ancient court of justice January 16-17 Chronological Bible Study

Timeline. Map. Go to today's Bible reading: Job 38, 39, 40, 41, 42

Note: since this is a combined Bible study, it is suggested that you read the Scriptures the first day and the Bible study the second day.

Your Day in Court

Have you ever wished for your day in court? By that you may mean that you believe you have suffered some injustice and want to be given a hearing; you seek justice and exoneration. This is what the Biblical patriarch Job wanted. Job probably lived at the time of Abraham (more...). Job believed he was righteous and blameless in every way; and yet, he was suffering and being treated unfairly by God. Have you ever felt that way? Have you tried to live a Christian life but things went terribly wrong, and God did not seem to listen or care to do anything about them? Job suffers the loss of his family, business, health and respect, and though he seeks God, God is silent. To add insult to injury, Job's friends think he is an arrogant sinner who must be guilty of wickedness, but they can not convince him.

Job asks God for time to present his case in a heavenly court of appeal. Finally, God speaks out of a whirlwind from an approaching storm. Instead of allowing him to further question his majesty, however, God calls Job to stand before the judge's bench, and He is the judge who is now asking him questions. The kind of questions that God asks of Job shows that he had badly underestimated God's majesty, power and understanding, and that he needed a fresh reminder of it. Perhaps we need that, too.

God begins his directive to Job by questioning his knowledge of creation, using the imagery of a construction engineer:

Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it? On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone--while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? (Job 38:4-7, NIV).

Have you ever considered just what was involved for God to create the earth with all of its complexity and design? God was the master designer. If the world just evolved, how did it just design itself without a designer guiding the process? A commonly recognized law of nature is that things do not naturally become more organized with time; they become less organized (humorously speaking, think of a young toddler's room when you think of that law). Therefore, because nothing in our lives or the universe in and of itself becomes more organized with time, there must have been an intelligent designer and creator. Almighty God is the designer and creator.

God then asks Job,

What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside? Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings? Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years! (Job 38:19-21, NIV).

We might ask this question of ourselves; if we are so smart, where is the origin of light? Have we ever thought about that? We may say the sun is the origin of light. Who put the sun there? Perhaps some will say there was a supernova at one time and we got our sun from that explosion. Since we were not present when it supposedly happened, that idea is a conjecture at its best, or at its worst, an arrogant assumption. We can only guess the origin of stars from observing what seems to have happened in other galaxies. Given that conjecture, however, it still does not explain the origin of light. Hydrogen and Helium gases may fuel the fires that produce light, but where was the spark that ignited the innumerable suns in all the universes? The point is, like Job, if we are so smart, then tell God the answers since we were certainly there to witness it.

Next, Job is asked where rain, snow, sleet, hail, and ice come from. Well, we may say that is easily explained; they are simply acts of nature. Who controls the acts of nature? A person that believes there is no God believes no one does. A person who believes in God believes that many times in history God intervenes in the lives of people for good or bad, using the weather. God reveals to us in our reading and in many places in the Bible that He is sovereignly in control of everything. Do we believe that? If we do, we can be sure God is Sovereign of our lives as well. That is a good thing to know when our lives seem to be coming apart.

Who provides for the animals of the earth? Evolutionists say it is the natural law of the survival of the fittest. There is certainly truth to that, but there are many times when God provides for animals for their survival. There is an undeniable interdependency between the species of all plants and animals. It is a strange “coincidence” that some species can only survive if there happens to be another particular species present to contribute to its survival (for more insight on this topic go to Strangely and wonderfully God provides for them and all creatures.

Animals and birds have wonderful and unique qualities. Watching them give birth is fascinating. Observing some who have power, strength, dignity, and grace remind us of the God who made them. God cares for all of them, and God cares for you. Jesus said,

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows, (Matthew 10:29-31, NIV).

Don't put your head in the sand. Look around and you will see evidence of God's creativity, wisdom and care in creation.

In Job 40-42 we learn about the great Behemoth and the Leviathan. There are debates about just what these creatures were. Many believe the Behemoth refers to a hippopotamus and the Leviathan refers to a crocodile. Victor E. Reichert, in his book on Job, p.216, observes that when a crocodile surfaces and snorts, it resembles fire in the light of day, and that God may be referring to this phenomenon using hyperbole. Regardless of the particular identity of these creatures, the point of these chapters is that these animals are so powerful and fierce that no one can harm them; and yet, God is their creator. If God is much greater and mightier than they, then He should be that much more feared or reverenced. Job realizes this and repents in dust and ashes. What about you? Do God's wisdom, might and greatness cause you to revere Him and be afraid to speak against Him? Do you know that the Bible says we will all appear before a judgment seat of God? The Apostle Paul tells Christians that “… we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad,” (2Corinthians 5:10, NIV). We should learn to fear our Lord and not question his ways.

Job has his day in court, but he is the defendant, not the plaintiff. When Job is questioned by God, Job begins to realize the greatness of God and his own foolishness. Because he repents of his foolish charges and makes the LORD his trust, God doubles all that he has lost in property, wealth, and family. Our lives may be difficult at times and we, too, may be tempted to blame God. If we consider the greatness and loving care of God, however, we will also come to realize our foolishness. God will be gracious to us and merciful if we will repent (more...). Will we choose to trust the LORD, even though we do not understand our circumstances? If we do, we will eventually be rewarded; if not in this life then in the next.

Lessons to live by:

•  As Job, we will all be called to account some day. Let us not think God does not see what we do or does not have perfect wisdom and understanding.

•  Let's open our eyes to what God has done in nature and fear him. He is much greater than we have ever considered. He is much greater than our problems.

•  God forgives our foolishness and sin if we will repent. (more...)
•  God is worthy of all praise, honor, and glory, and he is worthy of our trust. Hang in there. Here is an encouraging song from Greater Vision: It Pays to Pray

Today's Bible Memory Verse:

Matthew 10:29-31

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don't be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows, ( NIV).

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