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What is it about nice people that attract total idiots?Nice people are martyrs. Idiots are evangelists.


Sunday, January 24, 2010

More lessons from Job

I've started in on the debates between Job and his three friends. What I have learned applies both to Job and the three, and I will explain it in a minute. First, let's look at Job. I know I see a lot of myself- especially earlier 'myself' - in his attitude. He starts out wishing he was never born, because despite his innocence (he likes to think he deserves no worse treatment in the next life that a stillborn babe) he is now worse off than everyone else. Never mind that a few days before he was one of the most prosperous men in the world, that doesn't count. His second response claims that suddenly God, his friends, and everything in life is against Him. Note that he never turns to God sincerely for help, just accuses Him of being the enemy. Thirdly, he justifies that attitude by claiming God can't be talked to- 'even if I'm right, I'm wrong.' Then he basically accuses God of being a bully, that he picks on people even though He is the one that made them the way they are. I can recall accusing God of these things a time or two, can you?
Then we look at the three friends. They actually make some good points. First, no matter how righteous we think we are, we can't out-righteous God. If we have a dispute with God, we are wrong, period. Second, God sees from a different perspective and can see in our motives what we do not. Third, Job seemed to them to be connecting his previous blessings with his righteousness ( he even says as much in 16:12- "I was at ease, but He has shattered me.") They point out that that is a false connection. And then, one of them tells Job the first thing we should be told when we take his attitude- the world isn't going to come to an end because of what's happening to you, and you are foolish to think it should.
But for all they got right, they were still coming at it from a wrong angle. They thought that everything that happened to Job was because he had some sin, whether he realized that sin or not. And this is the mistake they both made- they had the idea that bad things cannot happen to good people. For Job, that meant that God had to be wronging him, yet he had no means to protest it because God is God. He felt that he still was trusting in God, but God was in the wrong. "Though He slay me, yet I shall trust Him. Even so, I will defend my ways before Him" ( 13:15). Because of Job's concept of God, he could not see the contradiction in this. If you think God's in the wrong, you aren't trusting Him.
And the boys were no better- this same concept told them 1) if bad things happened to you, you were guilty of something; 2) diaster only comes to those who"forget God"; 3) if you were innocent, you could "lift your face" before God. What they failed to see is that, as Paul said, God uses everything for the good- whether good times or bad,- and is not afraid to let things happen to the children that He loves. And as we saw last time, sometimes these things do happen to correct, or to renew, or to show God's mercy.
If you trust God, you have to trust that He's right even when it feels like He's wrong. It doesn't mean we're bad when things go wrong, either. It may just mean we have something to learn.

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