040 Job Asks: Where Is God? – Job 23:8-10

by Dan Horner on September 1, 2013

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Dan at MemorizeTheBibeWithMe.comThe Problem of Suffering

I find the Book of Job a very difficult book to read.  It’s one of the ancient pieces of Wisdom Literature in the Bible so it’s structure can be a bit difficult to navigate.

What makes maters worse is that much of what is written in Job is actually WRONG and I always have to keep in mind whose words I’m reading at the moment so that I don’t get confused.

Here is what I mean by “Wrong Theology”

Job is suffering and has no clue as to why.  (Hmm, not much has changed in a couple of thousand years has it?)

Now, his companions are “trying” to explain to him why he is suffering.  They believe they have “figured God out” and take measures to correct Job and the way he lives.

Here is what his initial three friends (Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar) believe they have “figured out” about the way God operates in the world:

  • Good things happen to good people
  • Bad things happen to bad people

Therefore:

  • If life is “good” it’s because I am “good” and proves God loves me
  • If life is “bad” it’s because I am “bad” and proves I have dissatisfied God in some way

Job’s friends take their simple “understanding” and apply it to Job’s life like this:

“Job, since your life is a disaster right now, you have done something very bad.  C’mon, what is it?  Admit it.  You’ve obviously really ticked God off in some way.  We can prove it.  God is obviously punishing you.  That should be proof enough. Straighten up.”

Their understanding of God, is oversimplified…

Job sees right through their oversimplification of how God works in this world when he says:

“How then will you comfort me with empty nothings?” Job 21:34

I love it:  “Empty Nothings!”  Have you noticed that we do the same thing today?  We assume “blessing” equals God’s favor and “difficulties” equal God’s curse.

The conundrum surrounding this whole topic is that sometimes “blessings” can be a result of God’s favor and “difficulties” can be a result of sin and falling short of God’s standards.

That’s where we mess up and fail to take into consideration God’s Omnipotence.  We, being human, seize on “can be” and want to make it read “are always” and that is where we oversimplify our theology.

The Book of Job reminds us, just as it reminded readers 3000 years ago, that God is beyond our comprehension (read Job 38 – 40:6) and that “suffering” is not so simple to explain.

One thing is universal, when we suffer we wonder where God is in all of the pain.  Job asked the same question.

Where Is God?

“Behold, I go forward, but he is not there,
    and backward, but I do not perceive him;

on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him;
    he turns to the right hand, but I do not see him.

But he knows the way that I take;
    when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.”

– Job 23:8-10

So what’s the point?

  1. Suffering is Universal and Timeless and we may never know the cause because, for now, we have a fragmentary view.
  2. However, God is in control.  This is independent of whether or not, at this moment, we can “see” him working.
  3. This singular understanding equips believers to trust and obey even when caught in the swirl of life’s perplexities.

I find remembering and applying these truths to be very difficult at times.  Perhaps you are the same.

Thanks once again for joining me on this journey to memorize key verses out of the Bible.

If you have a suggestion for a verse to use in the future, feel free to leave your idea as a comment at the bottom of this post or drop me an email at Dan@MemorizeTheBibleWithMe.com

Thanks and have a great week!

Dan

Dan@MemorizeTheBibleWithMe.com

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Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version ® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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