Shrouded Purposes of Good
Shrouded Purposes of Good
Shrouded Purposes of Good
Do we live in a well-run world?
Let me give you one word concerning God’s Counsel — Inscrutable. It means “Incapable of investigation.”
As far as Job can perceive it, the purpose of the Almighty is terrible, even possibly appalling.
God began with a gracious work to bring Job to repentance about what he said of God, which was shrouded in darkness and made it impossible for him to see God’s goodness.
What God does is begin to question God concerning the Deeply Wild. These are not the domesticated, the tamed, or even animals found on the farm. These are animals outside of the care and control of man. God gives Job a tour of the part of the created order that lies outside the limits of the domesticated world and order of humanity.
How does man respond when the deeply wild invades our orderly world — when chaos invades order and destroys our hopes and plans?
Can you hunt prey for a lioness or satisfy the appetite of young lions when they crouch in their dens and lie in wait within their lairs? Who provides the raven’s food when its young cry out to God and wander about for lack of food?
This is a cinematic sequence that begins with lion cubs. They’re so cute! Soft, cuddly, sweet. Who feeds them? Lion cubs are hungry, if they’re not fed soon, they will die.
Who feeds the raven? If not fed, they will die. Everything looks so vulnerable, so familial. Everything looks so delicate, maybe even so sweet. Until we see the lioness lying in wait, stalking her prey. At the critical moment the lioness chases with unbeatable, speed, and agility. She separates one of the defenseless grazing gazelles from the family, and tears it apart with ruthless power. Blood and torn flesh is everywhere. The final shot shows the lion cubs satisfied with plenty of meat and then the ravens and vultures feed on the abundant leftovers.
That’s an incredible tension in the deeply wild of predators and prey. If the beauty of gazelles is unspoiled, the beauty of lions and defenseless ravens will end in starvation and death. We live in a world of predation and starvation as the only alternatives.
What is the implication to Job’s suffering?
God is saying He Himself is the one who “hunts the prey for the lion, who satisfies the appetite of the young lions, who provides food for the ravens.” This is probably irritating to PETA.
He provides the animals with their food, and the young ravens, what they cry for.
And what about when your sweet kitty kills that poor defenseless mouse?
Is this shocking to you?
Well, what about this:
Is it possible that in the counsel of God this age is so ordered that suffering for some is necessary for the survival of others?
Here’s a deeper thought:
What about redemptive suffering?
One innocent man came, suffered, and died — and He was God’s means to bring life to a whole redeemed humanity.
Do you know when mountain goats give birth? Have you watched the deer in labor? Can you count the months they are pregnant so you can know the time they give birth? They crouch down to give birth to their young; they deliver their newborn. Their offspring are healthy and grow up in the open field. They leave and do not return.
God invites Job to think about the particular time, the significant time, the time when life begins. Does Job know when the wild mountain goat gives birth? Do you know the time they give birth?
From conception, to months of waiting, to labor, to birth, to growing and strengthening, to independence “in the open field?”
All due to the generous hand of God alone. The God who brings “the time of trouble”
which I hold in reserve for times of trouble, for the day of warfare and battle?
Also brings the time of birth and life.
The words of the Teacher, son of David, king in Jerusalem. “Absolute futility,” says the Teacher. “Absolute futility. Everything is futile.”
There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven: a time to give birth and a time to die; a time to plant and a time to uproot;
What do we take aways from this?
Job longed for the “set time” for vindication. And what is God telling Job?
“I am the righteous Lord of time!”
God knows not only with head knowledge, but with personal caring oversight. He observes the calving, watches with caring love for the mountain goat calving. He numbers her months, lovingly watching .
Think about what this means for you.
If this is true for lions, ravens, and mountain goats, how much more is it true for human beings in pain struggling to remain believers. This is God’s veiled answer to why, that He who governs the deeply wild — Governs you.
If God cares for the wild kingdom, how much does He care for you?
And the time of days, months, and years of evil, were governed when God sent His Son to die, ultimately conquering all evil, reversing in one glorious morning of new life all the evil of the world. Job needed to learn — we need to learn — to entrust ourselves to the righteous Lord of time.
The Precious Gift of Freedom
Even freedom is a precious gift of God to the wild.
Who set the wild donkey free? Who released the swift donkey from its harness? I made the wilderness its home, and the salty wasteland its dwelling. It scoffs at the noise of the village and never hears the shouts of a driver. It roams the mountains for its pastureland, searching for anything green.
The wild donkey, represents the precious gift of freedom, yet still under the absolute providential control of God over all margins of life. There is not one inch of strange wildness that lies outside the counsel of God — and that includes the wildness of sinful mankind.
The Power and Danger of the Wild
Would the wild ox be willing to serve you? Would it spend the night by your feeding trough? Can you hold the wild ox to a furrow by its harness? Will it plow the valleys behind you? Can you depend on it because its strength is great? Would you leave it to do your hard work? Can you trust the wild ox to harvest your grain and bring it to your threshing floor?
There are some animals that are tremendously powerful and dangerous. Some bulls are just incredible in size and legendary terrors. And God is asking Job, “Why not go out into the wild and find one of the massive oxen and feed him from your hand? You know, be the Ox-Whisperer.” What ox would do this? Well, none. It would be wonderful to subdue and harness the strength of this animal. Such wisdom and counsel lies with God alone.
Who could control the ostrich?
The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but are her feathers and plumage like the stork’s? She abandons her eggs on the ground and lets them be warmed in the sand. She forgets that a foot may crush them or that some wild animal may trample them. She treats her young harshly, as if they were not her own, with no fear that her labor may have been in vain. For God has deprived her of wisdom; He has not endowed her with understanding. When she proudly spreads her wings, she laughs at the horse and its rider.
This illustrates that there are many unintelligible strangeness and paradox in the universe. Who could ever make sense of it all?
The terror of the wild.
Do you give strength to the horse? Do you adorn his neck with a mane? Do you make him leap like a locust? His proud snorting fills one with terror. He paws in the valley and rejoices in his strength; He charges into battle. He laughs at fear, since he is afraid of nothing; he does not run from the sword. A quiver rattles at his side, along with a flashing spear and a lance. He charges ahead with trembling rage; he cannot stand still at the trumpet’s sound. When the trumpet blasts, he snorts defiantly. He smells the battle from a distance; he hears the officers’ shouts and the battle cry.
The war horse — for many years, this was the ultimate weapon in war. They were greatly feared. But think of the strength and beauty and agility and no fear and terror of the horse — no man gives this. Only God has given the horse such ability and nature.
Predators and prey in the wild
Does the hawk take flight by your understanding and spread its wings to the south? Does the eagle soar at your command and make its nest on high? It lives on a cliff where it spends the night; its stronghold is on a rocky crag. From there it searches for prey; its eyes penetrate the distance. Its brood gulps down blood, and where the slain are, it is there.
Have you ever watched a hawk or an eagle fly?
It’s an incredible sight. Soaring on the currents of the wind. And how high they make their nests — In the cliffs.
And then their eyesight from so high. The can see the slightest movements of a mouse in tall grass, hundreds of feet in the air. Then they dive and pounce their prey, tearing it to pieces for its young. This is no Disney scene of cute animals.
But notice the questioning:
“By your understanding…by your command?”
Not hardly. We watch in amazement, but have no idea.
The Lord’s Counsel
All of this God puts before Job in defense of His counsel. But this is so different than many calendars we use of all the wonderful care God provides for us. We have this beautiful, majestic photos of mountains, fields, valleys, oceans, and waterfalls — flower, trees, and the sort, but none of these calendars show what God just showed Job — the violence, the death in the deeply wild. The Lord gives Job a brutal, in-your-face portrait of death and danger, as well as birth and life. There is in this universe a great deal of violence, predation, danger, terror, and death. It’s all inextricably entwined in the world. And God is saying to Job, “I govern it all.”
We expect a shallow, trite, simple solution to the problem of evil. And we are surprise at the inscrutable, (means incapable of being investigated) mysterious counsel of God.
And so God puts forth this challenge to the arrogant questioner:
The Lord answered Job: Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who argues with God give an answer.