August 23, 2018: Day 12 – Job 12

Job once again answers one of his friends, this time it is an answer to Zophar.  Job's answer reflects a fairly common human tendency to think that we are able to manipulate and control God in order to obtain what we want.  There are some who think that in prayer, in a good life, in staying out of trouble, in helping the needy they are somehow controlling God because he would then have no opportunity to punish us or to take away from us His favor.  Our motivations are often reflected in a desire to keep God at bay and so our actions are such that we would try to do things so that no one could accuse us of wrongdoing. Job's answer to this is no.  What motivates us is very, very important.  If we live our lives doing good and being a disciple of God for the purpose of not being punished or for being safe within the folds of decency, we are going to be rudely awakened.  He appeals to the animals who  live and die without any sense of order or understanding.  They don't have good or bad lives, they just have lives which are directed wholly and completely by the will of God.  We are not immune to that, in fact, that is our fate.  God is in complete control of our lives and what we do or don't do is not going to change that. Think about that for a second.  This is one of the strongest arguments for predestination that we have.  I like to use the word Providence instead of Predestination.  Providence simply means that God is in control.  Yes, we all say that, but we don't really all  mean it.  When we say that God is in control it means that when a child dies it is not a matter of things being fair or unfair, it is a matter of God being in control, even in death.  Now, is that different from saying that God wants or God causes children to die?  Yes, that is vastly different, but not understandably so.  How can God be gracious and kind and abounding in steadfast love when bad things happen to good and even innocent people?  There is no answer to that question, and it is that exact question which Job is addressing.  He calls himself righteous in the sense that he is righteous as any human could be righteous.  But it does not put him in a place of honor before God.  He is still a human created by God, as we all are.
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