Job’s Conondrum


conundrumWhen driving, have you ever gotten confused over the simple word “right?”  Which “right” was meant?  Was it “take a right turn” or was it a confirmation?  It is basically a struggle over definition; which definition of the word “right” was being used.  We have this same issue in relation to Scripture and our relationship with God.  For example: Have you ever been approached by someone who asks the following question: “If God is so loving, how come there is so much death and suffering in the world?”  It stems from incorrect definitions of the words we use to describe God to each other.  The book of Job in the Old Testament is a prime example of the confusion of erroneous definitions.

The book starts with a prologue providing the background of events that bring about the devastation of Job.  An established man is brought to his knees for the purpose of an example.  We do not always know the purpose before or during a testing or trial.  But, we do know that God is in control and will only allow that which He deems necessary.

The vast majority of the book deals with the expression of confusion, stemming from erroneous theology between Job and his friends.  In chapter 3, Job’s depression and despair are laid bare followed by conversations of indictment and innocence between friends.  The basic idea is “These events are evil, therefore Job, you must have done evil to deserve this.  Confess the evil you did, and God will bless you again.”  In spite of these conversations, notice Job’s confidence (19:23-27), purpose (23:8-14), and steadfastness (27:2-6).  Events and circumstances may seem contradictory to what we think should happen, but we must remember that God is the supreme sovereign and that nothing happens without His approval and allowance and that it is for our good.

Following the confusion, another conversation is started, a conversation of confrontation.  For the next seventy-three verses God asks Job question after question.  There is a pause and Job says “I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” (vs. 40:4) as he knew he had no answer for these questions.  God takes up the questions again for another fifty-two verses ending the barrage to incite an answer from Job; who provides the answer of humility.  When we are confronted with the sovereignty and supremacy of the LORD, we can offer little in answer beyond humbleness.

This confrontation reveals the purpose of these events: repentance.  Job understands the errors of his theology, corrects himself, and is restored to a higher level.  Repentance is nothing more than an understanding of where I am, how I am turning from where I was, and to where I am turning!  Restoration closely follows true repentance, but it may not be back to the same place as the beginning.

The age old problem of “which right are you referring to” will always be a part of driving.  But it doesn’t have to be for us in our relationship with the LORD and how we think and act in accordance with His design.  Where do you get your definitions?  Do you seek them from the standard?  Or, do you adopt the world’s?  Scripture is God’s revelation of Himself to His creation.  We don’t have to be like Job and his friends and adopt erroneous definitions!  But, it takes work.  It takes time.  It takes study.  What is the source of your definitions?

The definitions and concepts of Scripture make little sense to a mind and heart that have not been renewed by salvation.  However, God clearly defines salvation as a gift of love which only needs to be accepted.  Won’t you accept today and start working on the correct definitions?

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