Would you condemn Me to justify yourself?

The Old Testament book of Job is an awesome commentary on who God is and who we are. Towards the end of the book God shows up and speaks to Job. Here is the dialog:

"The Lord said to Job: 'Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who accuses God answer Him!' Then Job answered the Lord: 'I am unworthy - how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once but I have no answer - twice but I will say no more.' The Lord spoke to Job out of the storm: 'Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself?'"

Well when it all is said and done one thing remains. God is God and man is man. Here the Almighty shows up. He has patiently listened to Job's discourse with his friends and He now makes an appearance to put it all in perspective. At the heart of God's lengthy questioning of Job is Job's heart itself. God counsels Job regarding the things that make God God. He helps him to put the events of his recent life in relationship to God's attributes and character.

As God speaks, Job begins to understand some thing about God. God begins to reveal himself as the Omni-God. By that I mean the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Almighty God. You see, Job suffered, as many of us do, from a small view of God. When he waited and God didn't act and react the way Job expected him to, he became discouraged because he didn't really understand who God is. In the following few sentences I will attempt to put a few words together to describe what makes God God. Knowing that what I write will be inadequate to the task doesn't discourage me … I don't think that anyone could do a truly sufficient job.

To begin let me address three broad categories of God's attributes. I call them is-isms. "God is Almighty". "God is Holy". "God is Sovereign". Each is-ism speaks of a different aspect of God. First "God is Almighty". As we discussed previously God is an Omni-God. Omnipotence speaks of His power to act … this is expressed in creation, in healing and in miracles. Omniscience tells us that God knows everything … every thought and motive … He cannot be surprised. Omnipresence is the ability that God has to be everywhere at one time and at all times … He is not bound by space or time … He sees the future in the same way he sees the past. Doesn't that seem to be enough of a definition for God … surely enough to make most fall prostrate in worship? This, in a small way, encapsulates the idea that "God is Almighty".

The next is-ism is "God is Holy". Here we unwrap the notion of God a step further. For He is more than an Omni-God. "God is Holy" speaks of separateness. Because "God is Holy" He is separate … separate from created beings and things. This is essential to a clear understanding of God. Because He is separate, it is somewhat impossible to understand Him and His ways. Nevertheless, understanding this causes us to see him as unique. This separateness manifests itself in three qualities … goodness, justice and love. Without these the character of God comes into question and He is reduced to a divine despot. The first quality of goodness tells us that at His core God is good … His thoughts, ways and actions are all good … He is a good God. Secondly, God is just. Because he is separate He can judge as no earthly judge can judge. He is the ultimate in fairness and is able to judge because His is separate. Lastly, God is love. In this aspect we see a divine care for creation that is matchless in extent and quality … His love is perfect and unfailing because He is separate. Each of these qualities is important to embrace when we speak of "God is Holy" … each balances the other out somewhat and gives us a picture of a God who is pure in nature … One in whom we can place our trust.

The last is-ism is "God is Sovereign". While the first two is-isms speak of His power and nature this is-ism speaks of God's involvement with creation. It also breaks into three parts … volition, involvement and kingship. Volition firstly speaks of God as one who has a will … not only a will in the most general and universal sense but in the smallest and most personal sense. God has a will for nations and for individuals as well. This concept progresses as we understand that God is involved. He becomes involved in every aspect of creation. He brings the full extent of "God is Almighty" and "God is Holy" to bear on all of creation. He uses His power to accomplish His holiness in our lives. This is where kingship enters in. Job said, "I know that no plan of yours can be thwarted" … this is the essence of kingship. God will have His way … would you want it any other way. But though he rules in the events of our lives … permitting trial and suffering to enter … he allows us to accept or reject His rule in our lives … He gives us free will to curse Him or submit to Him.

So, how does this tie into Job? Would he have acted differently if he really understood who God is? His answer to God's questioning seems to indicate that he would have. For when God appeared to Job, He didn't answer all of His questions … He simply reminded Job of who He is. He said that for Job to justify himself was tantamount to condemning God. Kind of puts it in perspective.

How about you? Does understanding that God's will for you is perfect help you? Does knowing that He brings all of "God is Almighty", all of "God is Holy" and all of "God is Sovereign" to bear to help you be the best person that you can be … one who reflects His goodness, His justice and His Love? Job learned this lesson … may we benefit as well.

1 comment:

  1. "God will have His way … " Indeed He will. It isn't always pleasant for us - on the other hand, what Christ suffered for us was enormous. I have a friend whose motto is "this too shall pass"...I try to remember that. Thanks. Job is one of my favourites, because I can identify with him.

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