A Job Blog

by Mike Harman

How does it sit with you that God gave Satan permission to wipe out Job’s life (Job 1:12 & 2:4-6), a man who was blameless and upright? We are told Job feared God and shunned evil (Job 1:1 & 8.)  We even see that Job's response to his loss was to worship God, not charging God with any wrongdoing, (Job 1:21 & 22. Job 2:9-10).

Did Job have a profound understanding of God's Sovereignty, of God's character being both good and just?  Was Job ahead of his time knowing that the world he lived in was fallen, not functioning as designed, and filled with corruption and situations of injustice?

I've been reading through the Old Testament book of Isaiah and there are some verses that help anchor me when questions about God's character & sovereignty arise (There are undoubtedly many more in the Bible.) Check out:  Isaiah 40:13-14 & 27-28, 45:5-7 & 9-10, & 49:15.  Also Psalm 115:1-3. & 125:1-2.

A strong belief in the theology of God's sovereignty can provide us with a sure foundation for the trials of suffering and challenges of life, none of which even begin to touch Job's loss and suffering.  I understand that our stories are not a points of comparison weighing whose story is worse (or most difficult, or best, most blessed , or  "successful").  Each of our stories are unique, personal, and overseen by God so that we might seek and find Him, so that we would be redeemed and restored to His design and purpose. (Acts 17:24-27)

Is the theology of God's detailed sovereignty a cop-out to life’s hardships and the choices and decisions we make?  Absolutely not. The scriptures are clear that we are responsible and accountable for our decisions and choices, yet God's story and power over-arches our stories. Our stories are made by the decisions and choices we make, as well as the actions of others too, yet nothing happens without God; He has ultimate power and authority.  My brain tilts when I try to wrap my head around man's choice, man’s personal responsibility, and a God who oversees all our lives with detailed sovereignty.

Some acquaintances who coauthored a book speaking about free will said:  “No one knows exactly how God's sovereign intention meshes with our decisions, but there is enough revealed truth to believe they comfortably coexist without damage to either.”  If we don’t hold to God’s soveiregnty we then would have a capricious and malevolent god ruling over us…and that is not the God of the scriptures. Either God is really God or there is no god at all and it’s all on us.

In speaking on the scriptures, Paul Tripp in his book "What Did You Expect", page 62 says:  There is no collection of wisdom principles more stunningly insightful than what can be found in the pages of scripture.  Of course, this would be true, since the book was written by the hands of men who were guided to write what they wrote by the one who created everything about which they wrote.  It is only the Creator who could have such a powerfully insightful and practically transformational origin-to-destiny perspective as the one found in the Bible. Only He is able to have a perspective not limited by time and space and the bias of sin.  Only He is able to speak from the vantage point of creation intention.   Who could possibly know more about the world He created and the people He designed?

God's word really does open up to us the mysteries of the universe.  It really does make us wiser than we could possibly ever be without it.  Yet, having all this, it is important to reflect on how sad it is that we don't take more advantage of the wisdom God has given us.  It is sad we don't think His thoughts after Him.  It is sad that we don't require ourselves to look at life (always) through the lens of His wisdom.  It is sad that we swindle ourselves into thinking that we are wiser than we are.   It is sad that we aren't more irritated by our foolishness and more motivated to seek His wisdom.

I think we would lack intellectual integrity to not consider and wrestle with Job chapters 1 and 2.  We would do well to sit with th e questions as we consider, ponder, and inviting God into our wrestling with who He is and how the scriptures have revealed Him.  If we don’t take time to work through the hard issues  we risk misunderstanding God and settle for a god that we’ve fashioned to suit us, a god of our own making and understanding, that fits our life, situations, and experiences.

There is a God as revealed in the scriptures and I am not Him.

It is important that we honestly consider the questions in Job against God being good and just, questions that also consider suffering and "injustices" in the world. How else can we face our suffering? We must know God is with us as we sit with family and friends in their questions and experiences of suffering. Only by working through this ourselves will we be able to offer honest love, care, and wise Biblical counsel that actually helps one another and does not give trite answers and platitudes (God's got this. God will never give you more than you can handle. All things are good in God.  God is good in all things).  Platitudes may sound good and may even have some truth to them, but they usually provide more of an easy answer and means for us to not get dirty or walk with those going through and struggling with God's character and sovereignty.

God came to live in our midst, struggled and suffered in every way like us so He could come along side us, so He could provide the way for our rescue.

In learning and growing in our trust of God's character and sovereignty we need to be honest about our situations, circumstances, and hearts that causes us doubt and uncertainty.  Let us be those who are honest with God and those in our trusted community.  God knows us, from the beginning to the end.  He is more interested in our growing in trust than getting to the destination, as how we get there is often of greater importance.  In His goodness and grace God will get us where He needs and wants us, home with Him as redeemed and restored image bearers.