Contending with God

Job Sees The Light - Fifteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 14:1-2 NIV Job, in Chapter 14, strives with God. He will not address his friends at all.

Job reminds God, the Creator, what sort of creature man is. He is mortal, born of a woman, not sprung from the head of God. He is flesh, of few days, days full of difficulties. He starts life in the grandeur of youth only to fade and wither in old age. He dies.

Job 14:3-6 NIV Would God really interact with such a creature? Wouldn't he consider it a waste of his time? Why apply high expectations to a lowly, laughable bag of bones?

Why unleash trial and judgment on a creature who is at God's mercy? Man, by definition, is imperfect. He is wanting. He is a mixture– impure. And no matter how harshly you deal with him, you can never distill from this polluted creation a purified man. It's impossible. Not even you can do it, God!

Job feels that God has been overzealous with his faithful servant and needs to recognize the error of his ways. Stop bearing down on this broken man!

Job 14:7-12 NIV It is possible for a dead tree to revive, but a dead man, no. Not until a different time, a new day when the heavens have disappeared: Then man will be roused from sleep of death. A day of resurrection will come! Commentators agree that the resurrection is in view here; Job envisions it in his extreme misery.

Job 14:13 NIV Yes, this is actually what God will do. As surely as spring follows winter, so will the Lord remember his children, and at a set time.

The resurrection is a good hope, but better still is the wonder of interaction with God and the experience of his lovingkindness in this life. This is greatly to be desired.

Job 14:14-17 NIV Job is looking toward a day of restoration when things will be back to normal, and he will not be under God's magnifying glass.

Job 14:18-22 NIV Job was a mountain of a man, but God’s torrents wore him down. God does not even care whether a man and his sons remain in contact, Job reflects. He reduces a man to inner pain and aloneness. God, you have destroyed my hope! Shame on you! says Job, in effect.

Before we backslide to doubt and fury against God, we must run to him for strength. “We hide from God in God.” Trust in the Lord no matter what appearances are. The one who feels far from God must chose to advance deeper in to Him.

Job knows who God is

Job Sees The Light - Thirteenth in a series

Hover over the Scripture references to read the verses under discussion

Job 12:1-3 NIV How should Job answer his friends? How should we answer when the Adversary accuses us? How can we? It is impossible to converse, to make sense, to defend ourselves. You cannot reason with the Devil to outwit or outtalk him. You can only know and trust that Christ has power to deliver his own, and he will do it in his time. Your answer can only be: Jesus is Lord.

But Job lived B.C. He reprimands his friends and tries to establish himself as deserving of respect.

Job 12:4-5 NIV Job would like for his friends to feel how they are making him feel. If they themselves were suffering, they would not look down on him in his calamity.

In fact, it is only possible for those at ease to identify with those in turmoil if they have experienced a similar or deep circumstance or trial. That is one real value of a trial. (2 Cor 1:4)

Job 12:6 NIV Can't they see that those who robbed him are enjoying luxury while he is suffering an unjust pounding? Yet Job knows the wicked are in plain view of God.

Job 12:7-10 NIV Job agrees with his friends that nothing occurs outside the will of God. God is either sovereign over his creation, or he is not God. Those marauders could not have managed their evil deeds except that God permitted it. Even the animals and fish know this. But why did God permit it? Who is to blame: the Sabeans or the Lord?

The way in which free will meshes with his sovereignty is mysterious. To say that the Sabeans carried off Job's cattle of their own free will is true, despite being urged by Satan to do so, who was permitted by God to urge them.

They did so gladly, but could they have stood against Satan's urging? Yes, if they had been people of God, desiring to do his will, they would have called on God and received courage to overcome the temptation to steal. But since they were serving themselves, Satan easily encouraged them to do his work.

We can still wonder whether God might not have given them power to restrain themselves; after all, he could have as easily strengthened them against Satan as not. Yet in his sovereignty, he chose to let them freely chose. If a sinful act is done voluntarily, that is enough to establish guilt, irrespective of whether the sinner could have avoided the act. [Calvin]

As humans, we puzzle over how freedom and determinism both are true. We know that man has real choices and that God is completely sovereign. The Westminster Confession says:

God from all eternity did, by the most wise and holy counsel of his own will, freely and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass: (Eph 1:11 et al) yet so as thereby neither is God the author of sin (Jas 1:13 et al), nor is violence offered to the will of the creatures, nor is the liberty or contingency of second causes taken away, but rather established. (Acts 2:23 et al) (WC III, Section I)

Applying this to the crucifixion, we can see that God sent his Son to die for our sins, (1Jo 4:10) yet the crucifixion was done by the will of the people; (Mar 15:14, Jhn 19:15). It was necessary for Christ to die (Luk 24:26, Acts 17:3); the liberty (Jhn 10:18) and contingency (1Cor 15:14) of that is well understood.

We can trust that all things work together for good for those who love God. (Rom 8:28) Whatever occurs is useful to the Christian for his growth in Christ, and God can take any circumstance and bring good from it for those whom he has called.

Job 12:11-12 NIV Job is about to “speak wisdom to power.” Though there is only one of him and three of them, he has the intellect and years of experience to prove he is not inferior to them!

Job 12:13-20 NIV Was there a prophecy in that last verse?

Job continues to speak confidently of an omniscient, omnipotent, righteous God who sees all and has the power to punish and to expose the unrighteous. (Job 12:21-25)

Come to think of it, God is the only one whose ends always justify his means. Whatever he does in the lives of good or evil people is for the purpose of achieving good ends. Amazing!

Awe in Remembrance

Remembrance and its opposite - Tenth in a series

When God studies our hearts to find out if we appreciate his care and help, he will look first to see whether we love Jesus Christ.

Reflecting upon the providential works of the Lord, Psalm 22 comes to mind. Here, Israel's King David prophesies Christ's crucifixion, a thousand years before the event:

I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint: my heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd; and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws; and thou hast brought me into the dust of death. For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet. I may tell all my bones: they look and stare upon me. They part my garments among them, and cast lots upon my vesture. (Ps 22:15-18)

The vision is exact: specific details are foreseen, later to be corroborated in the Gospel accounts.

How does the Spirit impart the future to a human mind? Is time an illusion? How does it happen that evil men providentially crucified God's only begotten son to make him both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36)? Surely God is in control of all events and all people, a comforting thought, though jarring.

Which is the more jarring thought: That Christ chose to be cruelly crucified, sacrificing his life so that we might be reconciled to the Father; or that God the Father demanded capital punishment for the sin of man, designing that nothing but the death of his only son could render that justice; or that we, the sheep of his pasture, are provided not only salvation and eternal life, but also daily help for every need by our loving God and Creator?

Attention Readers

Have you visited the Biotech Blog on this website? Find information and resources to help you think about biotech as a Christian.

During the summer of 2017, I explored the topic of kidney donation. Is it right for a society to permit that? To encourage it? What do you think? Read the Live Kidney Donation Series!

Should you sign your driver’s license to be an organ donor? Is cremation OK with God? Do these practices undermine the Christian doctrine of the Resurrection?

Learn more. The conscience cannot function without facts.


Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. -Mat 5:14

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