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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Too Wonderful

Knowing God~His Purpose Prevails

"Then Job answered the LORD: 'I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted. . .Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. "Hear, and I will speak; I will question you, and you declare to me." I had heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees You; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:1-6, ESV

We have come to the end of the book of Job, the final three chapters have focused on God's exchange with Job, as He questions & challenges Job. Job humbly steps back and affirms God's sovereignty. God then blesses him twice as much as before with possessions, 10 more children are born, and he lives another 140 years to enjoy all the blessings he has received.

If only real life were like that. I guess it is, I mean, we go through difficult times in this life and if we are faithful to believe and trust in God, then we have the hope of eternal life. I guess I'm just a little wistful for the blessings and ease of life to come on this earth too. After all, one can endure anything for a while if they know there is a reward waiting afterwards. That is one of the reasons why I have set about to do this particular word study on the word "Know." I want to understand Who God is and the mystery of why He stands silent in the shadows at times that seem crucial for His presence to be seen. Job needed God, and yet God seemed to have turned His head away. Then when Job's friends questioned God's reasons for seemingly punishing Job, and when Job proclaimed his innocence and faithfulness even while admitting he was discouraged, God shut down everyone's words and restated His position as Lord of the Universe.

Job says two things that resonate with me. He knew that anything God decided to do would happen. Then when he said, I heard about You but now I see You, it is almost as if he was saying, I believed that You existed because other people told me about You, but now I get it. Now I actually see You, perhaps not in reality because no one could see God and live, but now I see all the things that You do, and understand how they point to You. I see the earth, the sea, the clouds, the dawn, snow, hail, wind, rain, thunderbolts, ice, the stars, lightning, lions hunting, goats & deer giving birth, wild oxen, horses in battle, hawks & eagles soaring, Behemoth and Leviathan. I recognize the strength and the power in all these created things and I see how they point to their Creator.

Job humbled himself after seeing the magnificent display of God's power. He understood that it was not a matter of God being unable to put things right, but that it was something far too mysterious for him. His eyes were opened to see not just God's capacity, but God's all-knowing, and he recognized that he knew nothing. Perhaps that is one of the ways I can reconcile my question of Why doesn't God intervene? Perhaps it is something "too wonderful for me" to understand, though "wonderful" is not the word I'm looking for, because sometimes the things are too ugly and horrible.

I think what Job meant was that it was something far bigger than he could comprehend, sort of like an ant wandering along, picking up its piece of bread, and a compassionate human comes along (not me!) and moves the crumbs to the side of the room so the ant won't get squashed when it comes back for its next morsel. The ant doesn't understand why the bread has moved and why it now has to travel all around the perimeter of the room to get to its food, rather than saunter to the middle of the room. But the human knows that there's a couple of eager baby hands of a just-walking toddler, and those hands are busily scouring the middle of the room for interesting things to put into the mouth. 

Psalm 131 says, "I do not concern myself with great matters or things too wonderful for me. But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content. Israel, put your hope in the Lord both now and forevermore." NIV

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