A Voice in the
Re: Contending with God?
"Why do you contend with Him? For He does not give account to you of His business." (Job33:13)
This was the question (young) Elihu asked of Job. Job has had this running debate with his (other) three friends, justifying himself, and essentially shaking his fist and challenging: Let me stand with God, man-to-man, and let me debate my case before Him face-to-face. (13:3)
Notice Elihu's reasoning. Something that no longer much holds any weight today. Children whine back at their parents and ask, "why?", and so the TV sitcom parents sputter around and oblige with an answer. There used to be a time when a parent gave a command, and if the child retorted back, "Why?"; the parent could say, "BECAUSE I SAID SO." Unspoken behind such an exchange was the understanding that the parent was 'boss', the child was to "obey" (Eph6:1), and that was reason enough. The person 'in-charge' was not obliged to 'explain' themself to subordinates. In the case of children, there might have been some things for which it was not yet the proper 'time' in the child's development to explain all the facts-of-life, nevertheless, for the child's welfare it was necessary for them to comply in obedience. And to the child, in a sense, it was like obeying in "blind faith".
And like in this opening passage, the reply might also be given: "It's none of your business."
Well, Job gets a visitation from God, to learn "Why". God says, You wanna have a chat? Well, prepare yourself like a man and let's have a chat! (38:3, 40:7)
"Can you send out lightnings, that they may go, and say to you, Here we are!?" (38:35)
One of the few things I miss about the mid-west, living in Spokane, is thunderstorms. We don't get many here. But this year we've uncharacteristically gotten a few. One of them passed over recently as I was situating myself to finish re-assembling the motorcycle after replacing a head gasket. Sitting in the garage, with open door, the lightning was flashing up in the clouds less than a mile up. A few ground strikes within a mile. CLOSE. The lightning, and a split-second later, the CRACK!! and/or BOOM!!! I just love it! I spent quite a few minutes -not- working on the bike, but just sitting there on the upside-down milk crate (being used as a stool), taking in the grandeur of it all. To be sure, better than any orchestra concert, or theater production!!!
The psalmist says, "The voice of Jehovah is upon the waters; the Mighty God of Glory thunders;" (Ps29:3) Back then they did not understand the electrical dynamics of lightning. Many of them thought it was God's -actual- 'voice'. Thunder certainly sends the neighborhood birds scurrying to their nests and shelter. It sends other animals (and pets) into states of petrification, such that animal shelters receive an influx of lost/bewildered pets. And while I could sit there in safety and 'enjoy' the display...I am certainly smart enough to not go walking out in it, unsheltered; or better yet, go find some tall metal structure to grab a hold of. When lightning strikes, it is without mercy. When thunder belches forth, it does not clear-its-throat and 'apologize' for being so loud. Part of God's creation, the work of His "fingers" (Ps8:3) "Who can number the clouds by wisdom? Or who can lay down the pitchers of the heavens," (Job38:37)
In the past we have observed that the "soul is in the blood". (Lev17:11) Science tells us, from its investigations, that our brains are like a huge computer memory bank. But how does reasoning and understanding work? A computer does not wax emotional; it does not express regret (except for the pre-programmed pop-up boxes that say, "I'm sorry"...but the computer, itself, is not "sorry" for anything!) Star Trek gave Data an emotions chip one time, and he went crazy. The "bicentennial man" was outfitted with ways to emote, and eventually, like Data...'chips' for feeling emotions. But that is science fiction. It is not reality. Silicon does not emote. How is that 'data' stored in our brains? When a person goes clinically "brain-dead", and then a period of time later, due to whatever circumstances, is revived, and retains the former memories, from 'where' did the brain become "re-booted" with those memories? Who is it that understands the answer to these questions?
Pr 16:1 The arrangement of the heart in man, and the answer of the
tongue, are from Jehovah.
Job, you want to boast that you are righteous in your own eyes, and that "..your own right hand can save you" (Job40:14)? Well then prove yourself. In the mean time, let Me show you more of Myself...
Look at one of My pets, that I made alongside you, he "eats grass like the ox" (vs15) and yet notice how massive he is. (vs16-23) (Something the size of brontosaurus, or Loch Ness monster?) And can you snare him to capture him? (vs24) The next chapter describes Leviathan (possibly a T-rex type of ancient animal) and closes, "Can you fill his skin with barbs, or his head with fishing spears? Lay your hand upon him; remember the battle; you will not do it again!" (41:7-8) And so, if Leviathan is so great that you are powerless over him, but I 'made' him, "Who then is able to stand before Me?" (vs10)
"Who has anticipated Me, that I should repay? Everything under the heavens is Mine." (vs11) And also the heavens, themselves: "The heavens declare the glory of the Mighty God; and the firmament proclaims His handiwork." (Ps19:1)
Perhaps you will better understand past mentions, that in my prayer, I don't much 'ask' God for things. I don't really much have 'place' to demand from God. As Job responds, "I have put my hand to my mouth" (40:4) And even if I were to ask, He would already know it before I formulated the thought. After all, He made us "and not we ourselves" (Ps100:3); He knows our rising and sitting; and from "afar off" He knows our thoughts. (Ps139:2) And when I consider the wisdom of His creation, and remember how much I made a mess of my past life, I should even have the nerve to ask or 'suggest' to God some new path or direction of what I would like to do?!?
"So [Saul], trembling and astonished, said, Lord, what do You have in mind for me to do?" (Ac9:6) With that sort of heart of submission to God, Paul was in the right position to write most of the N.T. epistles.
And so, who would contend with God, and ask Him, "Why, why, why???" How does a crow so gently, gracefully and tenderly feed its young? You don't know? Then, how would you hope to understand the "why?" you are asking? You want to argue with God, suggesting something 'better' than what He has arranged for you? Well, why does a little baby sparrow flutter around as it is fed? 'Don't know? Well, God made it that way. If you can't figure that out about creatures whose primary mission in life is to "fly to and fro" (Gen1:20), how would you hope to "anticipate" God regarding something so complex as your life?
You see...none of us has the wisdom or standing to even have the gall to contend with God. And if we start feeling compelled to look around, trying to figure out God's and everybody else's business and demanding answers, complaining because our life isn't like somebody else's, He says, you never mind that, "what is that to you?" (it's none of your business), "YOU FOLLOW ME". (Jn21:22)