Good morning my friends,
As we continue our discourse on Job I come with a different perspective then when we first began. Having just come off my sick bed from a terrible stomach flu and having at one point asked God to call the mountains down upon me, I feel I have gained a new respect for this man who suffered much. Not only did he have to put up with the constant pain and the thought of his loss, he also had to endure this constant debate. All I wanted to do for the last two days was find a cave and crawl in. Yet here is Job putting up with:
"Dominion and awe belong to God;
he establishes order in the heights of heaven.
Can his forces be numbered?
Upon whom does his light not rise?
How then can a man be righteous before God?
How can one born of woman be pure?
If even the moon is not bright
and the stars are not pure in his eyes,
how much less man, who is but a maggot—
a son of man, who is only a worm!" (Job 25:2-6)
Seems reasonable enough. We all admit it, don’t we? Compared to God’s holiness we could never hope to be righteous. But that would also be underestimating our God. Just because it is impossible to be righteous does not mean that we are not righteous. Job’s perspective of God is so much different than his “friends”:
Death is naked before God;
Destruction lies uncovered.
He spreads out the northern skies over empty space;
he suspends the earth over nothing.
He wraps up the waters in his clouds,
yet the clouds do not burst under their weight.
He covers the face of the full moon,
spreading his clouds over it.
He marks out the horizon on the face of the waters
for a boundary between light and darkness.
The pillars of the heavens quake,
aghast at his rebuke.
By his power he churned up the sea;
by his wisdom he cut Rahab to pieces.
By his breath the skies became fair;
his hand pierced the gliding serpent.
And these are but the outer fringe of his works;
how faint the whisper we hear of him!
Who then can understand the thunder of his power?" (Job 26:6-14)
Who indeed? The power of our God is so great that he can declare what is unrighteous to be righteous and it is so. This is exactly what he did for Abraham who had many character flaws yet pleased God with his faith. It is what he did for Job who pleased God because of his love for God. It is what he has done for us when we place our faith in the promises of Jesus Christ. In this moment of trust God declares us to be his righteous children.
Should we feel then that we have a license to do whatever we want? Not at all, because the heart of a true child of God is so filled with love for God that the only desire we have is to please our God. Listen to Job again:
As surely as God lives, who has denied me justice,
the Almighty, who has made me taste bitterness of soul,
as long as I have life within me,
the breath of God in my nostrils,
my lips will not speak wickedness,
and my tongue will utter no deceit.
I will never admit you are in the right;
till I die, I will not deny my integrity.
I will maintain my righteousness and never let go of it;
my conscience will not reproach me as long as I live. (Job 27:2-6)
In his exuberance perhaps Job overstated his determination. Our integrity only gets us so far. We are not perfect and will continue to prove that God’s act of declaring us righteous is indeed an act of grace. However, you can understand the heart of what Job is saying. Even though he felt that he did not deserve what he was getting, he would rather suffer and trust God than to be healthy without God:
For what hope has the godless when he is cut off,
when God takes away his life?
Does God listen to his cry
when distress comes upon him?
Will he find delight in the Almighty?
Will he call upon God at all times? (Job 27:8-10)
No matter how difficult our journey gets we cannot afford to “Curse God and die”. Jesus Christ is our living hope. It is by his power that we are able to maintain grace under pressure and show faith that will take us through a thousand furnaces. Without him we have nothing. With him we have everything we need.
His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. (2 Peter 1:3)