Short daily devotionals for the socially distanced. These are thoughts from my daily time in the word. I use a bible reading plan that will have me in a different section of Scripture every day.
I hope they serve to give you courage and hope. You can subscribe to receive them as a daily email at the bottom of the page.
Wednesday, 22nd April
Reading: Job 40-42
I love the end of the book of Job. Most of the book contains God’s silence and man’s pontification about His work and character on his behalf. They’re all wrong, and when He speaks, He reveals that He is in essence, unquestionable, which is part of what makes Him God.
Now, wait … I know that sounds uncomfortable, but work with me for a minute here. If God is God, in other words, if He is the supreme being who made everything, including you and me, then He is not subject to the questioning of the limited things that He made. He is not constrained by our constraints in thought, and so therefore, our limitations of understanding are not things that He needs to fit into through contorting His shape or reducing His size. The limitations are ours, and we need to redraw the lines of the images we have created that seems to restrain Him.
Now hang on, a couple of things before we get mad.
First, this doesn’t mean that we can’t bring our questions to Him. Right throughout Scripture, God responds favorably to hearts that understand their limitations and that humbly ask God for help in understanding His work and character. There is a difference between having questions for God and presumptively questioning God.
Secondly, we are told in Scripture that God is near to His people, and this is ultimately displayed in the incarnation, as He takes on the very flesh that limits us, in order to empathize with us, and ultimately to save us. God isn’t far from the weak, but He does seem to stand off from the presumptively strong. That’s the point. He is sympathetic to our weakness, but less so to our ignorant assumption of strength.
I used to say that when I get to heaven (by an abundance of grace) one day, I will have a lot of questions for God. I need to understand Romans 9, and the book of Judges, and slavery in Scripture, and, and, and … I have a list. In reality, I will have no questions, I will only have awe.
When God has shown Job who He really is, Job’s response is …
5 I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear,
but now my eye sees you;
6 therefore I despise myself,
and repent in dust and ashes.”
— Job 42:5–6 (ESV)
The result of genuine revelation is always repentance.
Friends, we can and should ask God our questions, but we must remember that if God is God at all, then He is not subject to our questions. He owes us no understandable answer. And yet, we know, that in His kindness, He listens, and He stoops low, and He leans in to the requests and confusion of the broken-hearted.
I can’t wait to sit at His feet on that last day, finally aware of His size and wonder and majesty. In the meanwhile, I will have lots of questions, but I must hold them in humility and ask that He meets me there, patient with my confusion, knowing that I am limited in my understanding.
We don’t know it all, but we were never asked to.
Courage, dear friends.