Friday, August 29, 2014

Job, chapter 9:14-21 comments: our problem with God's sovereignty

14 ¶  How much less shall I answer him, and choose out my words to reason with him? 15  Whom, though I were righteous, yet would I not answer, but I would make supplication to my judge. 16  If I had called, and he had answered me; yet would I not believe that he had hearkened unto my voice. 17  For he breaketh me with a tempest, and multiplieth my wounds without cause. 18  He will not suffer me to take my breath, but filleth me with bitterness. 19  If I speak of strength, lo, he is strong: and if of judgment, who shall set me a time to plead? 20  If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse. 21  Though I were perfect, yet would I not know  my soul: I would despise my life.

Job goes on with, what can I say against God?

Zechariah 2:13  Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.

But Job is insisting upon his injury as an innocent man. He repeats what God had said to Satan, even though he didn’t hear it. He says that God, “multiplieth,” his, “wounds without cause.” Job laments that he cannot argue with God, that God has broken him and Job isn’t even allowed to catch his breath. He blames God for filling him with bitterness. Job acknowledges that he has no words with which to justify himself before God, as none of us do. The very act of trying to justify ourselves before a Holy and Righteous God condemns us as perverse. Even if Job were without sin he would not argue to save his miserable life.* All a man or woman can do with God is to throw themselves at his feet and plead for mercy.

We have something wonderful today that Job did not have access to in his time. We have the Holy Spirit of God living inside of each of us who believe.

John 14:23  Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.

Romans 8:9  But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

    10 ¶  And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. 11  But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.

Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Any man or woman who realizes the wretched state that they are in as a human being, a state of inability to please God, to honor God, to glorify God, and to love God by virtue of their sinful condition can come to Christ and be saved. Only the person who realizes that they are morally bankrupt in and of themselves will come to Christ and depend on His righteousness and not their own to have eternal life. This is one way to spiritualize the following verse from Christ’s popularly named, “Sermon on the Mount,” and claim it for yourself.

Matthew 5:3  Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

That Spirit can comfort us, as I’ve quoted verses before showed, in a way that Job did not have the ability to call upon.

Job acknowledges that he cannot justify himself before God but then proceeds to declare that he has been unfairly picked on and that the bitterness that fills him is God’s fault. Here we are approaching a difficult lesson for the modern Christian, particularly the American Christian, about God’s sovereignty and absolute authority to dispose of him or her and the issues of their lives as He sees fit. It is a very disturbing doctrine. I can understand why successful people, gifted people, handsome people, pretty people, popular people, accomplished people, and people  who have acquired great material possessions might, in their exaltation of their own godlike self-view, reject the God of the Bible as their enemy. Indeed, they would be the enemy of God. Can you, who don’t believe you need God, hope to contend against Him? What do you hope to accomplish?

Who here, who has experienced a great and seemingly needless and senseless tragedy, even if they point at things they did or didn’t do that might have led to it, has not said, “God, why did you do this to me?”, or, “God, why did you let this happen to me?”

You screamed and cried with many tears, “God, I know I didn’t do the right things, the needful things, but I did what I knew, what I was told by society, your preachers, and my parents, and this happened anyway!” Or perhaps you believe you did the right thing, the Godly thing. “God, I was in church every time the doors were opened. Maybe I didn’t have regular family devotions. Maybe we didn’t read the Bible and pray together every day but my children heard lots of good preaching and were around Godly men and women. How could you let this happen?”

We are broken with a storm, a tempest, as Job put it, and God seems to multiply our wounds without cause. Some of us are so angry at God if this happens that we want to kill ourselves and are in grave danger of doing so.

We have such a hard time with God’s sovereignty in those times, as did Job.

(*Note: The soul’s and the body’s fate are spoken of often in the Old Testament as the same. What happens to the body happens to the soul, a death and decay that is never-ending (Isaiah 66:24). However, when a person receives Christ as their Saviour and has the Holy Spirit of God indwelling them their soul is cut from their flesh and the soul does not receive the judgment the flesh must.

From the Old Testament;

Ezekiel 18:4  Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.

And from the New the only type of the former Jewish circumcision (not baptism), a spiritual circumcision;

Colossians 2:10  And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power: 11  In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 12  Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.)

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