Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Job, chapter 34, verses 1-15 comments: Life continues to exist because of God's active hand

1 ¶  Furthermore Elihu answered and said, 2  Hear my words, O ye wise men; and give ear unto me, ye that have knowledge. 3  For the ear trieth words, as the mouth tasteth meat. 4  Let us choose to us judgment: let us know among ourselves what is good. 5  For Job hath said, I am righteous: and God hath taken away my judgment. 6  Should I lie against my right? my wound is incurable without transgression. 7  What man is like Job, who drinketh up scorning like water? 8  Which goeth in company with the workers of iniquity, and walketh with wicked men. 9  For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God.

Elihu, in verse 3, repeats Job’s statement from 12:11, reminding all of those involved in the arguments to listen carefully to what he is saying. He admonishes them to judge rightly and discern what is good. Job insisted that he was righteous and has been stricken unfairly so there is no value or point in love toward or worship of God. In verse 7, Elihu alludes to Eliphaz’s statement in 15:16. He is referring now to the accusation that Job is a companion of wicked men and acts as they act.

So, we start with Job’s self-righteousness and his lamentation that God has stricken him unfairly so what’s the point in taking delight in God. After all, as said in 9:22, God destroys the good and the bad alike. One might say, why do I bother praying, reading the Bible, attending worship services, or trying to do right? What’s the point? I’m going to suffer and die horribly anyway just like someone who doesn’t do all of these things. What is the benefit to me that I waste my time in such things?

    10 ¶  Therefore hearken unto me, ye men of understanding: far be it from God, that he should do wickedness; and from the Almighty, that he should commit iniquity. 11  For the work of a man shall he render unto him, and cause every man to find according to his ways. 12  Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judgment. 13  Who hath given him a charge over the earth? or who hath disposed the whole world? 14  If he set his heart upon man, if he gather unto himself his spirit and his breath; 15  All flesh shall perish together, and man shall turn again unto dust.

Elihu argues that God does not sin. God ultimately delivers to every man the just reward for what he has done. In the Age of Grace we can say that God ultimately delivers to every man the just reward for what Christ has done, if that man will receive it. But God is just in His judgment on us.

An immediate and vital point is made in this passage. Life isn’t something that God set up and walked away from, with its processes working automatically. If we were to examine life closely, at all levels, and look at our understanding of the underlying mechanisms that keep life going in an otherwise barren universe, devoid, for all we know, of biological life like our own on earth, we would see a strange thing. Were God to withdraw His hand, His active hand in life’s processes every moment, all living things would die.

God is not a watchmaker who wound it all up and walked away to admire his work. Every intimate detail of cell function and every movement of a living organism, including our very breath and life from second to second, is a direct function of God’s providence at that moment. Medieval man understood this in a way that modern man has been brainwashed into not understanding it. We exist and move and have our being because of God’s active involvement and are not merely the byproduct of something He did long ago.

In the same regard our Bible is the result of God’s active inspiration of copyists and translators and not merely the result of a one-time involvement of God in the mind of a long-ago writer as traditional fundamentalism claims.

As Paul said when he was presenting his gospel to the Athenians and quoted the pagan philosopher and poet, Epimenides, in the first part Acts 17:28, who is referencing Zeus as immortal in his poem, Cretica, and the cause of our continual existence.

Acts 17:28  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

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