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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Revelation Trumps Reason and Tradition

Zophar interprets Job's suffering through human reasoning: "If you devote your heart to him...then you will lift up your head without shame" (11:13-15). He concludes that some deficiency on Job’s part induced his suffering. Should Job clear that up then his suffering would disappear. 

Bildad interprets Job's suffering through tradition teaches or what has been passed down by those who've lived previously: "For inquire, please, of the former age, and consider the things discovered by their fathers for we were born yesterday, and know nothing" (8:8-9). Therefore, he challenges Job that "God does not pervert justice" and that Job’s suffering is retributive for some wrong on his part.

Truth does reside in reason and tradition, but man’s knowledge is limited by his education, life experience, and family heritage. The obtaining of a graduate degree may indicate vast knowledge about a particular field, while full knowledge, like the unseen stars exist, and remain yet undiscovered. Man is simply too limited in knowledge to make most judgement calls with certainty. Much good is found in tradition, but traditions are fallible instruments for detecting all truth. Man needs the input of Someone outside of the circle of time and the influence of sin. And He has disclosed Himself through His sinless Son Jesus Christ, full of grace and TRUTH. He promised that the Spirit of Truth would come following His ascension and that He would reveal truth. 
The capacity for rebellion was part of the DNA download that we received from Adam and Eve. It shows up in nearly every story of the Bible and in the hearts of all men. Men who rely solely on tradition (loyalty to the past), experience (positive and negative emotions), reason and logic (information) do so to avoid submission to the Living God. 
There is only one ultimate source of authority: revelation. God reveals Himself through the metanarrative of the Bible. He reveals what’s wrong with man, with relationships, and the world. All other sources of authority allow man to be in charge—to take the place of God in his own life. 
Real transformation occurs when man submits to God’s revelation about Himself, about sin in the heart, and about the way of redemption found in Christ Jesus. 
It may be that many young adults walk away from the beliefs of their church and family because both have failed to give them a solid foundation of Bible literacy. The Creation Era stories reveal enough about God, about human nature and sin, and about redemption to seal Job’s faith in God in spite of serious suffering. What God has revealed trumps any knowledge or wisdom gained from eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The eating of that fruit tainted man's knowledge, experience, and tradition. It tainted everything except God's being and nature. 

He is good and He does good. Bankable truth.

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"When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin" (Job 8:4).

Bildad was a Legalist. "When your children sinned against him, he gave them over to the penalty of their sin." In other words, Bildad believed that God wants something more than burnt offerings. Bildad believed that Job's burnt offering did not cover his children's sin. He did not believe in atonement-the shedding of the blood of the innocent on behalf of the guilty. He believed in being a good person.

Bildad began with a flawed premise. He believed that man was basically good: "If you are pure and upright, even now he will arouse himself on your behalf and restore you to your rightful place."

Bildad's tribe hasn't decreased. Many today (even those sitting in church pews) believe that somehow man can clean up his act enough to win God's favor. Man will never be good enough or pure in his motives and actions. Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin.

Bildad lives with a flawed view of grace because he has a flawed view of himself, therefore he harshly condemns Job instead of extending grace to him. He sincerely believes that he doesn't suffer because he is the righteous one and that Job suffers because Job is guilty of hiding some secret sin. Bildad feels morally superior to Job. This is the heart of legalism.

Questions for today's Chronological Bible reading:
Job 8:1-10:22
  • How does Bildad refer to Job's speech/defense?
  • What does Bildad imply about the death of Job's children?
  • What does his suggestion imply about Job's burnt offerings (1:5)?
  • What does Bildad base forgiveness upon (8:5-7)?
  • What do Bildad's "cause/effect" illustrations communicate to Job about the death of his children and his suffering?
  • Why does Job feel inadequate to present his case to God?
  • What does Job conclude about his situation and what rationale does Job use to find God inconsistent?
  • How does Job view God's activity in his life?
  • What is the main question that Job asks of God or seeks an answer to?
  • What is the most Job hopes to receive from God?
Turning truth into prayer
Ask the Lord to show you where you feel morally superior and condemning toward others who are experiencing some type of suffering.