Friday, December 31, 2004

The hand of the Lord has done this. Job 12

It is Job's contention that, of all that has happened to him, the hand of the Lord has done it all. Job believed that God holds the breath of every living thing in His hand and all that happens, good or evil, comes from His hand.

It strikes me odd that neither Job nor his friends ever attribute anything to the working of the devil. Even though Satan had a significant role in Job's suffering from the very beginning, Job nor his friends perceived Satan's hand in Job's sufferings. To Job, good and evil were both from the hand of the Lord, and God doesn't have to have a good reason for either. To Job's friends, good was God's reward for the righteous and evil was God's reward for the sinner.

To be sure, God is sovereign and does as He pleases. "He makes the nations great, then destroys them; He enlarges the nations, then leads them away." (Job 12:23) God does appoint the rise and fall of nations, this is true. "Behold, He restrains the waters, and they dry up; and He sends them out, and they inundate the earth." (Job 12:15) This is also true, God does send famines and floods, but the question remains, are all famines and floods the direct work of God's hand? The insurance industry refresh to natural disasters as "acts of God", but is this fair to God? I believe that most meteorological and geologic disasters are simply the after shocks of Noah's flood. Noah's flood permanently changed the earths weather patterns. Prior to the flood, there had never been any rain. The flood also changed the geological stability of the earth. During the flood, the fountains of the deep were released. Vast underground stores of water were released upon the earth. Storms, floods, and earthquakes (in most cases) are simply the left over effects of Noah's flood.

The point is, there are three sources for events in our lives. God, Satan, and the decay of this world. Somethings are the direct result of God's hand in our lives. Somethings are the result of Satan's attacks against us. And somethings are simply the decaying away of this present world.

So, if God is sovereign, why does He allow evil things to happen to people? Why did God not bring a quick end to Job's suffering? Why doesn't God bring a quick end to evil in this world? The answer is complex and, in part, a great mystery. But Peter does tell us one reason, "Bear in mind that our Lord's patience means salvation" (2 Peter 3:15) God's patience in dealing with evil is so that more may be saved. God is not willing that any should be lost and He is willing to wait that as many as possible may be saved.

We must realize that God has many reasons for what He does and what He allows. While we may not understand all His reasons, we know he has a reason, and His reason is for our certain good.

David Robison


  1. Anonymous11:27 PM

    My son has a youth pastor who seems to react to every circumstance as though it came from either God or Satan. If he is interrupted by a phone call, or gets a flat tire, etc. it is, in his opinion, always Satan trying to distract him or to keep him from doing the Father's work. I feel that if this were so than these things would never happen to unbelievers, yet, of course, frustrations and calamities happen to them all the time. The rain falls on the just and the unjust alike. I am reminded of Jesus commenting on the building that fell which killed some men. He seemed to be saying that this could happen to anyone at anytime whether beliver or not. That it was neither God's nor Satan's hand that felled the building, but that everyone needed to stay spiritually ready to give an account of themselves because it could as easily have been them. (I'm not giving the view that Satan does not cause things to happen to trip us up, I'm just agreeing with you that some things are from the decaying of the world and we needn't feel that every imperfect moment in our lives is somehow demonic).
    In this world the sparrows, and us, WILL fall. It is the price of our disobedience. But God does care and is watching, has in fact counted every hair on our heads, and for believers this is an enourmous comfort. Lazarus died a second time and had who knows how many evil things happen to him after he was raised from the dead. God's continual care for us is not a protective barrier against harm. Paul knew that the prophesy that he would die if he went to Jerualem was true, yet he said "nothing moves me." He had such a sustaining relationship with the eternal Father that nothing that this fleeting life could do to him would change his course. That is something I meditate on a lot; I would love to acheive such a God centered view.

  2. Anonymous9:15 PM

    I'm the same anonymous that posted the previous comment and I wanted to say that I was reading your posts from most recent back and had gotten this far when I posted. Now I have read all of them (great stuff) and realize you've not only covered the same points but even used some of the same examples. So, sorry for the redundancy (though it's nice to know someone who thinks similarly:-)