Tag Archives: creation

With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (XXI. The Lord Speaks (Chs. 38-40:2)

Thirty-seven chapters — and the Lord has been silent. The only conversations the Lord has conducted have been those with Satan in volunteering His servant Job to be victimized (Job’s perspective) by the enemy of God. Now, the Lord speaks.

What do we see in Chapter 38?

First, the Lord takes the offensive against Job, asking “Who is this that obscures my plans?” (v. 2) This is an important point: God’s work in Job’s life was planned. It was not haphazard. It was not without meaning.

Second, the Lord challenges Job’s ignorance of the earth’s foundations, the boundaries of the seas, whether he has given orders to the morning or the dawn. Does he have the power to shake the wicked out of the earth (v. 13)? The gates of death have not been shown to Job (v. 17). He doesn’t know the abode of light or where darkness resides (v. 19). In great sarcasm God says, “Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!” (v. 21).

Continuing, the Lord queries Job about the storehouses of the snow and hail, the lightning, thunderstorms, the rain, ice, the constellations, and God’s dominion over the earth (vv. 22-38).

The Lord then moves to the category of the animal kingdom. By His questions the Lord indicates that Job has no role in satisfying the hunger of the lions (v. 39) or providing food for the ravens (v. 41).

Chapter 39: God continues His grilling of Job and his non-involvement in when the mountain goats give birth or when the doe bears her fawn (vv. 1-4). He has nothing to do with the freedom of the wild donkey or power over the wild ox (vv. 5-13). He has no power over the foolish, yet speedy, ostrich (vv. 13-18). He is not the one who gives strength or courage to the horse (vv. 19-25). The flight of the hawk or the eagle did not come about by Job’s wisdom (vv. 26-30).

The Lord abruptly ends His lecture to Job in chapter 40 by asking, “Will the one who contends with the Almighty correct him? Let him who accuses God answer him!” (vv. 1-2).

Tentative Conclusions about the Lord’s Response:  What are we to conclude about this final speaking of the Lord? He has been silent throughout the book. Does He come to Job with words of consolation, sympathizing with him in his suffering? Does He console Job and let him in on the secret challenges God has issued to man’s archenemy Satan? No!

Instead we see that the Lord overwhelms Job with a series of questions related to creation. It is fascinating what the Lord does not say. He does not side with Job’s “friends” in accusing him of sin. He does not say that Job’s calamities have come as acts of discipline to keep Job from going down to the pit like the wicked do. Instead, He puts Job in his place, reminding him that he is the creature and God is the Creator. He is under no obligation to explain the whys of Job’s troubles. Confrontation, not consolation, is God’s response to His servant. How will Job respond to the Lord’s devastating questions?











Posted by on February 2, 2023 in the book of Job


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With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (√VII. Job’s Response to Zophar – Chs. 12-14))

Job may well already be exhausted from responding to his two friends. But when Zophar speaks, telling Job that he is a mere talker, Job takes three chapters to answer this third friend.

VII. Job’s Response to Zophar – (Ch. 12)

There is a time and a place for sarcasm — and Job has found it in responding to Zophar! He addresses all three friends and says “doubtless you are the only people who matter and wisdom will die with you!” (v. 2). Job adds that he has a mind as well and that his thinking is not inferior to theirs. Job says he has become a mere laughingstock to his friends “though [I am] righteous and blameless!” (v. 4).

If one were to consult creation (the animals and the earth), they would all acknowledge the Lord’s actions behind Job’s dilemma. “In his hand is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind,” Job says (v. 10). There is no doubting the sheer power of the Lord over creation (vv. 15), over rulers (v. 17), and over religious leaders (vv. 19-20). He has complete power over light and darkness (v. 22) and either makes nations great or destroys them (v. 23). He can even take away the reasoning powers of rulers and make them intellectually stagger like drunkards (v. 25). For Job the power of the Almighty is undoubtable.

VII. Job’s Response to Zophar – (Ch. 13)

Job expresses his desire to argue his case with God (v. 3). But his friends are smearing him with lies, leading Job to say, “worthless physicians, all of you!” (v. 4).

He says that as they are arguing the case for God they are speaking wickedly on His behalf (vv. 7-8). In dismissing their wisdom, Job says, “Your maxims are proverbs of ashes; your defenses are defenses of clay.” (v. 12).

Job could honestly say, “Though he slay me, yet will I hope in him.” (v. 15). But he still wants to defend his ways to God’s face. He has prepared his case and knows he will be vindicated (v. 18).

He asks for two things from the Lord: (1) stop frightening me with your terrors, and (2) summon me to give my defense (vv. 20-22). He challenges the Lord to show him his offenses. The Lord has been hiding His face and treating Job as His enemy (v. 24). His life is wasting away like something rotten, like a garment eaten by moths (v. 28).

VII. Job’s Response to Zophar – (Ch. 14)

Job speaks of the frailty of human life and that one’s days are numbered (v. 5). He asks that God would leave him alone, for there is more hope for a chopped down tree than for a man “who breathes his last and is no more” (v. 10).

Job charges God with destroying a person’s hope (v. 19), overpowering them once for all, changing their countenance and sending them away. And they are left only to mourn themselves (v. 22).

With this bleak view of life and of the ways of God, Job concludes his response to Zophar. But the book doesn’t end here. Eliphas is ready for a second round with Job!

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Posted by on January 5, 2023 in the book of Job


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With Friends Like These . . . Job’s Friends and Religious Foolishness (√V. Job’s Response to Bildad: Chs. 9-10)

Job takes two chapters to respond to this second “comforter” Bildad. How will Job answer this one who claims he knows why Job’s children died? And how will Job respond to this one who has included Job in the category of those who are the godless, for, Bildad says, it is not logical that God would ever reject the blameless.

V. Job’s Response to Bildad: (Ch. 9)

Surprisingly Job begins by agreeing with Bildad, that it is impossible for mere mortals to prove their innocence before God (v. 1). A person’s chance of answering God is one time out of a thousand. God’s power moves mountains and shakes the earth. He speaks and the sun stops shining. He stretches out the heavens and treads on the waves of the sea (vv. 6-9).

God’s miracles and wonders cannot be counted. God is not accountable to anyone; no one can grill him with the question, “What are you doing?” (v. 12). Job asks how he can then dispute with the Lord, even if he were innocent. But Job is afraid that God will not give him a hearing (v. 16). He fears that God would crush him with a storm, multiply his wounds “for no reason”, and “overwhelm me with misery” (vv. 17-18).

Job’s distress is so complete that he says, “I despise my own life” (v. 21). He does not hold back in his characterization of the Lord. He says that He “destroys the blameless and the wicked,” “mocks the despair of the innocent”, and even blindfolds human judges in earthly matters (vv. 22-24). And he asks simply, “If it is not he, then who is it?” (v. 24).

Job describes himself as one who is already found guilty (v. 29). Even if he could thoroughly wash himself, he says that the Lord “would plunge me into a slime pit so that even my clothes would detest me” (v. 31). And the real problem is that God is not a man and therefore not able to be confronted in court (v. 32). Job longs for a mediator between him and God. And there is none (v. 33).

V. Job’s Response to Bildad: (Ch. 10)

Job, despising his own life, has nothing to lose as he challenges God to show him the charges of which he is supposedly guilty (v. 2). Job mockingly asks God if He is pleased to so mistreat “the work of his hands” (Job) while He smiles on the plans of the wicked (v. 3). Job remains confident that he is not guilty and that God knows it! (v. 7).

He challenges the God who shaped him and made him. “Will you now turn and destroy me?” (v. 8). “You gave me life and showed me kindness” (v. 12), will you now turn me to dust again?, Job asks.

In Job’s mind it doesn’t seem to matter to God whether Job is guilty or innocent. Job says of the Lord, “you stalk me like a lion” (v. 16). “You bring new witnesses against me” and “your forces come against me wave upon wave” (v. 17).

Job wishes that he had gone straight from the womb to the tomb. And he pleads with the Lord to “turn away from me so I can have a moment’s joy” “before I go to the land of gloom and utter darkness.” (vv. 20-21).

But a third friend waits in the wings. His name is Zophar and he must respond to what Job has been saying.


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Posted by on January 1, 2023 in the book of Job


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Long to Worship? (Satire from The Babylon Bee)

SPACE — This week, NASA unveiled photos of distant galaxy clusters now visible from the world’s most powerful telescope. After seeing the images, millions have reported an uncontrollable urge to praise whoever may have created such a majestic, expansive universe.

“We’re not religious or anything, but my wife and I both felt compelled to give glory to a higher power — as if there were a higher power than multiverses, monkeys, and primordial sludge!” Local man Dave Deaver scoffed while speaking to reporters, emphasizing his unshakable faith in the unguided evolution of a godless reality. He added that the images made it difficult to suppress his instinct to glorify some kind of creator, who he again clarified doesn’t exist.

At publishing time, additional documentation has claimed that “the heavens declare the glory of God,” but it has yet to be peer-reviewed.

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Posted by on August 16, 2022 in creation


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The Theology of Calvin . . . and Hobbes (Creation)

The Bible teaches that we are made in the image and likeness of God. The Creator. So, of course, we want to create! But in all our creations, we need to be super vigilant that WE don’t receive the credit or think that WE should be praised and admired. HE gives us the ability to imitate Him in His creativeness. And the Triune God wanted to invite human beings into His circle of love which has always existed between Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

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Posted by on June 30, 2020 in Calvin & Hobbes


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Being an Eco-Warrior (Time for a Great Commercial)

What a great commercial! We should care about the environment, the animal world, and even ice caps. This is our Father’s world, right? But caring for creation can’t be our highest goal in life! We are challenged to love God and love others as our first priority!

Your thoughts?

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Posted by on June 17, 2019 in ecology


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Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #5) SAVING SOULS BUT NOT TREES?!

We are continuing to look at the book by the United Methodist minister Martin Thielen entitled What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Divided into two sections, Part 1 lists “Ten Things Christians Don’t Need to Believe” and Part 2 is entitled “Ten Things Christians Do Need to Believe.” Let’s think about the fourth belief Christians don’t need to believe.

Chapter 5 is entitled God Cares about Saving Souls But Not About Saving Trees.  Thielen subtitles this chapter “God cares about personal salvation and social justice, and so should God’s church.”

I must admit I agree with Thielen on much of this chapter. The believer in Jesus should be concerned about the environment and social issues. It is unfortunately true that fundamentalist churches have often expressed a concern only for men’s souls. We are charged with being good stewards of God’s creation — and we have sometimes failed miserably.

I agree with the author that our religion must be personal but dare not be simply private. Every aspect of God’s world ought to be impacted by the believer living out his or her faith and caring about what God cares about.

MY RESPONSE: However, while Thielen uses expressions like “affirming faith in Jesus Christ” and “evangelism,” I suspect he will articulate a liberal view of the gospel when we get further along in the book. But at this point, I agree that we should care about the environment and not engage in partisan politics. He cites abortion and homosexuality as two issues that conservative Christians seem most concerned about, but that is reasonable given the prominence of those two critical topics. It is difficult to read the Minor Prophets, for example, and not be challenged to care about the poor, the oppressed, the unborn. We will have to see what positions Thielen takes on those hot-button issues.

One takeaway for me: I find Becoming Worldly Saints by Mike Witmer a balanced approach to caring about the world that God has made — without watering down or compromising the gospel.





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Posted by on February 10, 2019 in beliefs


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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 20)

Let’s begin our examination of Jonah’s prayer in chapter two this morning.  He is in an unusual place, to be sure, but his prayer is sincere, heartfelt, and, most likely, smelly!  He is somewhere safe — and he is grateful that God has spared his life from drowning.

Jonah prays “to the Lord his God.”  This was a deeper prayer than the sincere one offered by the pagan sailors in chapter one.  Jonah knew “the Lord his God” and he speaks with the One who rescued him.

Several truths jump out at me as I look at this prayer:

(1)  Jonah prayed when he was distressed (v. 2).  That’s a great time to pray!

(2)  Jonah recognized that GOD was behind the sailors’ action in tossing him overboard:  “You hurled me into the depths”; “all your waves and breakers swept over me” (v. 3).

(3)  Jonah sensed that he was “banished” from the Lord’s sight, but he found hope in looking towards God’s holy temple (v. 4).

(4)  Jonah realized (as he sailed through the air and plunged into the ocean’s depths) that his life was over.  Engulfing waters and straggling seaweed were certain to bring an end to his renegade days (v. 5).  (to be continued)

My prayer:  “Lord of the sea and the ocean depths — Remind me that YOU are the Creator and that creation listens to You and does Your will.  Help me, as a creature made in Your image, to do the same!   In Jesus’ name.  Amen.”



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Posted by on August 20, 2017 in Jonah


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Jonah: Belief Contradicted by Behavior (Part 11)

Let’s continue thinking about Jonah’s first orthodox statement:  “I am a Hebrew and I worship the Lord, the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land.”  Like the rest of us, what Jonah says he believes is very orthodox.  But his professed beliefs are contradicted by his behavior!

“I am a Hebrew” — Jonah does not hesitate to identify himself as one of God’s covenant people.  He is proud, it seems, instead of being ashamed that he is betraying his heritage and refusing to do his part in fulfilling the Abrahamic covenant of being a blessing to all people (Gen. 12).

“and I worship the Lord . . .” — What is worship?  Is it merely ceremony, rituals performed to placate a sometimes angry deity?  How could he say “I worship the Lord”?  How can we say we worship the Lord when we don’t do what He tells us to do?

“the God of heaven, who made the sea and the dry land” —  This is the Creator God!  This is the One who is responsible for this lethal storm.  This is the One who fashioned the dry land (which these sailors were longing for about right now).  We Evangelicals make a lot out of God as Redeemer, and rightly so.  But, I wonder, have we ignored much of the Bible’s witness to God as Creator?

This is no deistic-designed universe.  God is personally involved in sustaining His world. And He sustains His servant long enough for him to identify himself theologically.  But even pagans can see through such hypocrisy (to be continued).



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Posted by on August 11, 2017 in Jonah


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Psalms of the Salter: Some Thoughts on Really Living for the Lord (Psalm 114)

Psalm 114

When Israel came out of Egypt,screen-shot-2016-11-05-at-11-14-17-am
    Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
    Israel his dominion.

The sea looked and fled,
    the Jordan turned back;
the mountains leaped like rams,
    the hills like lambs.

Why was it, sea, that you fled?
    Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
    you hills, like lambs?

Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
    at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
    the hard rock into springs of water.

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Posted by on March 9, 2017 in personification


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