Reflecting on the Hand of God


I heard this week that the situation is not about the situation.  The situation is about what God is doing in us through the situation. Oftentimes, our circumstances display God working in us and through us to his glory in the world…

1 Then Eliphaz the Temanite replied:
2 “Can a man be of benefit to God?
Can even a wise person benefit him?
3 What pleasure would it give the Almighty if you were righteous?
What would he gain if your ways were blameless?
4 “Is it for your piety that he rebukes you
and brings charges against you?
5 Is not your wickedness great?
Are not your sins endless?

21 “Submit to God and be at peace with him;
in this way prosperity will come to you.
22 Accept instruction from his mouth
and lay up his words in your heart.
23 If you return to the Almighty, you will be restored…

1 Then Job replied:

3 If only I knew where to find him;
if only I could go to his dwelling!
4 I would state my case before him
and fill my mouth with arguments.
5 I would find out what he would answer me,
and consider what he would say to me.
6 Would he vigorously oppose me?
No, he would not press charges against me.
7 There the upright can establish their innocence before him,
and there I would be delivered forever from my judge.

10 But he knows the way that I take;
when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.
11 My feet have closely followed his steps;
I have kept to his way without turning aside.
12 I have not departed from the commands of his lips;
I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.
Job 22:1-5, 21-23, 23:1, 3-7, 10-12

Eliphaz’ approach with Job is to assume that he is wicked and sinful, and that is why God is punishing him.  If Job would only submit to God and return to him in repentance, Eliphaz says he will be restored. It’s easy to understand why he says this, because one of the clear teachings of the Bible is that if we turn from our wicked ways he will heal our land.  Cause and effect.

No wonder Eliphaz assumes Job is full of sin.  Job’s condition made it look like he was bearing the consequence of God.  This reminds us of Jesus’ interaction with the man who was blind from birth.

1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
John 9:1-3

God is working within us.  His work is not one-dimensional or even two-dimensional.  God’s work within us is part of his mystery. We can’t always do the math of his interaction with us, yet we know that it isn’t as simple as saying that our tests and trials are consequences.  Often, God is working for his glory and displaying his work through us.

Job knows this because in his own reply, he identifies that he is just and righteous before God.  God said this about Job in the beginning of this book, and Job knows himself that he is blameless (not perfect, mind you) before God.  Don’t get any ideas about claiming this for yourself.  We know that Job is unique, like Enoch of old.  Like Elijah, who didn’t have to die.  These are rarities in the story of God and humanity.

So inasmuch as we see that calamity can come to even those who are blameless, our encouragement today is more related to trusting God and setting our course.  Look at what Job says in 23:10: God knows the way I take: my feet have closely followed his steps.

Are the words of God your daily bread (vs 12)?  This is Job’s example for us.  And as we follow Job as he follows God, we will not be able to guarantee our freedom from crises. However, we can come forth as gold as we continue to walk in faith through whatever we face.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

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