Job 37: Love
December 18, 2022
TODAY'S BIBLE READING:
John 19:28-37, Revelation 15, Job 37, Habakkuk 1-3
Chapter 37 is a marvelous study in a right theological truth misapplied. The best medicine can make a person sick if the diagnosis is wrong. You do not prescribe an aspirin to cure cancer, and chemotherapy is not the right solution to a migraine. It is possible to take a truth—even a wonderful truth—and so use it as to do damage to someone else if they are not wise enough to resist your prescription.
So here Elihu, who is arguing that Job is in the wrong for insisting that he does not deserve his suffering, takes the theological truth of God’s power and sovereignty and prescribes it to Job’s problem. Surely all Job needs to realize is that God is really God? Surely that is the medicine Job needs, surely that is the answer to the problem. And so Elihu, through this chapter, tells Job at great length about God’s power and his might, and the power of God’s voice, and all the rest. But, wait, is this really what Job needs to hear? Is this really the solution to the problem? The doctrine of God’s sovereignty is never wrong, and it is the solution to most spiritual difficulties. Like aspirin it will do good in most instances and cure many ills. But it is not the only doctrine. And it is not the right prescription for every problem. There are other doctrines too: God’s imminence and not just his transcendence; God’s love; atoning work of Christ at the cross, and on and on.
There is no doubt that the sovereignty of God is a comfort in suffering. For surely this is what Paul argues in the Book of Romans: all things work together for good for those who love God because our God is sovereign and is good. But that argument works because it is also based in another truth: namely the love of God as shown at the cross. The sovereignty of God alone, without a parallel understanding of God’s love, can come across as cold comfort in the midst of pain. What a suffering person needs to hear is not just that God is God, but that God is love. He or she also needs to hear that you—as a representative of that God—love them too.
If you are suffering, know that not only is God sovereign, but he is also love. And that love is demonstrated at the cross.
“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might break the power of him who holds the power of death—that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death. For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham’s descendants. For this reason he had to be made like them, fully human in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted” (Hebrews 2:14-18).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Josh Moody (Ph.D., University of Cambridge) is the senior pastor of College Church in Wheaton, IL., president and founder of God Centered Life Ministries, and author of several books including How the Bible Can Change Your Life and John 1-12 For You.
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