REVELATION OF GOD Meditations No.3 of 10
Job 42:3 Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.
We jump today, to what is considered possibly one of the oldest parts of the Bible, the book of Job. Job was a good guy, and he was also wealthy. Unfortunately tragedy hit his life and he lost most of what he had, including his health. Three friends turn up and the bulk of the book ensues – a discussion about Job’s state before God. It’s a difficult book to read. At the end of it, God steps in and challenges Job over what he has been declaring – that he is righteous and he has some things he wants to bring up with God. Fairly understandable and very like many of us. We just don’t understand God and we don’t ‘see’ what it is all about and so we grumble and say, “If only I could talk to Him face to face, I’d tell Him what I think!”
God’s answer for the proud is most unsatisfactory. He doesn’t defend or explain His actions. He simply points out His greatness – and our smallness. When we catch something of who the Lord really us, we shut up! Our careless and foolish talk is born out of ignorance. A little bit later Job said, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (v.5,6). God had either given him a glimpse of Himself or had painted such a picture of Himself that Job suddenly realised the truth: he was a clown when it came to his previous thinking about God!
Many today fill books and the airwaves with their foolish rantings about the God they think doesn’t exist. They are actually a small minority but they make their voices heard. There is money in atheism! At the beginning of 2008 one intellectual, statistician and commentator stated, “Around the world, there are estimated to be more people with traditional religious views than ever before, and they constitute a growing proportion of the world’s population.” Nevertheless the atheistic voices speak loudly and deserve some rational answers.
Our problem is that so often we start off, like Job, from a position of ignorance, so silly things are suggested. For instance that religion developed from primitive beliefs and God developed similarly. The Bible tells is otherwise. God didn’t develop; He always was as He is.
This needs to be said from the outset. Unlike man God didn’t develop. He always was as He is and always will be. It defies our imagination and understanding but that’s what the Bible says, and it makes sense for an ‘Ultimate Being’.
Now God may not develop but our understanding of Him does and that’s what we see in the Bible. I’m not very bothered whether or not you accept the story of Adam and Eve, but it does explain a lot of things and makes a lot of sense. Consider what we said yesterday: Think of all the things that we do – communicate with words, think, plan, reason, formulate, investigate, research, invent, create, write, produce music, paint, sculpt and so on – and worship. These two being were clearly different from all the other living creatures; the gulf is enormous, even if many modern people try to minimise it.
Genesis 2 & 3 show us these first two truly human beings relating to God. Now we don’t know how this happened but all we know is there was this communication-interaction which occurred daily. When they rejected the relationship they had with God and disregarded His wishes, this daily communication was broken. In the chapters that follow, in succeeding generations that could have been spread over a very long period, there is sporadic contact. It is not until we come to Abram in chapter 12 of Genesis that we see God taking the initiative to establish a long-term relationship with man. See tomorrow.