The Transcendent Righteousness Of God
April 18, 2019
The Bible teaches that God is fair and just. He is not a respecter of persons, which means that He doesn’t play favorites with people. The scriptures state that God brings rain on the just and the unjust. In a positive sense, this means that God brings opportunity for growth and prosperity to both the believer and non-believer. In a negative sense, God brings calamity and misfortune to both the believer and non-believer. Whether a child of God or not, all people are forced to deal with the consequences of our flesh and the world. The flesh is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. This means that as people, we cause problems. God is merciful to soften the blow of sin’s consequences, but all of us have consequences to deal with. If we aren’t dealing with the difficulties associated with our own unrighteousness, the unrighteousness of others can often have an effect on our lives too, thereby complicating things. Likewise, the world is corrupt, meaning that there are factors of decay, change, and danger that we have to deal with as well. Everyone has to wrestle with these realities of life, making life difficult in various ways.
God is not obligated to keep His people from the consequences of life on this planet. He did promise to protect the integrity of the soul. He did promise to keep the souls of His people from corruption, decay, and eternal condemnation. However, since God is transcendent above all things, He is able to preserve the soul even though the body and mind take a beating in this life. The Bible candidly teaches these truths so as to settle our minds on reality. God’s focus is eternal, and ours should be too. Hence, our attitudes about the difficulties of this life should not sway our attitudes about God Himself. Just because things seem bad in this life doesn’t mean that they will result in destruction if we are children of God. Therefore, the Bible encourages God’s people to persevere without complaining, remembering the eternal nature of God, His promises, and His purposes.
Perhaps one of the greatest Biblical examples of having the right attitude about life’s difficulties comes from Job. Job suffered greatly, and the Bible explains that God was the cause in one sense. Some speculate that God was simply the One that “let” these things happen to Job. Job felt differently, and the scriptures prove there are some merits to Job’s perspective. The testimony of Job begins with Satan looking for targets to cause trouble. If not for God’s suggestion, Satan never would have gone after Job. It was God who offered up Job. Even though God set parameters for the devil to follow, and restrained the quality of evil Job would experience, God opened the door of suffering. It is true that Satan was the one that actually inflicted the pain and caused the circumstances that Job dealt with, but it was all under God’s administration, control, and wisdom. God had divine purpose to reveal His righteousness through His dealings with Job, but that truth didn’t make things any easier for Job in the moment.
The testimony of Job 27:1-6 explains that Job had some recognition of God’s nature, authority, sovereignty, and providence, but was submissive to God’s purposes whether he understood them or not. Job didn’t like his suffering, but he never let his suffering sway his fear, honor, and affection for the Lord. This is the mark of true faith! In Job 27:1-6, the Bible explains that Job took full advantage of his opportunity to speak without interruption. Before, Job had tried to express the truth of his circumstances to his friends, but was frequently interrupted by their accusations and self-righteous explanations. Now that his friends had nothing to say, Job had the chance to speak with authority and confidence. The scriptures state that Job continued in his “discourse.” The KJV of the Bible says that Job spoke a parable. This doesn’t mean that Job told stories in the form of analogies, metaphors, or similes. Instead, the original language explains that Job spoke from a position of superiority, with authority, as one giving true wisdom. Thus, the things that Job spoke about his attitude concerning God’s work is a standard meant, not only for Job’s friends to honor, but for all those who read.
Job began his discourse by acknowledging God’s aseity and omnipotence. Job recognized that God is the eternally self-existing and self-sustaining God. He referred to God as the God that lives. This doesn’t just mean that God is alive, but that God uniquely has life within Himself. Job recognized that God is separate from all other creatures in that He doesn’t depend on anyone or anything to exist or function. God is the Existing One. He just is. He is the only One that has life within Himself to a degree that it is eternally constant and unchanging. He doesn’t decrease in power, ability, wisdom, or intent. Since life exists within God, He is unaffected by other living things. God lived well before life came into anything else. These truths mean that God is FAR superior to all other living things. Though Job spoke with authority and superiority above his friends, it was only in regards to God’s basic nature and character.
Likewise, Job spoke of God’s power. He acknowledged that God is Almighty. In fact, He is “THE Almighty.” God is the only One with real power. There is not another with power and ability like God that rivals God. When God spoke to the prophet Isaiah, He said, “Do not fear, nor be afraid; have I not told you from that time, and declared [it]? You [are] My witnesses. Is there a God besides Me? Indeed [there is] no other Rock; I know not [one].' " As the sole source of life for all things, God is able to know all living things. He knows whether there is a creature or concept that rivals Him. Having examined all things from His supremely exalted position, He has confirmed that there is NOTHING that rivals His power, wisdom, and sovereign control. Job understood this truth of God and surrendered to the idea. Job didn’t like his suffering. Job didn’t like the contention with his friends. Still, Job understood that the God Most High was obviously doing some work through his suffering and frustrations that was good in His sight. Since God’s supremely exalted position makes Him the standard of goodness and righteousness, Job yielded to God’s work.
When Job spoke, he stated that he felt like God was using His superior control and power against Job. This is true in one sense, but Job’s tone made it seem like God was picking on Job. This is not true. God doesn’t pick on people. God has divine righteous and holy purposes for ALL work that He does, whether with believers or non-believers. Job was right in the sense that God was in control of his suffering. If justice had been taken away from Job, God did enable that reality to take place. Job’s soul was obviously bitter, and God did enable the events that caused his bitterness. This does not mean that God is to blame, and Job was not suggesting that. Job was simply surrendering to God’s sovereign control to do as He pleases, trusting that God had good purpose for his difficulties. It is not often easy to see how God can bring good out of the perception of injustice in our lives. It is not often easy to feel encouraged when our souls are embittered by trials. Still, our attitudes about God Himself should not waiver.
This is where Job’s testimony becomes a heroic example unto God’s glory. Job felt he had justice taken away from him, yet was adamant that he would not curse God. Job felt that his soul was caused to be bitter because God would not provide relief. Yet Job emphatically stated that he would never speak an evil or wicked thing against God. This is an amazing demonstration of faith – a quality of faith that only the sovereign almighty God can provide Himself. Job acknowledged this reality as well. He stated that his breath was the breath of the Almighty. Job’s breath was God’s own breath. Since we are all filled with the breath of life that comes from the Almighty God who has life in Himself, then our breath is His breath. Knowing this, Job ensured that his words were words of praise to the God who gave him breath, no matter how difficult it was to breath. Job understood that, if his breath was from God, then the air that filled his lungs was holy and righteous in nature, and should be used for purposes deemed good by God. Therefore, no matter the difficulty Job endured, he was committed to ensuring that his life was a testimony to God’s goodness, righteousness, and holiness.
For this reason, Job was able to live with a quality of confidence that only comes from God. Though his friends continued to accuse him of hypocrisy and condemn him, Job was confident to state that, as long as God was giving him breath, he would not let his integrity fail. He would prove his faith in God’s goodness by speaking honestly about himself and his God. Job would not lie about suffering. Job would not lie about his knowledge of God. Job would not lie about his confusion concerning God’s ways. Job would not allow lies to enter his mind concerning the condition of his heart. Job would not let the lies of his friends affect the convictions of his heart that were stirred up by God’s breath. Job was going to hold tight to the convictions of righteousness that God placed in his heart no matter how bad things seemed to be. Regardless of how he felt physically, mentally, or emotionally, Job would hold fast to the justification of the Lord who sits high above all creatures as the One True Living Almighty God.
This shows that, the faith of the believer is based on the confidence we receive about who God is according to the convictions He places in our hearts about His own righteousness. Our position with the Lord has nothing to do with the opinions or speculations of others. Our position with the Lord is according to the declarations He makes according to His supreme authority and power. Therefore, the hearts of God’s people, though we suffer too, should not grow weary when it appears God is making things harder than we’d prefer. Instead, we should remember who God is, holding fast to the eternal nature of His promises, standing fast on the truth of His righteousness, goodness, and love. Job previously said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.” Even though things continued to be difficult for Job, he understood that his compounding difficulties didn’t change the character of God, and so he continued to speak well of Him.