrope in the dark without light,
and he makes them bstagger like a drunken man.

So what of this? 

Here I am on a 'blue Monday'. I have seemed a little down... a little weary... playing a small pity party just to myself.

And this convicts me, because my suffering is nothing compared to Job. His pain was in the loss of everything, including his children. He was scraping open and oozing boils on his body.
Why am I down?

In the depths of mild depression, it is good to proclaim the sovereignty of God. He ordains all my days... good and bad... happy and sad.

The key is to hold fast. This King is trustworthy.

No comments: