Saturday, May 8, 2010

God is not a wall, God is a road.

Job 5:6  Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;

5:7  Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward. 

            Here’s where the book of Job gets tricky, in my estimation, because so much of what is being said is—again in my estimation—true. Affliction is ‘aven’ which is fifteen times more likely to be rendered iniquity. However, it is not the most popular word for iniquity, that would be ‘avon.’ I don’t know if those two are related because Strong’s hints at no connection. I point this out because ‘aven’ means to pant with the idea of effort that is usually in vain. Imagine a small child exhausting himself trying to move a boulder several times larger, that is ‘aven.’ Meanwhile ‘avon’ means perversity coming from to be amiss or to make a crook, imagine a straight edge that’s bent that is ‘avon.’

            In both instances the result is waste, or nothingness. The child spends all the effort and gets nothing in return. If you need a straight edge to draw a perfect line for a map, a bent one gives you nothing to work with. If you think about it, in both cases this shows inquity for what it is, waste and frustration. Consider if, Eliphaz had been right in his condemnation of Job. His children were killed because of his sin, what does that make of all his efforts in raising them? In herding his cattle? In managing his finances? Waste and frustration.

            When we sin knowingly (iniquity is seemingly always a conscious sin), we waste our futures. We imagine that turning left when the map said go straight, will lead us more quickly or more scenically to our intended destination, but in the end we have arrived at somewhere we didn’t intend to be. Iniquity is the effort it took to get us to the wrong place.

            Yet, even if we don’t commit iniquity, our world is under a curse, so we still have trouble though it does not ‘spring out of the ground.’ Perhaps someone else’s iniquity or even their ignorant sins (or our own) might make our lives harder. When I used to eat pig, I would get sick more often with no reason that I could see. In the military, I constantly had to go through some extra step because someone else had done something wrong before me. Someone else’s wrong effort might have made it so I have to use right effort to restore things. Isn’t that redemption? To exert a force to restore something from a corrupted situation?

Job 5:8  I would seek unto God, and unto God would I commit my cause:

9  Which doeth great things and unsearchable; marvellous things without number:

10  Who giveth rain upon the earth, and sendeth waters upon the fields:


In this, Eliphaz does speak well in suggesting seeking God, though prefaced with himself again. Then a common theme in Job (or for that matter the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclessiastes or the prophets)—the marvelous unsearchable nature of God. This can be seen by anyone who cares to observe the creation. My wife and I  make frequent observations about the impossibility of life by chance and evolution as it is taught in schools (I am not against mutation and diversity within a species). Consider the venomous snake: which evolved first the ability to make a substance that is only toxic when injected so that it doesn’t harm the snake itself? Or the hollow, otherwise useless fangs that retract themselves to avoid puncturing the snake? Or what about the breast: which evolved first the ability to make milk or the nipple for it to be extracted? Or perhaps the child with the inborn tendency to suck?

            Creation is the work of a Creator that considered so much more and deeper than all we can imagine. Just think when God made the universe and flung his stars into space, he already had one (or two) in mind that would come and stand over Bethlehem.

            Interestingly, here the word unsearchable is “ayin” meaning, no or nothing. In other words God does Great Things and God does No Things or immeasurable things (just like ‘nothing’ which cannot be measured). Both existence and nonexistence is of God.

            This can feel like a catchall. Something happens and you wonder, why. The answer “God works in mysterious ways.” True that is, but what kind of mystery? Is it, how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? Or is it “I wonder what’s around the next bend?” Or “I wonder what this will look like when it’s finished? The difference: is this something hopeless that cannot be known, or is it something we do not know, but we are meant to know?

            Why does God hide things? Is it so that he can say “I know something you don’t know”?


Pro 25:2  It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.


Glory here and other forms of it appear 150 times out of the 214 renderings of the word glory. The word literally means weight, what we would say now is the “gravity” of a person or thing (yet is always rendered as glory, honor or the like). The presence of weight or gravity shapes the terrain around it, it pulls things towards it. The gravity of God is to conceal, but the gravity of kings is to search.

            If God truly wanted us to not know a thing, he could thwart every effort to discover. He could be a distant God, or like an idol, that never speaks or acts. Logically though, if he communes with us than he wants to be known by us, and this is the God we see:


Exo 29:44  And I will sanctify the tabernacle of the congregation, and the altar: I will sanctify also both Aaron and his sons, to minister to me in the priest's office.

45  And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God.


Hos 2:7  And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now.


Hos 2:14  Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her.


Hos 2:16  And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi; and shalt call me no more Baali.


Jer 31:33  But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.

34  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.


Why dwell with? Why allure Israel? So that he will be called Ishi (man, sometimes husband) instead of Baali (master). What is the covenant of the latter days? That every man of the covenant will know YHVH. God wants to be known, not unknown!

            So how does this apply to Job? As a good husband, do you try to keep your wife in the dark? Do you purpose to keep her from knowing why you do what you do? Do you intentionally frustrate her? You might for a time because of some marital need, but the end goal is not darkness but light, unity not duality.

            Yet didn’t the apostolic writings also speak of God’s unsearchability?


Rom 11:32  For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!


Eph 3:7  Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.

8  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;


In both of these cases, the words are similar. They do not mean unsearchable, but not searched out or not tracked out. Will we ever find the fullness of God’s mercy? Probably not, but can you know the fullness of another man either? No, and if you could wouldn’t that be boring? There is always some new way or new degree that you can learn about a man or about YHVH.

            The point is not that we can know God in a past verb tense, the point is that we can know God in a present tense. God is unchanging, but dynamic. Consider the universe as a picture of God. We believe in the conservation of Matter and Energy, that neither can be destroyed or created—at least from within the confines of creation. So in a sense the universe does not change, it still has so many atoms and so much energy (though of course at a quantum level they’re really the same). If you were able to search the whole universe down to the atomic level in an instant, the moment after you had surveyed it all the universe would be different than the moment after. You couldn’t say “Well, I know where everything is now!” You could only say you “knew” at the moment where everything was, already stars, planets, atoms, photons, maybe even boson’s would be somewhere else.

            Likewise, YHVH changes not (Mal 3:6), but at the same time he is always doing new things (Isa 43:19, Jer 31:22, Gal 6:15, 2 Cor 5:17,1 Joh 2:8, Rev 21:5). God is not a wall, that you cannot see beyond. God is a road that leads ever on and on, always around new bends and hills that where ever you go is new and wherever you stop is still home.