Faithful Response to a Messy World


Job asks: why does God allow the wicked to prosper, the poor and needy to be abused, and then inflict harm on the righteous? There never seems to be a day of reckoning.  Our perspective and our response must reflect faith toward God and his love toward the world.

1 “Why does the Almighty not set times for judgment?
Why must those who know him look in vain for such days?
2 There are those who move boundary stones;
they pasture flocks they have stolen.
3 They drive away the orphan’s donkey
and take the widow’s ox in pledge.
4 They thrust the needy from the path
and force all the poor of the land into hiding.
5 Like wild donkeys in the desert,
the poor go about their labor of foraging food;
the wasteland provides food for their children.

9 The fatherless child is snatched from the breast;
the infant of the poor is seized for a debt.

12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
and the souls of the wounded cry out for help.
But God charges no one with wrongdoing.
13 “There are those who rebel against the light,
who do not know its ways
or stay in its paths.

22 But God drags away the mighty by his power;
though they become established, they have no assurance of life.
23 He may let them rest in a feeling of security,
but his eyes are on their ways.
24 For a little while they are exalted, and then they are gone;
they are brought low and gathered up like all others;
they are cut off like heads of grain.
Job 24:1-5, 9, 12-13, 22-24

Job asks a question that we might also ask: why does God allow the wicked to prosper, the poor and needy to be abused, and then reduce the righteous to nothing?  That’s what it feels like to Job.  Have you ever felt that way?

It seems like there is never a day of reckoning for those who take advantage of the system or cheat their way through life.  Yet to those who try to live by God’s principles, the Lord inflicts with cancer or takes away their family members.  It seems to Job that God is doing this to him.  Even though we can see that God (in ch 1-2) is allowing these things and not inflicting them, Job’s human experience screams at him: if God could stop this and he doesn’t, isn’t God really culpable in my suffering?

Yesterday we reflected on our desire for certainty and the fulfillment of a life of faith.  We revisit these ideas today.  We want vs. 22 to be real.  Both the wicked and the good – all of us – desire the assurance of life. We desire the certainty that our sowing will result in reaping.  We want assurance that we will receive the wages we have earned.  Life doesn’t always turn out that way.

When it comes to the wicked, who share our hope for assurances in life, we desire for them to be punished.  We don’t want them to live in the highs of their ways.  The wicked’s success infuriates us, because they are shady and seem to be rewarded for it. Our faith must lead us to realize that the presence of the needy is an opportunity for us to love and bless with God’s love toward them.  Rather than blaming God or the wicked, focus on how we can help and love those in need…

Our faith and fulfillment from God must also extend to his dealing with those who choose evil paths. In other words, we must trust God and his perfect justice.  He lets them rest in a feeling of security (vs. 23) but his eyes are on their ways.  They will be brought low in God’s timing.  And that’s it: his timing is not our timing. We are clay cups telling the potter we don’t like how he is handling the clay bowls.

His eyes are on their ways.  Trust him. Have faith in him.  Live a life in your current circumstance which will please him.

Amen.

Marc Kinna

 

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