God will never consent to be dissected by His creatures. He reveals Himself to us on His own terms.
We understand from His Word that the Lord is eternal, but does this mean that we actually understand what eternity past truly is? How can we think about a past with no beginning? We must simply accept the fact that God is, that He alone is the I AM.
We also need to embrace the concept that God could never ever be guilty of sin. He is the Law-Giver. He will judge others according to His commandments. There is no judging God. The very thought is completely out of place. There is no one above Him who could hold Him accountable in any way.
Yet those who suffer are tempted to question the providence of God. We can easily find fault with the Almighty, though we do not know how a matter ends unless He chooses to tell us. God knows. We look at those who abuse the poor and the powerless and we wonder how God could allow such things.
Some people are unwilling to look at life honestly. Those who observe will soon find out that there is much misery everywhere. Sometimes it comes to us from the actions of personal enemies, but many times we face trouble simply from the forces of nature under the control of Almighty God.
On any day, there are those throughout this world who have no shelter from the elements. They have to find their food wherever they can. When the storms come, where will they take cover?
Of course, there are wicked people who would “snatch the fatherless child from the breast.” How are we to understand that kind of intentional and personal cruelty? But this is life. And no one can bring a charge against God for any of this. He is the potter, and we are the clay. We cannot suppose that we would be a better God than He is. He will not even enter into that kind of debate with us.
Every day, people die. People cry for help, and they hear no answer from heaven. The powerful may continue to abuse the weak, and God does not step in and stop them. Why is that?
Some seem to be in love with the darkness. They imagine that their thoughts and their actions are hidden. They suppose that they will get away with their abuses, and what is worse, they seem to be right. Will God not knock the weapon out of the hand of the murderer? Why does He not stop the adulterer who acts as if God does not exist? Why is the world of darkness allowed to win the day, at least for the moment?
Some will say that God’s judgment will swiftly come against the unrighteous for all their evil. Soon their days will be over. But everyone goes to the grave. Where is God’s justice? Why would He give even one more moment of life to someone who abuses the poor and has no heart for the widow and the orphan?
The Lord has the power to give life and to take it away. He sees what the wicked do, and yet He extends their lives. When He cuts them off and brings them low, is it any different than what happens to all men? “They are exalted a little while, and then are gone.”
Job speaks about the human condition as one who has observed life and considered certain undeniable facts. He concludes his speech with these words of challenge: “Who will prove me a liar and show that there is nothing in what I say?”
The friends of Job have been willing to bring forward words of speculation. Their guesses have not been for good, but for evil. They have guessed at Job’s sin and have ignored his righteousness. Not only have they imagined wickedness in a righteous man, they have been unwilling to admit the truth about openly evil and abusive people, that they continue to sin, and yet they seem to prosper. They die as the righteous die, at least according to all that men can observe.
While there is much truth in Job’s words, many hundreds of years after Job’s pain was over, another great man came to suffer and die. He came as the great Law-Keeper. Who could credibly accuse Him of any sin? He was innocent. He died the death that we deserve. He has secured our hope. A perfectly righteous man has faced a sinner’s death. Now sinners can have eternal life.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Gracious God, grant to us insight from Your Word and from the experience of living in this world. How are we to understand the lives of the wicked? There are so many perplexing facts that fill this fallen world. We see such evil deeds over many decades and we wonder how a person can be allowed to live for even a moment. The wicked are able to live like all others, and then they die like everyone else. There must be something here that we do not see, because what we see does not seem to make sense. There must be a future that our hearts have not yet embraced. Bring about the great fulfillment of Your plans of justice and mercy. We long to see Your glory and goodness with our eyes in the land of the living. Teach us to believe Your promise of a future age of perfect righteousness as a certain fact even now.