Job knows who God is

Job Sees The Light - Thirteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 12:1-3 NIV How should Job answer his friends? How should we answer when the Adversary accuses us? How can we? It is impossible to converse, to make sense, to defend ourselves. You cannot reason with the Devil to outwit or outtalk him. You can only know and trust that Christ has power to deliver his own, and he will do it in his time. Your answer can only be: Jesus is Lord.

But Job lived B.C. He reprimands his friends and tries to establish himself as deserving of respect.

Job 12:4-5 NIV Job would like for his friends to feel how they are making him feel. If they themselves were suffering, they would not look down on him in his calamity.

In fact, it is only possible for those at ease to identify with those in turmoil if they have experienced a similar or deep circumstance or trial. That is one real value of a trial. (2 Cor 1:4)

Job 12:6 NIV Can't they see that those who robbed him are enjoying luxury while he is suffering an unjust pounding? Yet Job knows the wicked are in plain view of God.

Job 12:7-10 NIV Job agrees with his friends that nothing occurs outside the will of God. God is either sovereign over his creation, or he is not God. Those marauders could not have managed their evil deeds except that God permitted it. Even the animals and fish know this. But why did God permit it? Who is to blame: the Sabeans or the Lord?

The way in which free will meshes with his sovereignty is mysterious. To say that the Sabeans carried off Job's cattle of their own free will is true, despite being urged by Satan to do so, who was permitted by God to urge them.

They did so gladly, but could they have stood against Satan's urging? Yes, if they had been people of God, desiring to do his will, they would have called on God and received courage to overcome the temptation to steal. But since they were serving themselves, Satan easily encouraged them to do his work.

We can still wonder whether God might not have given them power to restrain themselves; after all, he could have as easily strengthened them against Satan as not. Yet in his sovereignty, he chose to let them freely chose. If a sinful act is done voluntarily, that is enough to establish guilt, irrespective of whether the sinner could have avoided the act. [Calvin]

As humans, we puzzle over how freedom and determinism both are true. We know that man has real choices and that God is completely sovereign. The Westminster Confession says:

God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: (Eph 1:11 et al) yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin (Jas 1:13 et al), nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (Acts 2:23 et al) (WC III, Section I)

Applying this to the crucifixion, we can see that God sent his Son to die for our sins, (1Jo 4:10) yet the crucifixion was done by the will of the people; (Mar 15:14, Jhn 19:15). It was necessary for Christ to die (Luk 24:26, Acts 17:3); the liberty (Jhn 10:18) and contingency (1Cor 15:14) of that is well understood.

We can trust that all things work together for good for those who love God. (Rom 8:28) Whatever occurs is useful to the Christian for his growth in Christ, and God can take any circumstance and bring good from it for those whom he has called.

Job 12:11-12 NIV Job is about to “speak wisdom to power.” Though there is only one of him and three of them, he has the intellect and years of experience to prove he is not inferior to them!

Job 12:13-20 NIV Was there a prophecy in that last verse?

Job continues to speak confidently of an omniscient, omnipotent, righteous God who sees all and has the power to punish and to expose the unrighteous. (Job 12:21-25)

Come to think of it, God is the only one whose ends always justify his means. Whatever he does in the lives of good or evil people is for the purpose of achieving good ends. Amazing!

Awe in Remembrance

Remembrance and its opposite - Tenth in a series

When God studies our hearts to find out if we appreciate his care and help, he will look first to see whether we love Jesus Christ.

Reflecting upon the providential works of the Lord, Psalm 22 comes to mind. Here, Israel's King David prophesies Christ's crucifixion, a thousand years before the event:

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (Ps 22:15-18)

The vision is exact: specific details are foreseen, later to be corroborated in the Gospel accounts.

How does the Spirit impart the future to a human mind? Is time an illusion? How does it happen that evil men providentially crucified God's only begotten son to make him both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36)? Surely God is in control of all events and all people, a comforting thought, though jarring.

Which is the more jarring thought: That Christ chose to be cruelly crucified, sacrificing his life so that we might be reconciled to the Father; or that God the Father demanded capital punishment for the sin of man, designing that nothing but the death of his only son could render that justice; or that we, the sheep of his pasture, are provided not only salvation and eternal life, but also daily help for every need by our loving God and Creator?

Can anyone enumerate the works of God?

Remembrance and its opposite - Eighth in a series

In our previous post, we focused on remembering the Lord for his work of Creation. Now we turn to his works of providence.

A Sunday School teacher may be asked: What is providence? Usually a student would like to understand how— if God controls all of history— can man have free will? This is not easy to explain. At such times it's well to have the Westminster Confession and Catechisms on hand. The first tenet of Chapter 3 in the Confession, "Of God's Eternal Decree," states:

God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so, as thereby neither is God the author of sin, nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures; nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established.

Beyond that, the first point of Chapter 5, Of Providence, is pertinent:

God the great Creator of all things does uphold, direct, dispose, and govern all creatures, actions, and things, from the greatest even to the least, by His most wise and holy providence, according to His infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of His own will, to the praise of the glory of His wisdom, power, justice, goodness, and mercy.

For any who are not familiar with the Westminster Confession and Catechisms, more information is here.

In the Larger Catechism a question is framed: How doth God execute his decrees? The answer is: God executes his decrees in the works of creation and providence, according to his infallible foreknowledge, and the free and immutable counsel of his own will.

What are these works? The Larger Catechism explains: God's works of providence are his most holy, wise, and powerful preserving and governing all his creatures; ordering them, and all their actions, to his own glory.

We can be sure that God is working all things together for good, for those who love him. (Rom 8:28) Whether supplying our individual needs and desires or superintending the overarching culture and events that affect our lives, God’s works of providence will culminate in fullest blessing for the faithful.

We are warned that to forget his immeasurable kindness and faithful watchcare is a deadly oversight. (Deut 8:19) We are encouraged to trust that God is working his purposes out: a day is coming when the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea. (Isa 11:9)

Psalm 106 is an uplifting litany of God's faithful help and works on behalf of his children, despite their —and our— frequent disobedience and wandering from his pastures. Nevertheless he regarded their affliction, when he heard their cry. (Ps 106:44) What he has done for others, he will do for you.

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all his praise? (Ps 106:1-2)

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

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Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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