Once upon a time a teenager discovered she was missing a piece of jewelry. After searching for it for several hours to no avail, she accused her father of taking it. She had no evidence he took it, but she lived at home and her father was physically capable of walking into her room and stealing it; therefore, she concluded he was responsible for its disappearance.Do you agree with her conclusion? Hopefully, you can see the flaw in her thinking. Just because her father was physically capable of stealing her jewelry doesn’t mean he did. Unfortunately, we humans have a tendency to make similar, baseless accusations against God. When life goes awry we start blaming God and asking why he doesn’t make life rosy, but what if God did not cause our problems? Should we be blaming God if He isn’t the source of our troubles?
Thanks for watching this episode of Bible Mountain dotcom. This episode is part of a series of studies in the book of Job called “Why do people suffer?” In today’s episode, we are going to look at a time in Job’s life when he started blaming God for something God didn’t do. After reading about Job’s false accusation, we’ll examine whether or not we do the same thing and how we can avoid falling into that trap.
The book of Job begins by telling us Job was the greatest and wealthiest man in the east. He was so great that when Satan appeared before God, God bragged about Job. Satan insisted Job had a shallow loyalty to God, so God allowed Satan to test Job. Hence, Satan went out and killed Job’s children, destroyed all Job’s possessions, and struck Job with boils from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.
After Job’s calamity, Job’s three friends came to comfort Job and the four men had a lengthy dialogue about the cause of Job’s calamity. None of these men knew what had transpired between God and Satan, so they really didn’t know the true cause of Job’s calamity, but that didn’t stop them from pretending they knew. Job spoke first, then Eliphaz, then Job, then Bildad, then Job, and then Zophar. Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar tried to convince Job he was suffering because he had sinned while Job insisted he was innocent. That brings us to today’s passage in which Job spoke once again. Let’s start at Job 12:1
Job 12:1 Then Job responded,
Notice the word “responded”. Job was responding to his three friends who were telling him if he would confess and repent, then he would prosper. Job started his response with criticism of his friends.
Job 12:2 “Truly then you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar] are the people,
And with you wisdom will die!
Job 12:3 “But I[Job] have intelligence as well as you;
I am not inferior to you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar].
And who does not know such things as these?
Job 12:4 “I[Job] am a joke to my friends,
The one who called on God and He answered him;
The just and blameless man is a joke.
Job 12:5 “He who is at ease holds calamity in contempt,
As prepared for those whose feet slip.
Job 12:6 “The tents of the destroyers prosper,
And those who provoke God are secure,
Whom God brings into their power.
Notice Job’s complaint that he was suffering while wicked people were prospering.Next, Job stated it was God who caused his calamity, then Job went on to describe God’s power.
Job 12:7 “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you;
And the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you.
Job 12:8 “Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you;
And let the fish of the sea declare to you.
Job 12:9 “Who among all these does not know
That the hand of the LORD has done this,
Let me emphasize this because this was Job’s central thesis. Job believed God caused his calamity and everything else Job said was based on this belief. Job continued,
Job 12:10 In whose hand is the life of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?
Job 12:11 “Does not the ear test words,
As the palate tastes its food?
Job 12:12 “Wisdom is with aged men,
With long life is understanding.
Job 12:13 “With Him[God] are wisdom and might;
To Him belong counsel and understanding.Notice the pronoun “Him” refers to God. Keep in mind that Job was not inspired when he said this. Inspiration and inerrancy mean the author of Job inerrantly recorded what Job said, that doesn’t mean Job was correct in what he said. Therefore, we can’t use the following verses to form our beliefs about God; instead, these verses tell us what Job believed about God. Job continued,
Job 12:14 “Behold, He[God] tears down, and it cannot be rebuilt;
He imprisons a man, and there can be no release.
Job 12:15 “Behold, He[God] restrains the waters, and they dry up;
And He sends them out, and they inundate the earth.
Job 12:16 “With Him[God] are strength and sound wisdom,
The misled and the misleader belong to Him.
Job 12:17 “He[God] makes counselors walk barefoot
And makes fools of judges.
Job 12:18 “He[God] loosens the bond of kings
And binds their loins with a girdle.
Job 12:19 “He[God] makes priests walk barefoot
And overthrows the secure ones.
Job 12:20 “He[God] deprives the trusted ones of speech
And takes away the discernment of the elders.
Job 12:21 “He[God] pours contempt on nobles
And loosens the belt of the strong.
Job 12:22 “He[God] reveals mysteries from the darkness
And brings the deep darkness into light.
Job 12:23 “He[God] makes the nations great, then destroys them;
He enlarges the nations, then leads them away.
Job 12:24 “He deprives of intelligence the chiefs of the earth’s people
And makes them wander in a pathless waste.
Job 12:25 “They[chiefs of the earth] grope in darkness with no light,
And He[God] makes them stagger like a drunken man.
Notice what Job did here. Job had concluded God was the cause of his calamity and his conclusion was based on his belief that God was all powerful. However, just because God is all powerful and had the ability to cause Job’s calamity does not mean God was the cause of Job’s calamity.Next, Job went on a random, aimless tangent, alternating between criticism of his friends and declarations of his desire to argue with God. He wanted to argue with God because he believed God was causing his calamity.
Job 13:1 “Behold, my[Job’s] eye has seen all this,
My ear has heard and understood it.
Job 13:2 “What you know I[Job] also know;
I am not inferior to you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar].
Job 13:3 “But I[Job] would speak to the Almighty,
And I desire to argue with God.
Job 13:4 “But you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar] smear with lies;
You are all worthless physicians.
Job 13:5 “O that you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar] would be completely silent,
And that it[silence] would become your wisdom!
Job 13:6 “Please hear my[Job’s] argument
And listen to the contentions of my lips.
Job 13:7 “Will you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar] speak what is unjust for God,
And speak what is deceitful for Him?
Job 13:8 “Will you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar] show partiality for Him?
Will you contend for God?
Job 13:9 “Will it be well when He[God] examines you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar]?
Or will you deceive Him as one deceives a man?
Job 13:10 “He[God] will surely reprove you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar]
If you secretly show partiality.
Job 13:11 “Will not His[God’s] majesty terrify you,
And the dread of Him fall on you[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar]?
Job 13:12 “Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes,
Your[Eliphaz, Bildad, Zophar’s] defenses are defenses of clay.
Job 13:13 “Be silent before me[Job] so that I may speak;
Then let come on me what may.
Job 13:14 “Why should I[Job] take my flesh in my teeth
And put my life in my hands?
Job 13:15 “Though He[God] slay me[Job],
I will hope in Him.
Nevertheless I will argue my ways before Him.
Job 13:16 “This also will be my[Job’s] salvation,
For a godless man may not come before His presence.
Job 13:17 “Listen carefully to my[Job’s] speech,
And let my declaration fill your ears.
Job 13:18 “Behold now, I[Job] have prepared my case;
I know that I will be vindicated.
Job 13:19 “Who will contend with me[Job]?
For then I would be silent and die.At this point Job started speaking directly to God. Job believed God had caused his calamity, so Job asked for and somewhat demanded relief from his agony.
Job 13:20 “Only two things do not do to me[Job],
Then I will not hide from Your[God’s] face:
Job 13:21 Remove Your[God’s] hand from me[Job],
And let not the dread of You terrify me.
Job 13:22 “Then call, and I[Job] will answer;
Or let me speak, then reply to me.
Job 13:23 “How many are my[Job’s] iniquities and sins?
Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.
Job 13:24 “Why do You[God] hide Your face
And consider me[Job] Your enemy?
Job 13:25 “Will You[God] cause a driven leaf to tremble?
Or will You pursue the dry chaff?
Job 13:26 “For You[God] write bitter things against me[Job]
And make me to inherit the iniquities of my youth.
Job 13:27 “You[God] put my[Job’s] feet in the stocks
And watch all my paths;
You set a limit for the soles of my feet,
Job 13:28 While I[Job] am decaying like a rotten thing,
Like a garment that is moth-eaten.Next, Job stated his beliefs about the futility of life. Job believed that since God is all powerful and since God afflicts the innocent while leaving wicked people prosper, then life is futile.
Job 14:1 “Man, who is born of woman,
Is short-lived and full of turmoil.
Job 14:2 “Like a flower he[man] comes forth and withers.
He also flees like a shadow and does not remain.
Job 14:3 “You[God] also open Your eyes on him[man]
And bring him into judgment with Yourself.
Job 14:4 “Who can make the clean out of the unclean?
Job 14:5 “Since his[man’s] days are determined,
The number of his months is with You[God];
And his limits You have set so that he cannot pass.
Job 14:6 “Turn Your[God’s] gaze from him[man] that he may rest,
Until he fulfills his day like a hired man.
Job 14:7 “For there is hope for a tree,
When it is cut down, that it will sprout again,
And its shoots will not fail.
Job 14:8 “Though its[the tree’s] roots grow old in the ground
And its stump dies in the dry soil,
Job 14:9 At the scent of water it[the tree] will flourish
And put forth sprigs like a plant.
Job 14:10 “But man dies and lies prostrate.
Man expires, and where is he?
Job 14:11 “As water evaporates from the sea,
And a river becomes parched and dried up,
Job 14:12 So man lies down and does not rise.
Until the heavens are no longer,
He will not awake nor be aroused out of his sleep.Then Job started talking about himself again.
Job 14:13 “Oh that You[God] would hide me[Job] in Sheol,
That You would conceal me until Your wrath returns to You,
That You would set a limit for me and remember me!
Job 14:14 “If a man dies, will he live again?
All the days of my[Job’s] struggle I will wait
Until my change comes.
Job 14:15 “You[God] will call, and I[Job] will answer You;
You will long for the work of Your hands.
Job 14:16 “For now You[God] number my[Job’s] steps,
You do not observe my sin.
Job 14:17 “My[Job’s] transgression is sealed up in a bag,
And You[God] wrap up my iniquity.
And then Job finished by speaking once again of the futility of life.
Job 14:18 “But the falling mountain crumbles away,
And the rock moves from its place;
Job 14:19 Water wears away stones,
Its torrents wash away the dust of the earth;
So You[God] destroy man’s hope.
Job 14:20 “You[God] forever overpower him[man] and he departs;
You change his appearance and send him away.
Job 14:21 “His[man’s] sons achieve honor, but he does not know it;
Or they become insignificant, but he does not perceive it.
Job 14:22 “But his[man’s] body pains him,
And he mourns only for himself.”
And that is the end of Job’s speech. Let’s go back to Job’s central thesis. Early in this passage, Job 12:9, Job said, “the hand of the LORD has done this.” “This” referred to Job’s calamity: the death of his children, the loss of all his possessions, and his poor health. Job’s friends had told Job he was suffering because of sin, but Job’s response was, “Yahweh did it”. Was this true? Did Yahweh do it? Did Yahweh cause Job’s misfortune?Let’s look at Job 2:7.
Job 2:7 Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
The first two chapters of Job make it clear Yahweh was not the one who caused Job’s calamity, Satan caused the calamity. Yes, Yahweh allowed Satan to do it, but Satan was responsible for the calamity.
So does it matter that Job blamed God for something God didn’t do? Does it matter if we blame God for something God didn’t do. If life goes awry and we blame God when God is not the cause, is that a problem? Let me answer these questions this way?
What if someone wrongly blames you? Do you like it when people blame you for something you didn’t do? People generally don’t like being blamed for something they didn’t do and I suspect God doesn’t like it either.
Here’s the point: We have limited knowledge. Just as Job had no idea what had happened in heaven between God and Satan and why his life had gone awry, so too we really don’t know what God and Satan are doing or not doing at any given time. When calamity strikes us, it may be God or it may not be God, we really don’t know. Since we really don’t know, then when hard times come on us we should be careful what conclusions we draw about who is causing our problems. Just as we don’t like being blamed for something we didn’t do, I doubt God likes being blamed for something He didn’t do.
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