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!