Saturday, December 11, 2004

God wounds me without cause: Job 9:13-18

In Job's response to Bildad, we see Job's struggle with that which he cannot explain. Job cannot understand why God is afflicting him. If he were wicked, then he could understand how and why God would treat him with such anger. Yet Job is innocent (even according to God's own testimony of him), yet he still suffers the affliction of God. How can God treat him the same as He treats the wicked? Job's only conclusion is that God destroys the innocent and the guilty alike. Job states, "Though I am righteous, my mouth will condemn me; though I am guiltless, He will declare me guilty. I am guiltless; I do not take notice of myself; I despise my life. It is all one; therefore I say, 'He destroys the guiltless and the wicked.' " (Job 9:20-22)

Job was raised to believe that, with God, there was either only reward for good or punishment for evil. Yet, in Job's eyes, he was receiving punishment even though he was righteous. Therefore, Job concludes, "For He bruises me with a tempest and multiplies my wounds without cause." (Job 9:17) Job's only possible conclusion was that God does not need a reason to send suffering upon mankind. God can chose to send suffering at will, and there is nothing that man can say or do about it. "Were He to snatch away, who could restrain Him? Who could say to Him, "What are You doing?' " (Job 9:12)

Job's problem was that he saw his relationship with God as that between a king and his subject. The king commanded, and the subject must obey. If the kings favor is towards his subjects, then they are blessed. But if the kind decides to turn his face against them, then who can answer him or restrain him. What Job didn't understand is that, while God is our king and the King of kings, He also wants to relate to us as our father, and we to Him as His sons. Job only saw reward and punishment, he did not perceive that God would deal with us as a father; to raise us up to become children of God. God was dealing with Job as a son, not just a subject. And as a son, sometimes we must endure the discipline of our Father, but we are never without His love. Paul reminds us, "and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, 'MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.' It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?" (Hebrews 12:5-7) God longs to know us as sons and for us to know Him as our Father. We must recognize that, when the Father brings discipline into our lives, it is proof that we are His children and that we are loved by Him.

David Robison

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