Lesson 8 -- first quarter 2004
January 25, 2004
© Copyright 2003, Christian Light Publications
God puts up with a lot of talk and thought from us humans. Whether verbally or mentally, we have an inclination to whine, complain, fret, challenge, and so forth. We Christians are not exempt from this human frailty, even though we may try to mask our back-talk by directing it against circumstances, events, conditions, and people. If we genuinely accept that God is the sovereign ruler over everything, then we will also accept that even something as "little" as complaining about the weather is actually fretting against God.
Job put up with a lot, at least in the portion of his life which is preserved in the Biblical record. So we would say that he had a right to mull over and express his dark thoughts. We understand his agonized frustration and injured innocence. We don't wonder at all he had to say. But God perceived matters differently and . . . "answered Job out of the whirlwind," asking who he thought he was (Job 38:1,2).
God held Job to account for his thoughts and speech. We know that eventually He will do the same with us. Let's not forget that!
Who shall dare to question God?
God not only knows what He is doing, He does all things well. His decisions, rulings, commandments, and plans are inerrant and just. David declared, "The judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether" (Psalm 19:9). Later he added, "I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me" (Psalm 119.75). Many years later the Apostle John experienced the future and "heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments" (Revelation 16:7). When our lives are founded on and directed by that premise, we shall accept what He does without complaint or challenge.
In part of His answer to Job, God asked him if he also intended to make void what God had decided and established: "Wilt thou also disannul my judgment?" The same verse records this follow-up question from God: "Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest be righteous?" (Job 40:8). I wonder if Job felt like protesting, "But, Lord! That is not what I meant with all my thoughts and words!" Whatever Job may have thought, we know precisely what God thought and how He took Job's earlier complaints and observations. May we remember that fact whenever we get in the complaining, questioning, challenging mode!
But now . . . .
When Job came face to face with God and had his puniness made abundantly plain to him, he was revolted by his own attitudes and disposition. Job responded as any perfect and upright person will when confronted with his own sin: " I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 42:6). God expects no less a response from you and me. Praise the Lord, we also can claim this promise: "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17)!
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