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June 3, 2021 12:01 am
When suffering comes, one question often looms large: Why? Today, Derek Thomas examines how Job wrestles with the perplexing reality of pain and suffering, teaching that we can trust in the perfect wisdom of God even when the answers to our questions elude us.
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Wife's big questions in the book of Job's life of any minute does not have any purpose. That's what Job is being forced to ask us what you and I are forced to us from find ourselves at the mercy of an enormous tragedy and enormous suffering. When we do something with you over just going through the routines of life can be challenging in the question that always looms large is why why is God allowing this to happen.
That's a question no one should presume to answer, but there are answers in the book of Job, that allow us to face the difficulties of life. Indeed it's it's where we find the wisdom of God is Dr. Derek Thomas waiting to jump forward to Job 28 Job 28.
It's a little cameo a little poem about wisdom. Job is in fact responding begins in chapter 26 petition responding to the shortest speech from any of Job's friends build and that's in chapter 25 then Bildad runs out of steam after just fine. Buses also and then Job responds, but in chapter 28 on this cameo. It reminds us a little bit of other portions of Scripture wisdom literature, like the book of Ecclesiastes reminds us a little bit of some of the Proverbs. What is wisdom. Let's pick up a verse of verse 12 of chapter 28 but where shall wisdom be found and where is the place of understanding in many ways, the book of Job is about wisdom. Where can I get an answer to the question of the problem of pain. Where can I get that solution to the issues that have bedeviled me from the very beginning. Where shall wisdom found that the devil's wisdom, not the world's wisdom, but God's wisdom is a battle. Here is a battle about the hawk to the survival about the spirit.
But this about about the mind is a battle here about understanding as an epistemological battle raging in the cliffs. Job Isaac walks in the rendition of some hundred and 47 he forms the stars, those heavenly flames. He counts the number calls then names his wisdom's last knows no bounds. A deep but all our thoughts on drowned his wisdom's Avastin knows no bounds. What can I find wisdom in Job 28 is kind of an interlude of poem, a moment of reflection. He's looking for while a metanarrative he's looking for an explanation of how things are of the world of the universe of cosmology to make sense of everything. A metanarrative that puts while the whole together, not just the parts but the whole together with his wisdom question that the Bible posits wisdom literature asks that question of Ecclesiastes that the preacher sometimes known as Koheleth's using the Hebrew word, the preacher is asking Wiccan wisdom be found in wisdom in the Bible sense is while the power to see the inclination to choose the best and highest goal with the surest means of obtaining it.
That's biblical wisdom is a goal and as a means of attaining that goal, and it's the highest goal. It's the best goal with this kind of wisdom be found.
Science posits an answer. The universe in which we find ourselves begin in chapter 28. Surely there is a mining for silver a place for gold that they refined iron is taken after the F topper is smelted from the or man puts an end to document searches out to the farthest limits the or and boom and deep darkness you open shafts in the valley away from where anyone lives there forgotten by travelers from mining going down into the us looking for minerals looking for iron and copper, and precious stones and saw there are these tunnels man going where no man has gone before into the depths and darkness of the earth. He picks up in verse seven that pass no bird of prey knows the birds in the air and never being down in these caves there hidden from them.
What lies there is unknown to them. Verse 10. The cuts are channels in the rocks in his eyes sees every precious thing the diamonds up the stream so that they do not trickle the thing that is hidden brings out to light so so here is here is not manly Explorer into confined gemstones and you can find copper into confined silver and gold, and so on, but Wiccan wisdom be found.
You can dig down into the us and discover these things but Wiccan wisdom be found. Science's attempted to answer this question, Wiccan wisdom, what parts but what is the answer to the causation of the universe. When did the universe come from the Big Bang what was said before the Big Bang because the Big Bang what was there a millisecond before the big bang in science.
Of course, is no answer because all that science can say is that there wasn't anything philosophy was try to answer this question… The same question adopts the question, perhaps in the more sophisticated manner, but it's the same question. Only answer more complex question. Think of for one think of John Cage in the 20th century composer and he wrote a piece of music's a very famous piece of music is called four minutes and 33 seconds lasts for four minutes and 33 seconds.
It was building a concept recently noticed its total silence. No one place anything the officers just sit there for four minutes and 33 seconds he was commissioned to write this piece of music. It was he was talking about what he was trying to give an epistemology was trying to give a statement about wisdom and and it's nothing. There is no there is no ultimate answer. There's no big picture. There is no one metanarrative that puts everything together is it John Cage is a product of postmodernity or Michael late modernity.
There is no big picture.
There are little pictures but there's there's no one grand narrative George Lucas, Star Wars latest movie has come out to we think of the previous movies, Star Wars, George Lucas says about the meaning of life.
There is no why we are here. Life is beyond recent boxes. Philosophy of life. Later force be with you. So the Wiccan wisdom be found. What is the meaning of life and that's about the force. Whatever that is little bit of this and a little bit of that little bit of Eastern mysticism and and and so on what the bacteria the Epicureans let us eat and drink and be married because tomorrow we die. There is no grand narrative if there is no metanarrative. This only now there's only today so enjoy that. Make the most of it because you don't know what's going to happen, there's no big picture that's the question that Job is asking here in verse 12, where shall wisdom be found. Does life have meaning.
Does it make sense in the face of disaster in the face of trial in the face of difficulty are we simply subject to blind forces fate, chance to say when disaster comes one of these terrible shootings contract then to Sandy Hook elementary school. As an example when these terrible terrible tragedies, but the false community. The people are killed.
Young people, children, high school students college students are killed. It's interesting in the wake of the Sandy Hook elementary school. Samuel Friedman wrote in the New York Times in a crisis. The humanists seem absent. We notice that in a crisis. Humanists seem absent.
They don't come flooding in the trucks and and so on and offering counseling sessions and humanism to explain the tragedy that has just happened that there is no God, there is no one meta-narrative where all subject to the blind forces of chance in a largely secular society all the funerals folks attend distancing that in the in the Sandy Hook elementary school.
Even the president preached fortress was almost a sermon he actually quoted from second Corinthians 4, and five no doubt that the humanist message doesn't work when there's a tragedy when this is when this is trial humanists of nothing to offer. Nothing to say. Does life have any meaning does not have any purpose. That's what Job is being forced to ask us what you and I are forced to us from find ourselves at the mercy of an enormous tragedy and enormous suffering that is so comprehensive it is so large that it forces to publish the big questions and remember back in chapter 18. They marched off to the kingdom of terrorists. This was build out this was his sermon.
Remember before Job gives that peroration in chapter 19. I know that my Redeemer lives. He talks about being marched off to the king of televisions build out in his sermon about death, and so on about death being the great level. Death is the grade level.
Everyone is going to die. The rich and the poor famous and infamous everyone is going to die were here for seasonal life is but threescore years and 10 and if by reason of strength. The big four score years.
Yet, that is. It's all weariness and it's all tile maybe. Maybe Koheleth, the author of the book of Ecclesiastes and maybe his right. Everything is meaningless. Vanity all is vanity life work, play, relationships, friendships. It's all a vanity.
It's all a mirage should serve as a cloud is a mixed comes and it does everything is without meaning.
Everything is without purpose.
Go back to Job chapter 7 in verse 15 we read here in this meaningless life.
This is what is men seated in verse 17.
What is man that you make so much of him that you set your heart on him, visit him every morning, and test him every moment actually sounds like a play on the eighth Psalm does that what is man that you are mindful of them of the Son of Man that you visit him to the Job is asking this almost think almost her point of view of cynicism and what is my wife. Why do you set your what you set your focus on individual some on men prolonging verse 19, will you not look away from me nor leave me alone till I swallow my spit device and what do I do to you. You watcher of mankind, why have you made me your block unsought is asking the question what is life. What's it all about what's my purpose why my here. What is it that Robert crooks disparities gather the rosebuds swallow the May old-time is still flying in this same flower that smiles today, tomorrow will be a die or are they rose versus and while while while you can because time is marching on the clock is ticking the hours the minutes the seconds they go by tomorrow we will be dead and will be buried. Perhaps forgotten the generation from now two generations from now will hardly remember that you were ever here. What is the purpose and meaning of life.
Job just will refuse to let go of this belief system back to chapter 27 in verse six. I holdfast my righteousness, and will not let it go. Now that sounds you know you can misunderstand Job and you can say well how can anybody say that but what he saying is I'm holding fast to my position is his argument is that he hasn't committed any particular sin that warrants this particular visitation of judgment of trial and difficulty that you may have some problems with that covenant lost patience with Job by chapter 27. Defendant him but now he is losing patience with the don't lose patience with Job and Job. Job is a man that is notorious in the bodily part of the patience of Job well is a sense of Job's patient is steadfast, but I think that words in the book of James and singed chapter 5 of the book of James, and we will look at that as a lesson at the end of our studies together that word you heard of the patience of Job Should be better translated if heard of the steadfastness of Job, the perseverance of Job in the midst of this trial, he kept on going like a Duracell battery and he keeps on going here in chapter 27 verse six.
I holdfast my righteousness and will not let it go. Here's a belief system, and his belief system is that that is a man of integrity as a man of godliness seem to love the Lord to use his devoted his life to serving the Lord is not sinless, God himself is testified to this. In the prologue is corroborated Job's testimony. I holdfast my righteousness and he's not.
He's not buying the explanation of his friends that their worldview, but that suffering is always punishment. It's always God's visitation of judgment is always retribution you get out of life, what you put into it.
You reap what you sow. That's the only song they have an extended to death. They have a terrible argument, but that means that case very well, and Job has a good case, except that he's arguing it very badly, but I holdfast my righteousness when you say to someone who's passing through pain and trial difficulty in the godly people.
The people of faith. The people love the Lord Jesus. They follow him. They want him to be everything in their lives and empties trials, these difficulties come in. Maybe they're saying what's the point of it all was the point of it all was the point of godliness was the point of following Jesus was the point of the gospel. Look at me because what happened to me and it is just a hair's breadth away from cynicism, being cynical about life being cynical about God's.
And maybe you're asking this question was shall wisdom be found and where is the place of understanding. Well, let's follow the argument. Verse 13. Man does not know it's worth it is not found in the land of the living the deep says it's not in me, and the sea says it's not with me. It cannot be bought for gold and silver, be weighed as its price it, be valued in the gold of warfare in precious onyx or sapphire golden glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchange for Jules so Feingold you come by wisdom, you might be a businessman and entrepreneur, and you've made millions who made millions of money. You've got to private jets and 17 houses in various locations and you've made it in this world, man was made here. An example of while the best of capitalism and you first succeeded and demanding nothing and now you have everything and you climb that ladder you've made your one of the great examples of the American spirit of self-made individual but having bought wisdom. Anybody that can go to the store. Can you go online, put it in the shopping carts wisdom and purchase it and have somebody deliver it in a truck brown truck, or a FedEx truck can comes in is a box and says wisdom, and here it is the understanding of all things, the knowledge of how everything gets put together and you open it up and and and it's a little Parmesan elect search Colton and you speak to attend and she tells you stuff and she can provide you with wisdom, give me wisdom. Tell me, tell me wisdom and you pause for a second and blue light goes on and she says I do not understand your question searching for wisdom. The world is searching for wisdom. Young people are searching for wisdom. College students are searching for wisdom from the meaning of life. What puts it all together. Why am I here what is my purpose. What is my function, so Job is imagining this in terms of a mining expedition and sought man can do so much incredible what man can do is man of wisdom does he understand who is by can wisdom be found in you. See Job's response in verse 23. God understands the way to it and he knows its place is a little hint. In fact as to where this book of Job is actually heading where can you find the metanarrative that puts everything together but understands even the problem of pain-and-suffering, the answer is God understands it. Job is beginning to see here that man by his efforts in section can never plumb the depths of reality that include such things as pain-and-suffering God can and submitting to him, trusting him is when wisdom will be found. It is natural to question why God allows difficulty in our lives, but the biblical perspective. The godly perspective is to rely on the fact that God understands it and we rest in the knowledge that we belong to him. The Heidelberg catechism says it so well when it answers the question, what is your only comfort in life and death answer is that I am not my own but along with body and soul both in life and in death to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ Dr. Derek Thomas has been our teacher today here on Renewing Your Mind with a message from his series on the book of Job in 12 messages. Dr. Thomas considers the difficult question of how to square God sovereignty with the existence of evil with the existence of pain-and-suffering would like to send you this series on two DVDs and you can request it with your donation of any amount to look your ministries. You can reach us by phone at 800-435-4343 but you can also make your request online at Renewing Your Mind.Ward.
We have many other resources which deal with this important topic. For example, I search the website for our monthly devotional magazine table talk and found an article titled, where can we turn in fearful times.
I think it will be helpful to you and you'll also find several other articles. There you can subscribe to table email@example.com and while you're there, sign up to receive table talks free weekly email digest, so you never miss any of our online exclusive articles. The web address again is table talk magazine.com when we are facing trying circumstances it's easy to overlook one overarching truth.
Tomorrow we will look at the comforting fact that God is sovereign