April 30, 2020
Brothers and Sisters,
As we continue our review of the life of Job, I want to focus today on the faulty theology of Job’s friends. They have a distorted view of God. It sounds like they are believing in a bargaining agreement with God. They believe God blesses us based on our performance. Since Job is under afflictions, they conclude that his sin must have caused this tragedy.
Job, his wife, and his friends do not consider that the Enemy may be involved. Yet we know that the accusations of Satan are prominent in the story. We also see clearly that in his attack, the Devil must have the permission of God. Let’s remember that God knows Job and his faith better than Job does! God will protect his son; there are limits to the attack. God is using the trial to mature Job’s faith and prepare him for future service.
Here is just one example of the “commercial” theology view. One of his friends, Zophar, tries to frighten Job into a confession of sin. He warns Job that his circumstances could be worse!
NIV Job 11:3-6
Will your idle talk reduce others to silence? Will no one rebuke you when you mock? 4 You say to God, 'My beliefs are flawless and I am pure in your sight.' 5 Oh, how I wish that God would speak, that he would open his lips against you 6 and disclose to you the secrets of wisdom, for true wisdom has two sides. Know this: God has even forgotten some of your sin.
In his defense, Job affirms his trust in God through his testing and his assurance of life after death.
NIV Job 13:15 Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him; I will surely defend my ways to his face.
Job is honest. He knows his life is in God’s hands. One of Job’s favorite titles for God is the “Almighty.” He uses that title 31 times in the book. He acknowledges that he could die. He is not afraid of death because he maintains his hope in God. He is truly hurting and confused yet he holds on to faith in a Personal God who will hear his defense. He consistently cries out to God for an opportunity to give his defense personally to God.
The faulty theology says: If we obey God, he will bless us. But if we disobey, God will punish us. This is faulty for many reasons. It does not fit with the grace and compassion of God. It makes our worship or obedience only a ploy to have a good life. It will lead a person to seeking to bargain with God or blame Him for our troubles. Our sufferings are not always punishments!
I am humbled by the example of Job. He faces up to his suffering yet maintains his clear conscience with God. He believes in the God who has revealed Himself to him. His dilemma centers on the extent of his sufferings. He never once renounces God or his faith in God. He wants an audience with God. He believes he will have that face to face with the Judge of all the earth.
We all are tempted to evaluate our standing with God by our circumstances. Many times, in a season of testing, we will condemn ourselves. In our anger we may even question God’s existence or His care for us. In our sorrow and grief, we often question the ways of God. It is comforting to see Job affirm his pain. God’s evaluation remains very positive toward his son, Job. God says, “in all this Job did not sin.”
Let me close with the words of Hebrews 10:23-24
NIV Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,
Tomorrow we will explore Job’s desire for a Mediator to present his case to God.
My love and prayers go out to each of you!