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Clear Words

Clear Words – Does God make evil? (Job 19:6-11)

Today’s Reading: Job 17-20

Today’s Reflection: Job 19:6-11

Job 19:6-11 – 6) know then that God has put me in the wrong and closed his net about me.  7) Behold, I cry out, ‘Violence!’ but I am not answered; I call for help, but there is no justice.  8) He has walled up my way, so that I cannot pass, and he has set darkness upon my paths.  9) He has stripped from me my glory and taken the crown from my head.  10) He breaks me down on every side, and I am gone, and my hope has he pulled up like a tree.  11) He has kindled his wrath against me and counts me as his adversary.

We’ve seen Job despairing, bleak, even seemingly suicidal (Job 17:1), but here may be his low point.  As he recounts every indignity he has suffered over in the recent past, Job lays each one at God’s feet.  Cries for help unanswered: Where is God?  Obstacles at every turn: Where is the way of escape God promised (1 Corinthians 10:13)?  Stripped, hope uprooted: Where is the peace God promised?  Made an enemy of God Himself: where is God’s friendship?  His mercy?  His love?

Is Job overstepping his bounds suggesting that God is responsible here?  Perhaps not, God Himself said, through the prophet Isaiah:

Isaiah 45:7 – I form light and create darkness, I make well-being and create calamity, I am the LORD, who does all these things.

Truly, is God saying darkness and calamity are His creations?  Does God make evil?  Lets go back to the very beginning.  Note the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, both it’s existence and its placement.

Genesis 2:9, 16-17 – 9) And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. 16) And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, 17) but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”

So it is God who makes the tree of temptation, and places it not in some obscure location but right in the centre of the garden.  The tree does come with a warning, a warning that if it had been heeded would have prevented sin taking root in our world.  A God that creates evil would not have done this.  A God that creates freedom would.

God gave man freedom to choose to obey Him or to sin.  When man chose sin, sin and all of its consequences—sickness, war, pain, heartbreak, and death—all became a part of our world.  And God allowed this corruption to enter our world, so He takes responsibility for it being here, not as the cause of evil, but as the supreme authority of this world.  Darkness exists because man sinned, calamity is the consequence of man’s actions, but nothing can happen here God does not allow.

Even when we choose to follow God we cannot escape the darkness sin causes.  In the Shepherd’s psalm we see that the paths of righteousness God takes us on also leads somewhere we would rather not go.

Psalm 23:4 – Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

The shadow of death stalks this world and no man can escape it, but if we are following God even this is not cause for fear.  The God who allowed the darkness and calamity our sins cause also clears a way through darkness and calamity for us.  God can take the bleakest moments of our lives, things He did not Himself cause or desire for us, and bring blessings into our lives greater than we can ever imagine.

Romans 8:28 – And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

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