The Limitless God
The essence of idolatry is the idea that we can do better than God does. The essence of idolatry is to lower God to our level. Sometimes that idolatry is visible in gods made out of gold, silver, stone, or wood. But sometimes that idolatry is visible in the attitudes we have toward God: “I could have done better myself.”
Would you meditate, with me, on God’s response to Job following the suffering Job experienced at the hands of Satan…
JOB CALLS ON GOD:
Job called on God several times in his speeches throughout the book. “God” is mentioned in Job 118 times. Job uses the word “God” 45 times throughout his speeches. Of course, there are other names for God like “LORD” (used 33 times) and “Almighty” (31 times). There appear to be only 6 chapters out of 42 that have no reference to God, at least not to any of those three designations. Job speaks of God quite often, and at key points in his speeches, he calls on God to listen to him and to respond to him (9:1-5; 10:1-3; 13:3; 16:20-21; 23:3-7).
Do you see how much Job wants to talk to God? To ask him why he is suffering so much; why the righteous suffer (Job considers himself righteous); why the wicked prosper?
If you had a chance to talk to God, what would you ask Him? Of what moral atrocities would you accuse God? In what ways would you claim that God has done something wrong, either in your life or in the world in general? How would you respond to God if you had a chance to talk to Him face-to-face?
GOD APPEARS ON THE SCENE:
Of course, God does show up on the scene at the end of the book of Job. Four chapters are devoted to God at the end of the book, chapters 38-41, with a little bit of dialogue in chapter 42.
First, as I have counted based on the NASV, there are a total of 63 – 63(!) – questions that God throws at Job. Sixty-three questions! Clearly, God is more interested in seeing what Job knows than He is in giving Job answers.
Second, and here is one of the most important points to make in the whole book of Job, let’s read 38:1-7: Circle these words as they are important: counsel, knowledge, instruct, understanding. Consider also these passages: 38:12, 21, 33, 36-37.
The whole point of this speech is that Job does not know anything, compared to God, about how the world works. Not only is Job finite in his knowledge and wisdom but he is also a puny, weak, mortal man with little power to do anything. Compared to God, Job can do nothing.
Now look at a few verses in chapter 39… 39:1-2, 5 (Did Job do this? Who did? Did Job? No. It was God.), 9-12.
Do you see the point here? God is telling Job that Job is impotent relative to the world in which he lives. We control nothing. Nothing is answerable to us. We are ignorant and powerless when it comes to nature, in contrast to God. Who has the right to stand above God and tell Him that He has done wrong in governing this world? Who? Who has the right to judge God as having done wrong? Who? See also 39:17, 19-20, 26-27.
Yes, we know more now than Job did then. Yes, with our scientific advancements, we can answer, at least to a certain degree, some of the questions that God throws at Job. But you and I also know that if God were to appear on the scene and ask Stephen Hawking a series of questions, or even the greatest assembly of all the smartest people in the world, God could give them questions that they simply could not answer. When is man ever going to learn that we are in a separate category than the God of heaven?