Reflections on the Old Testament: The Book of Job
In Job chapter thirteen, Job places His trust in God in spite of his belief that God is afflicting him for no apparent reason: “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him,” (Job 13:15, NKJV).
But in verse 20-21, sets parameters for this trust, saying: “Only two things do not do to me, then I will not hide myself from You: withdraw Your hand far from me, and let not the dread of You make me afraid.”
If we look at this from Job’s perspective, the great faith with which he was endowed becomes strikingly evident. Job believes that God is severely afflicting him without cause. He has expressed, in previous chapters, his terror of God and his utter confusion regarding his predicament. He believes God is the inflictor of his misery—but clings to Him as his only hope.
Many modern Christians, when facing various trials, will become (unjustly) angry at God for allowing their suffering. Job essentially believed that God was not just allowing his suffering, but that He was causing it—for no other reason at all, save, perhaps, His own amusement.
And yet, despite this belief, Job placed his full trust in God, and pled that, whatever God did to him, He would not withdraw Himself or make Job afraid of Him. Job possessed the knowledge of God’s invariable truth: that God is absolutely the only hope for mankind; and it was through this knowledge that he was able to place such implicit trust in God—because he realized that it was ridiculous for him to abandon his one hope and prop when he needed it most. Though in Job’s case, God was allowing Satan to afflict Job in order to test his faith, God is completely capable of inflicting misery—and not always for obvious reasons. But this we know (through the grace of God): that God never inflicts misery “for fun”; that He is infallibly in control, and that He is our only hope.
“I will teach you about the hand of God; what is with the Almighty I will not conceal. Surely all of you have seen it; why then do you behave with complete nonsense?”—Job 27:11-12, NKJV
What do these verses mean? I am sure they can be interpreted a myriad of different ways, but to me, they seemed directly applicable to the universe and man’s perception of it. Allow me to explain.
Second only to the Bible, nature delivers the greatest insights into God’s character that are possible for human beings to explore. We are constantly surrounded by the marvels of God as reflected through His glorious creation! There is not a single human being who can honestly that God is hidden from them, or that He is too mysterious and distant for them to know Him. If the Bible is “too difficult” for us, even so, we have no excuse—our very lives are, alone, enough to irrevocably verify the Almighty’s existence and preeminence, but in addition to this we are so privileged as to daily behold the wonders and beauties of a vast universe, all of which not only point invariably to their Creator, but also reveal to us His divine majesty, power, sovereignty, and love.
Now, return to Job 27:11-12. It might just as well be nature itself speaking! “I will teach you about the hand of God; what is with the Almighty I will not conceal.” God’s truth is so obviously revealed to us in nature that it is amazing that men still so blatantly deny it, but see what the next verse says: “Surely all of you have seen it; why then do you behave with complete nonsense?”All human beings are exposed to nature. Everyone has seen the wonders of God, has beheld His awesome creation—but so many still refuse to acknowledge the Creator. They “behave with complete nonsense,” viewing the natural world through a thick film of fallacy—seeing the miracles of nature, even studying them to the deepest detail, but failing to see the Purpose; “always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth,” (2 Timothy 3:7, NKJV). “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools…” (Romans 1:20-22, NKJV).