3 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.
2 And Job spoke, and said:
3 “May the day perish on which I was born,
And the night in which it was said,
‘A male child is conceived.’
4 May that day be darkness;
May God above not seek it,
Nor the light shine upon it.
5 May darkness and the shadow of death claim it;
May a cloud settle on it;
May the blackness of the day terrify it.
I’m unsure who said it first, but everything that has happened in my life has led up to this moment. Writing is a lot like this. So, therefore, as the Church of God Perspective Blog takes its leave from Facebook, I hope to leave you with what all of the articles, in particular the latest one, distill down to. After all, if you have a cause worth dying for, and if you have a strong reason to live for, that is all well and good. However, what if it were the wrong cause? What if it were the wrong reason? How tragic would that be to come to the end of your life and discover it was all wrong?
Job and his three friends thought they had all the answers. They remind me a lot of the WCG during the 70s — really. While I don’t want to paint everyone with the same broad brush, the fact is that it tended to be a prevailing attitude at times, and I think that is why God allowed certain trials to happen to the corporate body of WCG at the time.
We are introduced to Job as a righteous man who shunned evil. As a result of right living, he had acquired much wealth and many things. There are hints here and there that he may have even been royalty, although the poetic language of the book can lead to too much reading into of uncertain phrases.
The premise was a simple one, really: You live by the rules, and you prosper. You break the rules, and you are punished.
This is the same message that the Pharisees taught. This is the same message today that prosperity preachers teach. When you follow the rules and do certain things, they want us to believe, then God is required to reward you. IOW, God owes us.
What did Jesus teach? He confronted the Pharisees, and His words stand against the prosperity preachers everywhere. His message was plain: You are to love God above even your own life, for do the right thing, and you will be kicked out of churches, persecuted, beaten and even killed. Not only that, but they will believe that killing you in the name of God is the right thing to do!
2 They will put you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills you will think that he offers God service.
So, who would sign up for such a thing?
To be honest, we are given many reasons to endure to the end. We are given many reasons to seek out the Kingdom. We are promised crowns, to be rulers over cities (or more), to be kings and priests, and of course we are promised eternal life.
But, what good is eternal life?
I would suggest that if you cannot answer that question reasonably, then you haven’t given it much thought. And, that would be a pity. For, if we are promised eternal life as a reward, then don’t we need to examine what exactly is so rewarding about it?
What if there were no death but the world would otherwise be the same? There would still be broken bones, broken hearts and broken lives, but those broken lives would go on forever. You would get ill and experience pain, but you would just plain not die.
I would call that hell on earth.
Let’s face it: As long as human beings are not working towards the same goals utilizing the same value system, there will never be peace and permanent happiness on earth. What good comes from an eternal life of yet more misery? What good is it if people “go to heaven” or somewhere else after death if they themselves haven’t changed? It will be eternal misery, won’t it?
Yet, even if peace and harmony were brought to the world, does that define a purpose to life?
In the past, our thinking has gone only so far. HWA gets credit where credit is due, for he asked those questions. He was unafraid to ask the questions that really matter. After years of following God, he realized that Satan was the perfect example of why God could not allow human beings to obtain eternal life until they had developed true godly character. Satan rebelled against God, and he continues to stir up humanity against God to this day. He tells people that keeping the Law isn’t necessary and confuses the very purpose of human life.
The churches of this world do not understand, even though many claim to get their teachings straight from the Bible. They select key passages to justify not keeping the Law, and thus they too become rebels even while proclaiming the name of Christ!
Here is what most will pluck out, but it only gives part of the answer:
4 The Lord has made all for Himself,
Yes, even the wicked for the day of doom.
All, the entire universe, including the wicked, was created for His glory.
2 If you will not hear,
And if you will not take it to heart,
To give glory to My name,”
Says the Lord of hosts,
“I will send a curse upon you,
And I will curse your blessings.
Yes, I have cursed them already,
Because you do not take it to heart.
The wicked do not voluntarily give glory to His name, but the above passage indicates that one can willingly give glory to His name.
And, that is usually where the world’s form of Christianity often stops thinking, if it even gets that far. Only a few make it beyond that point. For, the question needs to still be answered: How does man give glory to God?
21 Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor?
22 What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, 23 and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, 24 even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
25 As He says also in Hosea:
“I will call them My people, who were not My people,
And her beloved, who was not beloved.”
26 “And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them,
‘You are not My people,’
There they shall be called sons of the living God.”
The real question above is: If he prepares the vessels of mercy for glory, is this His glory or our glory?
The answer is, “Yes.”
Who are these vessels of mercy? What does Paul quote? “They shall be called sons of the living God.” God’s sons are glorified at the resurrection, an event that in itself glorifies God!
My daughter has come very far these past few years. It gives me great pleasure that she graduated college, landed a very good job and recently bought a car without any help from me. I had a discussion with someone on FB recently, as he took exception to the phrase “you must be proud of your son”, and he deflected that by saying it was all his son. Yes, but he still laid the foundation. I will ashamedly say I’m proud of my daughter, and I hope and pray that her hard work continues to pay off.
You could say that her successes give me and her mother glory.
God is glorified by His sons and daughters being glorified. Elsewise, how can we possibly call ourselves His children?
Of course, I receive a lot less of the credit for my daughter’s success than God does for ours. The difference is like a molehill compared to the Grand Canyon, so I want to state that rather than give the wrong impression. It’s not like I have the sense of mercy and justice, let alone the power, that could possibly match His. Still, these physical forms are here for our instruction.
And, why not? God is not just figuratively building a family, after all. Some in the world want to spiritualize that away, but God is the Father of us all, and Jesus is our eldest Brother, the Firstborn of human beings.
When that is put into context, then this verse makes a lot more sense:
7 Everyone who is called by My name,
Whom I have created for My glory;
I have formed him, yes, I have made him.”
When we come to the realization that “God” is both singular and plural depending upon the context, we begin to realize that from the very beginning, even before the beginning, God was and is relational. There is God the Father and God the Son. It is true in one context of the word, God is not just building a family, but God is a family.
People like to complain about statements like that because they charge that we are changing definitions in the middle of the argument. No, we are not. The simple truth is that is how the Bible presents God! Elohim, from which we translate “God”, can be singular or plural.
26 Then God said, “Let Us [plural] make man [singular or plural?] in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” 27 So God created man in His [returns to singular!] own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them [plural!]. 28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
So, if anyone wants to complain about how the word “God” is used, they need to look it up! If they still have a problem with what it says, they need to take it up with God!
So, in the end, the real purpose of this life is to build godly character so that we can gain eternal life in God’s family! What was missing in Job’s view of his relationship w/ God? The relationship itself!
“But…!” you might be objecting. “What of our chief duty to God?”
OK, let’s briefly look at that one.
13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter:
Fear God and keep His commandments,
For this is man’s all.
14 For God will bring every work into judgment,
Including every secret thing,
Whether good or evil.
~ Ecc 12:13-14 (NKJV)
Here, we see that obedience is “man’s all”, his everything. Two observations first:
- It is interesting that many who will point to this verse, particularly certain Calvinists, also throw away most of those commandments!
- Is this a “purpose” or a “duty”? They are not the same thing. After all, why should man keep God’s commandments? Why is this his all? It is an action, an obligation, but it is not a reason for doing. It’s like saying the only thing required of drivers is to obey the traffic regulations. However, that statement does not answer why someone is driving the car to begin with. Usually, people drive to get to a destination. Keeping the law is an expected obligation while doing so.
Having said that, there is something else to consider in “relation” to this verse, as it too points to the “relationship” we should be fostering with God. When we speak of commandments, we must keep in mind what Jesus said about God’s commandments.
36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?”
37 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
“Love” means a relationship. Without a relationship, it really is not love. Either we really are a family with love, or we are nothing like what the NT describes.
When speaking of kids, apologist Josh McDowell has often stated that “rules without relationship leads to rebellion.” While that might very well apply to kids, is it any different for adults? Could it be that Lucifer, upon the earth, felt far away from Heaven and hatched his scheme because he thought it was all about the rules? As the first rebel, was he so preoccupied with the rules that he kept looking for loopholes? Did he think the power he had within himself was sufficient?
More to the point, though, are God’s kids so much different than human kids?