Monday, June 27, 2011

Thinking Wrongly of God

During yesterday’s service, as we were reading through the public confession, one little phrase really stood out to me. I can’t remember the exact wording but it went something like, “forgive us for thinking of You wrongly when we suffer.” Isn’t that our tendency?
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job, and that man was blameless and upright, one who feared God and turned away from evil. (Job 1:1)
How did Job respond to the calamity that God allowed to fall on him and his family? “‘The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.’ In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.” (Job 1:21-22)

In chapter 2, Job rebuked his wife when she told him to “curse God and die,” and said to her, “Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10) In other words, “we have been given grace, but are not therefore exempt from God’s just punishment for our sins.”

Matthew Henry offers some helpful thoughts on this passage:
Job humbled himself under the mighty hand of God, and brought his mind to his condition... Satan still endeavors to draw men from God, as he did our first parents, by suggesting hard thoughts of Him, than which nothing is more false. But Job resisted and overcame the temptation.
Lest anyone think that Job was simply being stoic, Job 2:13 says, “no one spoke a word to him, for they saw that his suffering was very great.”

Now, of course, as the rest of the book unfolds, we find Job’s faith wavering at times. He is rebuked by God and shown his proper place (“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” Job 38:4).
The instructions to be learned from the patience of Job, and from his trials, are as useful now, and as much needed as ever. We live under the same Providence, we have the same chastening Father, and there is the same need for correction unto righteousness. The fortitude and patience of Job, though not small, gave way in his severe troubles; but his faith was fixed upon the coming of his Redeemer, and this gave him steadfastness and constancy, though every other dependence, particularly the pride and boast of a self-righteous spirit, was tried and consumed. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Job)
When we go through trials, our focus must be on what we know to be true about God, not what Satan tempts us to assume about Him. This requires grace, faith, perseverance, and knowledge about who God is. If we don’t study His Word and learn about His character and promises, what comfort can we expect to have in our trials?

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