Brace Yourself, God Has a Few Questions
Part 2 of Meeting God
A Series of Articles on Job 38-42
"Now gird up your loins like a man, and I will ask you, and you instruct Me! Job 38:3
God has shown up – blowing Job’s mind with His entrance in the mantle of a gigantic windstorm equal to any tornado known to man. That had to be a humbling thing to see. But even more humbling was to hear God’s voice coming from the midst of it. Yet, Job probably had no idea what kind of questions God was about to ask him. He had spoken the truth about God according to Job 42:7, and God was not there to question Job’s integrity or his sincerity. What God was there to question was Job’s humility when it came to understanding the providence and sovereignty of God.
The knowledge of our own ignorance is the first step in becoming wise. As long as we hold to the fallacy of man’s great knowledge, we too will think highly of our supposed wisdom and, like Job, question God’s sovereignty and wise, loving providence in our lives. As God begins, He calls Job to summon all his great wisdom and understanding, because it is time for Job to answer a few “God-level” questions.
The manner in which God approaches these questions would make anyone a little squeamish about what was about to happen. “Hey Job,” the Lord says, “Gird up your loins like a man, because I have a series of questions, and evidently you need to instruct Me?” These words were not very comforting to Job. The phrase “Gird up you loins” had to do with how a strong warrior would tuck his outer garments into his belt so that he would be ready to run into a battle. This preparation done by any strong man that faced a difficult task. Job, though, was not facing some difficult physical task or battle situation. Job needed to get ready because he was about to face the questions of God, the Creator. There would be 77 different questions coming Job’s way from God – none of which he could answer with any great knowledge he possessed. They are still unanswerable even though we’ve had several centuries to gather up all the combined human wisdom we can muster.
The arrogance of humanity is breath-taking to consider. We can’t even process and guide what is happening in our own bodies (that is why we have the autonomous nervous system to do these things for us) let alone know what is happening in our neighborhood. But to take over providence from Almighty God requires more than just a comprehensive knowledge of our own little sphere of life. God knows intimately the “goings-on” of every body, every mind, and even the action and reaction of every human and how it will affect every other human. But please add to this the knowledge of every aspect of our planet – its animal kingdom and its inhabitants down to the smallest microorganism as well. Add to this the inner workings of earth beneath its crust, as well as all that is going on in the atmosphere and on every land mass and body of water on this spinning sphere. But wait, O wise and understanding human, there is more!
God also knows and guides every planet, every star, and every last minute piece of interplanetary space dust. Not only does he know and understand it – He designed it so that it works together as a whole. He knows and guides the trillions times trillions of interactions which take place every millisecond throughout the entire universe – and knows all that can be known about all of it. But there’s more! He directs and guides it through His wisdom and divine design structure. It “works” like it does because He made it. The universe is not random – it is designed at a level our minds could never comprehend.
Have you ever thought about the fact that we set our clocks by the atomic clock that functions within the universe itself? All of everything that has ever been made functions within an interdependent, wonderful choreography set in motion and maintained by the wisdom and understanding of the infinite and eternal God. Just a second of time in God’s infinite understanding and maintenance of the universe would fry every single computer we have ever made. Imagine the wisdom involved in bringing it into existence. Now measure that with our propensity to not even remember why we came into a room – or with remembering all the information we need to pass a test . . . that we took three years ago. Yep – like I said earlier – it is breath-taking to consider the unbelievable arrogance of mankind.
Please understand, I do not think that God was making light of Job’s situation. Scripture reminds us that God’s Son faced all that we face – and yet without ever sinning. The Lord fully grasped Job’s pain and suffering (remember, His Son was the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world). What God was addressing was how Job was questioning God’s wisdom and questioning how the Lord was running things (at least in his own life). It’s interesting how we take for granted that our universe doesn’t crash into itself extinguishing life as a whole – or that our hearts pump some 2000 gallons of blood through our bodies daily – but we wonder about God’s ability to run things if it means suffering for us or a delay in our ongoing gratification today.
Christopher Morley said, “I had a million questions to ask God; but when I met Him, they all fled my mind; and it didn’t seem to matter.” That is what is going to happen to Job in the final four chapters of the book that bears his name. The tremendous suffering he encountered filled his mind with a million questions he wanted God to answer. It seemed to him that he wouldn’t be able to go on unless the answers were forthcoming. Then in a wondrous gift of mercy and grace Job met God. He didn’t just hear of God by the hearing of the ear – he was allowed to see God – and when the meeting came to it’s end, Job had no more questions. In fact, it didn’t matter if he ever got the answers he thought he had to have.
Most likely none of us will receive a meeting with God as He speaks out of a powerful tornado. But then again, probably none of us will face suffering so great as that which Job endured either. Hopefully it will suffice that God did show His mercy in meeting with Job – asking His 77 unanswerable questions – and ushering Job into a remembrance of just how little he actually knew. Hopefully we will read of such a thing – receive instruction from God’s Holy Spirit – and humbly lay down our accusations that God doesn’t know what He’s doing in our lives – in our sphere of influence – or even in the entire scope of space and time. Believe me, reading of it is far less terrifying and humbling than having to be there. The truly wise man will realize this and humble himself before God.
I'm leaving after this election!
I decided that if the Republicans win - I'm leaving.
I decided that If the Democrats win - I'm leaving.
I'm leaving the world where it's me against them.
I'm leaving the world where it's OK to slander those who disagree with my view - rather than maybe, I don't know, maybe talk with them and try to grow in understanding one another.
I'm leaving the world where I think the worst about those who don't share my views.
I'm leaving the world where there are lines drawn that cannot be crossed - not lines of what I believe or what moral or ethical standards I live by - but lines that we can't cross to talk to each other.
I'm leaving the world where we think an election is what will change things - that new laws - new executive orders - even new Supreme Court Justices will actually change things in our country and in our lives.
I'm leaving the world where I myself, as well as all others around me, have their identity described by two labels - the "good one" I call myself - and the "bad one" the other side calls me.
I'm leaving the world where I can be manipulated by a political party to the point where I immediately characterize people (without ever getting to know them) by which party they associate with at the time.
I'm leaving because I want to rediscover Someone Who commanded me to prove I am His disciple by the way I love my brothers and sisters in Christ.
I'm leaving because I want to rediscover Someone Who said that His kingdom was not of this world.
I'm leaving because I want to rediscover Someone Who put a Zealot and a Tax Collector in His group - and they didn't wind up killing each other - or at least protesting one another.
I'm leaving because I want to rediscover how to lose my life so that I can gain it - to give my life and my rights away so others can be blessed - to consider others better than myself.
I'm leaving because I want to rediscover the One Who gave His life away - who laid down His rights as God (even though He WAS God) - Who took my sin and my sorrows - Who even paid the price of my sin - Who was despised and forsaken - misunderstood - mischaracterized - mistreated - and yet considered it all joy when He considered all those who would be blessed as a result.
I don't want Trump or Pelosi - Democrat or Republican - Conservative or Liberal - Socialist or Capitalist - or any other label or leader to be associated with my name any longer.
I'm leaving to follow Jesus. I'm leaving to live for His kingdom and His righteousness. I'm leaving because the world's mindset - the Republican's mindset - the Democrat's mindset - honestly - even my own mindset - are not the mindset by which I need to live and make my decisions. I hope to have the mind of Christ.
So . . . I'm gone. I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live - yet not I, Christ lives within me. The life I want to live, I live by faith in the Son of God - Who loved me and delivered Himself up for me. As I leave I have a prayer - May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, my Rock and My Redeemer.
Three Raspberry Cheers for Hello Kitty . . . and the Postmodern Lie
Most of you know that I am a confirmed Bible, history, and worldview nerd. That is why when I arrived at work today to the shock that Hello Kitty’s questionable identity was a “breaking news story” by many, I found myself in a quandary as to whether to be amused or in be despair. Before I receive emails telling me to lighten up or to realize what is meant as tongue-in-cheek humor, let me make a few introductory jabs at this entire fiasco.
If Hello Kitty is a little girl, I feel for her now that she is in her 40’s and still wears a full length kitty costume (or is it a kitty costume?). If Hello Kitty is not a cat, then is it possible that I should be concerned about the prescriptions I have from Dr. Dre? If Hello Kitty is not a cat, should I be horrified to learn that Taylor Swift may not be either a pop or country artist, but rather a punk rocker who dresses in an understated way? Please forgive me for these - but I hope it does show that I do grasp humor - well at least I think I do. Actually I may have just engaged in horribly depressive hate speech disguised as humor? Who knows any more?
I hope that this exercise helps you understand my main point in this article. I do not care who Hello Kitty is - except that, come on folks, that’s a kitty! But in our postmodern world in which truth is in the eye of the beholder, your kitty does not have to be a kitty. In order to get a ton of free press, as well as increased sales of Hello What-ever-you-are (which I believe should be the new “truth in advertising” ruling against Hello Kitty), all you have to do is make an outlandish claim that what is clear to everyone, everywhere - is actually a 40 year old, clever ruse. (Note: by the way I think Hello What-ever-you-are is better than Hello Creepy-40-year-old-cat-dressing-freak - don’t you think?) But back to my point about our postmodern society.
This entire situation is actually a good example of our postmodern thinking. Imagine with me this entire story back in the 1960’s and 1970’s. People would not have probably even considered arguing that their kitty was not actually a cat because it stands on two legs, and it has a pet cat named “Charmy-kitty.” (Boy is that a future cover story waiting to be written - “Charmy-kity” confesses to being a cat trapped in a dog’s body!”) But I digress yet again - sorry folks but this one truly brings out the sarcasm in me.
Let me get to my point. Postmodern thinking says, “What you believe to be true, is true.” It is true because you believe it to be true. No one has any right to tell you your beliefs or practices are wrong as long as you think that are true, are not hurting anybody. This has what has paraded for truth, or I guess at least anit-truth, for years in our educational systems, as well as among certain philosophers and deep thinkers. But there is a problem here - and I would like to use a well-known children’s story (although it can be a bit racy) to illustrate my point.
Enter the emperor, stage right. As he enters, it is apparent to all that the man is completely naked - as the day he was born. There are all the tell-tale signs that he is naked - such as - well . . . nakedness. As he rides or struts across the room, showing off what he thinks to be his new duds, all the post-modern ones in the crowd collude with him about his nakedness. They oooh and ahhh at the latest in minimalist fashion (yeah, minimalist is an understatement for a guy who should at least have on underwear) as they all agree together to lie about their ruler’s current unclothed state. Now for my personal million dollar question. “Is this guy naked?”
Maybe we should listen to the tailors who tell us that he is not naked. They assert that he is clothed in kingly splendor no matter what he is wearing. We are also told that clothes do not make the man. We are chided that our view of clothing is outdated, pedestrian, and nude-phobic. We need to get with the times so we can understand why we have such a narrow definition of clothes. I can tell you why I have that narrow definition. It is because the king in the story WAS NAKED! It does not matter to me what he or anyone else there believed - naked means, not having on any clothes. He does not have on any clothes, therefore, he is naked.
Now, having put a huge bullseye on my back that I am woefully out of touch with current trends (For which I daily thank God - Who’s Word IS truth - and Who has also defined nakedness pretty clearly in the Scriptures. By the way, He also defines who we should see naked - which is an incredibly more narrow list than what the world currently embraces.) I would like to comment on Hello Kitty for the last time, and then hopefully make a point concerning epistemology (Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.) Hello Kitty is a cat. Granted whatever weird version of a cat in a cartoon form is eventually agreed upon - that is a cat. People have bought into Hello Kitty for years as a cat, and since I’ve never seen a zipper on the cartoon version - or any of its multitudinous money-making products - I’m gonna go with the whole cat idea. Why wouldn’t we think Hello Kitty is not a cat?
We are engaged in this ridiculous news story - and the ensuing ridiculous commentary (mine included) because the creator of Hello Kitty believes that his Kitty is not a cat. In earlier (non post-modern enlightened decades) we would have written this whole thing off as a story illustrating someone who needs to re-take Biology 101. Or honestly, we would have shrugged and thought that the creator of this cartoon, albeit very gifted at kitty drawing, takes his cartoon a little too seriously. But in our post-modern society, this is what passes for a tongue-in-cheek breaking news story. Yet, here is what disturbs me a little.
We have been led to believe by post-modern thinking that if someone believes something is true - then it is true and we should let them hold that belief without criticism. If that is true, why is it that those who believe in God are treated with greater disdain than the Hello Kitty creator? There is actually epistemological support for belief in God according to classic apologetics. Even widely held philosophy has valid arguments for the existence of God. Yet, in spite of all this, bible-believing Christians who hold to the existence of God are being treated as if they are some sort of factually challenged freaks. If you really want to see an escalation of rhetoric, look at what is being said about those who say homosexuality is sin according to God’s Word - or that life begins at conception and what is in a woman’s womb is not just a blob of tissue, but a living child who deserves adequate protection from harm. There is where the lie of post-modern thinking is exposed.
You see, it is perfectly reasonable to defend Hello Kitty. What is utterly indefensible according to many in our society today is bible-believing Christianity. What is indefensible is anyone who believes in the exclusivity of salvation through Jesus Christ. What is indefensible is the audacity of believing that there are 10 commandments applicable to the morals of present day society. And thus the facade of post-modernism is revealed. What we have here is not a philosophy that embraces all views, but rather a pseudo-philosophy that embraces the Kitty - but throws out the dangerous idea that God might actually exist. Now there is a breaking news story!
Last week we examined what it means to act with our wills – choosing to do the will of God in our daily lives. God gives us all that we need to do His will as believers, but He will not absolve us of making the choice to do so. So the question naturally results from this – how do we get into a place where we will choose God’s will on a more consistent basis. (The truth is that we want to get to where we choose nothing other than His will – but this article takes into account that we are in the process of sanctification in the nitty gritty of every day life).
One of the major problems we have in consistently choosing the will of God is that often we do not know what His will is. Ignorance is never a good argument for disobedience – especially when God has given us His Word as well as His Spirit, Who teaches that Word to us. This is why Paul prayed for the Colossians after they came to know the Lord. His prayer is a reminder to us of the kind of things we need if we are going to consistently choose God’s will over the world’s ways or our own flesh. Let’s take a look at this prayer in Colossians 1:9-12.
“For this reason also, since the day we heard of it, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.” (Colossians 1:9-12, NASB)
The first thing Paul prays for these new believers is that they would be “filled with the knowledge of His will.” Therefore the first thing we learn about knowing and doing the will of God is that it is not natural. The Fall has resulted in us being blinded and incapable of knowing God’s will on our own. If we are going to walk in God’s will – and indeed “will” to do God’s will – we will need for God to teach us and reveal to us what His will is.
The second thing we learn about choosing God’s will is that it requires “spiritual wisdom and understanding.” Again, this is not something that we learn like we would learn Math or Science. We need the Holy Spirit to open the Scriptures to us in such a way that we end up with “spiritual wisdom.” This phrase refers to the way we view the world around us. We begin to see things as God sees them. Until we do this we don’t have wisdom and will more than likely walk in foolishness consistently. (It may be helpful to know that foolishness here refers to any conduct where we are walking outside of God’s will or contrary to what God desires in our lives.) Whereas spiritual wisdom refers to seeing things as God sees them, spiritual understanding refers to grasping what we see in a way that we begin to comprehend concepts and relationships between things. But the word used here has a highly practical meaning as well. We not only get things in our heads – but we begin to get the skills necessary to walk out mental concepts as lifestyle choices.
This kind of information comes to us from God as we read, study, memorize, and meditate on His Word. Without God’s revelation (written word) and illumination (Holy Spirit instruction) we are blind to truth. Some will balk at this, but in doing so they only reveal that they still have issues with pride and the self-life. It would be wise for us to be reminded of several passages of Scripture in this regard. God tells us in twice in Proverbs, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death.” (Proverbs 14:12 and 16:25) We also read in 1 Corinthians 1:20-21, “Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not come to know God, God was well-pleased through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe.”
The world’s wisdom will not do the will of God for its wisdom is opposed to Him. This teaches us an important truth. If all we are getting is the world’s information sources each day, we will not walk in God’s will. In order to choose His will consistently in our lives, we MUST have a regular input of His spiritual wisdom as well as His spiritual understanding. Humility is required to do this. We MUST admit that we don’t have these things – and that they only come as we seek God for them.
As we close this week’s look at walking in the will of God, we need to answer a very simple question. The question is this: “Are we filling our minds and hearts with the kind of information that will lead to us knowing God’s will?” If our lives are filled far more with the world’s wisdom – we will walk in worldly ways. We will not have the information we need to walk godly – choosing God’s will over our own fleshly wisdom and the wisdom of the world. We will find ourselves far more convinced of the world’s take on things, which will subsequently move us far more consistently with actions and a lifestyle that agrees with the world and disagrees with God. If we are going to be filled with the knowledge of His will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, we will have to be filled with His will, His thoughts, His reasoning, and His plan of action. Anything else will result in us choosing the same foolishness the world has always chosen – and missing out on the blessing of walking in the will of God.
Most of these articles are taken from the Calvary Courier, a weekly newsletter that is sent to the folks who attend Calvary Chapel Jonesboro. Due to the response to these articles, we've decided to print some of them which proved to be very helpful to God's people at the fellowship.
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