The ways of man, the ways of God

Judges 9, Job 38


“Who is this who darkens counsel
By words without knowledge?
Now prepare yourself like a man;
I will question you, and you shall answer Me.

For about 35 chapters, Job and his buddies have been engaging in a philosophical discussion regarding Job’s possible sinful condition versus the character of God. Their zeal for figuring out exactly what’s wrong with Job is often pretentious, and the hapless Job can only defend himself with his own limited perspective and logic.  Both arguments are sound in nature, but the discussion really isn’t going anywhere.

Then God shows up “in a whirlwind” — which is frightening enough to get a man’s attention — and says the equivalent of “shut up” to everyone listening. The following is a chapter that every Christian, or individual seeking to find out who God is, should read thoroughly, because it establishes one truth that every human on earth can’t seem to get right:

You are not God.

We’re very self-important people; we like doing things our own way, and we enjoy babbling on and on about stuff we know a lot about or sharing our really good ideas with people. We want to be impressive.

And we don’t really care about Job 38, mostly because we don’t know it’s there because there’s a bunch of “boring” stuff before it and it’s in the Old Testament (who reads that anyway?), but also because it makes humans look dumb.

Well, by comparison.  But I’m okay with that.


When Joshua (the book’s namesake) dies, Israel has no king. And Israel likes it that way, because they have the freedom to do what they want — there’s no theocracy in place, no absolute reigning authority to make sure everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to at the moral level — generally, it’s rule by the people. That sounds very familiar to me, for some reason.

The results are devastating.  In Judges 9, a guy named Abimelech (we’ll just call him Ab) tells a bunch of citizens that they really do need a sole king, and uses some convincing logic to put together a rebellion against the ruling representatives of the time. Ab ends up killing Gideon’s whole family but one, the survivor escaping to start up an opposing force himself. The two armies go at it back and forth throughout the chapter, the latter group eventually re-establishing peace in the land — at least, temporarily.

Abimelech’s intentions were noble in his own eyes.  He saw a need (perhaps selfishly) and pursued a solution. In hindsight, it turned out to be a terrible idea, but regrets always arrive when it’s too late. It’s like that time you professed your undying love to your crush in middle school and got shut down. It seemed like a good plan at the time, didn’t it?


It’s not only safer to do what God wants, but it makes more sense.  Wouldn’t you rather put your trust in someone that knows what’s coming ahead, rather than putting  your trust in yourself, who can only see as far as the horizon and is limited to an experiential sense of time and probability?

Humans are awesome — God didn’t put us here on accident.  But we’re also capable of great disaster. The smart move is to put our pride away and begin embracing the endless wisdom and direction of the Lord.

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