Are you making God in your own image? That is a big statement I know, but it is something that we really need to consider. This week we have been reading in Job chapters 16 through 20. The first time I read through these chapters I was feeling a little underwhelmed. It is again Job and his friends going back and forth. Each has the same argument and Job is becoming increasingly angrier and angrier at his friends and vice versa.
I was asked a question this week that actually put things into perspective. The question was actually in defense of Job’s friends. Asking essentially, why is their response so bad, and why are they considered the bad guys? I mean we have men who have left their home, their jobs, and their families to sit in the dirt and ashes to comfort their friend who has suffered such a devastating loss. These men appear to have really good intentions. Their hearts are striving to comfort and if necessary speak truth to their friend.
These men have a very strong underlying belief.
IF a man suffers than it is because they have sinned, and if a man prospers it is because God has blessed.
If we take this basic belief out to its logical conclusion as we see played out in the book of Job we find men who believe that ALL suffering is because of sin on the part of the one suffering, and that if a man prospers his whole life, is wealthy, and comfortable than God has blessed him and he must be righteous.
I began to think about this idea a little further, did Job’s friends not look around them at the people who were living all around them? Were they really that sheltered? Had they not seen a young person die young who had always lived in poverty? I believe they probably did see such things in that time and culture. They probably believed that these people suffered as a result of some great sin on the part of their father or mother. If we carry this idea a little bit further, and make the assumption that everyone who is poor and suffering is doing so because of sin, then is charity necessary? Or should those people, the refuse of society be allowed to suffer and pay the penalty for their sin? Does it mean that we can freely walk by someone on the street who is freezing to death?
What about the other side? What about the man who lives his whole life as a wealthy man, he is a strong and well-known business man. He is known to cheat his customers, and undercut those around him. Yet he lives in comfort and ease and dies in the middle of the luxurious home that he has created. Do Job’s friends believe that men like this are somehow righteous, even though their lives reflect a heart of greed and selfishness?
Or is it possible that God is actually much bigger than this basic belief held by Job’s friends?
We want to package life into neat little packages. We want to understand the pain and suffering around us so that we can ‘manage’ it better. The mess of our reality brings us fear and anxiety, or a suffocating depression. We want to package God like that too.
I am guilty of this. I have been struggling with our study in Job. I struggle with the idea that God would even allow Himself to be put in a position like this in the first place. It seems so out of character. Why does it feel out of character? Because it isn’t the way the god in my head behaves.
I have created a god that fits my own desires and wants.
I believe that Job’s friends did have a good intention when they left their homes and came to comfort their friend. But I also believe that Job’s friends suffered from the very disease that plagues all of us.
They believed their view of God was correct, and to consider that what Job was suggesting was even possible was painfully frightening to them. If God didn’t act the way that they could predict, how can you respond to that idea?
If God can simply take away everything we hold dear just because……….
Can a God like that be trusted?
I believe the answer to that is yes, and I talked about it in last week’s Blogging Through the Bible post.
It is hard to remove ourselves from the thrones in our lives and to fully surrender to God. But that is what he is calling us to. God is good, and he can be trusted. But as C.S. Lewis described Aslan in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe
“He isn’t safe”
God may call you to do something that makes no sense to you in the moment, but God’s plans are bigger than anything you can begin to dream or imagine. God is so much bigger, so much more than we can begin to imagine. We can’t fit God into anything that we can comprehend because then he would cease being infinite.
This post is part of the Blogging Through the Bible series with Good Morning Girls. For more information and free resources please click the button below.