Well Intentioned But False Theology, by Melissa Gibbs

Well Intentioned But False Theology, Job 19-21

Had to miss the blog this morning, as we were out of town and nowhere near a computer. Do such places still exist?! Anyway, before I jump into today's reading, I want to share a quick note from Sunday's passages.
I get really excited every time I see Job makes a reference to Jesus. Whether or not he knew he was uttering Messianic prophecies is debated by scholars. Frankly, I find it more amazing to think that he expressed all of these longings for a mediator, advocate, friend, and now Redeemer (vs. 19:25), without any foreknowledge that such a person existed. But everything Job anticipated and longed for, is found in the One we now know as Jesus. What exactly did the term "Redeemer" mean to Job? In that time and culture, a "redeemer" was considered to be the nearest blood relative obligated to come to the aid of one in trouble. Several specific circumstances are outlined in the Law, including the redeeming of property that had been sold in time of financial need, the freeing of a slave who had sold himself in time of need, the marrying of a childless widow to produce heirs for the deceased, avenging a murder by the familial retribution law, receiving restitution for a wrong done to an injured party. So, the main idea is that the Redeemer bailed his family members out of tough spots they found themselves in. Can you think of a tougher spot for a person to be in than to be standing before the throne of God when He asks, "Why should I let you into my heaven?" That's when our Redeemer will step in and bail us out! Job may not have known exactly what he was implying, but what an interesting choice of words for him to use!

OK, for today's reading, we have the dichotomy between Eliphaz's argument that, basically, good things happen to good people- and Job's complaint about why bad things don't happen to bad people. We know neither of these positions is theologically accurate, but they are widely held nonetheless. Eliphaz's contention is that one must "submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you" and "you will succeed in whatever you choose to do, and light will shine on the road ahead of you." This sounds like what we call the "prosperity gospel" which asserts that God wants His people to be happy, healthy, wealthy, successful, etc. and the absence of these characteristics indicates a lack of faith. But God is more concerned with our holiness than our happiness; and those of us who have known suffering can attest that it is the trials in our lives and not the blessings, that bring us closer to God. He has good reasons not to "bless" his children, for in times of testing, they can experience more growth in Him. And on a personal level, we all know wonderful, godly people who are not "blessed", as the world would view it. So this formula of "good people get good things", does not add up. Remember that underlying this train of thought is the notion that Job's own sins are responsible for his suffering; i.e. bad behavior equals bad circumstances.

Along these same lines is Job's frustration that God doesn't punish the wicked; "Why doesn't the Almighty bring the wicked to judgment?" It's difficult to see drugged out prostitutes have babies when our friends are infertile. Or to watch an honest businessman fail while his dishonest competitor succeeds. That is just our human nature that seeks fairness and justice. But if we really viewed ourselves in the proper light, we'd marvel at why anything good ever happens to us. What good do we really deserve? Nothing on earth is fair, and thank goodness it isn't or we'd all be in trouble. What we can count on though, is that at the end of every man's life, an accounting will be required. And those who do not have a Redeemer to bail them out of that tight spot, will pay eternally. We look at the "here and now", but God works in the "big picture" and that is the only perspective from which it all makes sense.

About Melissa Gibbs:

 Melissa is the mother of four boys and the wife of her junior high sweetheart, JD.  He is the President of Joe Gibbs Racing and the son of NFL Hall of Fame coach Joe Gibbs.  JD and Melissa have been married 16 years and are actively involved with Young Life, Motor Racing Outreach, their church, and other ministries.  Their youngest son Taylor is nearing completion of a 3 year treatment protocol for leukemia, which has been a powerful faith walk for their family.  Since his diagnosis, Melissa has been called upon to share their family's testimony with many local churches.

 Visit Melissa at http://chronologicalbiblein2010.blogspot.com/

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