Friday, October 17, 2014

WEEKLY SUNDAY SCHOOL LESSON
An international Sunday school lesson commentary
For Sunday October 19, 2014

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DEFIANT FAITHFULNESS
(GOD brings justice how and when HE chooses)
(Job 24)

When GOD began testing Job with various forms of suffering, it prompted him to think a lot about the seemingly unfair sufferings of others who were less fortunate than himself. Perhaps he had not considered these things for quite some time because he had been blessed with such an opulent lifestyle for so long.
Maybe one of the reasons GOD allowed these things to happen to Job, that are highlighted here in his book, is to allow him to get back in touch with his compassion for those who were less fortunate, and were not closely related to him. After all, JESUS does remind us (Matthew 25:31-46) that when HE returns to judge us, HE will do so, by basing those judgments in accordance to “how we reacted to human need”.
Here in Job 24, even though Job does recoil a bit from actually confronting GOD, he does seem to question what he believes is GOD’s indifference in judgment of good and evil. In this passage the pressure weighing down on Job, is causing a frustration in him, that has led him to thoughts that GOD is unfair, or at least, lackadaisical in HIS attitude toward sin in this world. It is an accusation that I myself have heard from people many times over the years, “why does GOD allow bad things to happen to (so-called) “good people”, which is an arrogant thought in itself, because the Scripture teaches us that none is good, except GOD HIMSELF. Everyone is deserving of punishment, based on our rebellious lifestyle against GOD, at one time or the other, and are deserving of whatever form of discipline GOD chooses to correct us with, whenever HE chooses to correct us.
Here in this passage, Job seems to arrogantly think that he can dictate to GOD who, when, and how HE should judge mankind. And even though he raises some very good questions, he raises those questions without an ounce of the wisdom that it takes to make such divine decisions about GOD’s universe and mankind’s effect on it, and, on each other.
Man cannot think from the standpoint of GOD, no matter how good his intentions may be, because he can never have the infinite wisdom that only GOD can safely possess, or the purity that GOD embodies. Man (the created) can’t “(krino) judge” other men, simply because we are all, ourselves, “men under judgment” and scrutiny from the CREATOR, GOD.
Only GOD can make the decision as to when, how, and even why, HE judges, or blesses anyone. It is not for man to tell GOD what is “fair” or “unfair”, seeing how HE is the CREATOR of the aspects of both terms, and gives both terms their definitions. What is fair, is what GOD says is fair, not man, and what is unfair, is what GOD defines as unfair. It is beyond man’s ability to re-define any term that GOD has already defined (i.e. marriage), and even if we do, it doesn’t count for anything in GOD’s mind, because HE remains sovereign in all things, no matter what we think.
In verse 1 of this chapter Job asks, “Why doesn’t the almighty open the court and bring judgment? Why must the GODly wait for HIM in vain? Job then goes on a poetic tirade listing several injustices, and bad choices that people make in this world that affect, themselves, and the lives of others, even in this day and age (Vs.2-17):

2 Evil people steal land by moving the boundary markers.
    They steal livestock and put them in their own pastures.
They take the orphan’s donkey
    and demand the widow’s ox as security for a loan.
The poor are pushed off the path;
    the needy must hide together for safety.
Like wild donkeys in the wilderness,
    the poor must spend all their time looking for food,
    searching even in the desert for food for their children.
They harvest a field they do not own,
    and they glean in the vineyards of the wicked.
All night they lie naked in the cold,
    without clothing or covering.
They are soaked by mountain showers,
    and they huddle against the rocks for want of a home.
“The wicked snatch a widow’s child from her breast,
    taking the baby as security for a loan.
10 The poor must go about naked, without any clothing.
    They harvest food for others while they themselves are starving.
11 They press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it,
    and they tread in the winepress as they suffer from thirst.
12 The groans of the dying rise from the city,
    and the wounded cry for help,
    yet GOD ignores their moaning.
13 “Wicked people rebel against the LIGHT.
    They refuse to acknowledge its ways
    or stay in its paths.
14 The murderer rises in the early dawn
    to kill the poor and needy;
    at night he is a thief.
15 The adulterer waits for the twilight,
    saying, ‘No one will see me then.’
    He hides his face so no one will know him.
16 Thieves break into houses at night
    and sleep in the daytime.
    They are not acquainted with the LIGHT.
17 The black night is their morning.
    They ally themselves with the terrors of the darkness.
(NLT)

In HIS infinite wisdom, GOD ultimately decided to create mankind, and HE endowed him with “wills that are free”. HE doesn’t force us to choose neither good, nor evil, in fact, all HE does is present us with both scenarios to choose from. In other words, we have the GOD-given right to choose between “good” and “evil”, which are two more terms that are defined only by GOD. HE tells us in HIS Word, those things that are good, and HE tells us about those things that are evil, but then, HE leaves it to us to choose which route we wish to take. If we choose what HE says is right, we can enjoy special favor and blessing from HIM, and if we choose what HE says is wrong, or evil, then, we invite curses upon ourselves and others, which is the opposite of blessings (Deuteronomy 28).
In the end (Vs.18-25) Job shows us that he is certain that the wicked will be punished, in fact, this section of this passage even seems to contradict the first 17 verses entirely. Still, in the end we see Job confirming to his friend, Eliphaz, his confidence that GOD will eventually hand the obedient, and the wicked their just rewards, or punishment.
Job shows here that he understands that both the righteous, and the wicked, suffer and prosper, in the same world, at the same time, and that, GOD brings justice how and when HE chooses, to both sides, regardless to what we think HE ought to do, and when we think HE ought to do it.

A Sunday school lesson by,
Larry D. Alexander





                                 
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