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FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL
 

FROM THE SERVANT GENERAL

LESSONS OF JOB
(Part 36)

THE MYSTERY OF GOD


December 16, 2009

Today’s readings
Isaiah 45:6-25
Psalm 85:9-14
Luke 7:18-23

God is the Almighty!

God reveals who He is through the prophet Isaiah. He is the Creator-God. “For thus says the Lord, the creator of the heavens, who is God, the designer and maker of the earth who established it” (Is 45:18).

In a similar way, God also revealed Himself to Job. God asks Job a series of questions, speaking of His wisdom and power that are totally beyond the capability of Job. God starts off by establishing who He is -- the Creator-God. “Where were you when I founded the earth?” (Job 38:4a).

God the Almighty is totally inscrutable, as His rapid-fire questions to Job indicate. Job could only feebly answer, “Behold, I am of little account; what can I answer you?” (Job 40:4). God presses on, speaking of His creations Behemoth[1] and Leviathan.[2] Job again answered, “I have dealt with great things that I do not understand; things too wonderful for me, which I cannot know.” (Job 42:3).

God is inscrutable; God is a mystery; God is the Almighty. Isaiah and Elihu both speak about the mystery of God.

  • God is hidden from us. “Truly with you God is hidden” (Is 45:15a). Elihu says He is “The Almighty! we cannot discover him” (Job 37:23a).
  • God is totally unique. “I am the Lord, there is no other” (Is 45:6b,18d,22c). Elihu says He is “pre-eminent in power and judgment” (Job 37:23b).
  • We cannot question God. “Woe to him who contends with his Maker; .... Dare the clay say to its modeler, ‘What are you doing?’ .... Woe to him who asks a father, ‘What are you begetting?’” (Is 45:9-10). Elihu says “his great justice owes no one an accounting” (Job 37:23c).

Now part of the mystery of God, which Job could not figure out, is God’s seeming tolerance or allowing both good and evil in the world. Indeed, God confirms this. “I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe;[3] I, the Lord, do all these things.” (Is 45:7). Job experienced both. God tremendously blessed him, and then God allowed him to be severely afflicted.

How are we to handle it all? Well, we cannot fully understand God, as we have already seen, because His ways are mysterious. This is why we need to turn to God’s revelation of Himself. And that is: He is just and righteous. And even more importantly, He is the Savior.

  • “It was I who stirred up one for the triumph of justice” (Is 45:13a,NAB). “I have aroused him in righteousness” (Is 45:13a,RSV).
  • “Only in the Lord are just deeds and power” (Is 45:24a,NAB). “Only in the Lord, it shall be said of me, are righteousness and strength” (Is 45:24a,RSV).
  • “Let justice descend, O heavens, .... Let the earth open and salvation bud forth; let justice also spring up!” (Is 45:8,NAB). “Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also” (Is 45:8,RSV).

We cannot fully understand God. But we know enough, that He is the savior. In fact, we have not seen God, but God came to us in the form of a man, and He is Jesus. Jesus is our Savior. “Truly with you God is hidden, the God of Israel, the savior!” (Is 45:15).

God our Savior is a just and righteous God. He is totally unique. “There is no just and saving God but me.” (Is 45:21d,NAB). “And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.” (Is 45:21d,RSV).

God tells Israel, and us who are the new Israel, that we have been saved by Him. “Israel, you are saved by the Lord, saved forever!” (Is 45:17). That should be more than enough for us. No more questions are needed. No more doubts ought to be entertained.

If we have such a God, one who is a just and righteous Savior, then this must elicit the proper response from us. Elihu, after speaking about God (Job 37:23), speaks about our proper response: “Therefore men revere him, though none can see him, however wise their hearts.” (Job 37:24). We respond in reverential fear and in humility.

What should we do?

  • We must continue to listen to His divine revelation. “I will listen for the word of God” (Ps 85:9a). It is God who reveals Himself to us, and who shows us the way we are to go, which is the way of peace. “Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people” (Ps 85:8a,RSV). Job listened to God in silence and humility, and God restored him and brought him peace.
  • We are to be faithful to His revealed ways. God proclaims peace “to the faithful” (Ps 85:9b). We are to be obedient to His commands, and live a life of holiness.
  • We are to “trust in him” (Ps 85:9c). Whatever happens to us in life, we trust in Jesus who is just and righteous, and who loves us with an eternal love. “Turn to me and be safe” (Is 45:22a,NAB). “Turn to me and be saved” (Is 45:22a,RSV). In Jesus we are saved; in Jesus we are safe.
  • We to be loyal to the cause of Christ. “Near indeed is salvation for the loyal” (Ps 85:10a). We are to evangelize, proclaiming Christ to all, so that they might experience the salvation won for them on the cross. “Surely his salvation is at hand for those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.” (Ps 85:9,RSV).

When we do the above, what is the result? Bountiful blessings! God restored Job’s blessings twofold. For us God assures:

  • Salvation and glory (Ps 85:10,NAB/9,RSV)
  • Love/mercy and truth/faithfulness, justice/righteousness and peace (Ps 85:11,NAB/10,RSV)
  • Abundance (Ps 85:13)
  • Prosperity and good fortune (Ps 85:14)
  • Vindication and glory (Is 45:25)

Job’s life was transformed from great adversity to great blessings. This is how our Savior acts. Jesus brings us from out of darkness into his marvelous light. He plucks us from death and into life -- an abundant life on earth, and eternal life thereafter.

If we are suffering great adversity, know that God can and will reverse our fortunes. He is the Almighty for whom nothing is impossible. Jesus makes the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers clean, the deaf hear, the dead raised to life (Lk 7:22). During his public ministry, Jesus brought wholeness to people as he “cured many of their diseases, sufferings, and evil spirits” (Lk 7:21a). God did the same for Job. God healed him of his physical affliction, removed his extreme suffering, and stayed the hand of Satan against him.

Perhaps most importantly, just as Jesus “granted sight to many who were blind” (Lk 7:21b), God opened Job’s eyes to truly see. “I had heard of you by word of mouth, but now my eye has seen you.” (Job 42:5). Because he saw God for who He truly was, Job was content. Job was secure in his full acceptance of the Almighty, trusting only in His justice and righteousness.

* * *



[1] The hippopotamus.
[2] The crocodile.
[3] God permits evil for the sake of a greater good.

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