WHAT MAKES YOU SO SURE?
Spirit of the living God, I pray that you will grant me a right faith, a sure hope, and a perfect love.
Read JOB 12
12 Then Job replied:
2 “Doubtless you are the only people who matter,
and wisdom will die with you!
3 But I have a mind as well as you;
I am not inferior to you.
Who does not know all these things?
4 “I have become a laughingstock to my friends,
though I called on God and he answered—
a mere laughingstock, though righteous and blameless!
5 Those who are at ease have contempt for misfortune
as the fate of those whose feet are slipping.
6 The tents of marauders are undisturbed,
and those who provoke God are secure—
those God has in his hand.[a]
7 “But ask the animals, and they will teach you,
or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you;
8 or speak to the earth, and it will teach you,
or let the fish in the sea inform you.
9 Which of all these does not know
that the hand of the Lord has done this?
10 In his hand is the life of every creature
and the breath of all mankind.
11 Does not the ear test words
as the tongue tastes food?
12 Is not wisdom found among the aged?
Does not long life bring understanding?
13 “To God belong wisdom and power;
counsel and understanding are his.
14 What he tears down cannot be rebuilt;
those he imprisons cannot be released.
15 If he holds back the waters, there is drought;
if he lets them loose, they devastate the land.
16 To him belong strength and insight;
both deceived and deceiver are his.
17 He leads rulers away stripped
and makes fools of judges.
18 He takes off the shackles put on by kings
and ties a loincloth[b] around their waist.
19 He leads priests away stripped
and overthrows officials long established.
20 He silences the lips of trusted advisers
and takes away the discernment of elders.
21 He pours contempt on nobles
and disarms the mighty.
22 He reveals the deep things of darkness
and brings utter darkness into the light.
23 He makes nations great, and destroys them;
he enlarges nations, and disperses them.
24 He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason;
he makes them wander in a trackless waste.
25 They grope in darkness with no light;
he makes them stagger like drunkards.
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
ReflectThe Lord Jesus is wisdom from God – our righteousness, holiness, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30). In what ways can you see these four words used to describe Jesus expressed in Scripture; in your own life?
There’s a Mark Twain quote that goes: ‘It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.’* Nobody likes a know-it-all. That is Job’s experience of his friends (vs 1–3). Convinced they know God’s mind, they treat Job as an inferior, laughing at his expense (v 4). They fail to show any sympathy (v 5) and instead, present ‘a flinty theology’.** We, too, need to take care when we apply our limited knowledge of God to the complexities of life. It’s why Peter talks about speaking the gospel with gentleness and respect’ (1 Peter 3:15), not bludgeoning people with propositions. Paul calls for conversations ‘full of grace’ (Colossians 4:6).
Job presents his understanding of God as one who is in complete control of everything and everyone – judges, kings, priests, advisers, nobles, nations, and their leaders (vs 17–25). His management of the universe can fail to fit our expectations or even our theology. What do we do then? Pretend it all fits our formulas – or simply acknowledge that our categories cannot contain him? As we will see in Job, there are times to lament and even complain, but there are also times for silence and trust.
Our call is to speak God’s truth confidently and compassionately, especially to those touched by suffering. Who has modeled that for you? What can you learn from them?
Dear God, keep me humble and always open to learn more of you and your ways. May my sharing with others be grace-filled.
*Mark Twain (1835–1910)
**AS Peake quoted in Wilson (2015)
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