Bible Reading Blog
“We Are Not God”Categories: Congregational Bible Reading
BIBLE READING: Job 20-21
“…the exulting of the wicked is short, and the joy of the godless but for a moment… The heavens will reveal his iniquity, and the earth will rise up against him… This is the wicked man’s portion from God, the heritage decreed for him by God.” (Job 20.5, 27, 29)
In observing the conversation between Job and his friends, it can be difficult to distinguish between righteousness and human rationale. Job’s friends offer some compelling arguments and there are times when Job appears pretentious in defense of his righteousness.
If you’re like me, you may relate to how Job’s friends approach the situation. If things aren’t going well, we encourage people to make changes because what they’re doing isn’t working and God isn’t the one who is changing (Malachi 3.6). While these thoughts have some merit, there are a couple of things we must remember:
1. No one really knows “why” anything is happening. It seems fair to affirm God’s judgment upon the wicked, because there is a degree to which this will be true (Psalm 1.5; 75.10; Ecclesiastes 3.17). However, God’s judgment is promised as ultimate and final, meaning it may not be realized in this life. Wisdom teaches sometimes the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper (Psalm 73.12-14; Job 21.7-ff), and that time and chance happen to all (Ecclesiastes 9.11). To assert that Job is suffering for his choices is to make judgments in a place where God had not completely revealed himself. We can fairly assert what we know about God, but to presume we know his purposes and rationale is a step too far (Job 42.7-8).
2. We need to be cautious how we represent God. To definitively state God’s purposes communicates that we know all that God knows. As well-meaning as it may be, this is an affront to God. The sovereign purposes and infinite nature of God cannot be defined by our feeble human mind. We can only know what God has revealed about himself and his will. It is his place to assert judgment. It is his character and prerogative that defines what is and what is not.
This doesn’t negate conviction or assertion of godly principles, but we must do it with humility and grace. We are not God. “…we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8.28). We will never be exactly where someone else is in terms of faith and understanding. We know that God allows what he wills to shape and enlighten us, if we are willing. And so, let us humbly affirm God’s sovereignty so that we too may receive mercy and find grace to help in our time of need (Hebrews 4.16).
“Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight.” (Romans 12. 16)