22 “It is all one; therefore I say, ‘He destroys both the blameless and the wicked.’
23 When a disaster brings sudden death, he mocks at the calamity of the innocent.
24 The earth is given into the hand of the wicked; he covers the faces of its judges—if it is not he, who then is it?” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: If God is good – why is there evil in the world? This is one of the most difficult questions to ask and answer. I am not going to even try to definitively answer this question, as any answer from a finite human perspective is inadequate. The question is further complicated when one is facing severe loss or suffering as Job was. From Job’s perspective, losing everything, in the midst of immense physical and emotional suffering, he concludes – “He destroys both the blameless and the wicked…” What is the answer?
I think everyone has faced this question to some degree or another. When something goes wrong and we have been trying to do everything right we wonder – “Where is God?” When we pick up our newspaper or turn on the television and catch the evening news we wonder – “Where is God?” When we prematurely say goodbye to a loved one who dies far too soon we wonder – “Where is God?” And we are tempted to think – “…if it is not he, who then is it?”
I am so thankful that we have the “whole counsel” of Scripture to consult with such difficult questions. Many have shipwrecked their faith by simply grabbing on to a single verse and forming a conclusion. We must always read God’s Word in context. This means we must understand what was written before, after, and around the verse we are considering. Fortunately, in the book of Job we have some context. We have the answer to the question – “…who then is it?” We find this answer in Job 2:4-7:
“Then Satan answered the Lord and said, “Skin for skin! All that a man has he will give for his life. But stretch out your hand and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse you to your face.” And the Lord said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand; only spare his life.” So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.” (ESV)
So we have identified the “who”, but still not the “why”? God is not the author of sin, sickness, or death. He did not create man to die or suffer. Sin, sickness, suffering, and death are a result of sin. God gave both His angels and man a freedom of choice. Satan and a third of the angels in heaven made the wrong choice, as did man. The epic battle line of good and evil was drawn in the Garden of Eden after man’s rebellion. Since that time Satan has exercised but one agenda – to kill, steal, and destroy. God has been orchestrating His agenda, to save, redeem, and give life. This is where we find ourselves today.
This still does not answer the “why” question. But it does identify the “who” and the “where”. God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to die in our place. Jesus took on all the sin, sickness, suffering, and death of all mankind. The beginning of the pathway of restoration and life begin when we place our faith in Him. It does not answer all of the questions of life. There are questions that we will only understand when we stand before Him and see Him face to face. Yet it does guarantee us that no matter what we face – in the end, like Job, we will overcome through faith in Jesus Christ. This is the promise for all who place their faith in Him! This is why I choose to surrender the “why” question in the hands of the infinite and all wise Creator of Life and trust in Jesus Christ!
“What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:31-39 ESV)
“When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Corinthians 15:54-57 ESV)
In Jesus Name!