Monday, December 28, 2009

Though He Slay Me...

Though He slay me, yet will I hope in Him
- Job 13:15

Who says things like that?  Who hopes in one who is killing him?  Job does.  Only when one hopes in another greater than he hopes in himself can one say such a thing.  In Job's case his hope in God sustained him, despite the bitter cup he had been given.

Though the category 5 hurricane was still in the midst of demolishing his life, Job had a death grip upon the ledge of the grace of his God.  His life wass utterly devastated and laid in shambles around him like the scattered remains of a trailer park after a tornado has just passed through.  Job's children were snatched away from him, his wife wagged her tongue at him and bid him to give up and to curse the God in whom he hoped, his friends too were fashioned into weapons to be wielded viciously against him, and as if all of that were not enough he was granted a cup overflowing with physical suffering as his entire body was covered with intensely painful sores.  Yet Job's fingers refused to let go, "Yet I will hope in Him."

Job clearly saw where his storm originated; "Though He slay me."  His point of view stands in sharp contrast to that so often heralded to those enduring various storms in our day.  I remember clearly during a funeral service years ago hearing a clergy member declare to the mother of her deceased son, an officer killed in the line of duty, "Don't let anyone tell you that God did this."  I bit my tongue as I sat in the room with hundreds gathered to mourn the loss of this heroic public servant.  My blood was near to be boiling as this man in priestly garb spoke as if he were delivering the words of God.  As if the medicine he had to offer would assuage any discomfort.  He may as well have given her a sugar pill and said that should help.  How can it be that those who would endeavor to speak on God's behalf would neglect that which He has already so effusively spoken.

The Scriptures which teach contrary to the fancily dressed man upon a stage are too numerous to list in their entirety yet I will highlight a few which quickly come to mind:

See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
Deuteronomy 32:39

Does disaster come to a city unless the Lord has done it?
Amos 3:6

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father.
Matthew 10:29

You have put me in the depths of the pit, in the regions dark and deep. Your wrath lies heavy upon me, and you overwhelm me with all your waves. Selah.  You have caused my companions to shun me; you have made me a horror to them. I am shut in so that I cannot escape;
Psalm 88:6-8

Your wrath has swept over me; your dreadful assaults destroy me. They surround me like a flood all day long; they close in on me together. You have caused my beloved and my friend to shun me; my companions have become darkness.
Psalm 88:16-18

With God are wisdom and might; he has counsel and understanding. If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open. If he withholds the waters, they dry up; if he sends them out, they overwhelm the land. With him are strength and sound wisdom; the deceived and the deceiver are hisHe leads counselors away stripped, and judges he makes foolsHe looses the bonds of kings and binds a waistcloth on their hips. He leads priests away stripped and overthrows the mighty.   He deprives of speech those who are trusted and takes away the discernment of the elders.  He pours contempt on princes and loosens the belt of the strong.  He uncovers the deeps out of darkness and brings deep darkness to light.  He makes nations great, and he destroys them; he enlarges nations, and leads them away.  He takes away understanding from the chiefs of the people of the earth and makes them wander in a pathless waste.  They grope in the dark without light, and he makes them stagger like a drunken man.
Job 12:13-25

I'm thinking Job may have said something like this if he could have been in attendance at that funeral service.

Not only was Job clearly able see from whom the storm originates, but he was also able to see through the pounding rain and fierce wind.  He could see beyond the massive storm surrounding him and into the goodness of his God.  This is faith.  Faith is seeing beyond the storm, it is seeing beyond all that the eyes of flesh can see in order to behold that which only the eyes of faith can see.

Job's faith caused him to be able to see through the blinding storm like radar enables a pilot see in order to safely land a plane in the midst of a dense fog.  His radar-like faith saw clearly through to the goodness of his God.  This is why Job could honestly say, "Though He slay me, yet I will hope in Him."

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