Morning Light – April 6th, 2016

ml_2016Today: [Job Twenty-Five] Are You a Worm? In this chapter we hear the last time from Job’s comforters. Bildad speaks up and declares to Job that (in his view) no one and nothing in creation can be made pure. He even goes so far as to suggest that even God cannot justify man for any reason. He maintains his assertion that Job suffers at the hand of God because he is sinful. Job likewise agrees that it is in fact (in his view) God tormenting him but it is in spite of what a good person he is.
[Job 25:1-6 KJV] 1 Then answered Bildad the Shuhite, and said, 2 Dominion and fear [are] with him, he maketh peace in his high places. 3 Is there any number of his armies? and upon whom doth not his light arise? 4 How then can man be justified with God? or how can he be clean [that is] born of a woman? 5 Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. 6 How much less man, [that is] a worm? and the son of man, [which is] a worm?
Now we say goodbye to Job’s comforters. Job will reply to Bildad for several chapters and then we will hear from young Elihu. Elihu is a yet unknown presence in this drama. He is a younger man who has stood by all this time listening to Job and listening to his 3 so called friends. He will speak up and in his words we will get another perspective on all the events and dialogue we have studied thus far.
In Bildad’s brief comments we can sense his exhaustion. He and his 3 friends are worn out with this ongoing, strife filled exchange with Job. They haven’t changed their minds and they haven’t influenced Job. They are convinced that Job is a terrible sinner, else he would not be suffering. Job is utterly entrenched in his self-righteousness and won’t hear a word that his friends are saying.
Job’s friends believe he is being punished by God for hidden offenses. Job agrees that God is the point of origin for his agony but contends that he is merely being used for target practice. In Job 10:16 Job compares God is a fierce lion hunting him down for destruction. This is exactly the same comparison Peter made in 1 Peter 5:8 except that Peter was speaking of Satan himself. Job’s attitude toward God and opinion that God is the instigator of his pain is very close to blasphemy.
The generally accepted definition of blasphemy is attributing the works of God to Satan. One example would be Matt. 12:24 when the detractors against Jesus accused Him of casting out devils by the prince of devils. What Job and his friends do is equivalent to this in the reverse. They attribute to God the works of Satan. In Job 1:11,12 God points out to Satan that because of Job’s fear (Job 3:35) all that Job has is in Satan’s hand and not God. Therefore what Job and his friends see as God’s severe treatment of Job actually originates with Satan and not from the Father. They are attributing the works of Satan to God.
How often do we do this? A storm destroys our property and the insurance company calls it an “act of God”. Something good comes from something bad and we attribute the good and the bad to God. One remarkable instance is that of quadriplegic Joni Erickson Tada. On her radio broadcast she declares that when she broke her spine in a swimming accident it was the actually God who was “pleased” to make her a quadriplegic for His greater glory. However tragic this may be and regardless of the wonderful way in Joni has served God in spite of her injury – there is no biblical basis for suggesting that God is the originator of the mishap that struck Joni down. The verse that Joni uses to make her claim is in Isaiah:
[Isa 53:10 KJV] 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put [him] to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see [his] seed, he shall prolong [his] days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.
This verse speaks of the substitutionary work of Christ on the cross. Only Jesus can be made an offering for sin. Jesus was pure, sinless, virgin born. He was the perfect lamb singularly capable of taking away the sins of the world. God can only be justified in sending a SINLESS LAMB to the cross in our behalf. For God to send a person born in sin to their death or injury is not compatible with what we know of His nature. Jesus suffered for us. We cannot legitimately suffer for ANY REASON other than arising from the consequence of being fallen creatures in a fallen world.
When we suffer it is not God loving us, giving us a message, teaching us and using us to be testimony of faithfulness in the midst of trial. It is completely inconsistent with the claims of Christ and what the bible tells us of God’s nature. Now in the midst of suffering God will love us. In the midst of suffering God will give us messages. In the midst of suffering God will teach us and give us a testimony to inspire others. God is an opportunist in regard to our own difficult circumstances. However just because God is WITH US in the midst of trials does not mean that He is instigating our suffering as Job and his 3 friends suggest and as many in Christian culture believe today.
To Job’s continued insistence of his own righteousness, Bildad declares that there is no state of righteousness or purity that exists in the created world. In verse 4 he states that in his view even God Himself cannot justify sinful man. This is a total and complete encapsulation of the performance based approach to God. Bildad and his friends and Job for that matter make in their thinking an irrevocable connection between their actions and character and their idea of what is required to approach God. They think that only good character and right deeds influence the heart of God where man is concerned. They have no understanding of the unconditional love of God that takes responsibility for the sin, sinner, and the consequences of sin.
In Christ we become new creatures (2 Cor. 5:17) transforming first who we are. In Christ we have forgiveness for every action of transgression (Eph. 1:17 – in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins…). In Christ the rigors of the fall are reversed and we are relieved of the curse and brought into a place of both temporal and eternal benefit and blessing (John 10:10). At no point in all of this – the full scope of redemption do we see God vacillating or withholding for Himself the right to suspend His promise in order to impose suffering upon us for any reason. There are reasons that we suffer and it does have it’s origins that can be found out – but they have nothing to do with God arbitrarily or capriciously choosing to afflict us for any obscure or ineffable reason.

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