A Cord of Three Strands

Job’s problem with God

Posted by David Staff on

Job 28:12-19

“But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man does not know its worth, and it is not found in the land of the living. The deep says, ‘It is not in me,’ and the sea says, ‘It is not with me.’ It cannot be bought for gold, and silver cannot be weighed as its price. It cannot be valued in the gold of Ophir, in precious onyx or sapphire. Gold and glass cannot equal it, nor can it be exchanged for jewels of fine gold.

No mention shall be made of coral or of crystal; the price of wisdom is above pearls. The topaz of Ethiopia cannot equal it, nor can it be valued in pure gold.” - Job

Through all of the dialogue and debating, the scouring and searching, Job’s quest for an explanation has come up empty. His unraveled life simply does not make sense, and God (it appears) will simply not answer his questions.

Job even dares to insist that he could argue in a court of law that God has treated him unfairly, and win! “But I would speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God… Behold, I have prepared my case; I know that I shall be in the right” (Job 13:3,18).

Reading through the speeches and rebuttals, Job becomes increasingly frustrated with a God who has the answers but refuses to disclose them. God’s silence is maddening.

Why does God withhold the answers, the reasons, the wisdom in the unexpected, hard things which our hearts often long for? The New Testament seems to promise the opposite. We are to “count it all joy when meeting trials of various kinds.” We know that “the testing of faith produces steadfastness,” a perseverance that when embraced produces maturity and a completeness of character. We become individuals who are “lacking in nothing” in terms of character. Further, if we lack wisdom about all this, we are urged to “ask God, who gives wisdom generously…it will be given” (James 1:2-5).

Clearly, though Job is frustrated, God is doing something in his character that needs doing. His purposeful discipline is never wasted; as sons (and daughters) of God, we are destined through discipline to share in His holiness (Heb. 12:10).

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