Sunday, January 6, 2019
“Canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty unto perfection? It is as high as heaven; what canst thou do? deeper than hell; what canst thou know? The measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea” (Job 11:7-9 KJV).
What exactly is God doing? Can we say? Or, must we remain clueless?
The Biblical Book of Job is one of the most well-known pieces of ancient world literature. Its protagonist, Job, although a righteous man, experiences disturbing inconveniences after God grants Satan permission to afflict Job (1:1-12; 2:1-6). Basically, wealthy Job loses his oxen, his asses (donkeys), his sheep, his camels, his sons, his daughters, and his servants (1:13-22). His health fails as he suffers a plague of boils or sores (2:7-10). Remarkably, after these ordeals, Job is still faithful to God (1:22; 2:10). Such bad news would send the ordinary saint into apostasy, but Job will neither accuse God foolishly nor sin with his lips. He worships and declares, “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD” (1:21).
Chapter 2, verse 11: “Now when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.” Most unfortunately, these three “friends” are, in Job’s own words, nothing but “miserable comforters” (16:2). They accuse him of all sorts of wrongdoing, that he is responsible for his troubles, and so on.
Much of the Book of Job is he and his friends, along with a fourth man (Elihu), engaging in many, lengthy, theological squabbles. Zophar is the speaker in today’s Scripture. He essentially tells Job that he cannot know what God is doing—it is just too high, simply too deep, just too long, and simply too broad. My, oh my, dear friends, what comfort indeed (uh, NO)! Thank Almighty God we can understand (and in great detail!) what He is doing….