Friday, January 14, 2011

Convo with Pastor - Job 32:1-2

Job's three friends refused to reply further to him
because he kept insisting on his innocence ...
he justified himself rather than God
Job 32:1-2
 
I'm taken by that last line: "Job justified himself rather than God."
 
The New Living Translation helps us understand more fully what this means, by translating it and telling us that Elihu became angry at Job because "2 Job refused to admit that he had sinned and that God was right in punishing him." 
 
Elihu is a refreshing alternative to Job's previous three friends. But still no human completely understand's what's going on here. The book begins with Job being "1:1 blameless ... upright ... God fear[ing] ... and [actively] turn[ing] away from evil." Job was right and Elihu was wrong. Job really hadn't done wrong. 
 
Secondly, Elihu was wrong about this being a punishment. While we all deserve punishment -- because we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23) -- God is not shown as angrily punishing or smiting Job. What we see, however, is God taking his hand of protection off of Job and allowing certain calamities. 
 
Why?!!!
 
We know that calamities happen. And because bad  things happen to good people, we infer that hand of God's protection is at least occasionally off of us. I'm convinced that when we stand in heaven, we'll all be amazed at all the times his hand did keep us safe! Nevertheless, we can't help but ask why?
 
God will answer Job in the final chapters of this book. He'll simply say, "Human, you can't understand my ways." And our lives will be transformed if we learn to say, "I don't understand, but I trust anyway."
 
And in the meantime, I don't want to fall into the pit of "[me] justifying [my]self rather than God." I know what that line means, "Job justified himself -- declared himself just -- rather than viewing God as just," but I want to turn it ninety degrees and declare it like this: "Rather than Ed justifying himself, he tries to rely on God who has promised to justify him by his grace" (Rom 3:24).
 
In Christ's Love,
a former graphic artist
who knows that in typography,
left justified means ragged on the right
and right justified means ragged on the left.
I want to be full justified --
ragged in neither direction
and not self-justified either!
-------------------------------
I can safely say, "I don't understand!" BUT I can't add the trust part.

I don't really understand what it means to be justified. And don't feel like researching it right now.

However, 1) I do deserve what ever punishment I am getting and 2) it does feel like God has removed his hand of protection. Yes - there may be many times when his hand of protection has kept me safe, but it is much harder to see. And I can identify at least 3 times when I wish it hadn't and God had just let me go to heaven! But for some reason that is not the way it worked out.

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Speak gently. carefully. thoughtfully. graciously. humbly.

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