Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The Bible and the Supernatural: Job Responds

Scripture:  Job 40:1-5, 42:1-6

As requested, God has made His appearance and challenged Job. These two passages record Job’s responses to that encounter.

Observations: Isn’t God amazing? Not only does He appear before Job, but also He pauses in the middle of His rebuttal in order to give Job what he wanted—a chance to air his complaints before the Almighty. God didn’t have to do that. He could have plowed ahead. He could have said, in essence, “I am God and you are not; therefore what you think or say doesn’t matter.” But God didn’t do that. In His grace and mercy, He stopped, providing Job a chance to respond.

And what a response it is! Nothing at all like what Job had planned to say, according to his earlier monologues. He has now encountered the Ultimate of the supernatural, that is God, and that meeting has left its mark.

But interestingly what we see in Job, despite some of his bold and even audacious claims earlier in the book, is not fear. God did not terrorize him into submission, but through intense questioning, provided Job a new awareness of His greatness—and Job’s comparative smallness. The result? Job reacts not in dread or panic or fright, but with the head-bowing humility that cedes to God the place of Lord, Master, and King, and with a repentant heart that fully acknowledges his own impotence.

Significance: How should we react to the supernatural? So often we overlook that simple question, focusing instead on what makes something supernatural or on what role it plays in our lives today. Those questions are needed and should be explored, yet understanding how to respond to the supernatural is just as important.

Because we often don’t respond to the supernatural correctly. We dismiss it as our imaginations or some kind of illusion.  We explain it away as an anomaly, a natural phenomenon, or a strange coincidence. We fear it as something we can’t understand or control and try to ignore that it exists at all.

Now depending on what type of supernatural we encounter, our response should vary some. Obviously facing head-on the demonic requires a slightly different response than crossing paths with God’s power. But Job models for us three great attitudes that should dominate our reactions, no matter the situation or scenario: humility, submission, and repentance.

For God is God, and we are not. So when we encounter God and His work, it should bring us to our knees before Him. It should reminds us of our smallness and His greatness. And upon seeing Who He is and who we are in comparison, how can we not realize that we entitled to nothing? And being entitled to nothing, I find myself bankrupt, with no option but to throw myself wholly upon God’s mercy. Since I am wholly at His mercy, I ought to be wholly subject to Him as well. Whatever He says I should do; whatever He desire I ought to submit to. This, then makes me aware of all the ways I’ve failed to do and submit, resulting in the repentance of wrong done.

Moreover, this humility and submission applies not only to encountering God. It should also mark us when we encounter the demonic and the dark supernatural, as it guards us against fear of such. For yes, humility acknowledges we are helpless and weak in of ourselves, which can make the demonic seem terrifying indeed. But humility doesn’t stop with that acknowledgement. It also causes me to throw myself upon the loving mercy of my mighty God. It is Him I submit to. Not to fear or that which causes fear. As a result, I can face the greatest forces of Hell fearlessly because I am no longer dependent on my helpless weak self, but upon the mighty, omnipotent, sovereign Lord of the Universe, Whom no one—not even Satan himself—can withstand.

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