It’s All About God — Job edition

May 28, 2008 at 10:10 am | Posted in It's All About God, Theology | Leave a comment

Yesterday I read a comment to a blog I often check out.  The writer was arguing against the Reformed teaching on salvation and sovereignty, which the blogger holds; he referred to Job’s friends as holding the Reformed position on sovereignty and sin with Job arguing against it.  I had to laugh as I have been reading my devotions in Job the past few days and have been impressed the opposite way.  Job’s friends are arguing against the Reformed position on sovereignty and sin.  The writer of the comment didn’t offer any textual support to his argument.  Here are some examples of the things Job’s friends argue.

Bildad says, “If you will look to God and plead with the Almighty, if you are pure and upright, even now he will rouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place.  Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be.”  (Job 8:5-7)  Zophar’s contribution is “If you devote your heart to him and stretch out your hands to him, if you put away sin that is in your hand and allow no evil to dwell in your tent, then you will lift up your face without shame and will stand firm without fear.” (11:13-15)  And Eliphaz’ argument is the same: “Submit to God and be at peace with him; in this way prosperity will come to you.” (22:21)  Each man is telling Job to repent of his evil actions so God will grant him prosperity.  Job argues that, in spite of his own sin, he has done nothing that deserves such harsh treatment from God; and he argues that, in spite of his struggle with understanding it, God is sovereign.  Notice these thoughts:  “If it is a matter of strength, he is mighty!  And if it is a matter of justice, who will summon him?  Even if I were innocent, my mouth would condemn me; if I were blameless, it would pronounce me guilty.” (9:19-20)  “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of every human being. . . .  To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his. . . .  To him belong strength and victory; both deceived and deceiver are his.” (12:10-16)

            In that light Job recognizes that his only hope is in God, and he recognizes this fact in spite of how he feels God has unfairly treated him.  The following quotes sound to some like New Testament ideas, instead they are just good theology.  “Though I were innocent, I could not answer him; I could only plead with my Judge for mercy.” (9:15)  “Though he slay me, yet I will hope in him.” (13:15)  “Even now my witness is in heaven; my advocate is on high.  My intercessor is my friend as my eyes pour out tears to God; on behalf of man he pleads with God as a man pleads for his friend.” (16:19-22)  “Give me, O God, the pledge you demand.  Who else will put up security for me?” (17:3)  “I know that my redeemer lives.” (19:25)

            The argument of Job’s friends can be summarized, “It’s all about what you do.”  Job’s point: “It’s all about God, who he is and what he does.”  In the end God said of Job’s friends they “have not spoken of me what is right, as my servant Job has.”  Once again we see the truth:  It’s all about God!


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