It would seem there are some lines you just don’t cross. Some boundaries you might walk up to the edge of but best go no farther. Some things that might be fair game but you better know when you’re out of bounds. As I’m getting to the end of the book of Job, I think the Spirit has shown me one of those lines.
Fact: Job was righteous unlike anyone around him. Three times in the opening scenes which set up the drama of Job vs. his friends, it’s stated that Job was “a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil” (1:1, 8; 2:3). Twice that fact is testified to by God Himself who adds a big exclamation point to the assessment by also stating “there is none like him on the earth.”
Thus, when Job is defending his righteousness before His accusers . . . ahem, excuse me, I mean “comforters” . . . I’m thinking he’s got a leg to stand on.
So, where’s the line Job crossed from being put on a pedestal by God in the opening chapters of the book, to being put in his place by God in the final chapters of the book? Seems it’s the fault line.
And the Lord said to Job: “Shall a faultfinder contend with the Almighty? He who argues with God, let him answer it. . . . Dress for action like a man; I will question you, and you make it known to Me. Will you even put Me in the wrong? Will you condemn Me that you may be in the right?”
(Job 40:1-2, 7-8 ESV)
Faultfinder. That’s the word that caught my attention. That’s what I’m chewing on this morning. That’s the line I think Job crossed.
When everything Job possessed or held precious was stripped away, he blessed the name of the LORD and “did not sin or charge God with wrong” (1:20-22). Even when he was struck with “loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head” and his wife counseled him to “Curse God and die!” he did not sin with his lips (2:7-10). But as time wore on, as his despondency at having ever been born deepened, as his confusion over how life for the righteous could go so wrong, he did charge God with wrong. And, it would seem, he did sin with his lips. He became a faultfinder. And he crossed the fault line.
Job found himself taking the place of God’s reprover. God’s great contender. Becoming far too familiar with God as His faultfinder. Ready to enter the courts of heaven to present his case, confident God would be weighed in the balance and come up short with any sort of justification for Job’s unjust circumstance.
Job’s pain and suffering pushed him to questioning God’s person and sovereignty. His confusion led him to impugn God’s character. His righteous reputation, true as it was, tripped him up as He questioned God’s righteous nature. Job assessed God’s behavior in the context of his circumstance rather than placing his pain within the context of God’s promises. His physical suffering was a catalyst for a spiritual battle.
Not judging Job. Relating. Realizing the reality of the fault line and how easy it could be to cross it. Seeing how close I can be to becoming a faultfinder. Assessing my propensity to start with my situation and fit God onto it, rather than taking every thought into captivity and considering my circumstance in the light of what I know to be true concerning God’s holy, righteous, loving, and faithful character.
O that I might be kept from any temptation to contend with God. That I wouldn’t even think of reproving Him. Don’t wanna be a faultfinder. Don’t wanna cross the fault line.
Instead, being conformed increasingly into the image of the One who was the only truly upright and blameless Man, that I would, in every circumstance, always know that God is faithful. That His purposes are pure and His promises are sure.
By His grace. For His glory.
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