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Posts Tagged ‘God’s greatness’

God Answers

December 28th, 2012

Then the Lord answered Job out of the storm. He said: “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.”

Job 38:1-3

Job’s friends had spoken of things they knew very little about, and our best theology falls far short of grasping the eternal nature of God. It was not their attempt at explaining things that was so offensive – God made us with inquisitive minds and to explore and posit explanations is in itself harmless and perhaps even healthy – rather it was in their smugness and arrogance where they failed. It was the nature in which they presumed to have resolved every issue of suffering and life and then ungraciously dumped their misperceptions onto the head of their suffering friend, Job.

The best theology must begin with the Word of God, but then it is refined by the effect it has on people. Since God is by His nature redemptive, loving, patient, and holy, a theology of suffering, even a layman’s attempt, should also comfort and ease the sufferings of the hurt. The three friends started out in sympathy for Job (2:11) but soon descended into judging and blame. Their ideas of God left Him who is boundless boxed in and confined. Their assumptions of God and of life were not founded on reality.

Job’s responses in all of this were far, far above theirs; his wisdom and piety more profound. No person who reads this book would find any judgment against Job, for even when we recognize the beginning of his embitterment in chapters 30-31, we know that we would have come to this point much sooner than he had. But Job does turn and demand of God an answer. “Oh,” Job lamented, “that I had someone to hear me! I sign no my defense – let the Almighty answer me; let me accuser put his indictment in writing” (Job 31:35).

As though in response to Job’s prayer, God answered out of a whirlwind, a tempest, a turbulent and violently agitated mass of weather, symbolizing the greatness of God and the smallness of people. It was illustrative of all that had happened to Job, as though a whirlwind had taken hold of his life, his family, and his possessions, but now at last a voice comes from the storm. God bids Job to stand and prepare to give answers. He has asked of God, pleaded with Him for a release from his agony, and for an explanation for his sufferings. ┬áNow the table is turned and God says that He will do the asking, not Job.

One of the most profound lessons we must learn in life is what God’s sovereignty means. He has no one to answer to, no one who can hold Him into account or demand something of Him. God does what He cares to do with absolute impunity, and our only comfort with such a powerful Deity is that He will not violate His nature. We cannot gang up on Him as a human race and demand that He do things our way. Democracy has no effect on Him. Our best logic is as childish gibberish to Him, so the wisest among us is often silent before Him. Solomon wrote, “Do not be quick with your mouth, do not be hasty in your heart to utter anything before God. God is in heaven and you are on earth, so let your words be few” (Eccl. 5:2).

Out of the whirlwind God begins to question Job, overwhelming him with questions, till Job is unable to answer, unable to say anything except to repent. A revelation of God’s greatness should have this effect on our hearts. Until we have humbled ourselves before God, we have not yet clearly seen Him or ourselves. Yet humility seems to be a lost value among Christians today, and this is a pity, for humility before God is always the right response.

The day will come when we must all appear before God and give an answer for how we have lived our lives, what we have done with the time and opportunities given to us here on earth. We will not be judged according to the ideas of humanity, nor on the basis of another person’s opportunities. But we will be held accountable for how we handled the ones that came our way. Humility before God is the place to start, to recognize how great He is and how small before Him we are. But we can also trust His heart to love us and to invite us to draw near to Him, and it is this faith in His heart that calms us in the midst of storms.

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Be Still

November 21st, 2012

Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

If we would choose to focus our attention on one object that would bring insight, peace, assurance, and confidence, that object would be God. The command to “be still” is two-fold, meaning to cease striving against God in disobedience and rebellion, and to cease ignoring God through distractions and busy-ness. God’s enemies miss the vision of who He is because they are in conflict with Him. His people, on the other hand, can miss the uplifting vision by being overwhelmed by less important thoughts.

God calls us to Himself to know who He is and to know Him for Himself. We may begin with contemplating His attributes, His compassion, greatness, holiness, and wisdom, but beyond these is the divine Person Himself. The vision must become personal. He will be exalted and victorious over the nations, and one day every knee shall bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of the Father. But now, today, our hearts must bow before Him in worship, awe, and obedience.

The disciples panicked in the storm while all they needed to do was to awaken their hearts to the presence of Jesus in their boat. It may have been but a small craft in a large and storming sea but if the Alpha and Omega is present within her, no storm is too great. Wherever and in whomever Christ is acknowledged for who He is, all the power of God is present in that life and, thereby, in that circumstance.

Still your heart. Cease from striving and from entertaining distractions. Focus on Christ and on His call to your heart to know Him. Draw near in faith and worship and obedience.

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