The Big Picture

To remind you, I’ve been blogging my way through the Bible. I thought I’d do it in a year. (After all, I read through the whole Bible every year). But it’s gone on longer than that, and frankly, I’m enjoying it too much to change topics now. (If you’re still coming back, I’m here to serve!)

Lately, I’ve come around again to the book of Job. According to the text, Satan challenges God to test Job, believing that Job will fold under the pressure of loss and illness. Satan believes that Job’s love for God is dependent on God’s blessing and his own prosperity.

Not much there, you might think. God seems so bored with his own life that he plays people like pawns in a chess game. He and Satan have what some folks might call a “spiritual pissing contest” if such a thing exists. Poor Job takes it in the shorts, and keeps coming back for more. His best friends turn out to be pretty worthless. All they have to contribute are accusations and guilt.

So, I’m slogging through the chapters again, wondering why this book is included in the Book. And it hits me:

Have you ever noticed how much truth is included in the first 37 chapters. Each character in the story has a collection of truth (which they march out and pound over Job’s head). Even Job understands much about God’s kingdom. So what is the problem? Why are these guys so lost? Think about the truths they hold dear:

God doesn’t sin. God carefully watches the way people live. God does not respond to people’s complaints.  Why doesn’t the Almighty open the court and bring judgement? Why must the godly wait for him in vain? Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers. . .

Each speaker in the book makes valid points. Though each has BITS of truth, none of them has the BIG PICTURE. God’s picture. God’s perspective. None of them know what God knows. And, while that seems obvious to us (as readers), the characters themselves are clueless. Each one has taken their bits of truth and nailed them together hoping to create a strong shelter. What do they really have? A house of cards.

If there is any lesson in Job, it is this: Be careful of how you add up your truth. No matter how wise, how educated, how indoctrinated, how sure, how confident,  how accomplished you are, I can tell you this with confidence. You do not have the BIG PICTURE. None of us can see with God’s perspective. None of us. Foolish is he who thinks he has all the answers.

If you doubt my conclusions, open your Bible. Read God’s response to the gang beginning in chapter 38.

Occasionally, we would be wise if we would adapt Job’s words as our own. “You have asked why I talk so much when I know so little. I have talked about things that are far beyond my understanding.”

Or, in a more modern translation, as our southern sisters might say, “Well, shut my mouth!”

How about you? Does it comfort or vex you that we don’t have the “whole picture?”

As for me? I find comfort in a God I can’t fully explain. I don’t have to understand it all. I simply have to rest in the One who does.


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