The final chapters of Job are a breath of fresh air. We go from trying to discern wisdom from foolishness, or sound theology to borderline heresy, to simply reading the words of God who makes his case abundantly clear. While claiming innocence he has questioned why God treated people the way that he did, why the wicked prospered but the righteous are punished. Job has longed for an audience with God, and when he finally gets his audience he will get an answer to his question. Earlier in the week I said that the answer to this question was difficult for many to hear, and while it may be difficult to accept for some, there is no misinterpreting what God has to say to Job. He answers Job’s question with his own series of questions. The first in and of itself would likely have been sufficient to get the point across, but God will not allow for any confusion in his point.
Where were you when I established the Earth?
The implication is clear, if Job wants to question God about the way the that he deals with man, Then Job had better be prepared to prove that he has the authority, righteousness, wisdom, knowledge, and power that God does, with the obvious answer screaming through subtext, that Job most certainly does not. Job, like all of us, has a limited understanding of why things play out around him the way that they do, but God has not called us to have an understanding of all things, he has called us to have faith; faith that God will punish evil, faith that he will bless those who follow him. Summed up, he wants us to have faith that he will do what he says, to trust and believe in his plan regardless of whether or not we know in advance what that plan is. Faith that whether we see it or not, that sin will be punished as he has promised it will be.
Believer and non-believer alike, we all share a longing for justice. Even those who would deny God with their mouth cannot escape the reality that they are made in the image of God, universally, to our very core, we understand that there is right and there is wrong. Many disagreements have been had over what exactly right and wrong are comprised of, but nearly every culture throughout history would agree on a basic level that there are wrong (sinful) actions, and that they deserve punishment. Throughout the majority of the book Job shares a mindset with much of the world, “I am innocent, I have done nothing to deserve my suffering.” And when those who proclaim themselves to be innocent watch the obviously corrupt world take advantage of the innocent, it’s easy to understand why doubt in God would creep into their minds. But that doubt in God is rooted in a false belief that anyone is innocent before God. Where we as humans see sin on a sliding-scale, some being worse than others, God sees all sin as detestable. We desperately wish for God to punish what we see as obvious “BIG SINS”, all the while hoping he will ignore our own. From the moment that sin entered the world, so did suffering and death. Man was cursed to toil away endlessly, and women were cursed with pain in childbirth, to struggle against the desire to rule over their husband, that is our reality still to this day. We live and suffer in a broken world because of the sin that we have committed against God. Even when w don’t see it, we must have faith that the guilty will be punished, in this life or the next. But understand that because of the sacrifice of Jesus, the only truly innocent man, We who would otherwise be guilty before God will be welcomed into his presence.