Wednesday, June 14, 2017
“Is it your wisdom that makes the hawk soar and spread its wings toward the south? Is it at your command that the eagle rises to the heights to make its nest? It lives on the cliffs, making its home on a distant, rocky crag. From there it hunts its prey, keeping watch with piercing eyes. Its young gulp down blood. Where there’s a carcass, there you’ll find it.”
Then the Lord said to Job, “Do you still want to argue with the Almighty? You are God’s critic, but do you have the answers?”
Then Job replied to the Lord, “I am nothing—how could I ever find the answers? I will cover my mouth with my hand. I have said too much already. I have nothing more to say.” Job 39:26-30, 40:1-5(NLT)
Many a defendant on trial has been his own worst enemy by taking the witness stand. There is just something about having a voice and also having someone else’s ear; we just have to talk.
It’s a particularly unfruitful practice to try to defend your actions to God. In this passage which is part of God’s answer to Job, there have been 35 chapters of Job hollering out into the dark, why me; I’m a good guy, God – why didn’t you pick on one of my miserable neighbors who beats his wife? Or that drunk in town? Or….well there’s plenty more where they came from…and you give ME boils….seriously?
In answering Job, God goes down the creation checklist, asking Job if he was there when all this came about. Now, of course Job wasn’t there, so God is being rather sarcastic (He must be from New York, right?).
If you ask non-believers about the feeding and flying habits of the hawk and eagle, you’ll get a Darwinian mush of natural selection and survival of the fittest. It would not be cool to concede the possibility of intelligent design. But, mush aside, and whether or not skeptics approve, it is God who, with a simple word created the majestic birds, complete with DNA that tells them when to soar, how to locate a carcass, and feed their young. Clearly it was not Job who did all that.
I love Job’s response. He has that look all over his face, somewhat like an actor who has stepped onstage in front of a huge audience; all eyes are on him, and then he realizes he forgot his clothes!
Job realized he had spent 35 chapters blaming the unfairness of his situation on God, and God, in a kind way, simply asked Job if he thought he was ready to stand toe to toe with God and slug it out. Job chose to switch to humility; Lord, I shut my mouth!
There are two important truths you can learn from Job’s encounter with God.
1. When people like Job’s friends ask: what sin did you commit to get God so mad at you, keep quiet. Like the man once said about responding to gossip, never wrestle with a pig; the pig likes it, and you’ll both wind up in the mud.
2. When you’re tempted to debate your sinless record before God, take a deep breath and pray that God has given you enough wisdom to keep silent. There was only one sinless person who ever lived…and it wasn’t you.
Learning from God about your troubles is done much better with two ears than simply a mouth.