Eric Snow Sermonette 6-7-03 UCG Ann Arbor, Michigan
We all know that one day we’ll all be judged by God. We’ll be judged by our works. We’ll be judged by whether our faith in Jesus, and the faith of Jesus in us given to us by God, led us to believe and to do what was right. So then we won’t be condemned by God for our sins since Jesus’ atoning sacrifice will be applied to us.
But do we ever turn the tables on God? Do we ever imagine becoming the judge and jury, and God is the accused criminal in the dock? Do we ever judge God? Do we ever condemn God? Do we know enough to be the judge of God? Are we righteous enough to condemn God for (say) allowing suffering among the faithful?
So today we’re going to consider some the folly of this role reversal, in which humans are judging and condemning God. Of course, we don’t have the power to implement the role reversal, which makes this all a wild fantasy anyway.
S.P.S. As shown by the book of Job, humans can’t judge or condemn God when we suffer because we don’t know enough to do so and because God is so much greater and mightier than we are.
What would we say if our pets could judge us? What would we say if (say) “Fido,” a puppy we were house training, could complain about our treatment of it? Suppose “Fluffy” the cat could condemn us about getting a shot of water from a squirt gun for scratching at our upholstered couch or chair? The difference between God and mankind is a lot bigger than the difference between our pets and us.
Let’s examine Job’s errors here. Do we make similar mistakes?
V. 5: Do we demand that God would explain why we’re suffering during a trial? Do we cry out “Why me?” Of course, since many people in the world or even the church have worse trials than us, we could ask equally, “Why not me?” M.S. examples, Lou Gehring disease example. It’s presumptuous of us to demand answers; it requires faith to wait until one day the answers may be given to us. Matthew Henry: “The reason why we quarrel with Providence is because we do not understand it; and we must be content to be in dark about it, until the mystery of God shall be finished.”
V. 6: This becomes the main point of God’s direct reply to Job. He is so much greater and more glorious in power and knowledge than us. We are in no position to judge Him morally.
V. 7, 10: Job was certain about his innocence. True, he was not guilty of anything in particular when his sore trial hit him. But during the debates with his so-called “friends,” it became obvious he was judging and condemn God, including for letting the sinful and wicked get away with it while not being punished.
Job’s brave words receive a comeuppance from God directly. Always easier to think or say things before the actual confrontation, right?
Vs. 3-5: Job admits his insignificance relative to God’s.
Vs. 10-14: Job couldn’t take on this role as God has.
V. 15: God’s creative power why he has power over both Job and Behemoth.
v. 2 Job admits to God’s great power as the Creator, the main point of the prior four chapters.
v. 3 Job admits he didn’t know enough to judge God. He admits to God’s power, knowledge, and glory.
Are we willing to similar admit sin and error if we’ve been guilty of judging God for allowing us or others to suffer?
Notice that God was merciful to Job after he repented despite he criticized Him, as the Bible commentator Matthew Henry observed. He was restored to his prior status.
God isn’t subject to anyone’s will but His own. He doesn’t have to explain the specifics about our trials in our own lives. God has a great plan; it’s our job to where we fit in it as we follow his revealed word in the Bible as the Spirit helps us. God may have higher priorities than increasing our personal happiness at this time when more important goals need to be reached. Quote Frankenstein, p. 226, if have time.
Conclusion: So when we are experiencing a trial, we must avoid the temptation to judge or condemn God. First, we don’t know enough to do so. How we react to our suffering may be a necessary part of God’s plan to build holy righteous character in us, if we react to our trials correctly. Second, since God is so much more powerful and glorious than we are, we are utterly incapable of reversing the roles anyway. It’s a wild fantasy to imagine ourselves judging and condemning God. It’s best to give it up out of utter realism. It may be a hard truth to accept this when we, loved ones, or masses of people in the world we don’t know personally, but hear about in the news, suffer. But Matthew Henry was right to observe: “Let us leave it to God to govern the world, and make it our care, in the strength of his grace, to govern ourselves and our own hearts well.”