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Monday, November 21, 2016

The Hiddenness of God

Job ended his soliloquy (Job 3:1-26) with this complaint: "I am not at ease, nor am I quiet;
I have no rest, but trouble comes.”  Now it was time for the first of his friends to reply. Eliphaz the Temanite stepped up (Job 4:1-5:27). He began by reminding Job that Job's words have instructed many. Now that he is suffering as well, why is he so impatient? In his long discourse he makes two points and counsels Job to confess his sin so that he may return to his former blessed life
Bible study with Randy
  • You are only reaping what you've sown: 
"Remember: who that was innocent ever perished? Or where were the upright cut off?
As I have seen, those who plow iniquity and sow trouble reap the same. By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed. - Job 4:7-9 ESV
  • You, Job, cannot claim to be innocent, can you? Bildad's questions imply no, never. 
'Can mortal man be in the right before God? Can a man be pure before his Maker? Even in his servants he puts no trust, and his angels he charges with error; - Job 4:17-18 ESV
  • If I were you, I'd seek God and commit my cause to Him (Job 5:8). Here are some of Eliphaz's oft quoted words: 
The hungry eat his harvest, and he takes it even out of thorns, and the thirsty pant after his wealth. For affliction does not come from the dust, nor does trouble sprout from the ground, but man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward. - Job 5:5-7 ESV 
"Behold, blessed is the one whom God reproves; therefore despise not the discipline of the Almighty. For he wounds, but he binds up; he shatters, but his hands heal." - Job 5:17-18 ESV
Job responds that his friends, his brothers, "are treacherous as a torrent-bed, as torrential streams that pass away. He has asked nothing from them, certainly no wealth. Like melting ice and snow they give him nothing, they disappear and vanish. Job responds,
"But now, be pleased to look at me, for I will not lie to your face." - Job 6:28. 
He continues, pointing to his sickness:
When I lie down I say, 'When shall I arise?' But the night is long, and I am full of tossing till the dawn. My flesh is clothed with worms and dirt; my skin hardens, then breaks out afresh. - Job 7:4-5 ESV
You, my friends, my brothers, can't you see that I'm dying? If only I could die. Why do you keep accusing me?
If I sin, what do I do to you, you watcher of mankind? Why have you made me your mark? Why have I become a burden to you? Why do you not pardon my transgression and take away my iniquity? For now I shall lie in the earth; you will seek me, but I shall not be." - Job 7:4-5, 20-21 ESV
So for the moment we leave this despairing man. He stands for the millions who suffer and die every day of every year. He speaks for all of us who have suffered loss and cried out in our grief. Why, God, have You focused on me? Why have you made me your mark?

So we come to the issue of God's hiding Himself and His so-called alien work or the "theology of the cross." One pastor put it well with these words quoted from the Huffington Post:
I am glad that I am restricted in even seeing a mere glimpse of the Glory of God but find comfort in knowing that the height of God’s revelation was on the cross of Christ. To those who question the Hiddenness of God, I wonder how they deal with the notion of a God who comes down and loves the unlovely and the unrighteous before the objects of his love have any inclination to love him or do good? The cross shows that God identifies with those who suffer in the manifestation of God’s glory in Jesus Christ. This is a message of hope that human beings cannot determine who God is and how he acts, he requires no prior loveliness in the objects of his love, and rather prior love creates that loveliness without laying down preconditions. Such a God is revealed with amazing and unexpected tenderness and beauty in the ugly and violent drama of the cross.