“To God belong wisdom and power; counsel and understanding are his.” Job 12:13 (NIV)
Ridicule. Scorn. Reproach. Contempt.
Have you ever been wounded by the false accusations or an unfounded allegation of a friend? Or mocked and misunderstood by someone you love and trust?
Job was a godly man who was riddled with pain. All the while his friends kept insisting some secret sin must be the cause of all his suffering. Basically, they told him to stop being so stubborn and repent of his sin.
Their well-intended words left Job feeling like a laughingstock. Wincing with pain, Job’s immediate response was raw and sarcastic. After the rebuke of his friends, Job calls out their feeble attempts to make everything neat and tidy.
Even though Job’s friends were only trying to help, their ridiculing words only inflicted more pain. It’s so easy to slip into the trap of pointing a finger at sin instead of extending a helping hand to people in pain. Scornful speculations poured out on an individual who is struggling can sting like salt to a heart that is deeply wounded. Further, Job’s friends oversimplify his suffering, making it completely his fault and insisting he has the ability to end it by repenting.
Job reminds his friends that this world is broken and life isn’t always so clear-cut. The unrighteous sleep securely. Justice is perverted. This world’s system is cruel, ineffective and unfair.
But Job doesn’t give up on God or cave under the critical eye of others. Instead, Job begins to respond with truth, and the truth Job knows is based on the character of God.
In his rebuttal, Job focuses on the sovereign power of God to control circumstances, defy men, manipulate nature, confound the prideful and foolish, silence the eloquent and defy worldly authorities. God brings darkness to light and establishes or destroys the nations. God rules and overrules. In short, God is in charge of it all.
Job rightly understands that all wisdom, power and authority belong to God and His power is far superior to anyone and anything. Without a doubt, when our lives and our circumstances turn upside down, we can always trust that God is in control. Nothing in the universe happens, and nothing can touch your life or mine, except by God’s permission and is filtered through His hands.
If, like Job’s friends, we constantly try to reason with ourselves in an effort to assign or find a clear-cut answer to every problem, we miss the magnitude of God’s character. (Romans 11:33; Psalm 139:6) Job’s appeal and our hope is to go back to what is true about God. When this world doesn’t make sense, and it often won’t, what gives us peace and security is the unlimited, all-powerful nature of God.
Understanding the sovereignty of God brings sanity to this crazy world. And even when we are ridiculed and scorned, we can still give thanks because our God is in charge. The next time your situation starts to spiral out of control, or you feel the sting of scorn, may Job encourage you to stop and take a few moments to affirm and recite out loud the greatness of our God. (Psalm 113:4-7)
Prayer: Almighty God, You alone have absolute sovereignty over the affairs of life. You are God Most High, and You stand in the shadows ruling and overruling all things. There is nothing outside the scope of Your limitless power. Any weakness, difficulty or need we face presents no problem for You. So just as Job has done, help us to focus our attention on You and trust Your mercy and might in the dark and messy places of our lives today. In Jesus’ name, amen.