“‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'” Isaiah 55:8-9
This summer I’ve been going through a study of the great book of Job. There is so much to take away from this story. From comprehending what is behind our life trials to the majesty and complexity of life and humanity, the story told about the life of this man who (most scholars believe) lived over 3,500 years ago pours out understanding and wisdom that applies today just as much as ever.
For those who are not familiar with the story, I’ll give a brief recap. Job was a religious, wealthy and respected man who suddenly lost everything: his wealth, his family, and his health. This suffering was all because Satan wanted to get this man to blame and curse God. Three of Job’s friends tried to explain why this tragedy had happened (all of the explanations were limited and wrong), and Job begins to become prideful and only feels he is being treated unfairly. In the end, God comes to Job and teaches him the hard lessons of this human life, which once they are understood, brings peace to Job.
My favorite chapters in the book are 38-41 where God comes, I think unexpectantly to Job, to answer his plea to have God explain to him his “unfair suffering”. Earlier in the book, Job is described as “blameless” and this is displayed by his words and actions initially following his sudden losses (“The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised”, Job 1:21). However as the story unfolds, you begin to not only read, but sense a palpable feeling of pride that Job becomes overtaken by. It is this overblown sense of self-worth that God immediately and powerfully addresses in these chapters.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding” (Job 38:4). No other question serves humanity a bigger “slice of humble pie” more than this one. Many atheist scientists and philosophers try to answer this question, making substitutions for the Creator God, but their theories and beliefs only come up short (I encourage you to read through “The God Delusion” by Richard Dawkins to explore how his weak arguments and evidence offer no proof for a Godless world, and ultimately requires atheists to rely on faith). This line of questioning that God places to Job serves to show him how complex our universe is, and at the same time how ignorant humanity is to understand it all.
For example, God asks Job about the basic concepts of gravity and light. While we now know what the force of gravity is and what light energy is, we still have no idea where gravity and light originate. Like the other constants of the scientific laws of conservation and thermodynamics and relativity, they can not fully be explained (How do they remain in the constant measurements essesntial to sustain life?). We ulimately have to accept and trust (meaning having faith) that they will remain stable, and realize something supernatural or superhuman has to dictate and maintain them.
In other words, as Job learned, humanity’s knowledge will ultimately lead to this conclusion: only the Creator God fully knows, controls and sustains the intricate details of both our lives and the universe. Once we are convicted of this basic truth, then peace will be the final outcome.
“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4 (NIV)
On a side note, it’s awesome how the entire Bible points to Jesus Christ as being God incarnate who redeems and saves all of humanity. And this is true in the Book of Job: “I know that my redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand on the earth” (Job 19:25,NIV). All praise to Jesus Christ!