Sunday, February 8, 2015

God Answered Job with Questions - Job 38-41

Most people are upset with God's answers to Job. They felt that God did not directly explained to Job the reasons for his sufferings. God answered Job with a series of questions starting from the creation of the earth and the universe, then the living animals, and ended with the descriptions of two giant and powerful animals, one on land and the other in the sea. It shows the love and wisdom of God for His creations. The creations operated wonderfully and ceaselessly without the help of men. The animals live freely and reproduce abundantly. If God so cares for the weak and giant animals, will God not care for men? The world was so created for men. God showed Job his ignorance of the creation and of the heart of God. Job was satisfied of God's answer. Job was assured of God's love and wisdom and knew his suffering was not because of his sin but of higher purpose of a testimony to the accuser the devil and to himself that he worshipped God because of God and not for personal gain. Job was given the background to his trial by God for him to have written down Job 1 and 2.
Here are some key points on Job 38-41
  1. God said Job was ignorance and understand not His purpose 38v2. In 40v8, Job should not blame God to show his ow righteousness.
  2. God questions Job to let Job know his own ignorance. It is better to answer a question with question. Questions cause the people to think and reflect about the key points and gain understanding. Jesus often used question and parables to awaken our understanding indirectly. If we just give straight answer, we may just invite more defensive arguments. 38v3.
  3. God uses Job ignorance mindset to phrase His questions. Such as 38v6 where is the foundation of the earth? What holds the earth? We now know that the earth suspended in the universe through gravitational forces. But Job did not know.  In 38v22, God asked if Job ever entered the storehouses of snow and hail. We know of course that there are no such store houses. Snow and hail are but frozen water vapour that has always been in the sky. 38v28 Does rain have father? 38v32, how are the stars tied together? How are their patterns fixed? The movements of the stars in the universe go on orderly and endlessly without the help of man. Man does not wake up the sun every morning, does he? Chapter 38 is similar to Genesis 1 in many ways. 
  4. Chapter 39 covers the animals. Who feed them? How they give births? How they grow? How they live freely? Even the 'foolish' Ostriches can laugh at horses and men and survive till present. The strength of the horse, the flight and life of eagles are covered. It shows how God provided for the living of different types of creatures. If God so care for them, will not God care for men?
  5. Chapter 40v3 recorded Job acknowledgement of his ignorance. If Job could not answer the simpler questions on the how of creations, could he answer the deeper question of why?
  6. 40v15-24, God described a powerful land animal, wrongly translated as the hippo in some versions of the Bible.  40v15 told us that God created it as he created man. Man and animals are made from the materials. It does not mean, as some evolutions think, that man evolve from animals. It is just God uses the same materials and same ways to make man and animals. Man and animals are alike. The description fit a brachiosaurus better than hippo. They are more powerful than men yet men live on
  7. Chapter 41 describes the Giant animal in the sea. Its description fit the Chinese Sea Dragon better than the crocodiles. It can breathe out flames! It was the king of all animals. In spite of such powerful giants living on the earth and in the sea, the diversity of animals remain and living freely. 
  8. We see that God first created the universe, the stars, and the earth, the conditions fit for living, then the animals and then the men to live on the wonderful earth. The abundance of lives of diversity are designed and created by God. God's purpose is for men for live happily on earth. So the suffering of Job is not about punishment for his sin. God did reveal his purpose to Job so that Job could write down chapter 1 and 2, giving us the background and the happening in the spiritual world that gave rise to the suffering of Job.  Job became the testimony for God to show than though Job as man, was created weaker than the angels, he could sin not and worship God as God, unlike the devil, who rebelled against God. It shows devil's rebellion is the devil own choice. God did not create evil. Evil is from the devil. The test proves to Job that his worship of God is genuine and not for wealth or health or other blessings. Devil, the great accuser was proven wrong.
Lim Liat (c) 9 Feb 15

The Higher Purpose of Sufferings (Added on 16 Aug 2015)
While many of our sufferings and sicknesses could be due to our own sins (in which case, we need to just repent, receive our healing, and go on with our walk with God), there are at times, for the good of other people. Like Job in this study, he becomes the example and lessons for us through time, to know God in a deeper way, not just of justice but of love, and that we can, just as Job, love God more than our wealth, family and life. We can put our trust in a loving God no matter what. Suffering for others is the higher purpose. It is best illustrated by God Himself, who sent His Son Jesus Christ to suffer and die on the cross to save us from our sins. Jesus' sufferings solely for us and for no other purpose but to reconcile us back to God.  Will we be willing to suffer that the will of God be accomplished through us that others may benefit from it? Will we be willing to be the connecting dot or the piece of puzzle that complete the great plan and picture of God? Jesus suffered for us. Paul suffered to bring the gospels to us. Jim Elliot died to bring the gospels to the Ecuador's Quechua Indians..... What about us? Are we willing to be used of God even with the sufferings?

Job (and his friends) understand a God of performance - do right get bless and do bad get punish which leads to a relationship of fear. God corrected to a relationship of love and trust and bring Job to a higher level and purpose of suffering, to accomplish a greater purpose more than ourselves.
Job finally realize that:

For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Rom 38-39 

He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For as the sufferings of Christ overflow to us, so through Christ our comfort also overflows. 2 Cor 1:4-5

Do not doubt God's love base on your circumstances. But rather, discover God's plan and purpose for you and receive His grace and comfort through the suffering to attain greater height and fulfill His purpose for your life.

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