Job’s problem wasn’t with the sovereignty of God. He’d already conceded that God, because He is God, could give and take away as He determined. Job wasn’t disputing the legitimacy of God’s rule over man, or the reality of His power over the earth. Those were givens. But, as Job continues to engage with his fake comforters, he makes an argument that kind of resonates, at least on the surface. While no one’s disputing God’s almighty-ness, why does God involve Himself so much in our puny-ness?
“Man who is born of a woman is few of days and full of trouble. He comes out like a flower and withers; he flees like a shadow and continues not. And do You open Your eyes on such a one . . . Since his days are determined, and the number of his months is with You, and You have appointed his limits that he cannot pass, look away from him and leave him alone, that he may enjoy, like a hired hand, his day.”
(Job 14:1-2, 5-6 ESV)
Life is short and hard, says Job. From the moment we are born, we begin to die. For a God who lives in unapproachable light, our time on earth is but a shadow. So, asks Job, why even give us a second glance? Why not wind us up and let us go? After all, in Your sovereignty You have set our days and numbered our months. By Your omnipresent power You can determine our boundaries. So why not leave us alone? Whatever our lot, let us put in our time and try to extract whatever joy we can from it. Even a hired hand, even a ditchdigger (MSG), gets to do that.
Kind of makes sense.
God didn’t need to allow Satan an audience with Him. He could have chosen to ignore the Accuser’s mocking taunts as to why Job chose to be faithful. He certainly didn’t have to prove anything to the snake. Didn’t need to allow the Enemy of men to bankrupt Job and destroy his family. He could have said, “No way!” when Satan hissed for permission to inflict Job’s body with unbearable sores to go along with Job’s unimaginable sorrows. But God didn’t. In fact, it was God who started the whole debate with Satan. God who had taken notice of Job and directed Satan to do likewise.
“Have you considered My servant Job?” (Job 1:8)
So how come? That’s Job’s question. How come?
And I’m thinking what Job was missing was that, while he may have been but a servant, Job was God’s servant. He was more than a hired hand. He was more than just some ditchdigger. He was born to be God’s image-bearer and the Almighty’s glory-giver.
It will take a few more chapters before Job’s earthly arguments give way to some heavenly perspective. To be reminded that his purpose in being born was not simply to put his time in on earth and glean whatever satisfaction he could from whatever lot he was given. That his time on earth really wasn’t about him at all, and that his feeble demands to vindicate himself before God were based on a false view of why he existed. But that the reason God was so interested in Job’s fleeting time on earth was because of the glory it would bring to God for all eternity.
The “good” that all things work together for, may or may not seem so “good” for us while we encounter the hard stuff. But when all sufficient grace is appropriated by faith; when we keep following because we believe in His promises and know it’s gonna be worth it all; when, when all we can do is hang on, we hang-on faithfully because we trust Him to be faithful, then we’re saying that the “good” is found in Him. And, in His eternal purposes, more than our temporal pleasures.
That the reason He pays attention to us, is so that we might know Him. That the reason He doesn’t wind us up and let us go, is that He wants us to abide in Him. That the reason He keeps His eye on us, is that we might direct every eye toward Him.
We’re more than a hired hand. We are eternally loved children of God. Bought with a price. No longer our own. But forever His.
Living by His grace. Living for His glory.