This is Part 4 of 6 parts answering the question, “Will God remove the suffering He allows?” in the larger question, “Why does a loving God allow suffering?” Part 5-6 will be posted on succeeding days.
God is Sovereign in Allowing The Suffering
In the first 37 chapters of this Divine revelation in the book of Job, God revealed that He alone allowed Job to suffer (Job 1-2), and that man in his finite understanding did not and could not understand the reasons for suffering! (Job 3-37) That is why God questioned Job instead of any of his friends, because he was the most righteous. But even he did not fully understand! God’s response was rather blunt,
1 “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind, and said: 2 “Who is this who darkens counsel By words without knowledge? 3 Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me. 4 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 5 Who determined its measurements? Surely you know! Or who stretched the line upon it? 6 To what were its foundations fastened? Or who laid its cornerstone, 7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy? (Job 38:1-7 NKJ)
The term “whirlwind” is a term to help us understand the attitude of the Lord that Job and his friends had a wrong understanding of God and His purposes. The whirlwind indicates God’s anger and wrath, and the exaggeration was used to get our attention so we would listen to God.
Then God proceeded to question Job to help him understand God’s character. God continued to interrogate Job asking if he was around when God laid the foundations of the earth, or if he had anything to do with the boundaries or doors for the sea (Job 38:8-11; following passages come from Job 38). The Lord queried Job so He could “know” (of course, we know that God is all-knowing -omniscient) if Job had anything to do with the consistency of the days, or the formation of the earth with its substance and shape (vss.12-15). God posed a question to Job if he had anything to do with the underworld (vss.16-18) or light and darkness (vss.19-21) or storms (vss. 22-30), or stars (vss. 31-33), or clouds (vss. 34-38). Then God further asked Job if he established or even understood all the ways of the lions and ravens (vss. 39-41), or mountain goats (39:1-4; following passages come from Job 39), wild donkeys (vss. 5-8), wild oxen (vss. 9-12), ostriches (vss. 13-18), horses (vss. 19-25) or hawks (vss. 26-30). Then we see the whirlwind response,
Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said: 2 “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? He who rebukes God, let him answer it.” (Job 40:1-2 NKJ)
Job humbly recognized that the Sovereign, Holy and All powerful was speaking to him! He responded,
4 “Behold, I am vile; What shall I answer You? I lay my hand over my mouth. 5 Once I have spoken, but I will not answer; Yes, twice, but I will proceed no further.” (Job 40:4-5 NKJ)
Job’s repentance was not enough. The Lord continued to interrogate him, “Now prepare yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer Me.” (Job 40:7 NKJ) God was not pleased with Job’s failure to trust.
Doesn’t God forgive when we repent? Yes, but the more blameless and righteous a person is (Job 1:1,8), the more responsible and accountable God will hold him. He challenged the defense that Job gave to his friends. While Job was far more righteous than them, he still fell short of understanding the infinite wisdom of God. In chapters 40 and 41, God made it clear that Job had no control over the wild beasts, but He did! Job also had no control over the earthly or celestial realms, nor over the beasts of the field. God effortlessly created and tirelessly controls the entire world; thus He is sovereign in allowing suffering. The only correct response we can have is one like Job’s,
“I know that You can do everything, And that no purpose of Yours can be withheld from You. 3 You asked, `Who is this who hides counsel without knowledge?’ Therefore I have uttered what I did not understand, Things too wonderful for me, which I did not know. 4 Listen, please, and let me speak; You said, `I will question you, and you shall answer Me.’ 5 “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, But now my eye sees You. 6 Therefore I abhor myself, And repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:2-6 NKJ)
Fortunately, God is sovereign and because of this, He will eventually remove suffering for His children. We will learn about this in future posts.
Part 5 will be posted tomorrow.