When I was first saved, I was confused after reading the book of Job. It seemed like Job’s friends had some distorted views of God. Yet, knowing that the Scriptures were inspired, I wasn’t sure if I was to believe everything they said. Now, my understanding of “inspired” convinces me that the conversations in Job are accurately recorded, but it doesn’t mean that everything the friends said about God was correct, or true. God has provided us with the rest of the Bible to discern what’s true about Him.
Not sure if you agree with me? Here’s what God said about it, “After the Lord had said these things to Job, He said to Eliphaz the Temanite, ‘I am angry with you and your two friends, because YOU HAVE NOT SPOKEN OF ME WHAT IS RIGHT, as My servant Job has.’” (Job 42:7).
An example of their distorted view of God is Elihu’s statement, “If they [people] obey and serve Him [God], they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment.” (Job 36:11). Elihu, like the other men, was under the false, and simplistic, impression that God always rewarded good people with prosperity and ease, and He punished sinners with difficult and disappointing circumstances. Elihu’s big mistake was in emphasizing only one of God’s divine attributes, that of His justice, to the exclusion of other attributes. He thought that God always rewarded the good and punished the bad.
I’m so glad the rest of the Bible reveals God’s other qualities, such as love, grace, mercy, and compassion. Can you imagine if God was only just, giving us what we deserved?! Some people would be weighed down with guilt. Others would be pompous and proud.
The older I get, the more I realize that God is beyond my full comprehension, “‘My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord. ‘As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” (Isaiah 55:8–9). God is much smarter than me. I may not understand all that He is doing in my life and around the world, but there are three things of which I’m convinced – God is good, He wants the Gospel spread, and He loves me.
When you think of God, what comes to your mind first? High expectations and low patience? Low expectations and high approval? Do you think of Him in terms of justice or mercy? Grace or shame? Demanding and impatient? Though God has never approved of sin, because of His grace, mercy, and love, He has provided a way through Christ to pay the penalty our sin deserved, and to establish a love-relationship with Him.
It wasn’t until I came to Christ on September 12, 1971, that I became aware of how great God’s love is for people. “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)