Providence – through affliction and fortune.  

Today’s readings are Job 5 and 1 Corinthians 15:1-11.

 

Is God a cause-and-effect God? Are hard times a result of sin? Are we going to get knocked off our feet as a consequence of what John Lennon called “Instant Karma”?

 

Even Job’s friends are convinced that Job’s suffering is punishment for sin.  Here we have Eliphaz speaking with Job reminding him that affliction doesn’t happen by accident but it is according to the will of God. There is a strong sense of accusation that Job has brought this condition upon himself. He encourages Job to lay his cause before God and speaks of God’s power and control over everything.

Jesus rejects the notion of a cause-and-effect God. We know from John 9:1-3 when Jesus encounters a blind man his disciples asked Him “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he was born blind?” Jesus replied “Neither this man nor his parents sinned but this happened so the works of God might be displayed in him”.

 

Asking who to blame isn’t the right response but perhaps “What are you doing here God?”. It is a hopeful response. God is not passive. God is working in and through all things. The experience and testimony of God’s provision through affliction can be of encouragement to others. It is for the glory of God to send help to the helpless and give hope to the hopeless.

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3 thoughts on “Providence – through affliction and fortune.  

  1. Thank you Greg. We have to remember that as we read Job we have inside knowledge. We are told that Job was a righteous man. He was not being disciplined by God. We also have the insight of Satan coming before God and instigating this whole drama. We see that everything that happens in the believers life is Father filtered. The danger that we can fall into is that we can assume that a person is being disciplined by God because of sin in their life, like Jobs friends. The Bible does say that God disciplines those who He loves, Hebrews 12;6 and God also prunes those who are His – pruning is the cutting away of self and it hurts John 15;2b.

    I love the idea of asking God,”What are You doing here Lord?”. And to wait upon His answer, and learn from it so that we can mature through the pruning process. As we see those whom God disciplines in one way or another our role in that is to love them through it. Not make assumptions as to why God has allowed this happen in their life. Only God sees the heart of an individual.This can only be done in a community of love and grace. I love the way that God works because it is His Spirit through the power of His Word that convicts the heart into a true repentance where sin has taken root. Sometimes we have to experience the pain and discomfort of pruning but the end result is wonderful fruit.

  2. Thanks Greg, these are difficult issues and I reckon you have nailed it. We live in a broken world and bad things too often happen to good people, even innocent new born babies sometimes cannot escape the consequences of creation not being perfect, as God originally intended.
    Thanks for your analysis which provides realistic clarity to often misinterpreted passages. Hopefully we can be wise and courageous in responding to instances of suffering, disadvantage, isolation, and pain in all its forms, with the hope that Jesus brings – a new perfect creation with no pain, no suffering and perfect relationships with each other and our Father creator God. God Bless you!

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