Bruce Collins, Evangelist

The personal website of Bruce Collins

Jumping to Conclusions

Meditation for the week of July 8, 2012

"Remember now, who ever perished being innocent? Or where were the upright ever cut off?  (Job 4:7)

Exercise is recommended for all of us today.  Even the Bible says that exercise is good even though it only profits for a little while.  But the only exercise many of us get is the exercise we get from “jumping to conclusions.”

Job’s three friends were like that.  When we read the book of Job, we are given insight that his three friends did not have—we are told that Job was a model of integrity and righteousness.  We find out that Satan (the adversary) believes that the only reason Job is upright is because of the blessing that God has heaped upon him.  So Satan goes on the attack to prove that Job will turn his back on God when he suffers tragedy.  Job’s three friends come to comfort him and they stay quiet for seven days, then they begin to “help” Job understand his sin.  And they jump to the conclusion that this couldn’t have happened if Job hadn’t sinned.  One argues from the wisdom he has gotten in spiritual visions.  One of these men argue from the premise of “the wisdom of the ancients”.    The last man is just so smart that he “knows”.   Apparently, he considers himself an older man, and he argues from his own experience and understanding. 

What I have noticed about these three men is that they move from supposing Job has sinned to making specific charges against him.  In Job 22, Eliphaz says job has done a number of things that are causing God’s judgment.  These men had stayed silent for seven days, that was wisdom.  When they began opening their mouths, they went beyond what they knew to be true and laid charges that were not only untrue but unkind.  No wonder Job called them “miserable comforters.”  Certainly, in Job’s case, with friends like these he didn’t need enemies.

The fourth man is younger.  He listens to the conversation and finally decides he must speak up.  His basic premise is: Great men are not always wise: neither do the aged understand judgment  (Job 32:9).  Job’s friends had not convinced him that he had sinned (because he hadn’t) but Job had justified himself rather than God.  Elihu basically says that God is so great that He doesn’t have to justify what He does.  He doesn’t have to explain Himself to mere man.

So while the book of Job tries to answer the question, “Why do bad things happen to good people?”  The actors in this play seem to be left in the dark as to what happened.  The first three friends argue from what “seems right” but Job and the three are ultimately told to submit to God even when they don’t understand.  In the new testament this is called walking by faith and not by sight (2nd Corinthians 5:7).  Even though Job was self righteous he exhibited true righteousness when he said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him (Job 13:15).”

Things do happen where we must trust the Lord without an explanation, yet, in this case we do know why Job suffered.  He didn’t suffer because of some hidden sin, he suffered because he was upright.  He wasn’t sinless but He did worship right and He did try to treat others right.  We know that he was a testimony to Satan that some people do worship the Lord because He is the Lord and not because worshiping the Lord is going to be make them rich or famous.  Neither is the worship of the Lord an insurance policy against disaster. They worship Him because they love Him.  It is true that in new testament terms we worship Him because he has put away our sins.  But after we become children of God by faith, we should be worshiping Him regardless of circumstances.

When trouble comes, we should ask the Lord to show us if this is being caused by our sin.  The Lord will tell us if it is.  No Father disciplines a child without telling him why.  If we know of no sin then we need to remember Satan is watching and the Lord just may have trusted us with a trial to prove to Satan that there are people who are faithful to Him even when they don’t understand their circumstances. 

Bruce Collins


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