Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Job 35:9-16 comments: trust and humility versus "ma rahts."

9 ¶  By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the oppressed to cry: they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. 10  But none saith, Where is God my maker, who giveth songs in the night; 11  Who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven? 12  There they cry, but none giveth answer, because of the pride of evil men. 13  Surely God will not hear vanity, neither will the Almighty regard it.

Elihu, in seeming to answer Job in 24:12 says that the oppressed cry because of the many oppressions placed on them by powerful men. They want justice and mercy. But, they will not get it because they do not seek God’s assistance in it. They do not honor God or beg His help. This is the God who comforts us and as many Bible-believing Christians know, gives us songs of praise and thanksgiving in the early hours of the morning as we lay half-asleep, if our minds are focused on Him at other times.

Isaiah 26:3  Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

The beasts of the earth don’t have the wisdom and understanding of human beings. He has given us more awareness. Each person has the capacity to know God through the, “express image of his person,” (Hebrews 1:3) who is the Lord Jesus Christ, and the beasts of the earth cannot see in their minds what is going on. Their attentions are simple and basic. Only man, as far as we know, considers eternity, and is held accountable for the result of that consideration.

Evolutionary scientists, who do not believe either in God, or in Jesus Christ as being God, have studied the psychology of belief in God. There are several interesting books on the subject, such as Why God Won’t Go Away: Brain Science and the Biology of Belief and How God Changes Your Brain: Breakthrough Findings from a Leading Neuroscientist by Dr. Andrew Newberg and his associates. Newberg, a researcher at the Ivy League University of Pennsylvania, has studied how religious faith and belief are healthful and positive influences in the mind no matter what you believe or what religion. He seems to say that mankind has the capacity and built-in need to believe in the spiritual, but lacks the ability to determine what is true or not. I would say that we have the capacity to receive what God wants us to have but usually choose not to accept it. We will prefer to follow a man in a cult-type setting and to be spoonfed our chosen “truth,” a doctrine that suits our personality and feeds our fears and bigotry, and that justifies our complacency and intellectual sloth.

Most Christians, as most Muslims, most Hindus, or any other faith you can imagine don’t really know why they believe what they believe or have any practical application of faith in their lives. They’ve been told what to think by a preacher of some kind and are not willing to search it out. Christians, in particular, resist being taught by the Holy Ghost through the Scriptures. It is not usual to find a Christian who has read the Bible through even once in their lifetime, and if you pressured them about why they believe a certain doctrine, for instance, why they should dress modestly, they would not be able to give you a Bible reason in context without help. In fact, many good and faithful Christians sitting in the pews of fundamentalist churches today would make good and faithful Muslims and Hindus if they lived in Saudi Arabia or India, as long as their faith isn’t challenged, as Job’s has been.

Newberg bases his findings on the evolutionary success of religious belief which I find, is preposterous. If evolution were true not only would man not need or want a brain that consumed 60% of his body’s available energy but he would be successful only by just being the strongest animal, the most clever hunter, etc. and therefore, shouldn’t even exist in the numbers and varied environments that he does. Population bottlenecks where humanity was reduced to a small number by disaster or disease should have killed him long ago, rendered him extinct. Wouldn’t what actually happened be survival of the luckiest rather than the fittest? There is no accounting for human history without God.

We have more wisdom than the beasts of the earth and therefore, more responsibility. The oppressed who cry out but not to God, who do not exchange their natural human wickedness for Christ’s righteousness, hear nothing and get nothing from God as help in their oppression unless it is part of His greater will in which they are unknowing participants.

While our culture tends to glorify the oppressed and the poor by virtue of their state of being oppressed or poor God still does not regard their cry if they are none of His, if they reject Him and do not consider him. If you are oppressed by virtue of your social status, your race or ethnicity, or for any other cause the very first thing you must do is to place yourself under God’s protection and providence, receive Jesus Christ as your Saviour, and look to Him as your defense. Then, you can take action based on Biblical principles to have the injustice alleviated. There is nothing more desperately pathetic than a person who is oppressed, beset upon, and poor who is also wicked and evil.

God Almighty will not hear vanity, empty words, and cries of frustration based on worship of the god, Self, nor will He regard it.

    14 ¶  Although thou sayest thou shalt not see him, yet judgment is before him; therefore trust thou in him. 15  But now, because it is not so, he hath visited in his anger; yet he knoweth it not in great extremity: 16  Therefore doth Job open his mouth in vain; he multiplieth words without knowledge.

Job has said that he can’t see God nor does he understand what God is doing to him or why. See chapter 23:8, 9. Not being able to see God, who will reveal Himself only at His will and discretion, and who has revealed Himself by the Lord Jesus Christ and through His words in the Bible, is no hindrance from believing in Him. Even atheists believe in many things they cannot see with the naked eye. No one has ever seen an atom, an electron, a proton, or any one of the other subatomic particles including a wave or particle of light. No one has ever seen something that happened without a witness eons ago. So, no atheist can ever see their “Big Bang” happening, their Abiogenesis or life occurring from inanimate matter, or any other of the things they guess and postulate about a Godless eternity extending limitless ages behind us.

But, they believe in these things anyway because they are the best way to explain reality without God and this justifies their world view. They believe them experientially based on effects produced by something which they cannot see. They are able to make theories and put those theories into practical application so that the theories seem to be justified. This happens until they hit a roadblock and then another theory arises. The fundamental point of the theories is that they cannot include God. In order to justify himself and to keep from thinking about a just God judging mankind he is compelled to assert a theory that will exclude the possibility of God.

These people are so religiously zealous, like the medieval Roman church, that they will figuratively burn heretics at the stake by insisting they be fired from colleges and universities, for even suggesting that life was created by an intelligent force, perhaps even an alien civilization. They will permit those who entertain ideas like Panspermia, where the seeds of life travel to earth from a stellar cloud, because that doesn’t imply a reason for it, a purpose to it, or any intelligent design behind it. Yet, there is no explanation that more suits the evidence of biological life and its beginnings and existence as a rare thing, for all we know, than Almighty God.

So, not being able to see something does not inhibit belief in it if the effect it causes can be explained by it. Any Bible-believer who has experienced the power of God on their lives in changing and molding their opinions and viewpoints and behavior as well as the circumstances of their lives knows that God is real. He has the confirmation of the oldest primary source in history, the Bible, God’s testimony of Himself, and he has the faith given to him by God once he believed and was saved. He also has tremendous evidence from answered prayer; answers of yes, no, and wait which he can measure by the Scripture’s clear words and promises and the example set in Biblical times.

God is real and the Bible-believer knows it and has many infallible reasons, proofs, to believe. As the scientist, Newberg, showed, believing in God even affects your brain chemistry and changes you in positive ways, just by virtue of that belief. I am not doubting that atoms or other sub-atomic particles exist. I am just pointing out that rational, intelligent belief is not based on sight alone.

Elihu points out that judgment is with God and to trust in Him. The three Hebrews that were subjects of the Babylonian king insisted that they would trust God whether or not He delivered them from certain death in the fiery furnace, acknowledging that trust goes beyond just getting what you prayed for as the focus is on the one trusted for eternity, not on the person engaged in belief. You must acknowledge God’s authority and power over your life and over the universe to trust in Him. You also have to believe in eternity with Him as Daniel even spoke of a resurrection. Read Daniel, chapter 3, and also see Daniel 12:2.

Rather than trust God and humble himself before God, Job has devoted himself to proclaiming his own righteousness and the injustice done to him. We would do well, in the extremity of any affliction or terrible circumstance, not to stand back, head up, screaming about how we have been wronged by God, but to humble ourselves before Him and seek His mercy. Elihu has not accused Job of hypocrisy as Job’s friends did, claiming he must have been guilty of some horrible sins to have done what was done to him, but Elihu has pointed out the foolishness and sin of Job’s proclamations of self-righteousness and the wrong attitude toward suffering.

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