Job answers his second friend Bildad. “You speak truth about God but…” Bildad’s truth is not all there is. And Job can’t reconcile it with his life.
Bildad’s contention is that God is just. Those who obey him are rewarded. Those who don’t are punished. It is a truth that has been proven out through the ages. Therefore, Job must have done something to displease God.
Job has no argument against God’s goodness and justness. “But how can ANY man measure up to God’s perfection? If I were to tell Him that I am in the right, He will find some fault in me that I am unaware of. So I will tell you as a man, I am blameless!”
I agree with Job on this point. NO MAN can say he is blameless. We ALL have sinned sometime in our lives. We CANNOT stand before God on our own righteousness. To do so would be to invite disaster. But we CAN stand before Him in righteousness bought and paid for by His Son, Jesus.
Through Jesus, the righteous fear of God still remains but the cowering with your head covered fear is gone. Job didn’t have this right standing yet and was justly afraid to stand before God’s face and pronounce himself ‘clean’. All he could truthfully say is, “I have examined myself to the BEST of my abilities and I find no sin in my heart.”
So how do we reconcile a just God with Job’s circumstances? Job was God’s ‘gold standard’ that HE held up before Satan. God Himself said that Job had done no wrong to deserve his current distress. Why did God allow Satan permission to strike Job?
Because He is God and we are not! God is using this time in Job’s life to bring about more. More fruit or righteousness. More understanding. Just ‘more’… God knows ahead of time what this ‘winepress’ experience will reveal in Job. He knows this even BEFORE He holds Job up as an example to Satan. He had NO doubts of what Job’s character would reveal under pressure and He had no doubts about the fruit waiting on the other side of it. He wasn’t ‘enticed’ by Satan; He USED him for His purposes.
I cannot say with 100% certainty that God’s hand NEVER brings about disaster. I don’t know if His hand was in the ‘fire that fell from heaven’ or the ‘strong wind’ that brought the house down on Job’s children. What I DO know is that He eventually used these events in Job’s life to open the way for even better blessings.
God sends the rain and the sunshine on the just and the unjust. That is what Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:45. Satan turns those gifts into floods, hurricanes or scorching droughts. But even out of these disasters, God can bring good. Only when we allow Him to have His work in our lives though. If we become bitter and angry with Him over our state, we miss out on what He is doing IN the process.
Job has resigned himself to going through whatever process God has put him in, but not to pretending it doesn’t hurt. He will NOT rail against God for it but he will continue to maintain his innocence before his friends. “I know not the reason for my suffering, but it is not of my own doing. Don’t judge me for what is happening to me.”
That is good advice. Often we see a disaster hit someone or somewhere and our first thought is that it is a punishment or judgement from God. We condemn those who are swept up in it. It is ALWAYS a result of sin; ORIGINAL sin. Adam and Eve sold this world into the hands of Satan for a lie. Since then, Satan has had a grand time trying to destroy all that God created, especially His favorite of all; mankind. Satan’s hand brings the disaster but God’s hand brings the healing in its wake.
It is OK to say “I’m hurting” when you are in distress. We who are there simply ask that you don’t judge us guilty of sin just because we are in the midst of trials. If we were to be silent, you would have no idea of our need for support. Nor would you know that we DON’T blame God for the hand being dealt to us.
Could God stop ALL disasters if He wanted to? I have to say “Yes” but then that would not be just. It would be like me telling you how to use your own home. Satan purchased dominion over the earth through deceit but he gained it nonetheless. God is restraining him from exercising his full desires. The fact that we have ‘good’ days is a testament to that. And the fact that He brings about good in us in spite of our circumstances is a testament to His love for us.
THANK YOU Father that I DON’T get what I deserve! Thank You that You restrain Satan in my life. You keep him from destroying me. Without Your hand holding me I would be crushed. Knowing this, I can endure. I’m NOT asking for an opportunity to ‘prove’ this though! I rest secure in the knowledge that You have me firmly in the palm of Your hands and that, even if some disaster takes my life, I am safe in Your arms for eternity. And there IS an eternity beyond this earthly life!
I PRAY that I am as quick to praise You for the resolved circumstances as I am to complain about the process to those who would listen. Even in my groaning, let them speak of hope for a future with You.