Chapter 12 is the beginning of a three chapter reply to all that Job’s friends have said thus far.
Job begins with a bit of a jab towards his counsellors – “no doubt you are the people, and wisdom will die with you” – you think you have all the answers?!
Clearly Job is distraught and frustrated. His friends haven’t told him anything he hasn’t thought of himself. Even more what they have said hasn’t even been accurate. They have presented the world and God in very black and white, formulaic terms. Those who do evil suffer, those who do good get blessing.
In this opening part of Job’s reply, Job gives evidence to the contrary. In verses 3-6 he says there are many times when those who do wrong live at peace. In verses 7-12, Job says virtually everyone, even the animals know better than his friends on this!
In verses 13-25, Job provides a long list of evidences of God’s Sovereign rule over all people. All that occurs does so by the soveriegn hand of God. Job will have more to say on this as he continues is the next two chapters.
On the surface what he says here is true. Job’s opening words in this reply are similar to the opening portion of Psalm 73. In the Psalm Asaph is looking at the world around him and asking, “why do the righteous suffer and the wicked prosper?” He is tormented by the unexplainable demonstration of God’s soveriegn rule over his life and the life of those who reject God.
Like Job the Psalmist does not doubt God’s sovereign rule. Like Job the Psalmist knows that the events of his life along with the world in which he lives cannot be attributed to random chance or even ultimately to Satan.
The Psalmist asks why is this and in the Psalm provides us with an answer. Psalm 73 is like an abridged version of the book of Job. Job is not yet, in this speech, asking why. He will. Yet even when he does, he will not receive an answer until much later and even then the answer won’t be what we might hope for or expect.
Some of us come from a church setting or theological tradition that has given us a strong confidence in the sovereignty of God. We are convinced, from Scripture, like Job that God is absolutely sovereign – He rules and reigns over all the earth.
One common ditch some who hold this attribute of God so firmly fall into is to present God’s sovereignty as though it is His primary attribute or to so emphasis it that all of God’s other attributes are minimised.
We must remember God is not only always sovereign, He is always good, He is always just, He is always righteous, He is always Holy, He is always all of His attributes. He is always all of Who He is.
We must not become flippant with our confidence in His sovereignty – “God is in control.” Which is true, but incomplete.
We must not lose our confidence and trust in God’s sovereignty either – “God has nothing to do with this, this is just the sad reality of living in a fallen world’. This is completely untrue and leaves us with no hope.
We must fight to know God and love God and trust God for all of Who He is as He has revealed Himself to us in His Word.
Soli Deo Gloria
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